1948 John Wayne western / MON 3-5-12 / Nickname for Louis Armstrong / Dwarves' representative in Fellowship of Ring / Hirsute carnival attraction / Hit HBO series set in Baltimore
Monday, March 5, 2012
Constructor: Mike Nothnagel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: HIDE AND SEEK (62A: Children's game hinted at by the circled letters) —circles inside theme answers, when read in order, spell out "READY OR NOT, HERE I COME"
Word of the Day: MOSHER (48D: One in a pit at a concert) —
v., moshed, mosh·ing, mosh·es.
To knock against others intentionally while dancing at a rock concert; slam-dance.
To knock against (someone) intentionally while dancing at a rock concert.
[Perhaps alteration of MASH.]mosher mosh'er n.
• • •
Mike's a great constructor, but this is a puzzle type I don't much care for—non-contiguous circles spelling things inside longer, unrelated answers. BEARDED LADY is a nice answer, but the rest are less colorful than I'd like. Biggest gripe is 33A. Man I hate that answer so bad. There's just too many different intonations with which one can read both clue and answer there. And no matter what my intonation, I can't make clue fit answer. I would use "OH, OK" to express revelation—when I didn't understand and then you clarified it for me: "OH, OK." Or when I didn't want to do something but you convinced me, although there I'd probably be more apt to say "Oh, alright." Anyway I had AH, OK at first, figuring AGRA- was some other accepted farming prefix (if both AGRI- and AGRO- are acceptable, then why not ...?). But I knew that couldn't be right, so went back and ran all vowels to get the "O." What's worse is that that answer, awkward as it is, is completely and utterly avoidable. Mike must've really liked it as an answer, because nothing necessitates its being here. There are a million (give or take) other options. Any one of you could figure out how to make, say, OHIO work. I guess this is a matter of taste. Also a matter of precise cluing. Normally, I love the colloquial stuff, but between the (awk) AGRO- cross and the really poorly-worded clue, OH, OK just didn't work for me at all.
- 17A: Hirsute carnival attraction (BEARDED LADY)
- 24A: Trying to make sense of (SORTING OUT)
- 37A: Hit HBO series set in Baltimore ("THE WIRE")
- 51A: Eleventh hour (NICK OF TIME)
- 62A: Children's game hinted at by the circled letters (HIDE AND SEEK)
Had trouble with 1A: Nickname for Louis Armstrong (SATCH), since the only nickname I could come up with was the (I think) more common SATCHMO. 14A: Table of data, e.g. didn't get me to ARRAY nearly as quickly as I'd've liked. Got GIMLI only from crosses—it's a name that stuck, but not one that I could just come up with on the spot (47A: Dwarves' representative in the Fellowship of the Ring). The clue on HALF MILE is clever but tough if you have no conception of horse track lengths (as I don't) (38D: One-third the length of the Belmont Stakes). Even MOSHER was somewhat trickily clued, with the orchestra "pit" misdirection (48D: One in a pit at a concert). These are some of the reasons that this took me longer than the average Monday, hence the *relative* difficulty rating.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld