Dada pioneer, Biblical land whose name means "red" in Hebrew, Nanook's home, Nautical hazard, Juicy fruit, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Constructor: DAVID J. KAHN
Relative difficulty: MEDIUM
|I had my crayons handy from the envelope yesterday so I decided to |
highlight the theme content. 35% of the grid (black squares included).
THEME: DICK CLARK — (63A Late beloved TV personality) and a long-running television show he produced and starred in, along with a 17A typical opinion about a record on [it].
Word of the Day: CHAVEZ (34A Labor leader Cesar) —(from wiki)
|East First St. is Austin's Triboro Bridge. |
I think "Lady Bird Lake" will stick.
• • •Hello, all. Once again, this is treedweller giving Rex a bit of a break. I'll get right to it.
Last October, Kevin Der reportedly was moved by the death of Steve Jobs to rush out a tribute puzzle, and Will Shortz's crew made it happen. Commentary here ranged from "loved it" to "nice enough but misplaced on Friday" to "wonder how long it was in the can" to "does anybody else see the arrogance associated with thinking a crossword is an important eulogy?"
Well, Rexworld, The Puzzle listened. Steve Jobs died at 56, and we wondered if WS had his tribute in a drawer. Dick Clark died at the age of 117-1/2, yet this puzzle appears over a month after his death. We've all had time to absorb the blow under more solemn circumstances, so now a lighthearted reminder of an old friend is welcome. Both the dense cross-referencing and the slightly vague cluing make this just enough of a challenge to be very well placed on a Wednesday.
But today I was seriously getting ticked off for a bit. Every clue I read was either daring me to guess with little confidence or referring me somewhere else. I finally scanned the theme clues, zeroed in on the name, and attacked the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, I misread 65A Saloon choices (ALES) and entered "dyes" instead. Also, my go-to Spanish artist is Dalí.
But I finally found the terminal K at 58D Nasdaq listings: Abbr. STKS. From there, the theme answers became very easy and I enjoyed figuring out all the stuff I couldn't guess on the first pass. Maybe I'm just giddy with power, but I've had a great time this week. Ask anyone who knows me, I am generally a complete ano. But if every week started the way this one has, I would be ecstatic.
|from my copy of Bluebeard. |
Yes, I did just figure out captions.
I mean, sure, there's AGASP (64A Audibly stunned). But if I have to have a borderline word nobody uses anymore, I appreciate that it was clued in a fairly undeniable way. Overall, there just wasn't much to complain about. Even the stale bits were rhapsodized with lyrical clues. OPIE is not just some Ron Howard role; he's a boy who liked to fish (1A). Our old buddy, Mel OTT, wasn't just a ball player; he was a Giant who swung for the fences (5D).
- 63A Late beloved TV personality DICK CLARK
- 40A With 14-Across, long-running TV show popularized by 63A AMERICAN BANDSTAND
- 16A 63-Across, for one EMCEE
- 17A With 38- and 59-Across, typical opinion about a record on 40-/14-Across. IT'S GOT A GOOD BEAT AND YOU CAN DANCE TO IT
- 27D With 51-Down, "14-Across Boogie," on 40-/14-Across THEME SONG
- 36A World's Oldest ____ (nickname for 63-Across)
And now, a eulogy from Snoop "NSFW" Dogg (skip to :39 to avoid intro):
- 45A "Buck Rogers" and others SERIALS— I first knew about him because of the TV series.
- 48A "Is that ___?" AN O — I'll bet some of you were thinking, "Who says that?" In fact, it's a common phrase used when deciphering captchas. I'll take it over the standard Spanish clue and its associated diacritical awkwardness.
- Buffalo's Mets-affiliated team BISONS— Even the sports haters should be able to work that out with a cross or two. Still, I am not sure I like the precedent of adding the names of minor-league teams to the crossword lexicon. How about cluing it "Adventurous progeny?" That works, right? Okay, maybe not.
- 60A Dada pioneer ARP — Would have been a great Cain / Abel misdirect if it were four letters.
- 44D Right away IN A SEC— this clue feels off. To me, IN A SEC is more, "yeah, after I finish this" than "right away".
- 15D Comfort SOLACE— Perhaps a final THEME answer?
Tomorrow we will have a surprise substitute and Our Leader should be back Friday. I hope you've all enjoyed my services as much as I have. I hope you will all reflect on how much work Rex does every day to keep this site going, as I certainly have over the past three days. I hope you will all remember there is a handy link near the top right of this page for you to offer Rex a tangible token of your gratitude. No, Rex did not ask me to say that.
Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld