"Lose Yourself" rapper / SUN 5-27-12 / "The Royal Family of Broadway" star, 1930 / "Wanderings: Chaim ___ Story of the Jews" / Saint in a Sir Walter Scott title / "___ my garment and my mantle": Ezra 9:3 / ___ belli (war-provoking act)
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Constructor: BYRON WALDEN
Relative difficulty: Pretty difficult, if you ask me
THEME: STATE QUARTERS — Theme answers are U.S. states clued by what appears on their state quarters and placed in the grid with two or three letters per square. [Edited to add that the state names are divided into four parts, ie, quarters. I had a feeling I was missing something obvious in this theme!]
Byron was kind enough to make the rebus clear right from the beginning. Well, it was clear that there was some kind of rebus going on, but it was a little more difficult to get a grip on what exactly the deal was. Usually, Doug and I don't chat while we solve and we don't look at the other's clues. If, for example, I don't know a down answer, I wait for him to fill in crosses for me until I can get it. But I don't go reading the across clues in order to mentally fill the letters in myself. But on this puzzle, we ended up chatting quite a bit. And I don't know about Doug, but I found myself looking at across clues, but only to see if one of them was the clue for a state so I would know if my answer contained a rebus square.
- 10A: *Patriot Caesar Rodney on horseback (DELAWARE)
- 19A: *The Great Lakes (MICHIGAN)
- 27A: *Scissor-tailed flycatcher with wildflowers (OKLAHOMA)
- 59A: *Covered wagon next to Chimney Rock (NEBRASKA)
- 66A: *Rice stalks, a diamond and a mallard (ARKANSAS)
- 100A: *Statehouse dome (MARYLAND)
- 109A: *Abraham Lincoln (ILLINOIS)
- 112A: *Racehorse in front of the Federal Hill mansion (KENTUCKY)
- 39D: *Rocky Mountains (COLORADO)
- 46D: *"Commonwealth" statue and a keystone (PENNSYLVANIA)
- 69D: *Old Man of the Mountain rock formation (NEW HAMPSHIRE)
- 75D: *Lewis and Clark and the Gateway Arch (MISSOURI)
I hate to keep whining but one last problem I had was with the completed grid on the Times applet. We are all agreed that the applet sucks, right? Good. Well, when we finished the puzzle, it looked like this:
I can't even look at that grid and make sense of it because the applet doesn't "do" rebus squares. Luckily, Doug whipped up a jpg from his Crossword Compiler app and ta-da! Looking at That grid makes it look pretty damn awesome. I didn't even notice while solving that all the states are placed symmetrically in the grid. Nicely done, Byron!
RIPENESS IS ALL is "much-quoted"? (44A: Much-quoted line from Edgar in "King Lear.") There are actually birds called LAUGHING FALCONS? (24A: Snake predators named for their calls.) People have heard of GEORGES DE LA TOUR? (101A: French Baroque artist who painted "The Fortune Teller.") And last but certainly not least: SNORKEL PARKA? (16D: Military jacket with a furry hood.) I must say I am ecstatic to find out that the coats I used to wear during the brutal winters in Fargo, North Dakota, are called SNORKEL PARKAs. I only wish I had known it at the time. (Please don't send me any nasty email about my GEORGES DE LA TOUR crack. I'm sure he's very well-known, left us a treasure trove of brilliant art, and was kind to his mother -- I'm just saying I've never heard of him and that undoubtedly says more about me than it does about him.)
Bullets (acrosses brought to you by Doug):
- 10A: *Patriot Caesar Rodney on horseback (DELAWARE) — I knew immediately that this was Delaware, because I've seen a ton of Delaware quarters. My friend's daughter was about 12 years old when the State Quarters program began, and she decided that the first quarter, Delaware, would be valuable someday. So she started saving Delaware quarters. And whenever I found one in change, I'd give it to her. Over the years, I bet I've given her at least $25 in Delaware quarters. And I'm still giving them to her. I suspected it might be a scam to get free quarters, but she showed me her collection, and she's got over 400 of them in a box. I'm going to try to recoup some of my losses by telling her that I collect Montana quarters. Maybe she'll give me a few. I picked Montana because I grew up there, and more importantly, it's the only state quarter that features a skull. It matches my awesome belt buckle.
- 37A: Zales rival (KAY) — My first thought was Jared, because "It can only be Jared." That's the jewelry store founded by the guy from the Subway ads. I have my own version of the Subway diet. I walk to Subway for lunch, and then I don't eat anything because I hate Subway.
- 44A: Much-quoted line from Edgar in "King Lear" (RIPENESS IS ALL) — Or "Don't eat the green bananas." I know quite a few Shakespeare lines, but this one baffled me. I don't like the "much-quoted" part, because if you don't know it, you feel like a dope.
- 67A: Old comic book cowboy (RED RYDER) — You probably recognize the name from the Red Ryder BB Gun in "A Christmas Story."
- 101A: French Baroque artist who painted "The Fortune Teller" (GEORGES DE LA TOUR) — Which translates to "George of the Tour." I guess he was a pro golfer. Seriously, I have never heard of this guy. At least the clue didn't say "Well-known French Baroque painter..." I'm still smarting from that "Much-quoted" business.
- 106A: "Get Smart" robot (HYMIE) — Entry of the day! Man, I used to love "Get Smart." Hymie's a robot who was built by KAOS, but later decides to join CONTROL. He's named after his father and is "programmed for neatness." Speaking of "Get Smart," PuzzleGirl and I wrote this entire blog while in the Cone of Silence. Maybe that's why it took us seventeen hours.
Bullets (downs brought to you by PuzzleGirl):
- 7D: Father of the Blues (WC HANDY)
- 8D: Outgrowth from the base of a grass blade (LIGULE) — Can't imagine I'll ever need to know that but okay.
- 10D: Handlers of brats (DELIS) — Who wanted BABYSITTERS?
- 12D: Designer Vera (WANG) — PuzzleDaughter and her friends seem to be into Vera Bradley these days. Totally different Vera.
- 22D: Athletic awards since 1993 (ESPYS)
- 26D: Salts (ABLE SEAMEN) — I like the tricky clue, but I'm not 100% sure ABLE SEAMEN is really a thing. I mean, I'm sure there are SEAMEN who are quite ABLE, but it's not exactly what I would call "in the language." See also NURSERY MEN (76D: Greenhouse workers).
- 42D: E.M.T. application (CPR) — PuzzleKids and I enjoyed a street festival yesterday and had to spend a little bit of time at the First Aid station when PuzzleDaughter stubbed her toe pretty bad. I sorta felt like the EMTs were rolling their eyes at us, but honestly, I'm sure having them bandage her up calmed her down way more than I could have. Poor thing. When we got home she's all "Mom, will you wash the blood off my flip-flop?" Try not to be too jealous of my glamorous life.
- 49D: Do dos, say (CATER) — I was thinking more along the lines of hairstylists, so this was a nice tricky clue.
- 57D: Area that's frequently swept? (RADAR RANGE) — In my world, a RADAR RANGE is a microwave oven. (In my world, I spent much of my childhood in front of the TV watching game shows.)
- 86D: Move toward the middle (INDENT) — And just to be clear, when you move text toward the middle of the page, you use TABS and not SPACES, right? RIGHT?
- 96E: Like zombies (UNDEAD) — My first thought: "Dead." My second thought: "Waaait a minute …."
Love, PuzzleGirl (and Doug)