Onetime Wisconsin-based insurance giant / MON 5-14-12 / Line of Canon cameras / Tolkien's talking tree race / Impatiently endure time passing
Monday, May 14, 2012
Constructor: John Dunn
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: SYNS. (70A: Roget offerins (abbr.) ... or, loosely, the firsta nd last words of 20-, 28-, 48-- and 56-Across) — "[verb] THE [noun]" phrases where, yes, the verb and noun (when one of the two is converted from verb to noun or vice versa) are, loosely, SYNonymS
Word of the Day: WAUSAU (48D: Onetime Wisconsin-based insurance giant) —
[Near as I can tell, an insurance co. that was bought by Liberty Mutual in 1999, and then retired as a brand in 2009: "Wausau, founded in Wausau, Wis., in 1911, was one of the earliest writers of workers comp coverage. It adopted a train depot as its logo in 1954 and built a brand that became widely recognized over the next 50 years." (Business Insurance)]
• • •
WASH THE LAUNDRY, I really don't have to go very far to make them match up. I mean, imagining those words as SYNS. doesn't even require me to think outside the laundry room. The theme "works" just fine, but it's dull. Fill is mostly very solid, with a nice handful of long answers (except SUCH THAT (5D: So), which is a perfectly adequate phrase ... just not "nice"). I had several early missteps in this puzzle—way more writeovers than I normally have in a Monday puzzle. Right away, with 1A: Money owed (DEBT), I was off my game. Got DVD at 1D and then thought, re: 1A, "... DUES?" Crosses, cleared this up quickly, as they generally will on Monday, but I went on to make several more wrong initial guesses in quick succession: DELAY for DETER (14D: Hinder); AMP for ADO (23A: Hoopla) (this is only because I had yet another misguess in place—BLOW PAST for BLOW OVER (3D: Pass without effect, as a storm); and DITZ for SIMP (5A: Lamebrain). So the puzzle wasn't hard, so much as it was (in parts, to my brain) vague. At least at first. Once I got out of the N / NW, except for a brief EOS / IOS dust-up (55A: Line of Canon cameras), I flew pretty quickly around the grid, stopping only at the end, in the SW, where WAUSAU was a complete mystery to me. There's something interesting about the relative symmetry of the OVER in BLOW OVER and the UNDER in UNDERWAY. Also, I enjoy TALL ONES (38D: Some brewskis). Other than that, this one's already fading in my rearview.
- 20A: Impatiently endure passing time (WATCH THE CLOCK) — I'd've gone with PUNCH THE CLOCK
- 28A: Win by enough points, in sports gambling (COVER THE SPREAD)
- 48A: Perform a routine household chore (WASH THE LAUNDRY)
- 56A: Pass through a crisis safely (TURN THE CORNER)
First thought for 30D: Have a nontraditional marriage, in a way (ELOPE) was BE GAY (hey, it fits). That wayward thought was about the most entertaining part of the solve. This is perfectly acceptable work. But it's not gonna stick.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS if you are not a Sunday-puzzle type of person, you probably missed my announcement yesterday that I was featured on the CBS Evening News on Sat. night. You can view the clip here.
PPS—Attention: Constructors (and Would-Be Constructors) Under 30 — Ben Tausig will be editing a collection of crosswords called "Twenty Under Thirty"; crosswords will be selected by a panel that includes me. The selection process will be blind. Here is the official press release.