TV's hipster doofus / FRI 5-18-12 / 1997 #1 hit with nonsense title / Ticker with cachet / Retail giant mascots Red Ruff Blue Mews / Cartoon character who cries You eediot / 2006-08 heavyweight champion Maskaev
Friday, May 18, 2012
Constructor: Allan E. Parrish
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: MR. RAKE — anagrams thereof
Word of the Day: OLEG Maskaev (60A: 2006-08 heavyweight champion Maskaev) —
Oleg Alexandrovich Maskaev (Russian: Олег Александрович Маскаев; born March 2, 1969, inZhambyl, Kazakh SSR) is a Russian professional boxer and a former WBC heavyweight champion. He is an ethnic Mordvin. [...] Oleg is known for his powerful right-hand punch: he has knocked out former WBO heavyweight challenger Derrick Jefferson, contender Alex Stewart, and twice knocked out former WBC heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman. However, he is also noted for a weak chin that was evident in his knockout losses to contenders Oliver McCall, David Tua, Kirk Johnson, Lance Whitaker, Corey Sanders and journeyman Nagy Aguilera. (wikipedia)
• • •SPY; 28D: Scrappers put them up = DUKES). I had no idea the cat and the dog in the PETCO logo had names (49D: Retail giant with the mascots Red Ruff and Blue Mews)! Clue on SPEECH, good (4D: Word chanted at a celebratory party); clue on ROLEX *killed* me, but it's good (40A: Ticker with cachet); I had the "X" but thought it must be some kind of exchange like NASDAQ ... only ending in "X." NYNEX? Is that something? Hmmm, a former northeastern telcom ... no, not what I was thinking. Anyway, that SW corner was the toughest for me by far. Had AVIA for MCAN (37A: Big name in footwear). Blew the ROLEX answer. Found clue on CALORIES remarkably hard (34D: What water lacks). Big issue down there was actually annoying cluing on all the short answers. I'm not big on clues where I know instantly what the clue is getting at but don't have enough information to make a choice. So, I knew instantly that it was UIE ... or UEY (58A: It's often illegal to hang one). Not "hard," just ... annoying. Same with the NL West clue (55A: N.L. West team, on scoreboards). I can name every team in in the NL West, but with no crosses ... I just wait. No way to get it otherwise. And again, with LES (61A: Article in the Louvre?)—I know all the "articles" in French, but ... there are several that are three letters long, so ... wait. Difficulty by clever cluing is better than difficulty by annoying vagueness, especially clustered annoying vagueness. To be clear, this is different from the vagueness of a clue like, say, [Point] (is it a dot? is it a location? the gist of something? what a free throw's worth? a verb meaning to indicate with the finger?). That kind of vagueness can be maddening, but also interesting. But the vagueness in the SW has no mystery, no surprise. I instantly surmise a limited set of possible answers, and then just wait around to figure out which one it is. UIE can't really be fixed, but ARI and LES could've had more specific clues.
- 20A: It may be acknowledged with a slap (OFFENSIVE REMARK)
- 34A: TV's "doofus hipster" (COSMO KRAMER) — I was thinking of Bob Denver's character on "Dobie Gillis," who I now recall was named MAYNARD G. KREBS
- 51A: Bad tool for a toddler to find (PERMANENT MARKER)
That is all.
Just a reminder about the Crosswords LA tournament puzzles:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld