1957 Disney dog movie / MON 6-11-12 / African antelope Chevrolet / Sean who wrote Juno Paycock / Cousin of Calypso
Monday, June 11, 2012
Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels and Michael Blake
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: F-LL — a vowel progression puzzle
Word of the Day: MAURA Tierney (54D: Actress Tierney of "ER") —
Maura Therese Tierney (born February 3, 1965) is an American film and television actress, who is best known for her roles as Lisa Miller on NewsRadio and Abby Lockhart on the television medical drama ER. (wikipedia)
• • •FILL IN THE BLANKS. It's cutesily self-referential in a way that seems appropriate for a breezy Monday puzzle. Beyond that, it's pretty ordinary. The concept is so threadbare that the bar should be pretty high in terms of a. quality of theme answers and b. consistency/tightness of the theme. Only the middle answer is very interesting to me. The others are just fine, just not interesting. Also, seems slightly substandard to have some of the F-LLs stand on their own and some be part of longer words. Awesome answers might have let me overlook that inconsistency (greatness tends to make little problems go away), but this is all ho-hum, so I notice. Better to have them all be parts of longer words ... except then you can't have FILL IN THE BLANKS. FILLO DOUGH, FULLER BRUSH, FALLEN ANGEL ... I like these all better than what's in the grid (and yes, that is totally acceptable spelling of "FILLO"). I'm sure there are tons of other possibilities. Tight. Smooth. Imaginative. Consistent. Easy puzzles need to be all, not some of these things. Again, this is totally publishable, passable, acceptable work. Just seems like it could've been better with a little more conceptual work at the outset.
- 18A: One knocked off a pedestal (FALLEN IDOL)
- 24A: Paid postgraduate position at a university (FELLOWSHIP)
- 39A: Solve a crossword, e.g.? (FILL IN THE BLANKS)
- 55A: Put a spade atop a spade, say (FOLLOW SUIT)
- 63A: Illegal wrestling hold (FULL NELSON)
Strangely, the one answer that slowed me down more than anything in this puzzle was YEOW (28A: Cry after hitting a hammer on one's thumb, say). I had the "Y" and wrote in "YO..." before I really thought about it, then looked at the cross at 21D: Jane or John in court and did a total deer-in-headlights act as I stared at DOO (it's DOE. Duh). This was all corrected in probably something like 10 seconds, but that's a lot of time (for me) on a Monday. So on a puzzle in which it felt like I filled in almost all the blanks without any hesitation (I wrote in OLD YELLER, LIONEL, and FULL NELSON without even looking at their clues, I wasn't anywhere near my fastest time. Just fast. I also had trouble coming up with GRUFF (1D: Harsh and brusque), but that's less surprising given how unusual the word is (gridwise) and given that I encountered it at the very beginning, when I had hardly any crosses.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld