Doughnut shapes / MON 6-25-12 / Cowboys of Big 12 Conf / Aid for night photos once / 1978 Rolling Stones hit / French city where Van Gogh painted
Monday, June 25, 2012
Constructor: Nancy Kavanaugh
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Quickly — first words of theme answers mean "a short amount of time"
- TWINKLING EYES (20A: Santa Claus facial feature)
- FLASH BULB (35A: Aid for night photos, once)
- JIFFY LUBE (41A: Oil change chain)
- INSTANT COFFEE (58A: Drink made with crystals)
Word of the Day: MITER saw (15A: Kind of saw in a workshop) —
A miter saw (also spelled mitre) is a saw used to make accurate crosscuts and miters in a workpiece. [...] A power miter saw, also known as a chop saw or drop saw, is a power tool used to make a quick, accuratecrosscut in a workpiece. Common uses include framingoperations and the cutting of molding. Most miter saws are relatively small and portable, with common blade sizes ranging from eight to 12 inches.
The miter saw makes cuts by pulling a spinning circular saw blade down onto a workpiece in a short, controlled motion. The workpiece is typically held against a fence, which provides a precise cutting angle between the blade and the longest workpiece edge. In standard position, this angle is fixed at 90°.A primary distinguishing feature of the miter saw is the miter index that allows the angle of the blade to be changed relative to the fence. While most miter saws enable precise one-degree incremental changes to the miter index, many also provide "stops" that allow the miter index to be quickly set to common angles (such as 15°, 22.5°, 30°, and 45°). (wikipedia)
• • •Fine work. Only mildly shaky theme answer is TWINKLING EYES. I assume this idea comes from the Clement Clark Moore poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (i.e. "Twas the Night Before Christmas..."). If so, then clue should say so. It's a very specific word to use for his eyes (considering He Is Fictional), so attribution is only fair. What's interesting is that the Moore poem contains *both* senses of the word "twinkling." First this:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
And then this:
This was one of the first poems I ever heard as a child—I had whole passages memorized simply from having my mother read it to me over and over again. It's weird to look at it now and have it be so terribly familiar.
Seems like there might've been more sparkly things one could do with both FLASH and INSTANT, but the puzzle is what it is, i.e. totally adequate.
TORI (50A: Doughnut shapes) has become acceptable Monday fare (as clued). Much better than [Actress Spelling], imho, though I like [Singer Amos] well enough. I had some hiccups during the solve, like when I started to write in REEF (!?) for 8D: Titanic's undoing (BERG), and when I had EAR- at 46D: One of two on a winter cap (EARFLAP) but refused to write more for fear I'd get something like EARHOLE. In retrospect, unlikely. But mostly I cruised through this one. Just finished watching Ken Burns' "National Parks," where John MUIR is one of the main stars. Just went to see "Rock of Ages" featuring Catherine ZETA-Jones (40A: Actress Catherine ___-Jones), though I can't recommend you do same. Love the Stones song "MISS YOU" (11D: 1978 Rolling Stones hit) and am finding FATIGUE (43D: Tiredness) a rather attractive word this evening, lord knows why. I need to wrap up now, 'cause wife will soon be home. With pie.
See you tomorrow
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld