Magic Flute protagonist / SUN 6-17-12 / Mythical elixir of forgetfulness / Arctic waters on historical maps / Its stem is used in miso soup / Knowledge is food of soul / Classical bow wielder / Source of words mulligatawny catamaran / Long-jawed fish / Lovingly to musician
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Constructor: Kyle T. Dolan
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Playable" — add "BLE" to familiar phrase, get wackiness, etc.
Word of the Day: BELOT (30A: Trick-taking game) —
Belot also Bridge belot is the name of a French trick-taking card game very popular in Bulgaria, in some parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia (Especially Bitola), and inSaudi Arabia. It is also played by the Armenian Diaspora, in former USSR area (Russia, Ukraine,Republic of Moldova) and by Jewish communities worldwide. (wikipedia)
• • •
WARBLE ON DRUGS is great, the rest, just OK. I was surprised at how yucky the fill was. If you have AMAH, BELOT and LITH in one little section of the grid ... well, something should change, and fast. And that's not even counting neighboring ABES and POR, yikes. And this is with cheaters aplenty. I mean, all over. Well, specifically up top and (especially) in the east and west. All those black squares whose only purpose is to make the grid easier to fill—so we get more short answers, and more crud. GAR! GAH! BOK! It's a (be)lot to take.
This puzzle also had some bad luck that you might not be aware of, i.e. it came out just one month after an LA Times Sunday puzzle with exactly the same theme.
- 22A: Falter while imitating Jay-Z? (BUMBLE RAP) — this one is messed up a bit. Are you bumbling the genre? Or a specific rap (in which case leaving out the indef. article seems awkward). Also, "bubble wrap" is a thing, so the whole playful thing that's supposed to be going on is lost because it sounds like a very different playful thing is happening.
- 24A: Something thrown in "West Side Story"? (RUMBLE PUNCH)
- 36A: Sing high notes? (WARBLE ON DRUGS)
- 54A: Cry upon arriving at an earthquake site? ("THERE'S THE RUBBLE!")
- 77A: What the turnover-prone football player had? (DROPPING TROUBLE)
- 92A: Shenanigans at the royal court? (NOBLE NONSENSE)
- 110A: Nickname for a hard-to-understand monarch? (QUEEN MUMBLE)
- 114A: Lens cover for a large telescope? (HUBBLE CAP) — too easy
- 45A: Noted 2011 TV retiree, popularly (REGIS) — of course you're supposed to enter OPRAH here, but I already had crosses, so no such trouble.
- 108A: He wrote "Knowledge is the food of the soul" (PLATO) — Somehow, with "PL-" in place, I thought PLINY would be a good answer ... ?!
- 116A: Classical bow wielder (EROS) — don't know how original the clue is, but it's good, insofar as it misdirects slightly toward classical music.
- 3D: Source of the words "mulligatawny" and "catamaran" (TAMIL) — I certainly did not know that.
- 39D: Baseball's Justin or B.J. (UPTON) — gimme. Both guys are good. Justin's got a few more accolades.
- 53D: "The Magic Flute" protagonist (TAMINO) — I realize "The Magic Flute" is a big deal, but TAMINO looks nuts. Needed every cross.
- 62D: Lovingly, to a musician (AMOROSO) — this is not-great fill in the heart of a very dicey section. I mean, -OON? That's possibly worse than OOX [Tic tac toe loss]. Then there's the GAR (80D: Long-jawed fish) in the foreign OCEANO which feeds into the ICY SEA (wtf?) (78D: Arctic waters, on historical maps).
- 79D: Mythical elixir of forgetfulness (NEPENTHE) — learned this from the book that has taught me more about great philosophical issues than almost any other book, ancient or modern. I'm speaking, of course, of "Watchmen."
- 111D: Its stem is used in miso soup (UDO) — U ... no.