Pioneering jazz standard 1917 / WED 6-27-12 / Penniless in Pennington / Repeated Laura Petrie line on Dick Van Dyke show / 2011 Grammy-winning song by Jay-Z Kanye West / Its symbol is AA on New York Stock Exchange / Like areas where cattails thrive
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Constructor: Mike Buckley
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: PENTOMINOES (37A: Complete set of 12 shapes formed by this puzzle's black squares)— that's pretty much it. Plus two more theme answers, which are accurate enough, but ... I don't get how they provide essential information:
- 15A: Descriptive of this puzzle's grid (LACKING SYMMETRY)
- 54A: Like this puzzle's 37-Across (NON-INTERLOCKING)
Word of the Day: "TIGER RAG" (35D: Pioneering jazz standard of 1917) —
"Tiger Rag" is a jazz standard, originally recorded and copyrighted by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. It is one of the most recorded jazz compositions of all time. (wikipedia)
• • •
PENTOMINOES are (though now that I see them, I get it—shapes made out of five contiguous squares). No idea why LACKING SYMMETRY or NON-INTERLOCKING should be relevant phrases here. I like that this grid looks weird, and I like STORM IN A TEACUP (7A: Much ado about nothing) and BIG OX (42A: Oaf), but otherwise it's a lot of black squares and a concept I don't really get. I hope many of you felt otherwise. I guess that because of the concept, there had to be that lone unchecked square. Haven't seen a *truly* unchecked square in ... I don't know how long. Since no one is in danger of not getting ARENA, I guess it doesn't matter much.
Started with SWAMPY and SEC rather than MARSHY (1A: Like areas where cattails thrive) and MIN (1D: One sweep of a hand: Abbr.), so that wasn't good. Otherwise, the only trouble I had was the *entire* length of PENTOMINOES (?) and the "LOCKING" part of NON-INTERLOCKING. I had NON-INTERSECTING. Never heard of "TIGER RAG" or PIC (!?!?!) (23A: Jack Kerouac's last novel). Or SKINT, yipes (53D: Penniless, in Pennington). Still came in at *precisely* my average time for Wednesdays.
- 17A: Its symbol is AA on the New York Stock Exchange (ALCOA) — had the final "A" and guessed that there must be another on the other end. Then just ... thought of a company. Bam.
- 50A: 2011 Grammy-winning song by Jay-Z and Kanye West ("OTIS") — I somehow managed to ignore that album last year. Too much hype. And I've ignored the Grammys for years, so this one was a Mystery.
- 26D: Repeated Laura Petrie line on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" ("OH, ROB!") — classic. Knew it. Thanks, re-runs.
- 6D: Verb from Popeye (YAM) — as in "I YAM what I YAM"; in case you doubt the officialness of the "verb"—proof:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld