Ren's cousin of cartoondom / SAT 6-23-12 / Sportscaster Andrews others / Evoker of 1950s nostalgia / Engadget's co / On-site shucking sites / 1999 Ron Howard bomb / Where John Day R flows
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Constructor: Laura Sternberg
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: KAT Dennings (43D: "2 Broke Girls" co-star Dennings) —
Katherine Litwack (born June 13, 1986), better known by the stage name Kat Dennings, is an American actress. Emerging with a role in an episode of the HBO dramedy series Sex and the City, Dennings has since appeared in the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Big Momma's House 2, Charlie Bartlett, Raise Your Voice, The House Bunny, Defendor, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, andThor. She also co-stars in the CBS television series 2 Broke Girls. (wikipedia)
• • •DEOXYGENATED (6D: Like blood coursing through one's veins) and OREG. (54A: Where the John Day R. flows) and KAT, but I hardly had to think at all about the rest. Aside from a slight excess of lackadaisical fill (your UNAWEDs, your OREGs, your ARGUERs, your two EYE answers, etc.), I don't have anything to complain about except the fact that Fri. and Sat. were radically misplaced this week (I'm quite certain today's puzzle took me less than half the time of yesterday's puzzle). Fill is mostly solid, occasionally fresh, and having the big answers run in two parallel chunks Down middle of the grid gave the puzzle an interesting architectural feel. I laughed out loud at 13D: Big Red, in the N.C.A.A. (CORNELL U.). Last week saw RICEU, which I rightly claimed was horrible. I then hypothesized what I thought was a preposterous extension of this concept: BAYLORU. Would that be accepted now? Probably not, I thought. Man was I wrong. I need to get started on my BINGHAMTONU puzzle. The ending-in-U length record is begging to be broken! Get me a 14-letter university name, stat!
This puzzle is a pangram but I don't care because anyone can make a pangram themeless puzzle. With no theme answers restricting your grid, you are wildly free to shove in all the Scrabbly letters you want. There's no evidence that fill quality was compromised to achieve a pangram. So ... it's irrelevant. But for every idiot who continues to put forth the notion that I hate pangrams *per se*, here you go: I don't hate this one.
QUIET DOWN (1A: Lower one's racket) and Q SCORE (1D: Measure of popularity) immediately, and once I threw the long Downs in, the whole puzzle opened up. Easy as pie to get into every cranny of this thing. Threw WONTONS (21A: Asian soup ingredients) into the NE corner off just the W. Threw RADIO DJ (55A: One might do a countdown) into the SW corner because DJ was already in place. Cluing was not tough and grid was open and interconnected in ways that allowed for easy movement—lots of ways to march through the grid. Two or three ways into every corner. BREEZIEST Saturday puzzle ever.
- 28A: 1999 Ron Howard bomb ("EDTV") — This "bomb" will live on semi-eternally in crossword grids.
- 36A: Evoker of 1950s nostalgia (SHA NA NA) — Evoker was always my least favorite member of SHA NA NA. A poor man's Bowzer, if you ask me.
- 57A: Engadget's co. (AOL) — I have no idea what an Engadget is, but a "co." in three letters is Probably AOL. Plus I had the "O" in place, so: easy.
- 64A: Like some kids' shoelaces (NO-TIE) — this is slightly alarming, as I always think of tying one's shoes as an important step on the way to becoming a minimally competent human being. We'll put wheels on their damned shoes, but god forbid they should have to tie them. PS get off my lawn.
- 7D: On-site shucking sites (OYSTER BARS) — I was trying to outthink the clue by imagining that "shucking" had something to do with taking off your clothes. But I couldn't think of a good name for a "site" where one did this, and then eventually I got the OYS- and there wasn't really any doubt left what the answer was.
- 10D: Sportscaster Andrews and others (ERINS) — Gimme. Which helped, undoubtedly. GWENS and LIZA, also gimmes. Which helped, undoubtedly.
- 24D: Ren's cousin of cartoondom (SVEN) — possibly the greatest SVEN clue of all time. I'm not aware of any other SVEN clues, but I approve this one.