Feudal laborer / THU 7-19-12 / The Cavaliers' sch. / Dior design of the 1950s / Zeno's home / Thor Heyerdahl craft
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld
Relative difficulty: Challenging for a Thursday
THEME: OK, I'm calling it cryptic-style word structuring; ARETE can be explained as RET IN[side] AE, hence creating RETINAE, etc.
Word of the Day: ENDUE (22A: Provide) — en·dued or in·dueden·du·ing or in·du·ing
Definition of ENDUE
• • •Hi there! I'm Andrew, a long-time reader, first-time contributor. And I get a Thursday puzzle on my hands, no less. Thursdays have been wildly variable for me this year, time-wise, and after about a month of pretty quick Thursday solves, this one was pretty challenging for me. Rather than being challenging in a fun way, this was more of a slog to get through. The theme is imaginative enough, but when we're starting with clunkers like ARETE and ALEFS, and our end results include MINTIER and COINSURING and REINSPECTSzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...the grid was helplessly deprived of any sparkle, overloaded with 1-point Scrabble letters. And then there's ESNE, which we'll get to later.
- 17-A: [ARETE] = RET IN AE
- 18-A: [EAGLE] = L IN EAGE
- 23-A: [SCOURING] = CO IN SURING
- 34-A: [PLATTE] = T IN PLATE
- 43-A: [GLANDS] = LAND IN GS
- 52-A: [SPECTRES] = RE IN SPECTS
- 61-A: [ALEFS] = F IN ALES
- 62-A: [TIMER] = M IN TIER
And then there's good 'ol ESNE [10-D: Feudal laborer]. I really thought ESNE was retired by anyone not associated with the USA Today puzzle. It's stuffy, smelly, moldy crosswordese that should have died with Gene Maleska. I'm in the process of writing my fifth crossword book, and I can tell you that I'll never, *ever* use ESNE in a puzzle. Even if I'm doing a book about feudal laborers, ESNE wouldn't cut the muster. I'll admit, if I've got a stack that's got JAZZFUSION on top of QUIZMASTER on top of PEPPERJACK that has ESNE holding it together, I may feel tempted. But in this corner, with these letters? Really no excuse for it.
- 15-A: [You are here] = ON EARTH — Not sure if the clue matches the answer here. I'd say the clue prompts simply EARTH; the preposition doesn't seem to be adequately hinted at in the clue.
- 20-A [Isl. off the coast of Australia] = TASM. — Short for Tasmania. I had TANZ. here to begin with, as I seem to always mix up Tasmania and Tanzania. You know another island off Australia's coast? The one where our noble leader Rex currently is? That'd be abbreviated N.Z.
- 31-A [Like some orange juice]= PULPY — Love me some pulp in my OJ. Strangely, I seem to be the only one in my circle of family and friends that prefers high-pulp. In fact, I've been loudly pooh-poohed in the past for my pulp-preference. The more pulp the better, in my book.
- 5-D [Coastal flier] = ERN — Hardcore birders will TUT-[35-D: When repeated, a mild reproach] TUT this and say ERNE is the correct spelling. I'd tend to agree with them, especially considering the book I'm currently working on is all about birds. As part of my research for the book, I'm traveling down to Wabasha, Minnesota this Saturday to check out their National Eagle Center. Apparently they've got five or six bald eagles there and my sister in-law was raving about it. It's funny -- I never was all that "into" birds before starting this book, and now I find myself pretty intrigued by our feathered friends. And the book is shaping up to be an absolute classic; I'll be sure to prod our noble leader to plug the book once it's released (should be early 2013). Also in the bird category here was 5-D's neighbor, 6-D: [Many a pigeon's perch] = STATUE and 49-A: [Arctic diver] = AUK.
I would be remiss if I didn't use Rex's dais to plug my own work over at AriesPuzzles.com. I offer a Rows Garden variety crossword there every Tuesday, free of charge. For those who are unfamiliar with Rows Gardens, they are a variety format originally conceived by the great Patrick Berry, who also has some Rows Gardens (and other crossword types) posted on his site, A-Frame Games. I like to describe them as a themeless crossword on steroids, and I do hope you check out the site. I can say that next week's puzzle, which will be the 85th such puzzle I've posted, is one of the top-five favorites that I've written. So be sure to stop by the site next Tuesday and check it out.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm working on book number five, "Crosswords for the Birds," and the previous four that I've written have been centered around U.S. states: Minnesota Crosswords was my first, in 2009, followed by Michigan Crosswords and Wisconsin Crosswords. My fourth book, Texas Crosswords, is slated to be released October 1, 2012. I can say the quality of the books have improved throughout the series, and I'm really pumped for the Texas book to come out, as I am very happy how it's turning out. The books make great gifts and are at a Monday-Wednesday difficulty level, so they're accessible to all solvers, too.