Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Constructor: Michael Sharp. Alias, Rex Parker
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Rear-end COLLISIONS (64-A) — Four answers end in a synonym for blemish or mar (something that'd happen to a car in the event of said collision)
Word of the Day: SCRIMS (46-Down, Theater drops) —
• • •Hi everyone! Caleb Madison here filling in for our eccentric crossword-critic hero who seems to have become somewhat of a recluse, forced to take a 8 year hiatus after being blamed for the murder of HARVEY DENT (18-Across, Gotham district attorney who becomes Batman's nemesis Two-Face). Oh wait that's that guy from yesterday... Weird spike in Batman-related answers since the release of "Dark Knight Rises" (which I've seen twice so far and it's my favorite one of the trilogy and I am obsessed with Bane's voice if you were wondering). Even previous Batman nemeses make brief appearances (24-D, WAG: Joker). Is Shortz a big Dark Knight nerd too?
- [18-A, Gotham district attorney who becomes Batman's nemesis Two-Face] HARVEY DENT
- [22-A, Central figure in a Clement C. Moore poem] SAINT NICK
- [38-A, Barely legible handwriting] CHICKEN SCRATCH
- [58-A, Having razzle-dazzle, to a Rat Packer] RING-A-DING. This is the only one I don't know. Didn't they also say BADA-BING?
- [64-A, Cause of some rear-end damage, as represented by the rear ends of 18-, 22-, 38- and 58-Across] COLLISIONS
Things I want to say.
I wrote this almost two years ago. It was accepted Jan. '11.
I hate IMONA more than any of you possibly could.
I assumed puzzle would be rejected on basis of HARVEYDENT (too comic nerdy?)
Matt Jones ran a puzzle w/ identical theme (diff. answers) months after I submitted this to NYT. I wrote him immediately and told him. I even considered w/drawing the puzzle. But the theme answers were so different and most of the audience for the NYT would never have seen Matt's puzzle, so I just let it ride (again, figuring it would be rejected).
He changed some clues, but fewer than he has in past. Nothing drastic. Obviously "TED" wasn't out two years ago, so that's his. So are a bunch of others. Whatever. It's OK. I consider it the last of my "First Wave" of puzzles. I.e. my next batch will be a step up. I still like this.
I still like it too! It's a perfectly simple yet elegant Tuesday theme (and Tuesday themes are the semicolons of themes... amirite????). I wish the whole phrase REAR END COLLISIONS made an appearance instead of it being half in the clue, but... what can ya do? IMONA [17-A, "___ roll!"is, as Sharpie admits, not very pretty. Clue should have been "___ Boat" (SNL Digital Short starring T-Pain). I don't totally like INRED [63-A, "The Lady ___"] but it's more forgivable. Especially since the theme answers are partially stacked!
- [16-A, Birthplace of Obama's father] KENYA — What a coincidence! I'm headed off the Africa (not Kenya... Seth Efrica) on Wednesday. J-Burg and Cape Town. Listening to a lot of Paul Simon to prepare.
- [13-D, Pain relief brand] ANACIN — The first three versions of the drug ANACIN were really good, although it went under a different name then, DARTHVADER. Then they made three more versions chronicling the early years of the drug as ANACIN. They blew a lot of money. Sorry for this extended pun... for those of you who are confused:
- [6-D, Hit 2012 film with a talking stuffed bear] TED — I'm a pretty big Seth MacFarlane fan from "Family Guy" so I was expecting a lot from "Ted". I liked it, but think he can and will do better in the future. I would have also been happy with a "Breaking Bad" clue. Maybe [What the T stands for in the "Breaking Bad" episode, "I.F.T."]. Fans rejoice.
- [10-D, Early phonograph] VICTROLA — Cool word / answer. I am currently obsessed with this album:
- [15-A, Uptight, informally] ANAL – yeah, sure. Uptight. Let's go with that. That's what it means. The image in everyone's heads when they write that answer will be... up...tight...