Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Constructor: Barry Franklin and Sara Kaplan
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: TWENTY-SEVEN (62A: Age at which Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse died) — theme answers all refer to "62-Across" and are all examples of what "TWENTY-SEVEN" means to different types of people (mathematicians, astronomers, etc.)
Word of the Day: Carol HEISS (48D: Carol ___, five-time world figure-skating champion) —
Carol Elizabeth Heiss Jenkins (born January 20, 1940 in New York City) is an American figure skater and former actress. She is the 1960 Olympic Champion in Ladies Singles, 1956 Olympic silver medalist and five-time World Champion (1956–1960). (wikipedia)
• • •
Well at least they didn't die in vain.
This is morbid and weird. The things that are "27" are arbitrary. The fill is not ... great. I don't have much time for this—on many levels, the most important of which is that I start teaching again tomorrow, so I really need to get to bed.
- 17A: 62-Across to a mathematician (PERFECT CUBE)
- 23A: 62-Across to an astronomer (MOONS OF URANUS)
- 39A: 62-Across to a Yankees fan (WORLD SERIES WINS)
- 50A: 62-Across to a student of Semitic languages (HEBREW LETTERS)
I don't have much to say. Grid feels like it was filled by hand on graph paper—i.e. it's serviceable, but the fill is obvious and skewing toward dated / old-fashioned / xwordesey. My friend, who was going to blog the puzzle for me tonight due to my time constraints / lack of enthusiasm, wrote me and said "I don't know if my puzzle is right ... 30-Across (OLEA) and 66-Across (STELA) are total guesses. And I thought, "Yes. Exactly." Many more solvers will be in the same head-scratching position, because only xword cognoscenti / olive or pillar experts have any clue what those words are about. This is quintessential crosswordese—words that most people don't really know (outside of crosswords) and that most people only very, very rarely (if ever) see (outside of crosswords). I doubt either one of these was necessary. And there are many, many other examples that are less irksome individually but plenty irksome in the aggregate.
- 31A: Politico whose name is an anagram of GAOLER (AL GORE) — what is the point of this? The anagram is not relevant to who he is (unless he's running a British jail now), so ... yuck.
- 60D: Pretzels and chips, in adspeak (SNAX) — The proximity of the "J" to OLEA and the "X" to STELA makes me seriously question the upside of having Scrabbly letters in your grid in this case.
- 68A: Bandleader Kay (KYSER) — in case you hadn't gotten your fill of dead musicians.