#1 Alicia Keys hit of 2007 / TUE 12-18-12 / Wonderland cake instruction / Fifth-century invader / Diamond feat / 1950s runner's initials / California locale named for local flora / Bygone despot
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Constructor: Adam Perl
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: DOUBLE PLAY (68A: Diamond feat ... and a hint to 17-, 21-, 35-, 47- and 59-Across) — both parts of theme answers are words that follow "PLAY" in common phrases
- FAIRGROUND (17A: Place to see a Ferris wheel) — I don't think I knew the "F" was capitalized.
- DOWNTIME (21A: Period for R&R)
- ROOMMATE (35A: Dorm assignment)
- DOUGHBOY (47A: W.W. I soldier)
- DATEBOOK (59A: You can plan on it)
Word of the Day: ILYA Kovalchuk (40D: The N.H.L.'s Kovalchuk) —
Ilya Valeryevich Kovalchuk (Russian: Илья́ Вале́рьевич Ковальчу́к; born April 15, 1983) is a Russian professional ice hockey left winger who is an alternate captain of the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL). Drafted first overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, he began his NHL career in 2001–02 with Atlanta and was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy as league rookie-of-the-year. He is a three-time NHL All-Star and won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal-scorer in 2004 in a three-way tie with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash. After eight seasons with the Thrashers, he was traded to the Devils in February 2010, and later signed a 15-year, $100 million contract during the off-season. (wikipedia)
• • •This one was a blur. Except for a few notable sticking points, I didn't remember anything about this puzzle by the time I was done with it. I didn't even give a thought to the theme. But, this being a crossword blog and all, I decided to figure it out—not hard. This is a common crossword theme type (Both Words Can Precede/Follow ...), and one that, but for the revealer, may as well be themeless. There's no apparent connection among the theme answers, so it's unlikely you're going to notice anything about the theme until the end, which is fine. It's one way to do a theme. And this revealer works perfectly—much better than the simple one-word revealer you sometimes get with lesser versions of this theme type (i.e. better than simply having PLAY be the revealer). Coincidentally, I was mulling over a puzzle of this theme type just today. I might make it, I might not. Don't have a killer revealer yet, so ... until I get one, no dice. This type of puzzle isn't worth making unless your revealer is dead on.
Prince - Play In The Sunshine by abelflexes
Got slowed down at REDWOOD because, well, I just did (9D: ___ City, California locale named for local flora). That seems a toughish clue for a Tuesday. I'd say the same about the clue on ANGLE (5D: Matter of degree?)—a clue I rather like. Stumbled a bit at MIDRIB, which always happens with MIDRIB. MIDRIB and I are old nemeses. "MIDRIB!" [shakes fist at sky]. Fun fact: McDonald's introduced the McRib sandwich as a replacement for the MIDRIB, which sold poorly. For no good reason, I struggled with both NEEDY (32D: Clinging, say) and USUAL (48D: Norm). Brain just wouldn't kick out the right answer. And yet ILYA? No problem. I sometimes wonder about the ways that crossword-solving is rewiring my brain. Biggest, most epic fail of the day, though, came at the end. I finished and didn't get the "Happy Pencil" icon, so went looking for my error. Noticed that I had 52A: Distinctive parts of Boston accents as ABS. Thought this ... strange. Then noticed all the Acrosses in the SW were screwed up. Turns out that, with the "A"s in place, I read 53D: Israeli port and wrote in ... [drum roll] ... BASRA. [sad tromBONE] In my defense, I was only [...googling...] 775.2 miles off.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld