Old German duchy name / THU 12-20-12 / Dancer choreographer Michio / Centipede creator / Umpire of Hamlet's fencing match with Laertes / French town in 44 news / Frigg's husband / Cloud producer for short
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Constructor: Ian Livengood and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: CHRISTMAS / BONUS (57A: With 63-Across, extra holiday pay ... or what's in 17-, 22-, 34- and 45-Across)— DESCRIPTION
Word of the Day: Michio ITO (20A: Dancer/choreographer Michio) —
Michio Itō (1892-1961) was a Japanese dancer, and choreographer, an associate of William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, Angna Enters, Isamu Noguchi, Louis Horst, Ted Shawn, Martha Graham,Lillian Powell, Vladimir Rosing, Pauline Koner, Lester Horton and others. He was interned and eventually deported from the United States after the outbreak of World War II. (wikipedia)
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I have had people—readers of this blog, in fact—get legitimately offended by my use of "XMAS" as shorthand for "CHRISTMAS," so it is with some amount of glee that I solved this puzzle. I'm just imagining dozens of the indignant and easily-offended faithful firing up their AOL accounts to dash off a miffed missive to the heathens at the NYT. Or maybe there are only a couple of cranks in the world who get offended by that kind of stuff and they both just happened to read and email me on the day I used "XMAS.' Who can say? Anyway, I like this puzzle. It was simple and interesting, and the grid is pretty cool. I don't know how many people it took to make this (or how they're getting paid; let's see, $200 divided by ...), but the end result holds up. Nice use of non-theme long answers (both Across and Down), nice big corners in the NE and SW, nice timely puzzle, all with a minimum of gunk. Well, not a minimum. But not an abundance, either.
- 17A: Gamer's midday meal? (XBOX LUNCH)
- 22A: Working hours for director Shyamalan? (M. NIGHT SHIFT) — this is a little clunky
- 34A: N.Y.C. subway line in one's imagination? (A-TRAIN OF THOUGHT)
- 45A: Bozo in a big Mercedes? (S CLASS CLOWN)
- 13D: Cloud producer, for short (N TEST) — a non-Christmas bonus. I thought "Cloud" was computer-related at first.
- 43D: Japanese or Javanese (ASIANS) — the plural here fooled me. Wanted ASIAN, but then gave it up 'cause it wouldn't fit. But then it really was ASIAN. Just with an "S" on the end.
- 48D: Umpire of Hamlet's fencing match with Laertes (OSRIC) — an oddly useful name to have in your quiver. He makes an appearance in one of my NYT puzzles (I think). Not a high-profile name, but a crossword-useful name, to be sure.
- 52D: French town in '44 news (ST-LO) — like OSRIC, N-TEST, SAXE, etc. this answer is next-to-autmoatic for a constant solver.