Six-Day War leader Weizman / THU 12-6-12 / Federal agcy 1946-75 / PayPal purchaser / Bit of attire for Mr Monopoly / NL East team informally
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Constructor: Jill Denny & Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: PH SCALE (49A: Theme of this puzzle) — a "PH" rebus with seven "PH" squares as well as BASES up top (5A: Substances high on the 49-Across) and ACIDS down low (62A: Substances low on the 49-Across)
Word of the Day: PHISH (49D: Do some online skulduggery) —
intr.v., phished, phish·ing, phish·es.
To request confidential information over the Internet under false pretenses in order to fraudulently obtain credit card numbers, passwords, or other personal data.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/phishing#ixzz2EETxLOV3
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For someone who got ASNER and HAM ON RYE with exactly no crosses, I had an oddly hard time starting this thing in the NW. This is partly because the first "PH" square is up there, and I couldn't see it, and partly because I had SOCRATES for SOPHOCLES (42A: Contemporary of Aeschylus), and therefore my 3D: Arrange looked like it ended in -ORGAC, which is CARGO backwards, which I thought was somehow part of the theme (no; answer is CHOREOGRAPH). I straightened this all out in time, and then went on to demolish the rest of the puzzle, but the initial slowness actually put me at a below-average Thursday time. Picked up the first "PH" square when I figured out that 1D: Bit of attire for Mr. Monopoly (isn't his name Somebody Moneybags?) had to be a TOPHAT, and PHNOM (phinally!) conphirmed it (17A: Half an Asian capital?). Oh, I also got remarkably stalled at the end when I could not for the life of me come up with BUSHEL (5D: Whole lot), despite having B-S-EL in place. I just assumed one of those crosses was wrong. All I could think of was PASSEL.
Aha! Rich "Uncle" Pennybags: "An attempt to rechristen Rich "Uncle" Pennybags as Mr. Monopoly was made in a Hasbro marketing effort in 1999." It does not say if the "attempt" was successful.
The theme is very nice—BASES up high, ACIDS down low, PHs everywhere. Jill Denny and Jeff Chen are allegedly married (Jeff Chen alleges this, so I'm betting that it's true).
- 22A: Vixen feature (ANTLER) — Timely. Vixen is a reindeer. At least I hope so.
- 35A: Nigerian native (IBO) —That's some 4-alarm crosswordese right there. Gimme for old hands, mysterioso for others.
- 44A: N.L. East team, informally (PHILS) — Nice clue. Gracefully avoids the [plural name] trap.
- 60A: Six-Day War leader Weizman (EZER) — 3-alarm crosswordese. I forgot it and had something like EDER (a biographer ... no, damn, that's EDEL. Who's EDER?! Oh, right, the German river) or EBER (a ... no idea ... some Old Testament guy?) in there at first.
- 29D: Speculate superficially (PHILOSOPHIZE) — Would not have thought "superficially." Seems kind of harsh on Socrates et al.