Fiancee of Napoleon / 2-6-13 / Napoleonic marshal Michel / Athlete Jim whose Native American name was Wa-Tho-Huk / Sportscaster Albert / Cartographer's blowup / 1954-77 defense grp
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: BROKEN PROMISE (57A: Result of not following through (of which there are four examples in this puzzle's grid)) — circled squares contain the word PROMISE. Circles zig and zag, which I guess signifies "broken"...
Word of the Day: DESIRÉE (40A: Fiancée of Napoleon) —
Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary (8 November 1777 – 17 December 1860), one-time fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte, was a Frenchwoman who became Queen ofSweden and Norway as the consort of King Charles XIV John, a former French General and founder of the House of Bernadotte. She officially changed her name there toDesideria, a Latin name which she did not use herself. (wikipedia)
• • •
This puzzle and I have very different definitions of "BROKEN." I guess if PROMISE were supposed to be a visual representation of an ULNA, then yeah, I'd say X-ray-wise, PROMISE is "BROKEN." But that's a stretch. Looks more like a "crooked PROMISE." Circles are contiguous, i.e. definitely *un*broken. So this theme doesn't work for me. Snaky PROMISEs probably made the grid pretty tough to fill, which may account for the less-than-scintillating fill and the glut of partials—GET NO next to A SHIP is particularly ugly. On the plus side, there's LARRY BIRD (one of my sports heroes growing up) (34D: Last Celtic to wear #33). And the puzzle was quite easy, so the puzzle didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth. The only rough spot for me DESIRÉE (never heard of her) crossing WESER (no memory of this river at all) (27D: "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" river). So I just guessed the "E." No other letter was plausible there. Took me a while to get the PROJECT part of SENIOR PROJECT (wanted THESIS, didn't fit) (20A: Graduation requirement, perhaps). Proud of remembering ANOMIE (48D: Societal breakdown), which is a word I never see but clearly have stored away from whenever I learned it (some social studies or government class, somewhere).
Love the clue on NRA (15A: Pistol PAC-ers?), which also contains the constructor's initials). I had No Idea Sidney LUMET directed "The Wiz," so that was interesting to learn. Love the trivia in the THORPE clue (30A: Athlete Jim whose Native American name was Wa-Tho-Huk), but sadly never saw the trivia part while solving—[Athlete Jim...] was all the info I needed. It's a pretty Napoleonic day with both DESIRÉE and NEY in the grid—I never remember NEY, but today it didn't matter, since I never saw the clue (49A: Napoleonic marshal Michel). Speaking of cartography (which is what 2D is doing—[Cartographer's blowup]), I tried my hand at some impromptu freehand cartography today while teaching "The Tempest." It's possibly the worst drawing of the British Isles / Europe / North Africa that I — or any teacher —has ever done. I'm so proud.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld