Monday, March 18, 2013
Constructor: Daniel Landman
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: S.I. UNITS (38A: Basic physical measures ... or a hint to 17-, 27-, 48- and 63-Across) — theme answers are two-word phrases, first word starting with "S," second word starting with "I."
Word of the Day: S. I. UNITS (38A: Basic physical measures ... or a hint to 17-, 27-, 48- and 63-Across) —
(Mathematics & Measurements / Units) any of the units adopted for international use under the Système International d'Unités, now employed for all scientific and most technical purposes. There are seven fundamental units: the metre, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, candela, and mole; and two supplementary units: the radian and the steradian. All other units are derived by multiplication or division of these units without the use of numerical factors (freedictionary.com)
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This puzzle made me laugh out loud. I don't think I have ever not known the revealer on a Monday. I mean, never ever heard of it!? I just assumed it was one of those weird moments where I don't know something that everyone else does. But since I confessed not knowing it (on Twitter and Facebook), scores of folks have come out of the woodwork and admitted same. I'm sure it's an ultra-familiar term for many, many people, particularly scientists, but my Humanities friends and I were baffled. No big deal, though, as I was able to infer the "I" in S.I. UNITS from just a quick glance at the theme answers. I probably would've guessed "I" even without the theme answers to guide me, but dang if I can ever remember stupid Bob IGER's name. I'm not very impressed with this theme. I haven't tried to come up with "S.I." phrases, but I'm guessing there are many. Or several. The ones that populate this grid ... are not exactly scintillating. But they're fine. They're acceptable. The whole puzzle is acceptable. I did get a bit of a kick out of GRIMALDI (8D: Ruling house of Monaco) and UPTURNED (40D: Like a snob's nose), but most everything else was just 4- and 5-letter OK-ness.
- 17A: Native Floridians (SEMINOLE INDIANS)
- 27A: Denizen of the least populous New York City borough (STATEN ISLANDER)
- 48A: Clark Kent vis-à-vis Superman (SECRET IDENTITY)
- 63A: Stickler's grammatical no-no (SPLIT INFINITIVE)
Aside from the revealer, there wasn't much in the way of resistance today. MICAH is a slightly tough 1-Across (Book after Jonah), but all the crosses were so easy that it materialized quickly nonetheless. I had the tiniest of hiccups at 10A: Floating arctic mass (FLOE — wanted BERG ... might've written BLOG ...) and at 68A: Board game insert (RULES — wanted BOARD ... which never had a chance, really). My wife is highly dubious that anyone has ever actually written the letters "S.W.A.K." on a love letter (69A: Love letter abbr.). She got it all from crosses and then inferred the meaning ("sealed with a kiss"). I didn't blink. Seen it in puzzles before (but only in puzzles). I guess it beats SDAK.