Miami Vice informant / TUE 3-12-13 / Director of Bride of Monster / City with Aces ballpark / Little Miss Sunshine vehicle / Bone of lower chest / Home of lion that Hercules slew
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Constructor: Bruece Sutphin and Neville Fogarty
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: Wax and wane — pairs of opposites hidden inside longer answers
- 17A: Finishing up (WINDING TO A CLOSE)
- 30A: Window-shopping locale (STOREFRONT)
- 48A: Great source of humor (COMEDY GOLD)
- 63A: Ponce de León's quest (FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH)
Word of the Day: FALSE RIB (10D: Bone of the lower chest) —
The false ribs are the five sets of ribs below the top seven true ribs. A rib is considered to be "false" if it has no direct attachment to thesternum, also known as the breast bone. Of these:
- the first three (eighth, ninth, and tenth rib) have their cartilages attached to the cartilage of the rib above (vertebro-chondral):
- the last two (eleventh rib and twelfth rib) are free at their anterior extremities and are termed floating ribs or vertebral ribs because they connect neither with the sternum nor with another rib. These ribs are relatively small and delicate, and are capped by a cartilaginous tip. (wikipedia)
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Hello. How are you? I am fine. Also, I have a trophy that says "1st Place" on it.
I'll tell you all about my weekend at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament tomorrow (when I have more time and am less tired). For now, I'll just say it was, by far, the best time I've ever had at the ACPT. I still am not convinced that I want to continue competing (a lot of pointless adrenaline), and it's awfully expensive (after registration fees, room, food, etc.), but I know that at a minimum I'll continue to go back for the wacky cast of characters. I saw old friends and made many new ones. More people just walked up and introduced themselves to me this year than ever before. And yes, OK, some of those people accosted me in elevators and demanded apologies for my wrong-headed comments on their puzzles (I'm looking at you, Stu), but most were really quite kind and appreciative. I can now reconfirm that anyone who has suspected for even a second that they might enjoy going to one of these things really, really should. Tons of brilliant, genuinely nice people, and next to no pretension. A painfully decent yet massively entertaining lot, crossword people.
But back to my workaday gig here at the blog: it's like the Puzzle Gods are trying to harsh my weekend tournament buzz with today's offering. It's a quintessential gawky Tuesday puzzle, about which I liked virtually nothing (except the second co-constructor, Neville, who is my friend and who normally does exceptional work—you should really check out his personal puzzle blog, where he offers up a new puzzle every week) (I don't know Neville's co-constructor, Bruce, personally; if I did, I'd say nice things about him here). I think some of the independent puzzlers are beginning to send Will their cast-offs and hoarding their good stuff for their own puzzle endeavors. At the current puzzle pay scale, I can't blame them. At any rate, this one has all the things that irk me about Tuesdays: non-consecutive and seemingly arbitrarily placed circles; a bunch of dreadful short fill; clues that seem off and/or answers that don't seem appropriate for the day of the week. And then an inconsistent theme to boot— In & Out, Come & Go, To & Fro (all yeses); Win & Lose (no). Basically, it was non-love at first sight.
Ugly stuff: ISE next to ASE near OKEMO below IZZY (21A: "Miami Vice" informant) ... IZZY??? With that clue? What year is it? I've never heard of this character (from a 25-year-old TV show that I'm guessing most crossword solvers didn't watch when it was on the air). That answer represents a very bad case of Scrabble-f*$%ing, I think. Pyrrhic Zs. Yipes. And crossing olde-timey AYRES? (19D: Actor Lew) Just ... rough. Mostly, clues were hard by virtue of vagueness. [Acts] = LAWS slowed me down. [Big failure] = FLOP slowed me down (any constant solver can instantly name at least three other 4-letter answers that'll work there). So while I don't like this puzzle, I'd have not liked it less on a Wednesday. Initial times posted at the NYX site show that I am not alone in my comically slow time. If you're gonna be tougher than usual, be gooder than usual! None (or very little) of this Tolkien meanie / Prince Valiant's son / Hawaiian bird / Oklahoma city / "Born Free" lioness / Nash's lama baloney.
I like I'M A PC, but not on Tuesday (27D: Apple ad line). Seems more Saturday to me. Love the SE corner, but I'm guessing not everyone knows and loves ED WOOD the way I do (50D: Director of "Bride of the Monster"). 15A: City with Aces Ballpark (RENO)? Only constant solvers and Nevadans know that. Between toughness and crosswordesiness, there was a general unpleasant feeling. Biggest issue I had was with cluing on COMEDY GOLD, which is an answer I didn't get forEver. I had COMEDY GALA (OKEMA seemed fine for the Vermont ski resort, and AAA seemed fine ... apparently I didn't look at the clue at first—[46D: Oklahoma city] = ADA). First, the phrase itself, COMEDY GOLD, is not the most familiar thing in the world. I'm sure I've heard it—maybe even used it—but it doesn't spring to mind easily. And then there's the "source" part of the clue. Would've thought the COMEDY GOLD was the humor itself, not the "source" of the humor. You go to a mine to get gold. The mine is the source. Anyhoo, I fumbled that answer badly.