Pontiac's tribe / WED 3-27-13 / Jungle vines / Ring separator / Hidden water menace / Ole Miss rival / Auto additive with red oval logo / Where some commuter drink
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Constructor: David J. Kahn
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Elevators — circled letters spell out inventor the elevator, OTIS. Two OTISes going down, two OTISes going up, and then a revealer: UPS AND DOWNS (25D: Vicissitudes of life, as for the the inventor named in the circled squares?)
Word of the Day: LIANES (29D: Jungle vines) —
[More commonly LIANAS]
Any of various climbing, woody, usually tropical vines.
[Alteration of French liane, probably from lier, to bind, from Old French. See liable.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/liana#ixzz2Ohcp2oug
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Er ... didn't like this one much. I can see, in retrospect, that the theme is cute in its way: elevators, up and down, OTIS SITO SITO OTIS, what not. But between the asymmetrical, scattered circles and the ultra-choppy grid and the Olde Schoole fill, it was a bit of a mess to look at, and solve. The circles and chopped-up middle of the grid, with all the segments and black squares, made the whole thing too busy. Made my eyes tired just to look at it. I couldn't get traction anywhere at first, and then when I did, I kept running into UGH-y and/or dull stuff with lots of Es and Rs in it. The TERSER AXER and the TIERED REFEREE, the alt-spelled LIANES, ANI and ASI, UPI and UBI, and the REY of them all, ONERS. This puzzle is all theme—everything else suffers for the visual gag. I admire the theme concept, but ... Not on my wavelength, and not my cup of tea. A very old-feeling puzzle. (I mean, Irving Bacheller? EBEN Holden? That one hasn't been out of mothballs in ages).
- 3D: Cookers for chickens and franks (ROTISSERIES)
- 34D: Bank customer, at times (DEPOSITOR)
- 7D: Ignores others' advice (HAS IT ONE'S OWN WAY)
- 9D: Stocks in great demand (HOT ISSUES)
Cluing on this is another weakness. It's both dull and vague, most of the time. Or it's imprecise. 35A: What you may call it? (NOUN). You *may* call "it" that, but you're more likely to call it a PRONOUN, because that is what "it" is. Most of the rest of the clues are one or two words, and feel like they were pulled from among the most common clues in a database. No imagination, no sparkle. It would be nice if some effort were put into making the whole grid entertaining, not just the theme parts. When [Ring separator] is by far your most interesting clue, there's a problem. As I look over the clues and the grid ... there just isn't much to say. Uh, let's see ... I thought [Start of school?] was ESS. It was PRE. Nope, that's not interesting ... I've never heard of HOT ISSUES (9D: Stocks in great demand) in the context of stocks, so that's something new ... but still not interesting. I give up. See you tomorrow.