Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Constructor: Steve Blais
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Hats….or, things that GO ON AHEAD -- Phrases end in some form of hat/headwear.
Word of the Day: KOLAS (9A: Tropical nuts) —
n., pl. -las.
1. any tropical African tree of the genus Cola, grown for kola nuts (www.freedictionary.com).
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The King of CrossWorld has gifted me, Anna Shechtman, with his blogspot account for the night.
Like Evan, yesterday's pinch-blogger, I am one of the so-called "Twenty-Under-Thirty" (also known as the Generation Y-ouDoWhatWithYourFreeTime?), which may or may not qualify me to assess today's puzzle.
Whoever recently declared the pun dead has clearly not been doing the New York Times crossword. This debut puzzle by Steve Blais is heavy on the puns (s'pun-derful?) but otherwise fairly nondescript.
Let's start with the -- admittedly very cute -- theme:
- 17A: Merlin Olsen, 14 times (PRO BOWLER) - Of the themed answers, I like this one the best. As opposed to the others, it requires some manipulation of language (Pro Bowl --> Pro Bowler --> hat!). It's not just one of those $10,000 Pyramid "all these things are hats!" answers….
- 23A: 1991 John Singleton film (BOYZ N THE HOOD) -- I totally botched the African American Vernacular English (AKA, the 'ebonics') of this title. I wanted it to be BOYZ IN DA HOOD….oof.
- 37A: Global Warming concern (SHRINKING ICE CAP) -- maybe this (25D) NOUN should have been pluralized. It would be strange to have concern for just one ice cap, no?
- 48A:Annual 29-Down since 1934 (SOAP BOX DERBY) -- If you didn't get it, 29D: Speed Competition is a RACE. I'm not entirely sure that this warrants a cross-reference-type clue, but that's probably because the clue for 29D wasn't very 19A: Full of life (ZESTY)…
- 60A: "I'll catch up!"….or what the ends of 17-, 23-, 37-, and 48-across do? (GO ON AHEAD) -- Get it!?
More punny fill:
- 9A: Ones creating a lot of buzz in the music industry? (KAZOOS) --Cute, but I feel like i've seen this cluing before….perhaps here or here?
- 35A: Feminine one in France? (UNE) -- I like to imagine that this clue is just conciliation for those French students out there (c'est a moi qui tu parles?) who got tripped up on 25-down because les adjectifs en francais are 'pluralizable' too!
- 60A: Something to Chew On (GUM) -- Not quite a pun. More like literalizing an idiom, right?Still, I like it.
In general, this is one of those Tuesday puzzles that confirms my suspicion that being 'good' at crossword puzzles really just means you've learned crosswordese. [12D] ASTI, [33D] URAL, [20A] ERG, [68A]: EDSEL...
Overall, I'd say A for cuteness, [1D] TYPE B+ for execution, Evan.
Thanks again for the blogotunity, Rex!