Japanese colonel in Bridge on River Kwai / WED 4-17-13 / 1876 novelist / Org founded by Dr Nathan Smith / Heads to numismatist / Richie's mom to Fonz / Last Oldsmobiles made
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: SECURITY (66A: Mall cop's job ... or a word that can precede the starts of 19-, 32-, 43- and 58-Across) — just like it says:
- CLEARANCE SALE (19A: Department store superevent)
- CAMERA READY (32A: Like photographable copy)
- DEPOSIT SLIP (43A: Part of a stack at a bank)
- BLANKET DENIAL (58A: "These allegations are completely false!," e.g.)
Word of the Day: PIU (49A: More, musically) —
adv. 1. (Mus.) A little more; as, più allegro, a little more briskly.Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.
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CAMERA READY and BLANKET DENIAL. Long Downs are also nice (esp. 10D: "1876" novelist => GORE VIDAL). But the fill is heavy on the dreck. Lots and lots of bad and/or boring stuff. AMUCK ABENT ADRIP AHEAP, for starters. And that's really just the start of it. This is a 74-word puzzle. If you can't keep OMN (?!) out of your grid, if you have to clog your grid with partials and odd spellings and ancient crosswordese, as well as a pop culture answer so moribund it hasn't been seen since 1989 (SAITO), then you should probably consider going to 76 or 78 words and making the fill ... acceptable. Passable. Bearable. I kept being on the verge of enjoying the puzzle, only to have the gunk rise up and drag me under. Perhaps more sterling fill here and there would've balanced things out. I don't know. I just know pairs of answers like ERO and ESS, or REDDI and ESTOP, repeatedly sapped my will to continue today.
Much trouble getting started in the NW, as I refuse (even now) to spell "amok" the way this puzzle thinks I should. ABENT is one of the more awkward partials I've ever seen in a grid, so that didn't come easily. BAD CASE really flummoxed me, as I had BADDEST (?) and had to adjust from there. Got my first real toehold in the NE with AMAS (which has the non-virtue of being both old old crosswordese *and* an apparent plural of 1A: AMA [Org. founded by Dr. Nathan Smith]. Once I got going, I didn't encounter much in the way of real trouble. Just took a bit more effort than usual to move around the grid. Forgot Sting's real last name (also considered SUMMER and SUMTER) (45D: Gordon ___ (Sting's real name) (SUMNER)), and, of course, had no idea about SAITO. Otherwise, very doable.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld