Deuce topper in cards / MON 6-17-13 / Bad-check passer / Plains animal that tunnels / Vehicular antitheft devices / Purchase from Google
Monday, June 17, 2013
Constructor: Johanna Fenimore and Andrea Carla Michaels
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: POP UP (69A: Easy-to-catch hit ... or what 1-, 21-, 26-, 48- and 55-Across all do) — self-explanatory
- 1A: Breakfast bread (TOAST)
- 21A: Plains animal that tunnels (PRAIRIE DOG)
- 26A: Fast-food rival of Wendy's (JACK-IN-THE-BOX)
- 48A: Vehicular antitheft devices (CAR DOOR LOCKS)
- 55A: Purchase from Google (INTERNET AD)
Word of the Day: AARE (3D: Swiss river) —
The Aar (German Aare), a tributary of the High Rhine, is the longest river that both rises and ends entirely within Switzerland. // Its total length from its source to its junction with the Rhine comprises about 295km (183 miles), during which distance it descends 1,565 m (5,135 ft), draining an area of 17,779 km2 (6,865 sq mi), including the whole of central Switzerland. (wikipedia)
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CAR DOOR LOCKS didn't feel like ... a thing. I mean, obviously, they are a thing, but I've never heard of them referred to as an "antitheft device." That's a term solely reserved for alarms, or lojacks (do they still make those?), or whatever those bars are that go across the steering wheels ... something above the very ordinary, standard thing that is in every car door in every car ever made, at least in my lifetime. That answer is redeemed somewhat by POP UP, because the image is very specific and there's not a better way to describe what's popping up. I think it's the clue I'm objecting to. Also, the clue on INTERNET AD was really vague (I love the answer, though). Do Google Ads POP UP? Not to my knowledge, but I could be wrong. I don't think most INTERNET ADs involve paying Google, but rather paying the owner of some website or another. Again, the clue isn't *wrong*, just ... odd. The bottom was certainly the harder part of the puzzle for these reasons. Also harder because I couldn't spell AVOCADOS—I went with AVA- :( at first.
Overall I enjoyed this, and admired the attempt to make a Monday grid interesting, even beyond the theme answers. There's a *little* bit of Scrabble-f*cking going on in the NW and SW—where great answers w/ Scrabbly letters (SQUEAK and KOOKIER, respectively) are inserted into small corners, to the apparent detriment of all the surrounding fill. Constructors will sometimes pursue the high-value letters at the expense of overall grid smoothness. But — it's a Monday, and as I say, I appreciate the attempt to liven up the grid, and it's not like we don't get crap like ORIG. and OGEE and AARE and KITER and ON RYE and OTERI in far less imaginative puzzles than this one, so today I'm merely pointing out the phenomenon of Scrabble-f*cking (which is always a judgment call), rather than condemning the constructors for it. It's hard to stay mad at SQUEAK and KOOKIER.