In ___ (existing) / MON 6-24-13 / Tibia or fibula / Light horse-drawn carriage with one seat / Japanese sash / Ranee's wrap / Steve Martin's "King ___" / Sharer's word / Brit's toilet / Draper's material / Drive-___ / Blade in a boat
Monday, June 24, 2013
Constructor: Robert Seminara
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "S'MORE" (38A: Sweet treat) — the cookie, the ingredients, the creator...you get it
Word of the Day: BANE (41A: Deadly poison) —
The term bane (from Old English: bana, meaning "thing causing death, poison"), in botany, is an archaic element in the common names of plants known to be toxic or poisonous.
In the Middle Ages, several poisonous plants of the genus Aconitum were thought to have prophylactic qualities, repelling and protecting against that which they were banes to (e.g. Henbane, Wolfsbane). (Wikipedia)
• • •
Guten Tag, KreuzWelt. This is Bryan Young – longtime reader, first time blogger. Like my illustrious cohorts, I'm filling in for Rex while he's "on vacation", which is a euphemism for "participating in a coup d'état in a small Banana Republic down south". I can understand why he would need a break from this gig given that he does this every da*n night, while I just used several hours and several more Alka-Seltzers to plough through it and am ready to collapse. But enough about me.
It's a Monday, folks, so if you keep your expectations low you won't be disappointed. A pretty run-of-the-mill "category" puzzle – this time "stuff associated with S'MOREs", which are admittedly delicious enough to be long overdue for a shout-out in the NYT.
- 16A: Original maker of a 38-Across (GIRLSCOUT) - I don't like that this is singular, but I guess I don't have the history to prove it. Maybe it was a single scout acting alone who invented the first S'MORE, but I suspect it was at least a team effort.
- 26A: Ingredients in a 38-Across (GRAHAMCRACKERS)
- 38A: Sweet treat (SMORE) - Like GIRLSCOUT, I want this one to be plural, although I know it can't be because it needs an odd letter count to fit symmetrically in the grid. Maybe it's just a preference thing, but it seems like too important of a spot to allow in even an whiff of impropriety.
- 46A: Ingredient in a 38-Across (HOTMARSHMALLOW)
- 63A: Ingredient in a 38-Across (CHOCOLATE)
- 52D: Place to eat a 38-Across (CAMP) - Like Barry Switzer in his OU days, this one detracts from the victory by running up the score. Would have been fine if it hadn't been clued as such an in-your-face theme answer.
- 5A: Amorphous mass (BLOB) — Possible candidate for a stealth theme answer, especially if you melt the chocolate a little too much.
- 15A: Singer Abdul (PAULA) — Given that Ms Abdul shows up in far too many crosswords (i.e. "more than one") due to her felicitously spelled last name, couldn't we have used a different clue? Say, "Newsreader Zahn"? Or "Comedienne Poundstone"? Or "Racist chef Deen"?
- 20A: Light horse-drawn carriage with one seat (STANHOPE) — Everything I ever needed to know about horse-drawn transportation I learned from crosswords. And Oklahoma!
- 45A: Lone Star State sch. near the Rio Grande (UTEP) — Go Miners! Go Paydirt Pete!
- 7D: Burden (ONUS) - Would have been much more fun if the answer to 5A had been BLAB.
- 23D: 200 in the Indianapolis 500 (LAPS) - What a dumb clue! There are obviously 500 laps in the Indianapolis...oh wait. They're 2.5 miles each, so...who knew? I'll bet YOU didn't. Anyway, NASCAR isn't exactly in my wheelhouse.*
- 26D: Gadget (GISMO) - I call foul. Proper spelling is GIZMO. Ask this guy.
- 29D: Draper's material (CLOTH) - Am I the only one who expected this to be a Mad Men clue?
Crosswordese name-and-shame: ESSE, SERA, ABA, OBI, ERATO. Bonus points for two broadcast networks - BBC and CBS! And finally - SMEAR, SEEP, and CRAB all in the same grid? Yuck.
Thanks for reading, friends. I promise that tomorrow's entry will be back up to the quality you expect from this illustrious column.
* I know. Formula racing. Not NASCAR.
Signed, Bryan W. Young, Maharaja of CrossWorld