City known as the Navel of Italy / WED 7-3-13 / Preserves on a farm / Facetious "I see" / Former chess champion Mikhail / ___ Palmas / Hydrocarbon suffix / Sitcom cook who said "Stow it!" / Does anybody read these titles?
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Constructor: Pamela Klawitter
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: CORNER STORE — The circled squares in the corners spell out types of stores.
Word of the Day: CAROL ANN (36D: British poet laureate Duffy) —
Carol Ann Duffy, CBE, FRSL (born 23 December 1955) is a British poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009. She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBTperson to hold the position.Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and Rapture (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence, in an accessible language that has made them popular in schools. (from Wikipedia)
• • •Neville back again; you might remember me from last Wednesday's puzzle. Where's Rex now? I'm not quite sure, but the last I heard, he was looking into some body disposal. This is a nice puzzle idea, but it really fell flat for me. First is the theme. Usually, I'd ramble on before getting to the theme, but we need to tackle this.
So with so little theme, and with what is there banished to the corners of the puzzle, we expect great fill, right? Wrong. Despite being a 78-worder, there's some questionable content in here. Partials galore! A DIM, A BAT, AS I, IT OR, IS NOT. And sorry if I [take A DIM view of] this puzzle, but 5 partials is far too many for my taste. And those aren't the only "the heck is this?" entries for me. First: ENSILES. To ensile is to store in a silo; never used this word and I never expect to use it. Do farmers use this word? I'd be surprised if they regularly do. It's a terrible construction. The next whopper? -ATOR. Yes, it's a legitimate suffix, but holy crap what a choice of an entry. And it's crossing AH SO. When's the last time you heard that one? ENNA may be the Navel of Sicily, but does that mean I'm supposed to have heard of it? Population is under 30K... a quick scan of its Wikipedia page gave me nothing more exciting than this navel business, but that's not enough "crossworthiness" for me. Then -ANE, T.S.E. and ULT. don't make me feel any better.
On a different note, I'm surprised that Y-SHAPE is in this puzzle, as I recall a conversation about a move away from [letter]-[word] entries (see also K TILE in Scrabble or B MINOR in music). Some might argue that the Y is ambiguous here, but I think it's fine. [What a slingshot or wishbone has] pretty narrowly defines this one. Ms. Klawitter does have some fun entries in the rest of the fill, but they just can't justify all of that dreck we've already talked about. Before we get to bullets, how about a quick poll. Hands up if you thought [March V.I.P.'s?] meant the month of March instead of going for a march as SERGEANTS do. (My hand is raised so high right now.)
- 33D: Group with two apostrophes in its name (B'NAI B'RITH) — This clue meant nothing to me at first, but after the first to letters were in, it was perfectly clear, and I loved it. B'nai B'rith is a Jewish service organization, though I know it better from crosswords. I blame my Catholic upbringing.
- 26A: Sharpie feature (FELT TIP) — Did you write on yourself with a Sharpie, but need to get rid of it for a not date or a job interview? Just add Tabasco! (And next time, think ahead before writing on yourself with a permanent ink marker. Come on!)
- 62A: Figurative use of a word (TROPE) — Some people fall down rabbit holes on Wikipedia where they keep clicking links from one article to the next. Others keep watching related videos on YouTube. Me? I can spend ages at TV Tropes (which isn't limited to television at all). Why not start here, and I'll see you in a few hours.
- 11D: Landline sound (DIAL TONE) — Here's a nice entry. Are you ready for this blast from the past? Hold on to your hats, folks. We're heading back to 1996.