Muhammad's resting place / WED 7-31-13 / Sleuth played by Lorre / Bathroom fixtures slangily / Bow-toting god / Madeline who played Lili Von Shtupp
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Constructor: H. David Goering
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: City/State combos that can be produced through ONE-HANDED TYPING (52A: See 20- and 34-Across) —
- 20A: Southern town whose name is the longest example of 52-Across [on the left] (SWEETWATER, TEXAS)
- 34A: Midwest town whose name is the longest example of 52-Across [on the right] (UNION, OHIO)
Word of the Day: MASSIFS (1D: Mountainous expanses) —
- A large mountain mass or compact group of connected mountains forming an independent portion of a range.
- A large section or block of the earth's crust that is more rigid than the surrounding rock and has been moved or displaced as a unit.[French, massive, massif, from Old French. See massive.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/massif#ixzz2aaOzlQgm
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ONE-HANDED TYPING"; they're the longest/shortest examples of American towns whose names can be rendered through one-handed typing. Grammatically, this is important. I mean, is SWEETWATER, TEXAS the longest "town" name that can be so formed? Longest *U.S.* town? Or longest "Southern town," as it says, in which case ... ??? The other theme clue features a town that isn't "Southern" at all; it's "Midwest." So parallelism and clarity are lacking. Cluing should be precise; this is sloppy. But even if it were precise, again, the puzzle is weak as a puzzle. Fill is pretty bland and creaky. Feels like it was made on graph paper, and not worked on enough. DARER and ASPIRER? One I could tolerate. Two is absurd. There's also a sense of repetitiveness—SENSATE and SEAGATE are 5/7 identical. ARSENAL is just ARSE without the last three letters. There are OOHS but just one AAH. Lots of R, E, A, S, N, T. SKIRMISH is cool, and the quaint ATHWART has a nice thwacky sound to it. I'm actually happy to learn MASSIF(S) (1D: Mountainous expanses), which I can't remember seeing before.
My "pigs" in blankets were always sausages (not WIENERS, which I think of as hot dogs). But I've only ever experienced them at IHOP, which, as we know, is classier than everywhere else.
- 19A: Madeline who played Lili Von Shtupp (KAHN) — love her; Lili Von Shtupp was her character in "Blazing Saddles."
- 25A: Muhammad's resting place (MEDINA) — sounds sort of familiar, but the only MEDINA I know is funky and cold.
- 32D: Sleuth played by Lorre (MOTO) — That's *Mr.* MOTO, to you. Mr. MOTO is Japanese. Peter Lorre ... isn't.
- 37D: Bathroom fixtures, slangily (THRONES) — I'm torn. I love slang, but I also love not thinking about someone sitting on the toilet, so ... torn.