Half of Stevenson's Strange Case / TUE 8-20-13 / Auto safety feature redundantly / Variable spring period / Holocaust hero Schindler / Source of Indian black tea / Helen Keller's portrayer in Miracle Worker / Alternatives to Slurpees
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel and Don Gagliardo
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: DOUBLEDAY (58A: Supposed inventor of baseball ... or a hint to 17-, 26-, 36- and 50-Across) — two-word phrases, where both words in the phrase can precede DAY in familiar phrases:
- 17A: Research that may be outdoors (FIELD WORK)
- 26A: Variable spring period (HOLY WEEK)
- 36A: What employers tap to get employees (LABOR MARKET)
- 50A: Fortunate sort (LUCKY DOG)
Word of the Day: ARNEL (16A: Synthetic fiber) —
Arnel is the trademark name of a synthetic developed in the 1950s. It was popular at first, but production was discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986 due to concerns about the toxicity of a chemical used to manufacture the fiber.
• • •
DOUBLEDAY's name? It's a name that's crying out to be wordplayed in some way. So we get this. Which, as I say, is fine. Fill, with only a few exceptions, is pretty tight. I have a huge aversion to ARNEL. So big is my aversion that I never remember it. Perhaps because I never knew it in the first place, so it never sticks. That bit in the definition (see "Word of the Day," above) about "trademark name" and "discontinued by the manufacturer in 1986" explains my non-knowledge of that word and also reinforces my feeling that it's bad fill. I had the "R" and wrote in ORLON 'cause, you know, that's a thing. That still exists. Now, I don't Like like it, mind you. It just beats ARLEN (most things do).
There must be a million other DAYs out there—I suddenly want to see a parody version of this puzzle that has answers like DRE BANNER and WASHING OFF —nope, that one works too well ... let's go with RAINY FLAG instead. Didn't have too much trouble with this one. ARNEL was a big slow-down. I also had RAHS instead of YAYS (I don't like either, but somehow I like RAHS more, lord knows why). I had some trouble with the theme answer—that is, I needed a bunch of crosses to pick 'em up.
The best thing about this DOUBLE puzzle is PATTY DUKE (9D: Helen Keller's portrayer in "The Miracle Worker"). Here's why:
ABS SYSTEM (33D: Auto safety feature, redundantly) also offers a doubling of sorts. This puzzle may be cleverer than I thought.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld