Head nurse on Scrubs / THU 9-26-13 / Dance reminiscent of horse's gait / Golden treasure in Bilbo Baggins riddle / Thickness measures / Darth Vader locale / Acid-burned Bat-villain / 30 Rock character or first name of his portrayer
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Constructor: Tom Pepper and Victor Barocas
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: CLOCK (41A: Instrument that hints at the missing parts of certain answers in this puzzle) — border answers must all be preceded by the numbers they would represent were the grid a CLOCK face
- 10A: 50% (1 HALF)
- 13D: Acid-burned Bat-villain (2 FACE)
- 38D: Like some circuses (3 RING)
- 63D: Like barbershop harmony (4 PART)
- 72A: Fin (5 SPOT)
- 71A: Like a die (6-SIDED)
- 70A: Sailors' domain (7 SEAS)
- 58D: Length of a Beatles "week" (8 DAYS)
- 26D: Popular women's shoe seller (9 WEST)
- 1D: Annual Car & Driver list (10 BEST)
- 1A: It has a red striped (11 BALL)
- 5A: A gross (12 DOZEN)
Word of the Day: "I AM A CAMERA" (65A: Play that was the basis for "Cabaret") —
I Am a Camera is a 1951 Broadway play inspired by Christopher Isherwood's novel Goodbye to Berlin which is part of The Berlin Stories. The title is a quote taken from the novel's first page ("I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking."). (wikipedia)
• • •
BALL or ___ BEST and I kept having trouble shaking the phrase HALF DOZEN from my head because of the proximity of those answers, so I just plowed ahead thinking "OK ... think numbers somehow!" But then I finally got into the center with CLOCK. And then I was done, and *then* could look at how elegantly the theme was executed. It's very simple, especially insofar as it appropriates what is essentially a generic 78-word crossword grid shape. Nothing physical about this puzzle lets you know what's coming. Most of the fill is 3- to 5-letters. Very unprepossessing. And yet there are still some nice longer answers in there—the grid is especially lively for a 78-worder—and the payoff is nice. Icky fill is minimal. Good job.
I was surprised at how quickly I blew through this thing (well under 5) considering the whole HALF DOZEN confusion and the fact that I botched / didn't know / couldn't get *both* cross-references. If I knew the Bilbo Baggins riddle, I forgot it. And ENTER / INTO was just ... not forthcoming. If "a contract" had been in parentheses after [Sign], I might have grasped it more easily. But the whole "as..." thing threw me. That "as..." kind of implies that you're providing simply one example, where in this case you are providing really the only example. No one would consider [Sign] and "ENTER / INTO" synonyms except in the case where "contract" was the object. Clue is fair, in that there is precedent for it, but my brain just couldn't process it. Also had LEER for PEER, which really gunked things up for a bit. MILS was not coming easily, and so I was in real danger there (for a few moments) of getting totally bogged down in the SE. But then I thought about it, and LAMPS had to be right, so everything worked out. I'm vaguely ashamed that ODIC a. was a gimme, and b. helped me out Considerably in the ENTER / INTO region.
- 43A: ___ Fayed, last romantic partner of Princess Diana (DODI) — this clue creeped me out. I know it's accurate, but the phrase "romantic partner" feels almost prurient. Euphemistically prurient.
- 61A: Dance reminiscent of a horse's gait (GALOP) — I once put the plural of this word at 1A. Oh, 2009 me. So young, so stupid.
- 54D: Head nurse on "Scrubs" (CARLA) — I had something else here at first. I forget what. I thought I didn't know this answer, and apparently I didn't. But then I did.
- 68A: "30 Rock" character, or the first name of his portrayer (TRACY) — one of the more reliably funny actors/characters on network TV.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld