Turkish inn / MON 9-23-13 / Short-legged hound / African land whose name consists of three state postal abbreviations / John who succeeded William Henry Harrison
Monday, September 23, 2013
Constructor: Susan Gelfand
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "IT'S TIME TO ROLL" (34A: "Let's go!" ... or a hint for the ends of 20-, 28-, 41- and 52-Across) — last word in theme answer is something you might roll
- 20A: Food preparation cutting technique (SLICE AND DICE)
- 28A: School basics (THE THREE R'S)
- 41A: Look of infatuation (GOOGOO EYES)
- 52A: Fancy dress affairs (COSTUME BALLS)
[I didn't think the central theme answer was a real phrase that a human being might actually use, but then I found this video. If any human being is real, it's Dale Peterson.]
Word of the Day: IMARET (44D: Turkish inn) —
An imaret is one of a few names used to identify the public soup kitchens built throughout the Ottoman Empire from the 14th to the 19th centuries.These public kitchens were often part of a larger complex known as a Waqf, which could include hospices, mosques, caravanserais and colleges. The imarets gave out food that was free of charge to specific types of people and fortunate individuals. Imarets were not invented by the Ottomans but developed under them as highly structured groups of buildings. Nonetheless, imarets indicate an appreciation of Muslim religious teachings aboutcharity found in the Qur'an. (wikipedia)
• • •
MEWL, IMARET), and then something like GOOGOO EYES (I wanted GOOGLE and then GOOGIE ???), and there are enough road bumps to keep your time somewhat north of normal. I made a bunch of dumb mistakes along the way. Somehow *really* botched THE THREE RS by typing too fast and thinking there were *three* letters after THREE instead of just the two, so I thought "how do you spell out 'Rs'? ... 'ARS'?!?!" So that is what I wrote in, only it looked like this: THE THRE ARS. I actually Did check the cross and my brain totally accepted MAWL as an answer for 24D: Whine (MEWL). My problems with GOOGOO EYES made STOOD OVER hard to see for a bit, so that slowed me down. Wrote in ADO for DIN and then ODER (?!) for 42D: French river (OISE). Then I misread the clue on COSTUME BALLS as a singular and so wrote in COSTUME PARTY. So I just got tripped up on my own laces a lot.
The theme is OK, but not great. You want to change the meaning of those end words in the theme answer, and three of them are changed (i.e. the DICE and Rs and BALLS in the theme answers are not the kind you "roll"), but EYES is not. You make GOOGOO EYES with your actual EYES, which are also the ones you "roll." It's a minor flaw, but it's an easy Monday theme, and it should be tight. Also, the grid is weirdly made (big white corners, totally choppy middle), so there's a Lot of short junk. On the plus side, though, the puzzle did inadvertently create a really terrible but (to me) hilarious pejorative phrase—next time you're really angry with someone, try calling her (or him, I guess) the bottom two Acrosses in the SE corner. Then let me know how it goes. My money's on "not well."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld