Bandleader Glenn / MON 10-14-13 / Title beekeeper in 1997 film / Rum drinks for British sailors / Jamaican sprinter nicknamed Fastest Man on Earth / Simba's best friend in Lion King / Benevolent club member / Teen hanging out among shoppers
Monday, October 14, 2013
Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel and D. Scott Nichols
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (*for a Monday*) (I solved it in 3:01, so, again ... *relative* difficulty)
- 16A: Jamaican sprinter nicknamed "The Fastest Man Earth" (USAIN BOLT)
- 20A: Nothing daring in terms of offerings (USUAL FARE)
- 37A: PC outlet (USB PORT)
- 53A: Service charges (USERS' FEES)
- 60A: Heralded, as a new era (USHERED IN)
Word of the Day: DANSK (46A: Brand of dinnerware with a Scandinavian design) —
Dansk Designs (also known as Dansk International Designs starting in 1974) was an American distributor and retailer of cookware, tableware, and other home accessories based in Mount Kisco, New York. As of 2011, the brand is called Dansk and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lenox Corporation with headquarters located in Bristol, Pennsylvania. (wikipedia)
• • •
USUAL FARE (an answer that was at least partly responsible for my 20-seconds-slower-than-usual time). The double long Downs in every corner meant that traction was somewhat harder to get than it would've been in a more conventionally segmented grid. Dimensions might not seem that unusual, but 5x5(+) in the NE and SW, and then 4x4 / 5 / 9 / 7 in the other corners puts a lot of white space in your face and fewer 3- and 4-letter answers with which to get your grip. In return, the middle is super-segmented—entire 3-to-5-letter answers. It's an interesting trade-off. Clues are still pretty easy, but the shape of the grid, and some slightly unMondayish fill (i.e. DANSK) added some resistance to this Monday puzzle. Theme is not that interesting to me (don't really like USOPENS in the plural, and the theme answers themselves aren't terribly original or flashy). But I like the interesting grid shape and the long Downs. So, mixed feelings, but I'd say ... a slight thumbs-up, overall.
Some of the fill is pretty crosswordesey. EDINA, in particular, reeks. Its letter combinations are highly useful, but a suburb known only by Minnesotans and crossword aficionados? Thursday or later, please. Then there's the twin / symmetrical French rivers (LOIRE fine, ISERE less fine), IRAE YEE ESAU ATTAR TNUT. And what the hell is that clue on ABA. ABA is not good fill, and that "Flintstones" clue isn't helping redeem it. It is "Flintstones," isn't it? Otherwise, I have no idea what's going on there. Just looked it up and, ha ha, no. No "Flintstones." It's a "popular" song written in 1914. Yikes. Well, at least it's somewhat inferrable from its nonsense / sing-songy title. I really, really wish it had been something from "The Flintstones." But I guess Glenn MILLER fans need something up their alleys every once in a while (48A: Bandleader Glenn).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld