Old Dodge compacts / TUE 12-3-13 / King killed in sack of Troy / Bobbysoxer's footwear / Sushi bar soup / Signs in movie Signs / NHL's James Memorial Trophy
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Constructor: Phil Ruzbarsky
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: horseback riding — first words of theme answers are all related to equestrianism or whatever it's called
- SADDLE SHOES (17A: Bobbysoxer's footwear)
- HALTER TOP (24A: Sleeveless garment)
- SPUR OF THE MOMENT (37A: Impromptu)
- BIT O' HONEY (47A: Nestlé bar)
- CROP CIRCLES (57A: The signs in the movie "Signs")
Word of the Day: SEPOY Rebellion (32D: India's ___ Rebellion, 1857-59) —
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region. The rebellion posed a considerable threat to Company power in that region, and was contained only with the fall ofGwalior on 20 June 1858. The rebellion is also known as India's First War of Independence, the Great Rebellion, the Indian Mutiny, the Revolt of 1857, the Uprising of 1857, the Sepoy Rebellion and the Sepoy Mutiny. The Mutiny was a result of various grievances. However the flashpoint was reached when the soldiers were asked to bite off the paper cartridges for their rifles which they believed were greased with animal fat, namely beef and pork. This was, and is, against the religious beliefs of Hindus and Muslims, respectively. Other regions of Company-controlled India – such as Bengal, the Bombay Presidency, and the Madras Presidency – remained largely calm. In Punjab, the Sikh princes backed the Company by providing soldiers and support. The large princely states of Hyderabad, Mysore, Travancore, and Kashmir, as well as the smaller ones of Rajputana, did not join the rebellion. In some regions, such as Oudh, the rebellion took on the attributes of a patriotic revolt against European presence. Maratha leaders, such as Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, became folk heroes in the nationalist movement in India half a century later; however, they themselves "generated no coherent ideology" for a new order. The rebellion led to the dissolution of the East India Company in 1858. It also led the British to reorganize the army, the financial system and the administration in India. The country was thereafter directly governed by the crown as the new British Raj. (wikipedia)
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I like the grid way more than I like the theme. First-words-have-something-in-common. Again. A bit tired. The only theme answer I really like here is SPUR OF THE MOMENT. Nice attempt to get all the horsey words into non-horsey contexts, but SADDLE SHOES do derive their name from their saddle-shaped pattern, so still some horsiness there. Anyway, as I say, you can have the theme. I do think the grid is more interesting than most Tuesday grids, though the short stuff in the SW is ugly, and there's probably more short ugliness than you'd like to see on any day. But DOBRO is a nice 5-letter answer (not many of those), and the long Downs give the grid some flair. Even LESSER GOD, which I only know from the movie title "Children of a LESSER GOD," is growing on me. LESSER is just a bunch of common letters, but the phrase as a whole seems original and interesting.
Puzzle felt like it was playing slightly harder than usual, and that turned out to be right: harder, but only slightly—not such that it runs toward the Challenging side. I had trouble in and around SEPOY (never can remember that term, which I've only ever seen in crosswords), but otherwise moved fairly steadily, if haphazardly, around the grid. I get CAY and "quay" confused. CAY always looks wrong to me. Like a typo. I balked at MIDMAY at first, but like LESSER GOD, it's growing on me. I don't think I knew there was such a day as "Armed Forces Day." Memorial Day, yes. Veterans Day, sure. How many days does the military get? I guess Armed Forces Day honors the not-killed and not-yet-vets, i.e. those currently in the military. That makes sense. Seems like we'd make a bigger deal out of it.
OK, see you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld