Scandinavian goddess of fate / SAT 12-14-13 / Husband of Otrera / Ottoman ruler nicknamed Lion / Quattro relatives / Protagonist in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest / Forrest Tucker's F Troop role / Cagney classic of 1935
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Constructor: Martin Ashwood-Smith
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: NORN (27D: Scandinavian goddess of fate) —
(Myth & Legend / Norse Myth & Legend) Norse myth any of the three virgin goddesses of fate, who predestine the lives of the gods and men
[Old Norse] (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •[DEAR SYNDICATED SOLVERS. Please listen to the following pitch. Also, feel free to write me with any comments or concerns. You're well over half my total audience, and yet I hardly ever hear from you. Thanks!]
THE PITCH — [You can scroll down if you've already read it]
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905
Maybe I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users. Let's see...
For people who send me actual honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail, I have this great new set of thank-you postcards that I'm hoping to burn through: "the iconic Pantone color chip design in 100 brilliant colors." Who will be the lucky person who gets … let's see … Pantone 19-2025: Red Plum? Ooooh, elegant. It could be you. Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I remain most grateful for your readership. Now on to the puzzle …
Update: I got my first snail-mail donation —look at the cuteness:
• • •Jumbo?), and recoil at the fourth because it's one of the dreaded, cliché ONE'S answer (the locus classicus being A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE). Also, this puzzle seems astonishingly reliant on proper nouns. Both the top 15 and the bottom 15 feel not-that-famous, and while I knew TERENCE MCNALLY, being under 60 I have never seen a single episode of "F-Troop," so SERGEANT O'ROURKE (52A: Forrest Tucker's "F Troop" role) was a big "?". Also a big "?"—four (4!) adjacent Downs that were also proper nouns: ALI PASHA (17D: Ottoman ruler nicknamed "The Lion"), FILIPPO (23D: ___ Brunelleschi, Italian Renaissance architect who developed linear perspective), VANESSA (25D: 1958 OPERA by Samuel Barber), and EILEEN FORD (31D: Big name in modeling agencies). At least the puzzle was well constructed enough that I could work them out via crosses and inference. Still, generally a good puzzle is going to balance things out a bit, proper noun-wise.
SARGENT and SERGEANT in the same grid. Pronounced the same, so … the same. Fair, yes, but distracting and inelegant (unlike SARGENT's work, which is phenomenally elegant). The puzzle has some genuine ugliness because, well, it's a quad-stack puzzle, and so we see the usual rat's nest of short crosses: AFTA NORN CRAT! Actually, it could've been, and has been, much worse. Things get a little morbid at the bottom there, but I don't mind that. Had EAP before ERB (Edgar Rice Burroughs). ERAT before AMAT. "GMAN" before "GMEN." None of these errors are that interesting. My movement through the puzzle was pretty much guided by my familiarity with the major proper nouns involved. Knew MCNALLY, so top was pretty easy. Didn't know that chunk of Downs in the middle, so that was a bit slower, and then the front half of the bottom grid-spanner (SERGEANT, inferable from a few crosses) was easy, where the latter (O'ROURKE, being much less inferable) was not.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld