1997 Demi Moore title role / SUN 1-19-14 / Scarlett's sister-in-law best friend in Gone With Wind / Old from one beer lover to another sloganeer / Supposed ancestor of Dracula / Egyptian resurrection symbol / Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer / Warren baseball's winningest lefty
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Constructor: Dan Schoenholz
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Olden Goldies" — two words in classic song titles get spoonerized, with wacky results
- "I CITE THE WRONGS" (23A: Traffic copy's answer upon being asked "Describe your job"? ) [Problem: "Describe your job" is not a question, so you can't "ask" it]
- "RAFTER IN THE LANE" (32A: Post-tornado highway detritus, perhaps? )
- "SHE'S SO HIGH" (50A: Remark about a female stoner? )
- "DOWNED HOG" (72A: Roast pig after a pig roast? )
- "FUN WINE DAY" (89A: Napa Valley excursion, maybe? )
- "YOUR HEATIN' CHART" (108A: Data request from a good ol' furnace repairman? )
- "MAD BOONE RISING" (122A: Frontiersman awakening in a foul mood? )
A taboret (also spelled tabouret) refers to two different pieces of furniture: a cabinet or a stool.The popular sense refers to a small portable stand or cabinet, with drawers and shelves for storage. It is used as a method to bring organization to a work area. This name for a portable cabinet is common to artists. In the context of a the Arts and Crafts Movement, a taboret is a stand for a plant or a beverage.As a stool, it refers to a short stool without a back or arms. The name is derived from its resemblance to a drum (diminutive of Old French tabour). (wikipedia)
• • •TABORET is a ridiculous outlier—about a thousand times more arcane than anything else in the grid. It was also the only answer that caused much resistance at all today. At the TABOR-T / S-ERED crossing I just stopped. Couldn't see it. Wanted "E" but SEERED is not a thing. Rookie Mistake. Hang-My-Head, Slap-Myself Mistake. That's Parsing 101 right there. Not SEERED, of course, but SEE [space] RED. SEE RED. This was my bad, but did nothing to endure stupid TABORET to me. It's the worst answer in the grid, right? Right? You agree, right? I'm sorry, I mean, you're all AGREERS, right!? Right? OK, wait. I change my mind. There's a worse answer.
Mildly disturbed that half these so-called "oldies" are from my lifetime. But only mildly. Interesting attempt at 9D to put some lipstick on the crosswordese pigs that is ORR / OAR / ORE / O'ER (9D: Hockey great whose name is a homophone of 88-Across and 123- and 124-Down). Had a few missteps. Wanted OSIRIS at 1A: Egyptian resurrection symbol (SCARAB), even though I knew it was a stretch to call a god a "symbol." Wasn't until just now that I understood what BATH meant as the answer to 6D: Setting for David's "The Death of Marat." I was like "BATH? In England? The death of Marat took place in England? That … makes no sense." Indeed. Wrong kind of BATH. Not the city BATH. The splash splash BATH. Terrible clue on LENIN (37D: Name that starts a well-known "ism"). A. there are so many clues and go with one that involves a crosswordese suffix? and B. LENINism is a lot less "well known" (and oft-said) than many, many other "ism"s. Just a lifeless clue, that one. I like the part where LOLITA is likened to a puzzle (126A: About whom Nabokov said "She was like the composition of a beautiful puzzle—its composition and its solution at the same time")—nothing like having the activity you're currently engaged in be compared to pedophilia, amirite? Not Tone Deaf At All, I'm sure you're all AGREERS.
On to other business. Two other puzzles you might be interested in checking out. First is Fireball Newsweekly Crosswords, a biweekly puzzle focused on current events, ed. by Peter Gordon. These crosswords are super-timely, and tend to be easier than regular Fireball Crosswords (which, again, you really should be subscribed to by now). Today is his Kickstarter's last day, so get over there and support it if that sounds good to you. Also, you might check out Andrew Ries's "Aries Puzzles"—he makes wonderful Rows Garden puzzles (a variation on crosswords that involves rows of answers and circular "blooms" that cut through them (full explanation on his site, in the sidebar). He's offering subscriptions on a name-your-own price model. How can you go wrong. The new season just started, so jump on board.
Today's Puzzles" over at Amy Reynaldo's "Diary of a Crossword Fiend." It's got links to ALL THE PUZZLES, including the independents, and it's updated daily. It's my one-stop puzzle destination every morning. I go there, I print puzzles, I load up my clipboard, I head downstairs and solve over coffee. Seriously, this one page pretty much eliminates the problem of trying to track down all the different puzzles, trying to remember which one comes out when, etc. You just click, find the puzzle you want, and bam. Done.
OK, and now time for my PUZZLE OF THE WEEK: this week was competitive, with several themelesses making strong claims for my attention, but in the end, it was a puzzle that started the week that stood out the most. Lynn Lempel's NYT Monday puzzle (ONE AND ALL) was a model of the form. Crisp, clean, lively, simple. Looks easy / is not. Early-week themed puzzles are so often forgettable (in large part because they go by so quickly), but they have to be carefully crafted like every other puzzle. Well I guess they don't have to be. But they should be. Lynn is a master craftsperson when it comes to easy themed puzzles, and her Monday puzzle this week was truly exceptional.
See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld