Director Mack of early slapstick / SUN 1-5-14 / George's mother on Seinfeld / Cartoony clubs / Sainted archbishop of Canterbury who founded scholasticism / Bloody Mary stirrer
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Constructor: Alan DerKazarian
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Clued In" — grid divided into four discrete sections (replicating, somewhat, the look of a Clue game board). Three sections contain, respectively, three answers (with circled squares) that hint at different parts of the accusation one makes to end a game of Clue: the SUSPECT, the WEAPON, and the ROOM in which the murder was committed. The fourth section contains the full accusation hinted at by the other three sections: MISS SCARLET / IN THE LOUNGE / WITH THE ROPE
- The SUSPECT (1A: The "who" of a Clue accusation, whose identity is hinted at by the three circled answers in this quadrant) is Miss Scarlet, which you know because SCARLET can precede each of the circled words in that NW quadrant: FEVER, LETTER, and TANAGER
- The ROOM (11A: The "where" of a Clue accusation, whose identity is hinted at by the three circled answers in this quadrant) is the Lounge, which you know because each of the circled words in that NE quadrant is a synonym of "Lounge": RELAX, REST, and IDLE
- The WEAPON (73A: The "what" of a Clue accusation, whose identity is hinted at by the three circled answers in this quadrant) is the Rope, which you know because each of the circled answers in that SW quadrant is an anagram of "Rope": PORE, OPER., REPO
1. (Textiles) a fibre obtained from various tropical American agave and yucca trees used in making carpets, cord, etc[C19: from Mexican Spanish ixtle, from Nahuatl ichtli] (thefreedictionary.com)
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[DEAR SYNDICATED SOLVERS (if you're reading this on Sunday, Jan. 12, that's you). 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!]
℅ 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 …
ALIEN ATTACK (45A: Early Coleco hand-held game). Never heard of it, but could infer it from crosses. I especially love it crossing PTERODACTYL (15D: Prehistoric menace). Invaders from above, both futuristic and prehistoric. Awesome.
Usually Sunday puzzles offer me something I haven't seen before, some new word or phrase or personality. But today, besides ALIEN ATTACK, everything felt eerily familiar. After a semi-slowish start in the NW, where I wanted something like "murderer" or "killer" in that 1A slot, I really got humming. I don't remember a thing about the bottom half of the grid. I don't think I've ever moved through a grid so fast. Even the proper nouns weren't slowing me down at all. ANSELM, CRENNA, EUROVAN—I got all you guys. Captain Lou ALBANO! And they said watching MTV would never pay off…
[He's the father…]
Never heard of SENNETT before becoming a crossword junkie, but now—straight into the grid off the terminal "T" (144A: Director Mack of early slapstick) The one odd word (to me) was ISTLE, but I'm pretty sure I've seen it before. Last thing that went in the grid was [Tony the Twin], which I thought I didn't know, but then I wrote in that final "O" for OLIVA and realized "oh, the baseball player kind of Twin. Sure I've heard of that guy." And that was that. A fun time, over much too quickly.
The Puzzle Of The Week, wherein I direct your attention to the best thing I saw this week in the wide world of Crossword Puzzledom. While today's NYT is a strong contender (certainly the best thing I saw in the NYT this week), my very first Puzzle of the Week goes to "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" by Erik Agard (ft. Andy Kravis). First, I just love the idea of a puzzle that has a "featuring" credit—makes it more like a rap song, only instead of Rihanna we get Andy Kravis. Second, this puzzle delivers a great "aha" moment. There is one potentially brutal pop culture crossing, but that does little to diminish the overall quality of the puzzle. Get it from Erik's puzzle website, "Glutton for Pun." While you're at it, get the other 71 (!) puzzles he's published there. All for free. You're unlikely to be disappointed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld