Square in old slang as indicated by forming a square with one's hands / FRI 1-24-14 / Instruments played with mizraabs / Ambush locale in episode 1 of Lone Ranger / Sun disc wearer in myth
Friday, January 24, 2014
NOTE to PRINT SOLVERS — your puzzle will be different due to last week's NYT screw-up. Go here if you are looking for the puzzle by Kevin Der (which was supposed to run last week, and which online solvers, including me, *got* last week).
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: WAHINE (15A: Miss out on a board) —
- Hawaii. A Polynesian woman.
- Sports. A woman surfer.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/vahin#ixzz2rHcXO6VL
CEE), but others required more thought (e.g. [One who's trustworthy?] = HEIR). I think I'd've given the puzzle a thumbs-up for the clue on MILE HIGH CLUB alone (26A: Group that no one on earth has ever joined). A great entry deserves a great clue, and this one got one. There's a slangy feeling to the grid, which I enjoy. I think you'd have to be pretty rude/paranoid to answer the door with "WHO'S THAT?!" but I guess if you let the person in with a warm "HOW ARE YA!?" then all would be forgiven. There is some fill here that is a bit frown-worthy. HEPS? Weirdly, I had HUTS there (see 25D: Humble dwellings)—but maybe "HUTS" are the sounds a quarterback makes and HEPS are the sounds drill sergeants make? Or are those HUPS? Whatever, I'm still not a fan of HEPS. Anyway, HUTS was already in the grid, in residence form, so that answer was never gonna be right. Eventually ESPOUSED forced me to fix it. Also, never liked IRES and never will. Cannot take that word seriously a. as a verb or b. in the plural.
Weird coincidence: not twenty minutes ago, I opened mail from a Rex Parker reader who railed against 44A: "___ magnifique" (TRÈS), claiming it was either awkward or redundant or roughly as bad as saying "very unique." Anyway, the point is He Criticized the Clue Before the Puzzle Came Out. I guess it's a recycled clue, but still, it was Very eerie to come across that clue tonight [OK, now that I see that this puzzle actually appeared in newspapers *last* Friday, this coincidence is not so weird]. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about written-out numbers in crossword answers—the kind of numbers you *never* see written out in real life. Like, today, I-TEN and (I think) L SEVEN. See also BTWO, VSIX, etc. Allowing written numbers like that certainly makes for some interesting, unexpected fill, but it also always feels a bit … cheap, somehow. The Dudley Moore movie is "10," not "TEN." "EIGHT MILE" would just seem wrong. But it's a convention I've learned to live with, and maybe it does more good than harm in the long run—allowing for more interesting fill possibilities and solving challenges.
Overall, this was enjoyable. I wasn't awed, but I wasn't ired, either.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld