Adrien of cosmetics / FRI 2-14-14 / Fate personified in mythology / 1970s NBC courtroom drama / Skateboarding trick used to leap over obstacles / Fictional island with small population / Valuable chess piece to Juan Carlos / Yamaguchi's 1992 Olympics rival / Phrase from Virgil appropriate for Valentine's Day
Friday, February 14, 2014
Constructor: Bruce Haight
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: love, I guess, kinda (themeless, though, mostly)
Word of the Day: LAKE POET (32A: Wordsworth or Coleridge) —
poets who all lived in the Lake District of England at the turn of the nineteenth century. As a group, they followed no single "school" of thought or literary practice then known. They were named, only to be uniformly disparaged, by the Edinburgh Review. They are considered part of the Romantic Movement.The three main figures of what has become known as the Lakes School are William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. They were associated with several other poets and writers, including Dorothy Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd, Hartley Coleridge, John Wilson, and Thomas De Quincey.
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This one lost me before I ever got out of the first turn. I was literally grimacing and saying "ouch," repeatedly, as I worked on that NW corner, and though things improved a tad once I got out of there, the puzzle never won be back after that. I felt like Jeremy Abbott, who crashed *hard*, early, and then somehow got up and finished, except his finish was triumphant, and mine was just ordinary, and actually I didn't *crash* at all—it just felt that way. So maybe the analogy isn't the aptest, but I just watched that performance, so it's the only analogy I've got handy at the moment.
ARPEL REINA MANED is a really cruddy opening triad, especially crossed with ENE and LADY'S. What the hell is up with the clue on that, anyway. I know that ladyfingers are a kind of cookie that you find in tiramisu. What is a LADY'S finger? Beyond the obvious, i.e. the finger of a lady. Apparently okra (!) is sometimes known as "ladies' fingers" … what the hell kind of ladies have fingers like okra? Ugh, as you can see, there are layers and layers of problems here (not unlike the layers of ladyfingers in tiramisu … but I digress). ABRA MOIRA just piled on the terrible until I finally escaped into the much more tolerable puzzle-center. Still, though, I was getting dreck from all sides. The two central crosses (POPS THE QUESTION / LOVE CONQUERS ALL) are fine, and holiday-appropriate, and who doesn't love a center-Q, but good fill was pretty patchy otherwise. A single PIN STRIPE? RUE RAE RAH? ITA ITO? The long stuff stretching from the NE to the center and then down to the SW corner—all that is pretty good, actually. But the bad start in the NW and the mediocrity of the shorter stuff kept this on a somewhat less than successful plane for me.
If, somehow, there is an honest-to-god marriage proposal encoded in this thing somewhere, then I take back all the criticism and wish the happy couple well.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. the central crossing appears to have been ripped off from a 20-year-old Manny Nosowsky puzzle. Replicating a single answer?—that happens all the time. Replicating a central 15-letter crossing?—not so much.