1/100 of Danish krone / THU 6-19-14 / Best-selling 2004 young adult novel written entirely in form of instant messages / Oldest academic quiz competition in US / Neighbor of Teaneck NJ / Mercedes roadsters / Russell Anna Huxtable on Cosby Show /
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Constructor: Timothy Polin
Relative difficulty: Medium (took a little longer than normal, but it's a little bigger than normal, so …)
THEME: TWENTY QUESTIONS (17A: Classic 1940s-'50s quiz show) — Twenty of the clues are written out as questions. Black squares form a "?" in the middle of the grid.
Word of the Day: "TTYL" (5D: What best-selling 2004 young adult novel was written entirely in the form of instant messages?) —
ttyl is a young adult novel written by Lauren Myracle and is also the first book in the 'Internet Girls' series. In 2004, it gained attention for being the first novel written entirely in the style of instant messaging conversation. The novel was a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and a Book Sensebestseller. "ttyl" is internet slang for "Talk to you later". (wikipedia)
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TOO TIRED TO THINK, which is not a thing. TOO DRUNK TO ****, that's a thing. This song, also a thing:
But TOO TIRED TO THINK? Despite its googling very well, I don't think so. Most of those google hits don't feature the phrase in self-standing form (usually it's "too tired to think about x y z…"). And anyway, what does tiredness have to do with anything? Or is this answer even a theme answer? Who Can Say? The answers to the "TWENTY QUESTIONS" (i.e. the 20 clues that are written in question form) are spread all over the grid willy-nilly, such that I have no idea what's holding this grid together beyond the black-square "?" picture in the middle. There's just no value in this theme. You could take any crossword grid and write 20 of its clues as questions—so what? So what we have here is an interesting themeless puzzle baked inside a pictorial grid, with some annoying, watery theme frosting spread over the top.
Today's mistakes included INBRED for INNATE (47D: Not acquired, say), NATO for OPEC (1A: What group founded in 1960 currently has 12 members?), TWO STAR for ONE STAR (49A: What rating does the Michelin Guide give to "a very good restaurant"?), and [blank stare] for LEONIA (44D: Neighbor of Teaneck, NJ).
- 6D: What is the oldest academic quiz competition in the U.S. (since 1948)? (HI-Q) — never heard of this, though it's oddly inferable. Clue seems to be (once again) largely lifted from wikipedia.
- 37A: School head, slangily (PREX) — Yuck. First I had to get used to PREXY (a term I've only ever seen in crosswords) and now you're telling me PREX is legit too? How is a PREX different from a PREZ? Who decided we needed a different abbr. when we already had a perfectly good one?
- 13D: What California congressman heads the House Oversight Committee? (ISSA) — Darrell. His brother Mel is also in the puzzle (42A: MEL ISSA).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld