Grass for cordage / WED 6-4-14 / Stick-up man on Wire / Thriller singer in tabloids / Mark who won 1998 Masters / Full house indicator
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Constructor: Jim Hilger
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Word Game — circles spell out this phrase, and all theme clues read [See circled letters]
n., pl., -tos.
A tough, wiry grass (Stipa tenacissima) of northern Africa, yielding a fiber used in making paper and as cordage.
[Spanish, from Latin spartum, from Greek sparton, rope.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/esparto#ixzz33fLgSnsb
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HAEC (!) and then bored by EWER and then you have to take the ESPARTO train to REMOP town? Disastrous. Fill improved somewhat after that, but not much. The theme was … just a bunch of word games, at least two of which (PROBE, JOTTO) I didn't know were word games, and one of which (GHOST) I know to be a word game but could not tell you the first thing about. Throw in an awkward partial (BEG TO) and the predictable RRN™ (MMVI), and I was just happy to be done with this one. There was some decent fill here and there (SHAME ON ME, SPANGLY, CATDOM (!?)), but it couldn't bring the enjoyment meter back to neutral.
Seems like the puzzle should've been harder than it was, given that none of the theme answers had clues, or rather than you had to solve a good chunk of the puzzle to see what their clue was—that, or infer the circled letters based on having put together any number of the theme answers through crosses alone. Most of the non-theme stuff must have been clued fairly easily. Weird to have BANANA running through ANAGRAMS since BANANAGRAMS is a word game I have not only heard of, but have played (my family won't play with me any more—turns out people who solve crosswords all the time are pretty good at BANANAGRAMS).
Gotta go put my eight hours of glorious sleep to good use now. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld