Spriral-horned antelope / SUN 6-1-14 / Fangorn forest denizen / One parodied on Portlandia / Crimean conference locale / One of group of Eastern Christians / Waterway leading to SW German city / Young Darth Vader's nickname / Commercial version of crazy eights
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Constructor: Tom McCoy
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Aladdin" — Add in "Al"
- CHANGE OF PALACE
- IDEALS OF MARCH
- CIRCUS TALENT
- A FAREWELL TO ARMS
- CANAL OF WORMS
- SPRING FALLING
- OF MALICE AND MEN
Of or relating to any of several Eastern Christian churches that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church but retain their own languages, rites, and codes of canon law.
A member of any of these churches.
[Russian uniyat, from Polish uniat, the Union of Brest-Litovsk (1596), from unija, union, from Late Latin ūniō. See union.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/uniat#ixzz33KtQEvKP
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A FAREWELL TO ALARMS and CANAL OF WORMS have close to the needed level of genuine wackiness to pull this theme off, but the rest just don't. Plus there are only seven theme answers here; with such a flimsy premise, seems like you should've been able to go all day (and be much funnier). I can only guess that this puzzle was accepted on the strength of its title (!?!?!), which is Not a (good) reason to accept a puzzle. Non-theme stuff was decent, and the cluing had some bite, but overall, it's another Sunday Slog. Be grateful that I ate dinner and got a gin & tonic between when I solved this and when I started writing about it—my mood is actually much improved.
I haven't done "Bullets" in a long time, so, since I don't have anything left to say about the puzzle from a global perspective, let's just bullet it.
- 32A: Anoint, archaically (ANELE) — OK, so you can tell from the clue that the fill is going to be terrible, so I won't spend time shooting the fish in this barrel. What I will say is that this *archaic* answer was my first guess (Solver Brain—not to be confused with Brain Brain), but then I doubted it, first because … I mean, just look at it. It barely looks like it qualifies as a word. But also I thought the answer to 24D: Letter between two others that rhyme with it (ETA) was DEE. So I yanked ANELE. Only to have it come right back.
- 77D: The ___ City (New Haven) (ELM) — Really? Really? Not ELI? It's a Yale clue, that's three letters and starts EL-, and it *isn't* ELI. *%&^ you, crossword gods.
- 51A: Land in the Golden Triangle (LAOS) — I don't know what the "Golden Triangle" (!) is so off the "A" I wrote in MALI. Then off that "M" I wrote in MONK for 51D: Monastery resident (LAMA). In both cases, my answer needed to be much more Asian.
- 81D: Trousers (LONG PANTS) — also known as PANTS.
- 99D: Spiral-horned antelope (NYALA) — pulled this out of god knows where—some vast wellspring of crosswordese that lives in my brain. Antelope account for a sizable subsection of crosswordese fauna. ELAND, ORIBI, ORYX, NYALA …
- 104D: Elements of some accents (TWANGS) — I actually wrote in TILDES. I know, it's a terrible answer. But an amusing terrible answer.
Puzzle of the Week was looking to be a close call among a bunch of good puzzles—including Sam Donaldson's fantastic, tricky Fireball puzzle (read about it here) and BEQ's cheeky "Getting Head" (not what it sounds like, though not entirely "clean," either) (get it here) (read about it here). But then I solved Erik Agard's latest themeless puzzle ("themeless twenty-one") at his "Glutton for Pun" site and the contest was over. When I laugh multiple times, and repeatedly shake my head in wonder, and say "man, that's good"—all of it mid-solve—then I know I've got a winner. I really can't ask for a more satisfying themeless experience. Please go do the puzzle. It's free and it's great.