Kosygin of Russia / WED 7-2-14 / Honshu honorific / Often kicked comics canine / Lecherous goat-man / Boy of song who hated his name / Singer with 1994 hit bump n grind / pugilistic combo / Mountains tick off toy dogs / south africans are unexcited by swine / pastoral poems incapacitate teen faves
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Constructor: Jeff Chen and Dick Shlakman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: blanks blank blanks — verb phrases where some plural does something to some other plural and all three of the words in the phrase rhyme:
- PEAKS PIQUE PEKES (17A: MOUNTAINS TICK OFF TOY DOGS)
- BOARS BORE BOERS (28A: SOUTH AFRICANS ARE UNEXCITED BY SWINE)
- PAIRS PARE PEARS (42A: COUPLES PEEL FRUIT)
- IDYLLS IDLE IDOLS (54A: PASTORAL POEMS INCAPACITATE TEEN FAVES)
Word of the Day: Guinea-BISSAU (28D: Guinea-___ (West African nation)) —
Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau i/ /, gi-nee-bi-sow, (Portuguese:República da Guiné-Bissau, pronounced: [ʁeˈpublikɐ dɐ ɡiˈnɛ biˈsaw]), is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west. It covers 36,125 km² (nearly 14,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,600,000. (wikipedia)
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ELD, I guess (48A: Antiquity, in the past). Nonsense phrases that rhyme? Maybe in [insert other puzzle's name here], but it's pretty sub-NYT stuff, or ought to be. The fill doesn't improve things much, either. My greatest delights were R KELLY (if only for the contemporariness and awesome opening letter combination) (43D: Singer with the 1994 hit "Bump n' Grind") and ABANDON SHIP (an answer I got very late because I stupidly had SRI at 20A: Honshu honorific (SAN) for a while and really Really stumbled trying to pick up everything in the REPAYS MANS SMARTY D-DAY DADA section) (3D: Final order from the captain). SETS A RECORD has a terrible ad hoc quality to it (26D: Becomes worthy of the Guinness Book, say), and most of the rest of the fill just sits there. BISSAU is pretty terrible, as it is just a name part, not a real name, and a pretty long (and mildly obscure) name part at that. Also, I'M NOT QUITE SURE WHY THE CLUES ARE SHOUTING AT ME. When the theme clues have you actually missing "?" clues, something is wrong.
Grid shape provides us with scads of 3- and 4-letter words, which rarely leads anywhere good. I don't know, what else? … I dunno … so … Hell of a soccer match, that was. 90+ minutes of boredom/torture, then a last-minute point-blank shot to (miraculously, unjustly) win it that somehow goes high, and then an overtime that was as exciting as any I've seen this World Cup. USA's keeper was outstanding in the face of extreme duress. I look forward to seeing TIM HOWARD in a puzzle soon. Congrats to Belgium.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld