Intermediate in law / THU 8-21-14 / Cryptozoological beast / bag of shells Ralph Kramden malapropism / 1948 Literature Nobelist
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Constructor: Jules P. Markey
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: POST OFFICE BOXES (39A: Mail conveniences … or a hint to eight squares in this puzzle) — eight PO boxes, one at the beginning of each word in four two-word theme phrases:
- POWER POLITICS
- POLE POSITION
- POISON POWDER
- POPCORN POPPER
1. (Law) intermediate or intervening: used esp of any assignment of property before the last: a mesneassignment.2. (Law) mesne profits rents or profits accruing during the rightful owner's exclusion from his land[C15: from legal French meien in the middle, mean³]
• • •
Biggest problem here was probably the fill, which is below average in too many places. I can take an ITER on the chin now and then, but when you give me an ITER / MESNE combo, I'm gonna get a little PO'd (20A: Roman road + 47A: Intermediate, in law). I think AMERE is one of the worst partials (5 letters) I've ever seen (7D: "___ bag of shells" (Ralph Kramden malapropism)). ALAW is a pretty strong contender in the 4-letter category (14A: Is ___ unto oneself). Actually, now that I really look at it, the rest of the grid is solid enough—it's just dull. SOPORIFIC (ironically, the most exciting answer in the grid, along with MAKE A FIST) (8D: Sleep-inducing + 3D: Prepare to give blood). The whole thing was a walk around the block—nice, but insufficient exercise, and I'll have forgotten about it 15 minutes after it's done.
I don't think POISON POWDER is a thing. Or, rather, I know that it *is* a thing, as I googled it. But if the first (entire) page of results is any indication, it's exclusively a Pokémon thing. According to pokemondb.net, "Poison Powder causes the target to become poisoned. Poisoned Pokémon lose 1/8 of their maximum HP each turn." Whatever that means.
I really wish this theme had been tied to the police. I mean, POPO describes this theme a helluva lot better than POST OFFICE BOXES does. Hmm, there appears to be a Mr. Popo in the Dragon Ball universe. Before I explain what Dragon Ball is and how it does and does not relate to Pokémon, I'm just gonna sign off.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld