Bad mouth in Britain / SUN 10-5-14 / Queen Amidala's home in Star Wars / Old roadside advertiser / Source of words mamba chimpanzee / big name in chainsaws leaf blowers / Flower that symbolizes paradise on earth
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Timber!" — TREEs are "falling" all over the grid, as seven (7) Across answers take a dog-leg turn Down before resuming their Across path—the Down parts of the answers spell out types of trees (with each Down part clued as TREE)
- ETHEL MERTZ
- PRANCED AROUND
The canonical Book of Obadiah is an oracle concerning the divine judgment of Edom and the restoration of Israel. The text consists of a single chapter, divided into 21 verses, making it the shortest book in the Hebrew Bible.In Judaism and Christianity, its authorship is attributed to a prophet who lived in the Assyrian Periodand named himself in the first verse, Obadiah. His name means “servant of Yehowah”.In Christianity, the book of Obadiah is classified as a minor prophet of the Old Testament, due to its short length.
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ETHEL MERTZ, who I thought was just ETHEL—at only four letters long (apparently), the answer seemed like its final square would be an "EL" rebus square—but once I saw [TREE] as the clue for the cross, I thought "aha, ETHELMERTZ!" And so I had the theme figured out very, very quickly. And yet finding all the "falling" trees was still an entertaining exercise. Sometimes when you suss the theme early, especially on a Sunday, completing the rest of the puzzle can feel a bit anticlimactic and even laborious, but I enjoyed the seeing the creative ways Sam came up with to hide the trees. The puzzle title, "Timber!", is apt. Perfect, even. The puzzle wasn't tough, but it was pretty delightful.
It's true that the short stuff gets a Little iffy around the edges—the ANGE + SYST area out east, the MMI / MDSE area out west, the TZE / ALEAD section around Texas, the RLESS + DSO section around Indiana, etc.—but because the theme worked so well, and because many longer, entertaining phrases were never very far away, I never felt too put off by the short stuff. Whoa, what the hell is ENYO!?! (9D: Greek war goddess). I imagine her doing R&B / hip-hop versions of a certain Irish singer's work. At any rate, URSI + ENYO is pretty barfy, but, again, look at the fine stuff around it: RISQUE, QUARTZ, STEEL TRAP, IN SPIRIT, and the full phrase AS EASY AS ABC. This puzzle proves that there are two rules about junky (or, if you like, less ideal) fill. 1. Use it as little as possible, and 2. If you must use it, have some great stuff nearby to distract and appease solvers. Overall, I found this one to be a FULL-TILT, WHIZ-BANG good time.
No Puzzle of the Week this week because I'm behind on my puzzles. Brendan Emmett Quigley tells me his puzzle should be among the contenders, and I believe him because that's why he pays me. Do it for yourself and see! Seriously, though, more Puzzle(s) of the Week next week.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld