Missouri city familiarly / TUE 10-14-14 / Starr of old comics / How Titanic was going before it struck iceberg / Bygone communication
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Constructor: Adam Perl
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Adjective-to-verb — nouns / noun phrases are reimagined as verb phrases related to various professions:
- TRADE SECRETS (20A: What gossip columnists do?)
- PLOT POINTS (36A: What mathematicians do?)
- HANDLEBARS (42A: What bouncers do?)
- COVER STORIES (56A: What literary critics do?)
Junípero Serra Ferrer, O.F.M., (/ /; Spanish: [xuˈnipeɾo ˈsera]) (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California of the Las CaliforniasProvince in New Spain. He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near Monterey, California, at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.The missions were primarily designed to convert the natives. Other aims were to integrate the neophytes into Spanish society, and to train them to take over ownership and management of the land. As head of the order in California, Serra not only dealt with church officials, but also with Spanish officials in Mexico City and with the local military officers who commanded the nearby presidios (garrisons).
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TREETOP, SUBTEXT, and (especially) HIT THE ROOF are quite nice. Tuesdays are the hardest days to pull off, which I never would've thought before I began writing this blog a billion years ago. It's a kind of no man's land. So often the theme isn't smooth enough for a Monday and isn't clever enough for a Wednesday and so … Tuesday! So I think a simple and unassuming puzzle like this on a Tuesday is just fine, or at least not objectionable. I gotta believe that northern section could be done up a little better than HEHE EVA SERRA ATA … and that ADOPE is entirely unnecessary down below … but for some reason (perhaps because it's so early) I'm not terribly annoyed by the fill. Theme cute, long Downs interesting, satisfaction reasonable.
Weird puzzle feature: symmetrical 2-part stacks in the NE and SW—GIVE / AWAY and DOWN / EAST. Nice little dashes of color in the otherwise inevitably drab little corners of the puzzle.
- 35D: Woman who has a way with words? (VANNA) — I like this clue, but this is the kind of clue that makes a puzzle feel old—not the inclusion of VANNA, who is certainly worthy, but the casual ease-of-reference, as if it were 1986, i.e. Peak VANNA. I don't think younger people a. watch "Wheel of Fortune" or b. know who VANNA White is at all. I didn't even know she was still on the show.
- 34D: How the Titanic was going before it struck an iceberg (AMAIN) — this is bad enough fill without your having to remind me of that even worse movie.
- 41A: Missouri city, informally (ST. JOE) — I wanted ST. LOU (is that a thing?). Seemed reasonable. I know the ST. JOE as a "shadowy" Idaho river that runs through my mom's home town (where my grandma still lives).
- 14A: Doctor Zhivago's love (LARA) — feels like a long time since I've seen this piece of classic crosswordese, but I realize now that it's just been a while since I've seen this *clue*: Zhivago's love has been largely replaced by [Newswoman Logan] and [Tomb raider Croft].
Happy birthday, honey. (If you share a birthday with my wife, then yes, I'm talking to you, too.)