Doggone quaintly / TUE 12-9-14 / Black Swan role / Gotcha facetiously / William Sydney Porter's pen name / Doggedly pursuing / Mad Libs label / Fork-tailed bird / Gently used transaction / Pre-ayatollah leader
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Constructor: Paul Hunsberger
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (***for a Tuesday***)
THEME: SHOE (67A: Item depicted by this puzzle's circled letters) stepping on gum — this is what the circled squares depict when you connect them all with a pen or maybe just your mind...
Word of the Day: D LEAGUE (7D: N.B.A. farm system, informally) —
The NBA Development League, or NBA D-League, is the National Basketball Association's official minor league basketball organization. Known until the summer of 2005 as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL), the NBA D-League started with eight teams in the fall of 2001. In March 2005, NBA commissioner David Stern announced a plan to expand the NBA D-League to fifteen teams and develop it into a true minor league farm system, with each NBA D-League team affiliated with one or more NBA teams. At the conclusion of the 2013–14 NBA season, 33% of NBA players had spent time in the NBA D-League, up from 23% in 2011. Beginning in the 2014–15 season, the league will consist of 18 teams; 17 will be either single-affiliated or owned by an NBA team, with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants being the lone exception. (wikipedia)
• • •EERS, and … I think my favorite ("favorite") thing about it is that it's crossing EERO. If you're going to put bad (i.e. terrible) fill in your grid, why not be comical about it. Cross it with something that is also not desirable, and that kind of rhymes! At least that makes the badness semi-interesting. ODO and OVO and AH, SO!? If "GUM" is the thing the toe of the shoe is stepping on, I can only assume that the AH, SO under the heel is a kind of metaphor for that other material you wouldn't want to step in.
The puzzle doesn't even bother to try to hide the easternmost SOLE and the HEEL. Honestly, this puzzle is at least two drafts away from being presentable. Hide those words and make the fill even semi-presentable, and you've got a cute little Tuesday. But as is, no. It's bad. AIRCON? I keep laughing every time I look at that answer, for three reasons. 1. No one ever says that (though in last two minutes I've had one person tell me it's British, and another tell me he (not British) grew up saying it but was recently mocked by a 20-something for saying it), 2. It's hilarious that it's clued as [House cooler, for short], as us normals have an even *shorter* way of saying it (or writing it, anyway) … and 3. because I like to imagine AIRCON is some kind of sequel to "CON AIR." Gah. You know, the problem is almost never "bad idea." It's almost always, lately, "decent idea that hasn't been sufficiently well developed or polished or crafted." The "Good enough!" mentality reigns. So many OYS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld