Plant protrusion / THU 12-4-14 / Woman's name with ring to it / Singer on Canada's Walk of Fame since 2005 / 1977 horror film set at sea / Car that famously debuted on E Day /
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Constructor: Kacey Walker and David Quarfoot
Relative difficulty: Medium or Challenging, I don't know
THEME: ANAGRAMS (63A: What the three possible answers to each of 26-, 36- and 44-Across are, leading to 27 possible solutions to this puzzle) — three theme answers are clued as SCRABBLE racks (7A: Game with its own dictionary); each theme answer has three possible solutions, all ANAGRAMS of one another
- WORRIED / ROWDIER / WORDIER (26A: Play in 7-Across with the rack DEIORRW)
- RESIDED / DESIRED / DERIDES (36A: Play in 7-Across with the rack DDEEIRS)
- GARDENS / DANGERS / GANDERS (44A: Play in 7-Across with the rack ADEGNRS)
1. The act of sliding or slipping over a surface, often sideways.2.
a. A plank, log, or timber, usually one of a pair, used as a support or as a track for sliding or rollingheavy objects.b. A pallet for loading or handling goods, especially one having solid sideboards and no bottom.c. One of several logs or timbers forming a skid road.3. skids Nautical A wooden framework attached to the side of a ship to prevent damage, as whenunloading.4. A shoe or drag applying pressure to a wheel to brake a vehicle.5. A runner in the landing gear of certain aircraft.6. skids Slang A path to ruin or failure: His career hit the skids. Her life is now on the skids.
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RESIDED for the central Across, and then couldn't do anything with the short stuff on top of it. Nothing. This is all because I had never, ever heard of a SKID, meaning "a runner attached to the underside of an aircraft for use when landing on snow or grass." Just, never. So I kept going "well, it's SLED …" And that's pretty much where I stayed for a long time, until I realized, "oh, just put one of the ANAGRAMS in and see if that changes anything." Then in went DESIRES, and I saw SKIS, and then, hey, it's SIRI (31A: One with all the answers?), not SAGE or SIRE or whatever the hell else I'd been trying. Seriously, that SLED trap, combined with the actual answer's being a word unknown to me, really put a damper on my enjoyment of this. This is very much a constructor's puzzle—one meant to elicit "oohs" and "aahs," but not necessarily designed with solving fun in mind. But I will say that, to its credit, that ANAGRAMS thing actually worked. I mean, it saved my ass. So at least knowing the theme actually helped with the solve.
My other major issue with this puzzle was that, aside from that one epic faceplant in the middle of the grid, it was a cinch. Tuesday/Wednesday-easy. Having SCRABBLE as a flat-out gimme was just, well, too much gimme. And there were no great / interesting longer answers. So all the interest / challenge was in those crosses. Which meant all the interest / challenge was in the clues that were, by necessity, most tortured. I'm not mad at the puzzle. I think it's smart. It's just not a flavor of puzzle I personally enjoy. Also, I am an inveterate hater of SCRABBLE, in general, so this thing had its work cut out for it from the jump.
P.S. I do not recall "Citizen Kane"'s having Roman-numeraled scenes (5D: When Kane dies in "Citizen Kane") (SCENE I). I mean, it's great, but it's not Shakespeare.