Whale constellation / SUN 3-29-15 / High tech surveillance acronym / Fist bump in slang / Ancient Assyrian foe / Delphine author Madame de / Pub fixture / First name on America's Got Talent panel / Quaint letter opener / British racetrack site / Egyptian king overthrown in 1952 revolution
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
- STREAMING INCA (23A: Ancient Peruvian using Netflix?)
- CAST ELSEWHERE (33A: "No fishing here!"?)
- DEEP SPACE CANINE (51A: Dog whose rocket went off course?)
- YOU MAKE ME WANNA CASH OUT (65A: Comment to an annoying blackjack dealer?)
- REALLY BIG CASHEW (82A: Part of a jumbo trail mix?) (for you youngsters out there, that … is an Ed Sullivan pun … here, this should make it clear:)
- BACALL HANDLER (97A: Agent for Bogart's partner?) (for you non-sports fans, this is primarily a basketball term, used of whoever's, uh, handling the ball)
- THE LIFE OF PICA (111A: "12-Point Type: A History"?) (there is no "The" in the title "Life of Pi," so this is an astonishing screw-up)
The nyala (Nyala angasii or Tragelaphus angasii), also called inyala, is a spiral-horned antelope native to southern Africa. It is a species of the family Bovidae and genus Nyala, also considered to be in the genus Tragelaphus. It was first described in 1849 by George French Angas. The body length is 135–195 cm (53–77 in), and it weighs 55–140 kg (121–309 lb). The coat is rusty or rufous brown in females and juveniles, but grows a dark brown or slate grey, often tinged with blue, in adult males. Females and young males have ten or more white stripes on their sides. Only males have horns, 60–83 cm (24–33 in) long and yellow-tipped. It exhibits the highest sexual dimorphism among the spiral-horned antelopes. (wikipedia)
• • •
I checked out early with this one. How early? This early.
Add-a-letter? Really? Again? Man. I mean, yeah, technically it's two letters, but still. The "Funny" bar has to be Very High if the theme's going to be this slight, and today's "Funny" bar doesn't even clear my knees.
- TIRO—Wow. Just wow. I literally LOL'd at 26A: Newbie: Var. Putting "Var." on "Newbie" is like putting a gray wig and mustache on a baby, only much less funny
- SAD CASE—Ugh x a million. I had SAD SACK, which is an actual, better, phrase.
- LETITIA—A spelling adventure!
- AWACS (34D: High-tech surveillance acronym)
"[H]ad to put it away because I was bored silly. Unlike me, but jeez."
"I am starting to wonder if I am having a stroke while trying to do the puzzle today."
"Non-slog Sundays are a dying breed."
"It stopped being interesting, so I stopped solving it."
"Four unforgivable answers in top two rows, including lame themer based on random phrase. Never got better. What's not to like?"
"Who says BALTO?"Then Erik Agard told me to play this:
Couple more things:
Brendan Emmett Quigley (named "Constructor of the Year" for 2014 over at "Diary of a Crossword Fiend") is now offering up a subscription to his "Marching Bands" puzzles. 26 puzzles over the course of a year, all fresh, hot and new. To read more about this (awesome) puzzle type and support the project, Go Here.
Lastly, here's a letter to the editor that the NYT didn't publish. I told its author I'd run it, since it's about language use in puzzles (specifically, an acrostic puzzle from a couple weeks back). (Note: my printing the letter does not necessarily indicate my endorsement of the ideas contained therein)
I was disappointed to see the offensive acrostic puzzle clues “Kook, Psycho, Lunatic” and answer “Nutcase” in the March 8, 2015, Sunday Magazine. These words are no different than using a similarly demeaning epithet to describe a racial or cultural characteristic. Why then is it acceptable to use such derogatory language to describe a spectrum of brain disorders? Mental illness is a disease, not a joke.
The words we use to describe things inform our perception of them. Even in the seemingly benign guise of a word puzzle they are powerful tools. Will Shortz has devoted his career to using them with flair and style but unfortunately last week his editing missed the mark.
As the mother of someone with schizophrenia I am sensitive to the stigma embedded in the language used to describe it. People suffering from mental illness deserve our compassion and respect, not being reduced to pejorative stereotypes. You can do better. It is time for a more enlightened approach to idle entertainment.
National Alliance on Mental Illness – Maine chapter member
Maine Behavioral Healthcare Board of Trustee
Chairperson of Maine Behavioral Healthcare Advisory Committee
Member of Spring Harbor Hospital “Linking Families” Committee
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
"Coining a term: Nor'wester: n., a Sunday NYT xword where you solve the NW corner, see the lame gimmick, sadly go away. Today's, for example."—Gene Weingarten