Japanese for finger pressure / SAT 4-11-15 / He struck Caesar like a cur / Big letters in bowling alleys / Mauritian money / Rule ending in 1947 / Renowned 1920s raider / 1990s collectible
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Constructor: Martin Ashwood-Smith
Relative difficulty: Easy
[You can see where I wrote "CARAN…, up top, in my bid to parse CAR ANTENNA (5D: One getting the show on the road?) … you can also see that I wrote "Wow!" for that clue, as well as for 25D: Fitting entertainment at an arcade? (TETRIS)]
Word of the Day: Bandar SERI Begawan (35D: Bandar ___ Begawan (Brunei's capital)) —
Bandar Seri Begawan / / ba(h)nd-ə sə-ree bə-gow-ən (Jawi: بندر سري بڬاوان ; Malay: [ˌbanda səˌri bəˈɡawan]) with an estimated population of more than 200,000 (in 2014), is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei. (wikipedia)
[Not sure what red line indicates—cruise? pirate adventure?]
• • •
The Indie 500 Tournament in D.C. on May 30, and since tournament solving is always done on paper, I kind of need to get back into paper-solving shape. It really is a different beast in a lot of ways, though the harder the puzzle gets, the less important the difference is between on-screen and paper—on-screen is much faster when you're dealing with easy puzzles. But ANYway… paper! I like making little marginal annotations as I go. I usually do this after I print out a completed puzzle, but it's kind of nice to record my notes as I solve, rather than retrospectively; more … authentic, somehow.
[18A: Like many 911 calls]
I thought this puzzle was fine. As quadstacks go, totally average. It has all the usual infelicities in the short fill, but somehow today these are not offset by charming / interesting stack-answers. BEATING A RETREAT has a bit of life, but the rest are common-letter-heavy snoozers. I thought SALES ASSISTANTS was a joke among constructors, as it is oft-used and saturated in 1-pt Scrabble tiles. Maybe I'm thinking of a different phrase, but SALES ASSISTANTS is close. *All* those "S"s enable soooo many plurals. Makes filling a grid like this soooo much easier (not easy—but easier). ALTERNATE ROUTES has about as much charm. NO INTEREST LOANS. Seriously, these are all phrases from a tedious business meeting where people sit around a conference table and vie to impress the CEO w/ business speak jargon. What did we NET? How do we lower our TAX liability? Do we still have that fleet of SSTS in Bandar SERI Begawan or did we sell those? CAN TEEN consumers get their parents to say YES to buying them this year's hottest fashion, "UTE RAGS"? Where's PAT? Get PAT in here. She'll want in on this." ETC.
Here's a recent New Yorker cartoon with (yet another) bullshit grid.
Here's another bad one:
["MYSTERY" is right …]
[Now *that* is a terrible theme]
So at this point, it looks like I'm a collector.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld