Sarcastic comment about task ahead / MON 4-20-15 / Tribe traditionally living around Lake Superior / Chivalrous rule obeyed in this puzzle / Mr. Jock TV quiz bags few lynx classic pangram / Lord of Rings baddie
Monday, April 20, 2015
Constructor: Tom McCoy
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (**for a Monday**) (Time: 3:08)
- JANE AND DICK (17A: Classic learning-to-read series (hint: 59-Across))
- MARY AND WILLIAM (23A: Virginia university (hint: 59-Across))
- GRETEL AND HANSEL (37A: Grimm fairy tale unit (hint: 59-Across))
- JULIET AND ROMEO (52A: Shakespeare play (hint: 59-Across))
• • •
See, I use "GAH!" all the time, but would never have thought it crossworthy! But here we are. It's a new day. A new era. It's morning in America. Again. But better this time. Because GAH!
LADIES FIRST," mostly because no doors*, but also because chivalry tended to be concerned with bigger, broader, more fundamental issues, like Not Raping Women. That was a biggie. Seriously. They codified that *&%^. Well, Arthur did, at any rate. They had to Write It Down (or at least proclaim it) because it was very much not a given. Holding doors (or its equivalent) would not have rated mention. And yet somehow these little faux-deferential gestures that keep gender hierarchy firmly in place have come to define with we call, mostly ironically now, "chivalrous." This is all to say that the revealer clue is perfectly appropriate for our modern, fallen, big dumb world that's bad at history and feminism. Here's the main thing about old-school chivalry—you didn't get to do it. And by you, I mean yeah you. It's a class thing. So expecting Bob from Accounting to be "chivalrous" at Applebee's is perhaps not fair. It's certainly anachronistic.
["Those that don't know how to be pros get evicted!"]
The revealer is the thing in this puzzle. It's everything. It's the punchline and the raison d' … raison d' … seriously, no ETRE today? The one day I need ETRE, and no ETRE? Fine. Lower-case "d'être." It's a nice, easy, entry-level puzzle that makes up for a certain straightforwardness in the theme with some pretty bouncy and daring moments in the fill. The most noteworthy patch in the grid, for me, was the GAH / "OH, FUN!" meeting place. Frustration *and* sarcasm. I know these things! How are you, old friends? I soooo didn't expect to see you here today, especially not holding hands like this. What a pleasant surprise. That "H" in the GAH / "OH, FUN" crossing was my last letter, mostly because I couldn't believe either was real. "Really?" I probably quickly asked myself. And yes: Really. [Actually my main issue down there was SNAP ON. Apparently I don't SNAP anything ON. Now STRAP ON, sure, we've all been there. But SNAP ON … not in my repertoire (of whatever it is we're talking about)].
This puzzle has 14s. Two of them. You so rarely see 14s. So that was refreshing, if probably utterly unnoticed by 98% of solvers.
- 12D: Tall Paul (BUNYAN) — completely blanked on how to spell the second half of the name. "Canyon" was like "Spell it like me!" Stupid "canyon."
- 35A: Bundle up (WRAP) — I had -AP and wrote in REAP. Something about sheaves, I think.
- 28D: Boise's state (IDAHO) — fun fact: half my family is from IDAHO—grandma still lives there—and I've been to the state many times. Yet I've never been to Boise. We're a panhandle people. There was that one summer we were Sun Valley people. But mostly panhandle.
Lesser: A DUE, AWS, SNO
Greater: SCALY, "OH, FUN!", OJIBWA
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*Of course doors existed. But they were not so common an architectural feature in the Middle Ages, particularly of home interiors, as they are now.
[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]