Bygone sticker / SAT 6-6-15 / Pol affiliation of British PM William Gladstone / Heavy durable china / Former big four record company / Longtime sponsor of Socceroos national soccer team
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Constructor: Jason Flinn
Relative difficulty: Easy-Challenging
THEME: MIRROR, MIRROR … — that's the phrase that appears in the diagonally arranged circled squares. It's a phrase that was said by the EVIL QUEEN, who was asking who was the fairest of them all (answer, of course: SNOW WHITE). Now the trick here is that the MIRROR parts of the grid have an actual mirror function, in that the answers that run into those circled squares (whether coming from Across or Down) bounce off the figurative "mirror" at a 90-degree angle. So Down answers veer right, Across answers bounce down. The angle of incidence = the angle of reflection. Physics finally pays off.
- EVIL QUEEN (5A: She queried a magic object named twice in this puzzle's circled squares)
- SNOW WHITE (64A: Answer provided by the magic object named twice in the circled squares)
Word of the Day: ROTI (56D: Pita-like bread) —
• • •
SNOW WHITE, EVIL QUEEN) in those corners was easy, so those corners became fairly tame. My only complaint is that this should've been a Thursday. Would've been Challenging for a Thursday, but conceptually, it's exactly where it belongs. I want my Hard Themeless Saturday! But if you're gonna swap out my themeless with a themed puzzle on a Saturday, yeah, make it this good and I won't be able to squawk that much.
I imagine lots of solvers will have a parallel experience to mine. Initial flailing, followed by realization that something very loopy is going on ("OK so STEERAGE … but what kind of email header is three letters starting with "E"? … and … uh, OMENS and I'M OUT … oh, come *on*, I know that's NOIRE!! …"). Once I realized that there was a serious trick involved, I went looking for the clue that would help me figure it out. Eyes lit on the clue for SNOW WHITE, which had "magic object named twice" in it, and the MIRROR, MIRROR thing came to me instantly. As soon as I'd filled all the circled squares, the concept came to me as well. After that, the only tough thing was making sure I was putting the letters in the right squares. Everything along the MIRROR, MIRROR axis was very easy. As I said, the NE / SW corners were initially harder, but in the end, not terribly.
- 1A: Some safety stats: Abbr. (INTS) — safety is a position in American football. INTS are interceptions.
- 20A: Cuttlefish feature (TENTACLE) — I learned about these amazing creatures from Jaron Lanier's fantastic book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. This is also where I learned the word "neoteny."
- 26A: 1992 Prince song or its peak position in Billboard (SEVEN) — I forgot this song until I said the title aloud (?) and then it came back; or at least the chorus did. It's technically called "7." His songs aren't on youtube, so … here are a couple of other "seven" songs:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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