Dare colloquially / SAT 7-18-15 / Title heroine of an 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson novel / Hassan Arabian Nights figure / Tokyo-based carrier
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Constructor: Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: ONE-THIRTY (24D: Setting depicted by this puzzle's grid) — The minute hand is pointing straight down, the hour hand is that little three-square diagonal run in the NE.
Word of the Day: "RAMONA" (5D: Title heroine of an 1884 Helen Hunt Jackson novel) —
Ramona is an 1884 American novel written by Helen Hunt Jackson. Set in Southern California after the Mexican-American War, it portrays the life of a mixed-race Scots–Native American orphan girl, who suffers racial discrimination and hardship. Originally serialized in the Christian Union on a weekly basis, the novel became immensely popular. It has had more than 300 printings, and been adapted four times as a film. A play adaptation has been performed annually outdoors since 1923. // The novel's influence on the culture and image of Southern California was considerable. Its sentimental portrayal of Mexican colonial life contributed to establishing a unique cultural identity for the region. As its publication coincided with the arrival of railroad lines in the region, countless tourists visited who wanted to see the locations of the novel. (wikipedia)
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O'CLOCK are likely intended to be part of the clock face itself, so ... not a bad facsimile. Before I got ONE-THIRTY (O'CLOCK???) I thought the setting depicted by this puzzle's grid was POKER CHIP or some kind of island or Pac-Man or something. I could've guessed all day long and never come up with ONE-THIRTY (O'CLOCK). The column of 15s is remarkably solid. Things get a little dicey in those wide-open spaces, but that's utterly predictable and probably mostly unavoidable—if you want to do stunt puzzles with lots of white space, you're gonna pay for it somehow. It's not really worthwhile covering the less lovely parts. I actually think the puzzle hits more than it misses. There's just one answer I find laughable and baffling. Laffabling. I wonder if you can guess. I wonder if you too were left staring at it thinking "Oh, man, that's not a word? What do I have wrong?" When I finished, I fully expected not to get the happy "Congrats, you finished" message. And yet there it was. And so I returned to the scene of the crime that is ... DAST (15D: Dare, colloquially). That answer is almost as ILLIN' as ILLIN'. Actually, way more, in that I have actually heard someone "Colloquially" use ILLIN'. Look here:
["Small Fries, BIG MAC!"]
I cannot imagine this DAST being said by anyone ever. I've heard of (archaic) "durst." "Daren't." But DAST? Apparently it's in "Death of a Salesman," but the tense is wrong. There, it means "dares," not "dare." I mean, tense is not really my problem with this answer, but it's an added problem. Hmmm, cruciverb says it has been used once. 21 years ago. Clued as [Dare, in Dogpatch]. So it's AlCappian? Ugh. All I know is that it is AT REAR of my favorite answers today (just behind AT REAR).
There's some unusual, inventive stuff in here. DOMECAR! I don't know what that is, or didn't, but I can imagine it. "I CAN RELATE" is a fantastic (and actual!) colloquialism. I am getting a lot of laugh mileage out of parsing 26-Down as ASS TATED. I know TATED is meaningless, but that's part of the joy. Otherwise, all I can say is this could've been much worse. As pointless experiments in grid manipulation go, this one isn't bad.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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