Latin diphthongs / THU 7-9-15 / Nabors title role of 1960s TV / South Pacific island nation that's only 8.1 square miles / French narrative poem
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Constructor: John Guzzetta
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: RIGHT ON CUE (61A: Prompt ... or a hint to entering five answers in this puzzle) — five theme answers start as Downs but then veer right (i.e. Across) at the letter "Q" (neat trick: the "Q" word formed by the Across is clued separately):
- ILLEQUIPPED (1D: Not ready) / 24A: Produced laugh lines?
- SUMMERSQUASH (5D: Crookneck, e.g.) / 38A: Put down
- GIANTSQUID (10D: Army terror?) / 33A: Pounds
- PEPSQUAD (50D: School spirit raiser) / 67A: Leg muscle, informally
- ANYREQUESTS? (48D: D.J.'s invitation) / 68A: Challenges for knights
Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor (born 7 November 1996), known by her stage name Lorde, is a New Zealand singer and songwriter. Born in Takapuna and raised in Devonport, Auckland, she became interested in performing as a child. In her early teens, she signed with Universal Music Group and was later paired with the songwriter and record producer Joel Little, who co-wrote and produced most of Lorde's works. Her first major release, The Love Club EP, was commercially released in March 2013. The EP reached number two on the national record charts of Australia and New Zealand.
In mid-2013, Lorde released her debut single "Royals". It became an international crossover hit and made Lorde the youngest solo artist to achieve a US number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1987. Later that year, she released her debut studio album, Pure Heroine. The record topped the charts of Australia and New Zealand and reached number three on the US Billboard 200. Its following singles include "Tennis Court", "Team", "No Better" and "Glory and Gore". In 2014, Lorde released "Yellow Flicker Beat" as a single from the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. // Lorde's music consists of the subgenres of electronica, pop and rock, including dream pop and indie-electro. In 2013, she was named among Time 's most influential teenagers in the world, and in the following year, she was in the Forbes 's "30 Under 30" list. (wikipedia)
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NOISOME. Not always, for sure. NOISOME, for instance, great. Actually, let me rephrase the issue. The fill is not overwhelmingly bad. It's creaky and unpleasant in perhaps too many places, but despite your LAIs and your EPHs and your INEs and your INYOUs and a lot of other less ugly but awfully common short stuff, it stays just this side of acceptable. Until it doesn't. Until the bottom drops out. Until the worst 3-letter answer I've ever seen, the worst 3-letter answer in the history of crosswords—worse than any Random Roman Numeral or plural suffix or anything. I challenge you—sincerely challenge you—to find a three-letter answer worse than OES (58A: Latin diphthongs).
You do not get to pluralize a diphthong. In this case, the diphthong is not two discrete letters. It's "Œ" (fittingly, today, made (on my Mac) by typing [Option-Q]). You can break it into two letters—it's certainly represented that way in writing at times—but you can't break it into two letters and then *pluralize* it. That's nonsense. I mean, nonsense. AES? Would that be an acceptable (non-Adlai Stevenson-related) answer? Jesus Mary and Joseph, I do Not understand how you don't tear out As Much As You Have To in order to refill the grid without OES. That answer is shameful. All the goodwill this puzzle built up with its cute little theme—right out the window. I will remember the atrocity that is OES and nothing else.
I got the theme quickly today. Here:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*speaking of wind, "A"-less EOLIAN is pretty ugly too (65A: Wind-borne). Like OES, only 1 NYT appearance in the entire cruciverb database (2002).
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