Quito quaff / THU 12-17-15 / Trouble in Yiddish / Racy books named after Victorian garment / Oenophile's concern / Pupil of a snake's eye / Dogpatch creator / Indian-born writer of 1981 Booker Prize
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Constructor: David Kwong
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
[NOTE: the solution to the online puzzle and the AcrossLite (.puz) puzzle had an error at 7D / 20A (ANDS / OSS). This has apparently been fixed in the online puzzle, but the AcrossLite (.puz) file is still corrupt as of 5:15am Thursday morning]
THEME: DICE — theme answers contain the letter string "DICE," which is represented by two contiguous "DIE" squares (plural "DIE" = "DICE"). In the Downs, each "DIE" square is simply the letter string "DIE"...
- PRIDE AND PREJU (DIE! DIE!) (17A: 1813 novel made into a 2005 film)
- CAN (DIE! DIE!) BERGEN (25A: Five-time Emmy-winning actress)
- BO (DIE! DIE!)-RIPPERS (46A: Racy books named after a Victorian garment)
- LONG ISLAN (DIE! DIE!) TEA (59A: Alcoholic drink so named because of its color, not its content)
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[Here is the part of the write-up where I say "HEIL is a problematic word to have in any puzzle, but particularly when it's crossing TSURIS." (So many OYS ...)]
EDDIES was the only thing that made sense at 14D: Things going down the drain?, I thought I was dealing with a weird rebus where ICE crossed DIE ... for some reason. If you ICE someone, they DIE? Who knows? I figured the answer would be revealed in time. But I ended up with GOAYS for 21A: Drives (GOADS), which let me know something was very wrong, which made me have to take a hard look at that NE corner, which made me, eventually, sort it out. After that, the puzzle was pretty easy overall. Took every cross to figure out STINK (50A: Perform lousily), so getting into the SW corner was slightly delayed, but with ICED TEA in place, the LONG ISLAND part ended up being a gimme, and so bing bam boom done.
Speedy and mostly enjoyable solve. The fill gets a bit wonky in places, notably in the middle (ASSOC LAH GRO) and SE (ADUE CTRL HEIL ASA). I like that, with the "DIE" squares, "DIE" only functions as a stand-alone word once (DIE OUT). Where themers are concerned, LONG ISLAND ICED TEA is something of a "which of these things is not like the other?" in that it's the only answer to have "DICE" broken across two words (all the others have "DICE" at the end of a word (PREJUDICE, CANDICE, BODICE). The clue on BIKINI kind of male-gazes this thing up. It's not an offensive clue by any means (BIKINIs can certainly "attract" attention), but I might've cross-referenced my clue here with ARUBA. Maybe something more generally about beachwear. Just to keep the ogling down. I liked the aptness of SPEEDIEST—that answer led to the SPEEDIEST "DIE" discovery of the day. I knew there were "DIE" squares a foot, and I looked at 44D: First to break the tape, and I had "SP-", and in went SPEEDIEST. Speedily.
[warning: language / violence]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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