Idiot in Canadian lingo / MON 4-18-16 / Flash faddish assembly / Yellow-skinned melon / 1938 horse of year / Athlete/model Gabrielle
Monday, April 18, 2016
Constructor: Janice Luttrell
Relative difficulty: Easy side of normal
THEME: BREAD (37A: Moolah ... or the makeup of the ends of the answers to the starred clues) — ends of starred answers are bread-like:
- BANK ROLL (4D: *Provide funds for)
- SEABISCUIT (18A: *1938 Horse of the Year)
- STUD MUFFIN (54A: *Hunk)
- MEAT LOAF (38D: *"Bat Out of Hell" singer)
Lake Chad (French: Lac Tchad) is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, which has varied in size over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998, but "the 2007 (satellite) image shows significant improvement over previous years." Lake Chad is economically important, providing water to more than 68 million people living in the four countries surrounding it (Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria) on the edge of the Sahara Desert. It is the largest lake in the Chad Basin. (wikipedia)
• • •
BREADy in their way, but LOAF is a shape of BREAD, ROLL is a type of BREAD, and BISCUITs and MUFFINs are merely BREAD-*ish*—BREAD kin, not BREAD. Certainly BREAD is not the "makeup" of a MUFFIN. Flour is in there, but ... no. That's not enough to call the "makeup" "BREAD." The connection among all the answers is far too tenuous, and the wording on the revealer clue feels simply inaccurate. But as I said, the grid is very promising. Yes, many familiar words, but it seemed pretty clean and pretty zippy. Themers are nice answers in and of themselves, and all the other longer answers (GOOD EGG, MYSPACE, KICKBACK, CAPS LOCK) are strong as well. Nothing made me wince, and I got to reexperience the '80s via the WAPNER / HOSER cross, so I was well entertained, if only for 2:45.
The only place I encountered resistance today was in the middle, for a number of reasons. First, the revealer just wasn't coming to me. Don't know why. Possibly because I wasn't sure what part of the toucan was "colorful"—somehow I thought maybe it was his COAT, which is ... not a thing a bird has, right? They have feathers. Dogs have coats. I also couldn't get BELLE without a lot of help from crosses (33A: Scarlett O'Hara, for one). Accurate enough clue, just not obvious to me. Then there was the fact that the whole center was framed by LAKE / CHAD, which caused slow-down both because it was cross-referenced and because its symmetricality made me briefly imagine it was somehow a theme answer. Also, the fact that both parts of LAKE / CHAD act like guards / gatekeepers for the puzzle's middle worked to make that section by far the hardest to get through. Not "hard" in any absolute terms—merely harder than the rest of the (very easy) puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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