Part of brain believed to control emotion / TUE 1-24-17 / 1974 top 10 foreign language hit / WW II Allied landing site in Italy / Right-hand page of open book
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Constructor: John R. O'Brien
Relative difficulty: Easy
- TOLL PLAZA (17A: Place to pay the going rate?)
- JEOPARDIZE (25A: Put at risk)
- PAPER AIRPLANE (35A: Something that might be thrown behind a teacher's back)
- PRESUMABLY (49A: In all probability)
Anzio [ˈantsjo] is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Rome. // Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene. The city bears great historical significance as the site of Operation Shingle, a crucial landing by the Allies during the Italian Campaign of World War II. (wikipedia)
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OP ALONG or DROP A LINE or whatever), and you *didn't* provide the circled squares, and then hit us with HIDDEN GEM, yeah, OK, maybe. But that would be near impossible to do four times with familiar gem names. You could also do the same kind of "hiding" with the letters GEM (e.g. STAGE MANAGER etc.) and that would get you a legit HIDDEN GEM. But finding today's HIDDEN GEMs is like finding secret messages from Cleopatra in your Denny's menu. They're there if you want them to be there. But they aren't *there*. It's not hard to find the letters "RUBY" in a word or phrase. ARGUABLY. CRUMBLY. DRUG BUY. Etc. This puzzle seems like something I'd see in another venue *not* billing itself as "the greatest puzzle in the world." But it's not up to (what should be) NYT standards. And that's without even mentioning the fill, which is far too often tired old stand-bys (some real "classics" today, like the full "ERES TU" and ORA pro nobis, as well as the usual glut of OTO ACTAS DODOS OLEO etc.). The grid is also oddly built, with these huge 8-blocks in the NE / SW, but a super-choppy, black-square riddled middle. 74 words? The whole thing should probably have been rebuilt at 76 or 78 with the fill drastically improved.
It was very easy. The big revelation for me today was that I can't spell GENTEEL (29A: Affectedly polite). I said the word to myself in my head as I read the clue, but what came out of my fingers and on to the screen was GENTILE. This and TOLL BOOTH were my big missteps for the day, though I also had ADOPT (?) for ACT AS (4A: Assume the role of) and ETS (??) for EMS (43D: Letters on many ambulances). The best part of the grid, for me is DRE DEY down at the bottom. Those aren't "good" answers, but side-by-side they form an unintentional pun that is at least amusing me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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