Szezecin resident / WED 2-15-17 / Poet who wrote in dreams begins responsibility / Obama adviser Valerie / Crewmate of Sulu and Bones / Prov north of Northumberland Strait
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Constructor: Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Blindauer
Relative difficulty: Medium
- CHERRY PITS (17A: "We used some food to make a snowman. Under his arms we put ___")
- BUTTERFINGERS (27A: "The we gave him ___")
- HEAD OF LETTUCE (44A: On top we put a ___")
- EARS OF CORN (58A: "Finally, we stuck in two ___. Yum!")
Troy weight is a system of units of mass customarily used for precious metals and gemstones. There are 12 troy ounces per troy pound, (373.24 g) rather than the 16 ounces per pound (453.59 g) found in the more common avoirdupois system. The troy ounce is 480 grains, compared with the avoirdupois ounce, which is 437 1⁄2 grains. Both systems use the same grain defined by the international yard and pound agreement of 1959 as exactly 0.064 798 91 gram. Although troy ounces are still used to weigh gold, silver, and gemstones, troy weight is no longer used in most other applications. (wikipedia)
• • •
Let me try again to say what's weird about the theme: with CHERRY PITS, I assume that it's actual cherries that go on the snowman, and that (arm) pits are what the cherry represents, i.e. you aren't putting the pits on him, you're putting cherries on him *as* (arm)pits. With HEAD OF LETTUCE, however, I assume the head of lettuce represents the snowman's head *and* is the actual thing you put on the snow man. Same with corn: you put the whole ear of corn where the snowman's ears should be. HEAD OF LETTUCE is the head, EARS OF CORN are the ears, but CHERRY PITS are not the armpits. Cherries are the armpits. Same for BUTTERFINGERS—I don't put BUTTERFINGERS on the snowman; I put butter on the snowman *to represent* the fingers. So with two themers, the answer is the literal, actual thing I would put on the snowman, but with two others, there's a different form of wordplay involved, where I have to reimagine the literal meaning of the themer in order to picture what goes where on the snowman. This lengthy explanation is one of the saddest things I've ever written, but I feel it is necessary to convey the offness of this theme, which, otherwise, is harmless and even mildly enjoyable (the idea that one might think a snowman's pits in need of a visual signifier is absurd in the best possible way) (Kid, building snowman: "Ma, what're we gonna use for his pits?!" Ma: [worries her son has been out in the cold too long])
The rest of the puzzle is solid and smooth. Normally a whole lotta Scrabble-f***ing in a corner (today, the SW corner) would get side-eye from me, but all the JAZZ crosses work out very nicely. Nothing forced. This puzzle missed DARWIN's birthday by just three days (and Paula ZAHN's by nine). I had the most trouble in the SE, starting with CUT-OFFS, which I never considered a "style" of "jeans." Just something you do to your jeans with scissors when the lower part gets messed up or when you just need shorts real bad. So CUT- did not give the access to the SE that I needed. Then I couldn't get FELON (wanted FAKER or FEIGN or something actually [Counterfeiter]-specific). No idea where Szczecin is and since my brain pronounced it like "Chechen," that's the part of the world I kept thinking of (i.e. Chechnya, not Poland). Lastly, I had no idea, none, that TROY was a "weight classification"; that "T" was the very last letter to fall. So that corner was rough for me, but everything else fell to the easy side.
More snowman treatises tomorrow! Just kidding! Probably!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]