Millionths of meter / TUE 3-7-17 / Foreign Legion hat / Agave fiber used in rugs / Chess champ Mikhail / Historical figure played by David Bowie in Prestige / Famously unfinished 14th century literary work
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Constructor: Freddie Cheng
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (not sure why, played harder than normal)
THEME: STALE and its anagrams
- "CANTERBURY TALES" (17A: Famously unfinished 14th-century literary work, with "The")
- "THAT'S A STEAL" (24A: "How cheap!")
- CLEAN SLATE (30A: What one might start over with)
- GOING STALE (43A: Losing crunchiness, as chips)
- NIKOLA TESLA (48A: Historical figure played by David Bowie in "The Prestige")
- "LAST BUT NOT LEAST" (60A: "Finally ...")
MICRON (n. pl. mi·crons or mi·cra (-krə) also mi·krons or mi·kra (-krə))
A unit of length equal to one thousandth (10-3) of a millimeter or one millionth (10-6) of a meter. Also called micrometer. (thefreedictionary.com)
• • •
GOING STALE, I know), but there's no entertainment value here. It's just not clever or interesting. Meanwhile, the fill, [deep sigh]. It's particularly bad today. Like, *all* the STALE All-Stars have come out to play. Look at it all. It's pretty stunning, actually. I don't want to do the thing where I lay it all out for you end to end, because that would likely earn me multiple TSKS (again, [deep sigh]); I think you can see for yourself, if you can bear to stare it all in the face. I predict that if you count all the terrible things about the fill today, you would count to somewhere between TEN and LII. Closer to the latter, I'm guessing.
AHS are not [Sighs of relief]. You're thinking of AAHS. AHS are the sounds people make at the dentist (side note: had a cleaning today, and my mouth is apparently falling apart at a somewhat slower rate now, yay!). How is a KEY CASE "just for openers"? I get how a *key* is, but you can't open anything with a case. Bizarre. That answer, and AMUST, and ACK-not-EEK, made the north pretty rough for me. I also got stymied by stupid small stuff in the west. What time zone is Texas in? Which letter goes with "winter"? These are not the questions my brain enjoys answering ... ever. And I figured that since I'd never heard of either one, [The Stones' "12 x 5" and "Flowers"] were EPS. Put "Exile on Main Street" and "Some Girls" in that clue, and I get LPS easy.
I wrote part of my Ph.D. dissertation on "THE CANTERBURY TALES" and I don't think of its unfinishedness as "famous." In fact, I rarely ever think about it. It's "famous" for so many other reasons (which I'm happy to talk about on request!). And it is, technically, unfinished, but that is not what I would call its most distinctive or remarkable feature. "The Aeneid" is more famously unfinished. "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" even more so. So, famous yes, unfinished yes, famously unfinished ... I dunno. I guess. Weak connection, though, I'd say. There are two things I like about this puzzle. One is that the longer Downs are both in the imperative mood—twin pillars of imperative power. DON'T SPEAK! STAND BACK! I like a puzzle that takes charge. I also like the final theme answer, to the extent that it comes last and is thus apt. APT!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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