Showing posts with label Nine-to-five gigs often. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nine-to-five gigs often. Show all posts

Confused situations / MON 5-31-10 / It protects tympanic cavity / Perennial presidential candidate Ralph / Ordinary fellow

Monday, May 31, 2010

Constructor: Oliver Hill

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium [amended ... 3:08 appears to be somewhat on the fast side after all. Hard to tell when the margins are so small]

THEME: DEEJAYS (25D: Record spinners ... or a hint to 17-, 25-, 38-, 48- and 61-Across) — five theme answers are two-word phrases where first word starts with "D" and second word starts with "J"

Word of the Day: IMBROGLIOS (11D: Confused situations) —

n., pl., -glios.
    1. A difficult or intricate situation; an entanglement.
    2. A confused or complicated disagreement.
  1. A confused heap; a tangle.

[Italian, from Old Italian, from imbrogliare, to tangle, confuse : in-, in (from Latin; see in-2) + brogliare, to mix, stir (probably from Old French brooiller, brouiller; see broil2).]

• • •

Pretty basic theme, but one that is executed in a visually interesting way. Theme square coverage is pretty sparse, despite the presence of SIX theme answers (five + the revealer). Actually, the issue isn't sparseness, it's shortness — specifically, the shortness of the central three theme answers (8, 7, 8). The shortness of these answers leaves TONS of room left over in the middle of the grid, which is filled by the Massive extension of the NE and SW corners, both of which contain two 10-letter Downs. These Downs are as long as the two longest theme answers and longer than the other three, and take up almost as much real estate in total as the theme answers combined (not including the revealer). Normally, you don't see non-theme answers longer than theme answers and you certainly don't see an Army of said giants. Makes for an unusual grid shape, and much more interesting fill, solving-wise than you tend to see in a more typical Monday grid (where shorter fill predominates). So, long story short, it's unconventional and a bit ungainly, but I liked it anyway.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Blue things that make some people turn red? (DIRTY JOKES) — this clue threw me, bec. normally you don't have "?" clues in theme answers unless they are ALL "?" clues (i.e. signifying wacky answers). So I went looking for wackines and got none. Other theme clues are straight. Which does not make this clue GAY. Necessarily.
  • 25A: Nine-to-five gigs, often (DESK JOBS) — see also 18D: Ordinary fellow (JOE BLOW) and then titter when you realize that "BLOW" and "JOBS" are both in the grid.
  • 38A: Womanizer (DON JUAN)
  • 48A: Company with an industrial average (DOW JONES)
  • 61A: Wrangler product (DENIM JEANS)

My wife thought the whole puzzle felt old-fashioned — "the whole thing seems like it was written in 1920." By an AGING person, perhaps (1A: Growing older). I think it was the phrase DENIM JEANS, which feels a bit like the phrase WORLD WIDE WEB, i.e. legit, but kind of dated. We call DENIM JEANS "jeans" now. I see the phrase is still in use in various commercial contexts, but ... I can't really imagine "jeans" that are *not* denim. There appears to be some support for "corduroy jeans," though I'd call those "pants." Or "cords." OFT, O'ER, CADS, ERST, IN RE, and GAYER (5D: More festive) also aged up the feel of the fill a bit. GAYER appears to be (chiefly British, chiefly derogatory) slang for a gay person. Non-sexual GAY is, like DENIM JEANS, correct, but quaint. Did I tell you the story about my little sister happily traipsing around our apartment complex telling everyone she met that "my mom and Agatha (her doll) and I are gay!" She meant "happy." Adorable. There's a better story about my sister's hilarious big mouth, but it involves the word "vagina," so I'll just hold onto that one.

  • 35A: As one (EN BLOC) — interesting phrase. Wife hadn't heard it before. We mostly use EN MASSE, I think, but this phrase looks much cooler. GAYER, even.
  • 35D: It protects the tympanic cavity (EAR DRUM) — Nice clue. I was writing in EAR DRUM before I ever looked at the clue (the magic of crosses), and it's a good thing, because, despite the tympani's being a familiar variety of "DRUM," I'm not sure I could have identified the location of the "tympanic cavity" before today.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

P.S. Happy birthday, Clint Eastwood, you 80-year-old badass.


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