Alladin's kleptomaniac sidekick / SUN 5-16-10 / Medieval chest / Carpenter's standard / Photographer Richard / 3,281 ft.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Constructor: Matt Ginsberg
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "DOUBLE CROSSERS" — theme answers have a special "square" that's divided into four quadrants. I was going to sum up, but there is too much. Let me just show you.
Each theme answer crosses one of those squares with four letters in it. The answer is to be read with both the first two letters and the second two letters. (Note that the "first two" going down will be the two on the left, and the "first two" going across will be the two on the top.) So one of these answers is to be read as SCOTS PLOTS, and the other as SPEARS CLEARS. With apologies for my handwriting:
Word of the Day: PELEE (98D: Volcano that devastated Martinique in 1902) —
Mount Pelée (pronounced /pəˈleɪ/; French: Montagne Pelée "Bald Mountain") is an active volcano on the northern tip of the French overseas department of Martinique in the Lesser Antilles island arc of the Caribbean.
The volcano is now famous for its eruption in 1902 and the destruction that resulted, now dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. The eruption killed about 30,121 people. Most deaths came from the city of Saint-Pierre, at that time the largest city in Martinique, due to its pyroclastic flows.
Pyroclastic flows completely destroyed St. Pierre, Martinique, a town of 30,000 people, following the eruption of Mont Pelée in 1902. The eruption left only two survivors in the direct path of the volcano: Louis-Auguste Cyparis survived because he was in a poorly ventilated, dungeon-like jail cell; Léon Compère-Léandre, living on the edge of the city, escaped with severe burns. The event marked the only major volcanic disaster in the history of France and its overseas territories.(wikipedia)
SethG here, finishing out the weekend while Rex is away. This will be a short~ish write-up, and will not be as funny as Wade's or Ben's were. Next time.
A side effect of a rebus (and I'd consider this to be one) is that any entry that contains a theme square automatically becomes an theme entry. With just 10 special squares here there are a full 20 theme entries. (And with each theme entry essentially being read twice, there's a huge amount of theme material.) It's hard to keep the fill pristine when there're so many constraints, but that's much more excusable when it's because something new and interesting is being done. Here, something new and interesting was done. There is some yuckiness, but, on the whole, though, A+ for originality and creativity.
- 1A: *Winning dad in a race (FASTER FATHER)
- 6A: *Like Enron (IN THE RED IN THE END)
- 20A: *Whispers heard during an in-class test (CHEATER CHATTER) — This seems like it's a play on "chitter-chatter", but I think it's a coincidence. "Chitter-chatter", I've just learned, is not in the dictionary.
- 43A: *Serving tray left next to the frying pan (SPATTER PLATTER) — Serving tray? This phrase makes no sense. If the purpose is to catch the flying oil droplets, it's not a serving tray.
- 58A: *Revival meeting (CONVERSION CONVENTION) — This was one of the ones where I had to rely on the cross to see in which order the words would go.
- 73A: *"You're not that sorry!" (CONTRITION CONTENTION) — Didn't I just type this?
- 80A: *One who apprentices woodworkers (STAINER TRAINER) — Are people who stain considered woodworkers? I guess woodworkers stain, but if I met a professional stainer who claimed to be a woodworker I'd think he was putting on airs. And, well, stain.
- 90A: *Bozo, for one (KIDDIE KIDDER) — In this puzzle, I think some of the shortest/simplest answers were the best. It's got accuracy, it's got K's, it's got a nice ring to it, it certainly sounds better than CONTRITION CONTENTION.
- 105A: *Singer Britney succeeds at the high jump (SPEARS CLEARS) — I won't play any Britney for you, and she clears by cleanly jumping over the bar.
- 117A: *Just one or two pups, say (LITTLE LITTER) — Another of my favorites.
- 3D: *Edberg enjoying a sports match (STEFAN THE FAN) —
I could very easily go on for pages and pages about Stefan Edberg. He was my idol growing up. I'll just tell one story: on September 25, 1992, I sat across the aisle from his wife while watching the Courier/Kulti match in the Davis Cup semifinals. Then I sat courtside (actually, closer), near the net, to watch him lose to Agassi. I left the match with his water bottle. I had Stefan Edberg's water bottle. I had Stefan Edberg's Water Bottle! In June, 1993, my "friend" threw it out while helping me move.
- 11D: *Knock again (RETRY ENTRY) — That thing I said about the shorter ones being better? It wasn't always true.
- 14D: *Nectarine grove (PEACH PATCH) — A nectarine is a peach? Who knew? (Probably, those of you who knew that a grove is a patch.)
- 26D: *Stupid show from a cable TV giant (TIME WARNER TIME WASTER) — Okay, this one is probably actually the best of all.
- 43D: *Orthodontist, at times (SPACER PLACER)
- 68D: *Oven, at times (COOKIE COOKER) — Again with the K's. Me likey.
- 74D: *Small-claims court (RESTITUTION INSTITUTION) — Okay, this one is probably actually the worst of all.
- 80D: *Lorry in a ditch (STUCK TRUCK) — Not the best or the worst, but my actual favorite.
- 97D: *Vlasic employee (PICKLE PICKER) — Another simple winner.
- 105D: *Where Robert Burns and kin are buried (SCOTS PLOTS)
- 94A: Speed (CELERITY) — (With celerity) was a clue some other time I subbed here. Someone asked why I posted the picture I did.
- 49A: Aladdin's kleptomaniac sidekick (ABU) — Trickiest spot in the puzzle was where this crossed 38D: Brother of Rebekah (LABAN). Some of you will have guessed other letters here. If I were writing the puzzle, I think I'd have used a C instead of the B.
- 66A: Medieval chest (ARCA) — Learned it in crosswords. I had ORCA from the crosses, until I changed 51D: Slips (ERRATA) from ERRORS. Tee hee, I made an ERRORS error. Okay, you're right, that's lame.
- 61D: Strikingly, as in a dress (FIT TO KILL) — Did MG make this up? I think MG made this up. One can dress to kill or impress, or be fit to be square, serve, or be tied, or a view might be to a kill, but I've never heard this.
- 78D: Tries to impress, as in conversation (NAME DROPS) — I started out with DROPS NAMES.
- 75D: 1981 Mel Gibson Film (GALLIPOLI)
And now your Tweets of the Week — puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse...
- @sethics Covering for Rex Parker 2day. Haven't been following all week to find potentially interesting crossword tweets. Tried searching, too many.
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