Violinist Kavafian / SAT 1-21-17 / Bulbous perennial / Xmas for Jimmy Buffet / First name in infamy / Dumb Dumber drive destination

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TARPONS (33A: Prized game fish) —
plural noun: tarpons
  1. a large tropical marine fish of herringlike appearance. (google)
• • •

This was pretty enjoyable. Had to wrestle with it A WEE BIT, and fell into many traps along the way, but in the end it was slightly more tractable than your average Saturday fare, I think. Couple of nice long Downs, for sure, and then a very solid, serviceable grid, with little in the way of junk. I'd call EDESSA junk (it's certainly high on the list of 6-letter crosswordese), buuuut it really helped me solidify traction in the north, so I'll just give it a polite nod and move along. The proper nouns are a little dated at times (NEVE over BOYER!) but then there's Paul RUDD and BIG PAPI, so maybe things balance out. Oh, ANI. ANI is not good. You can clue it however you like (Skywalker, DiFranco ... some violinist ...), it's always gonna be crosswordese. But the overall state of the grid is strong.


How many holes did I fall into? Let's count
  1. Had the -OW at the end of 2D: Words of understanding and was *certain* that answer ended in KNOW.
  2. Had the O (from YOKO) and U (from RUDD) in the answer for 27D: Works of a lifetime and *confidently* wrote in OPUSES.
  3. Opened the puzzle with an amazing run of Downs (KTEL! BOO! ADREP!) and then, after getting the -UM part ... PODIUM!! (8D: Oration location). 
  4. I don't even feel bad about the MARLINS-for-TARPONS mistake, tbh. I'm only human.
  5. RYE before ALE ... never fail?
  6. Aaaand my favorite wrong answer of the day: for 57D: Appropriate answer for this clue, I had: ANS.
That'll do for today.


Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Better adversary to deal with in saying / FRI 1-20-17 / Genres for Ladysmith Black Mambazo / Eponymous physicist Ernst / TV character who fronted as a waste management consultant

Friday, January 20, 2017

Constructor: Angela Olson "PuzzleGirl" Halsted

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PITTI Palace (52D: Florence's ___ Palace) —
The Palazzo Pitti (Italian pronunciation: [paˈlattso ˈpitti]), in English sometimes called the Pitti Palace, is a vast, mainly Renaissance, palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. // The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions. // In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon, and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. The palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1919. // The palazzo is now the largest museum complex in Florence.
• • •

A woman constructor! First of the year! Who had January 20 in the pool? I love this puzzle, both because it is good, and because Angela is my good friend and I haven't seen her name in the NYT for a long time, and because the central crossing in this grid is perfect for today. That is surely a coincidence, but sometimes God smiles on your puzzle. If only 23-Down were TONY ORLANDO (it fits, Angela!!!). I have been to ORIOLES games with Angela. I have been to Yankee Stadium with Angela and seen MARIANO Rivera give up TWO home runs to my Tigers in the top of the ninth, only to see the &$^%ing Yankees win it in the bottom of the inning on Some Guy's walk-off homer (you see, Angela, I've repressed that part of the memory. I only remember Miggy hitting one out off your beloved MARIANOone of the greatest baseball things I've ever seen live). Oh my god I just want to keep talking about baseball. It's so much more pleasant and hopeful and soothing than anything else I might be forced to think about today.

I did not know PITTI Palace, but the rest of this felt pretty easy. I had issues with ENTICE ([Decoy] is a verb??) ("Sirens decoyed sailors to their deaths ..." Sounds off). I also had issues with the REPS / RETCH crossing, as I misread 25A: Training tally as [Training rally]. I also sometimes thing RETCH (25D: [Gag!]) is spelled with an initial "W." And it is. Just not with this meaning (either spelling makes a perfect cross for 38-Across today, tbh). We're probably gonna see a new HUAC soon, so that's timely. Obama (aka MR. RIGHT) EXITS, so that's sad (I just this second Unfollowed @POTUS on Twitter). SOP UP ... yeah, sure ... bribery, corruption. That works. That's coming. INANITY. Obviously. It's hard not to tea-leaves this thing. I mean, CAD / LEERS!? That's pretty spot-on. Change LEERS to GRABS and bingo. Or, hey, rebuild the grid and go the full SEXUALLY ASSAULTS (15!). So many appropriate options.

As with George Michael yesterday, I managed to make the cross-referenced clues work for me today, as the TOPAZ clue (50D: 1967 Cold War suspense novel by 9-Down) sent me teleporting into the NE via URIS (9D: See 50-Down). I'm totally biased, but I honestly don't see much here to sneer at. ESS? I guess. PSS. Yes. But that is nitpicking. I know from nitpicking, and that is nitpicking. There is no doubt this will be the most enjoyable part of my day today, so thanks, Angela. Love ya. XO.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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