2008 campaign personality - MONDAY, Apr. 27, 2009 - J Krozel (Politico Paul / Norman Rockwell painting subject W.W. II)
Monday, April 27, 2009
One of the three main orders of classical Greek architecture, characterized by two opposed volutes in the capital.(tomorrow's word of the day - VOLUTE ... actually, I think that's just the name for the scrolly things)
Not much of a theme, and considering the non-theme fill was less than stellar, I have to give this one a thumb's down. There's something to be said for having such a contemporary theme answer in JOE THE PLUMBER (35A: 2008 campaign personality). But then again, there's something to be said for not forcing me to contemplate this moron and his absurd fame on a Monday before breakfast. Nothing against conservatism per se (shout-out to RON Paul - 27D: Politico _____ Paul - who makes many other self-described conservatives look like craven, spineless fools), but I don't think of JOE THE PLUMBER as "conservative." I don't know what he is. I'm just glad I haven't had to hear about him for months. Until today. He does not go well (if at all) with the other theme answers - in fact, the "theme" coheres quite poorly. Why these three? What's the point? Where's BOB THE BUILDER? SAM THE BUTCHER? MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN? MOTT THE HOOPLE?
- 24A: Animated TV character whose best friend is Boots (Dora the Explorer) - seen her several times as a grid-spanning answer. Moratorium!
- 35A: 2008 campaign personality (Joe the Plumber)
- 50A: Norman Rockwell painting subject of W.W. II (Rosie the Riveter) - this was the hardest of the three for me to get, especially given that I went with HAH and HAW before I hit on HAR (40D: Part of a guffaw), which provides the "R" in ROSIE.
- 39D: The year 1406 (MCDVI) - it's a Monday. Your Roman numerals should be three squares tops, if you even have to resort to them at all. Actually, I'd like to extend that rule to all puzzles. Special dispensation if the area around the long Roman numeral is particularly sparkling. Dispensation in this case is Not granted.
- 1D: High-priority item (must-do) - something can be a "must-see," but a "must-do" ... maybe, but it feels iffy. Don't like it.
- 15A: Not appropriate (unapt) - always hate this word. I think INAPT sounds better.
- 10A: Get an _____ effort (E for) - bah. Why all the cruddy fill on a Monday? Partials and abbrevs. and what not ... So you've got a few Scrabbly letters ... they are not worth having to endure this low-rent stuff. Never mind the slew of ugly crosswordese (EMIR, ADE (42A: Fruity cooler), ADEN, EPEE, ST PAT (21D: March 17 honoree, for short), ESE, IDE, EWER (26D: Fancy pitcher), SAC and SEC, etc.) I mean, -ORY? Where are my Monday pros? Bring back the smooth, professionally filled puzzle. I did this in 3:20, like any other Monday, but between the bad fill and having to endure the "personality" of JOE THE PLUMBER, I kind of wish I had my 3:20 back.
- 5A: Rich soil component (humus) - add an "M" to get a delicious chickpea and tahini spread. Other earth-related words you might see in the grid include LOAM and LOESS.
- 16A: Duo plus one (trio) - not liking this phrasing. Makes it seem as if "duo" and "TRIO" are part of same language as opposed to just sets of two and three.
- 54A: Fix permanently, as an interest rate (lock in) - this, I liked. Fresh, colloquial, recognizable, in-the-language. Nice.
- 38D: Like the Beatles' White Album (untitled) - thought it was just called "The Beatles."
- 36D: Minimum pizza order (one slice) - this one is also pretty good, in that I didn't know what to make of it, but couldn't dispute the answer once I had it.
- 32D: Beer blast centerpiece (keg) - I like how "centerpiece" does not really go with the image of a KEGger at all.
- 8D: Coming immediately after, as on TV (up next) - more decent colloquialness.
- 45D: "Don't let it get you down!" ("chin up!") - ditto. HUSH HUSH (5D: Top-secret) and FREE RIDE (11D: Something for nothing, as what a hitchhiker seeks) aren't bad either.
- 32A: Casey of "American Top 40" (Kasem) - one of the most important and familiar voices of my childhood.
- 40A: Like paintings and some juries (hung) - right under JOE? And next to SAC? Seriously, breakfast.
- 60A: Idiot (dope) - went with DOLT. DODO would also have worked.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
Beautiful Monday puzzle in the LAT today - write-up here