Bygone Chryslers / WED 5-2-12 / Atlas go-with / Bygone US Postal Service mascot / Novy Russian literary magazine / Watson's creator / Upright swimmers / Q-U string
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Constructor: Paula Gamache
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: CROSS (38A: Out of sorts ... or what completes the answers to the nine starred clues) — starred clues have answers that make no sense unless you imagine the word CROSS in front of them
Word of the Day: GAZETTEER (17A: Atlas go-with) —
A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, an important reference for information about places and place names (see: toponymy), used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup of a country, region, or continent as well as the social statistics and physical features, such as mountains, waterways, or roads. Examples of information provided by gazetteers include the location of places, dimensions of physical features, population, GDP, literacy rate, etc. This information is generally divided into overhead topics with entries listed in alphabetical order. (wikipedia)
• • •A variation on the "words that can follow"-type theme, only here there are no real Theme Answers per se, just ... words. Nine short words. There is longer fill, utterly unrelated to the theme, and it's ... fine. Occasionally entertaining (I like BUYS TIME, GAZETTEER, AUSTERITY, and BEAR CLAW). Solving experience was a nice diversion, but the whole missing-word theme adds difficulty without also adding interest. Also, CROSS is perhaps too easy a word to combine other words with. Hatch, section, country, beam ... I could go on.
- 14A: *Features accompanying the comics, often (WORDS) — "features" is not a word I'd use. Really threw me. [They accompany the comics, often] would've worked Just fine. This habit of gumming up clues with off-phrasing can be seen again in the ARMOR clue (1A: Pieces of mail). ARMOR and "mail" are synonymous. The "pieces of" part of the clue is a borderline nonsensical attempt at misdirection.
- 16A: *Like some tennis volleys (COURT)
- 62A: *Labradoodle, e.g. (BREED)
- 64A: *Symbol on some flags (BONES)
- 2D: *Intersection (ROADS)
- 12D: *Appear as Tootsie, e.g. (DRESS) — this is oddly specific. In fact, it appears to be a clue that relates only to Dustin Hoffman.
- 34D: *Weapon for William Tell (BOW)
- 48D: *Scope lines (HAIRS)
- 52D: *Bygone Chryslers (FIRES)
- 6A: Watson's creator (IBM) — Wanted only Doyle, though for a ridiculous half-second I second-guessed myself and considered POE.
- 8D: Cousteau's milieux (MERS) — There's something noxious about the plural "milieux." Of all the ways to clue this basic word, the puzzle goes with "gratuitously frenchy."
- 29D: Olympics competitor of NZL (AUS) — in the Olympics, you compete against ... everyone. So ... whatthehell? This clue is terrible. I asked my NZL wife. She agreed: terrible. "They *do* have a competitive relationship, but ... *everyone* competes in the Olympics." Me: "What about [Rugby rival of NZL]?" My NZL wife: "[Rugby rival] would've been Good."
- 35D: Novy ___ (Russian literary magazine) (MIR) — oh dear lord. As if people know American literary magazines, let alone Russian ones. MIR is a spacestation. Or the Russian word for "peace." Or a typo of MRI. And that's all it is. [FYI: apparently MIR also means "world," and "Novy MIR" means "New World"]