Scarperer author / FRI 5-25-12 / Compass divisions / Home Invasion rapper / First jazz musician to win Pulitzer / 2022 World Cup host / Hinged vessel / Eugene Onegin girl / Lethal injection adminsterers
Friday, May 25, 2012
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: U.N. DAY (15D: Oct. 24) —
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly declared 24 October, the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, as which "shall be devoted to making known to the peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for" its work. (wikipedia)
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ULTIMAS (15A: Concluding syllables)? AMEN AMEN (11D: "Couldn't aree with you more")? The whole NW corner is really sub-Quigley, all RE-s and -ERs. By the end of the solve I was blanking on stuff that should've come to me quickly. THE PE- and couldn't see THE PEQUOD (19D: "Moby-Dick" setting). MARS- and couldn't (for a Long time) see MARSALIS (35D: First jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize). FROZEN D-I- and could get only as far as FROZEN DRINK... needed QUAD (53D: Brown green?) to (finally) pick up FROZEN DAIQUIRI (51A: It might be covered by an umbrella). I think the puzzle was probably just Medium-Challenging, but my time puts it squarely in my personal "Challenging" range. Took me 50% longer than my normal Friday time, though I think some of that extra time is frustration/depression time. STEERS TO? (33D: Points in the direction of) Where's the bam? The zing? INTERNET DATING is nice (18A: Modern chemistry experiment?), but nothing else has any fire, and lots of stuff (OCTANTS, GEODES, INANEST, etc.) just lies there. I guess if I had my own thriving personal constructing empire, I wouldn't give the NYT my best stuff either. Luckily for all of us, BEQ's worst stuff is still well above the NYT's standards. Even this puzzle was relatively enjoyable, U.N. DAY (and DUDE UP, and the like) notwithstanding.
AS NEEDED somehow ending up the first thing in the grid. INTERNET DATING came reasonably quickly and allowed me to get into that NW corner, but the NE corner proved *much* harder. U.N. DAY? No way. ULTIMAS? Noooo way. C SHARP!? That clue is cute, in retrospect, but *ouch* (8A: Key for someone with 20/20 vision?). STAT and HIT IT (as clued) were really hard to get at (9D: Yards, e.g. + 10D: Command associated with numbers). The only way I got in there, finally, was by sussing out RANG TRUE (from just the -UE) (12D: Seemed right). Clues on ASPS and MRS., also wicked (fun, but tough) (23D: Lethal injection administerers + 27A: ___ Fields). I just wish the fill, all around, was as good as the cluing. Had no idea a STEIN was "hinged" (25D: Hinged vessel, often). Couldn't get David DUKE(S) out of my head at 26D: 2001 British Open champion David (DUVAL). OCTANTS, no hope (56A: Compass divisions). Even EVE was tough (41A: Threshold). Never read or saw "Lonesome Dove," so GUS wasn't coming any time soon (44A: Lead character in Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove"). Thought the [Herb that causes euphoria] was C--NN- (because my [hinged vessel] was a STENT, not a STEIN at first), and so wanted what I later realized was SENNA, which is a plant ... oh, man, I was in the weeds (CATNIP). For the life of me could not think of a country (or city, or any geographical location) in five letters ending -AR for 39A: 2022 World Cup host (QATAR). Thought Christmas tree bases were covered with SHEETS (mine usually are), not SKIRTS (46D: Christmas tree base coverings). No matter how many times I see his name, Brendan (...) BEHAN means nothing to me (21A: "The Scarperer" author). He's the same as that composer LEHAR, i.e. just a guy with -EHA- in the middle of his stupid name. My only real gimmes in this grid were JASMINE, SUNNI, and ICE-T (31D: "Home Invasion" rapper) / TEEN. Everything else took real, only occasionally pleasant work.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld