Advertising figure with a monocle / MON 9-17-12 / "Don't look ___!" / Bridge player's combo / So last year / "Quit your beefing!" / Blood group? / Basic drawing class / Curt summons
Monday, September 17, 2012
Constructor: Adam G. Perl
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: MINCE MEAT (57A: Pie filling … or a hint to the answers to the six starred clues?) — Six answers end in (or, in the case of two, comprise only of) anagrams of "meat."
Word of the Day: CALLA lily (62A) —
Zantedeschia aethiopica (common names, Calla lily, Arum lily, Varkoor, an Afrikaans name meaning pig's ear); syn. Calla aethiopica L., Richardia africana Kunth, Richardia aethiopica (L.) Spreng., Colocasia aethiopica(L.) Spreng. ex Link) is a species in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland. (Wikipedia)
• • •Greetings, Internet. This is Finn Vigeland, constructor of a puzzle Rex once called "not-at-all cringe-inducing," which, coming from Rex, is a huge compliment. You may also know me from my not-quite 15 minutes of fame on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
- META (1A: Prefix with physics)
- ASPARTAME (20A: Substance marketed under the name NutraSweet)
- LEMME AT 'EM (24A: Fightin' words)
- THERE'S NO I IN TEAM (39A: Coach's cliched reminder)
- CHECKMATE (49A: Chess ending)
- AT ME (69A: "Don't look ___!")
I would have eliminated one of those and expanded the entry containing META, which is awful lonely at 1A. How about something fresh like THAT'S SO META, potentially clued better than my feeble attempts of [Response to a joke about a joke] or [Comment on a film about filmmaking]? (Is "that's so meta" in-the-language beyond my broader circle? Would love to know what people think.)
I do like the revealer, MINCE MEAT, but would have liked it more if it were referenced not with mince as an adjective, like [Pie filler … or a hint to the answers to the six starred clues?], but as a verb: [Pie filler … or what the six starred answers do?], since they literally mince meat into different pieces. Minor point, though. THERE'S NO I IN TEAM, while not an original answer, does look nice as a central grid spanner.
[6D: "You're A REAL pal" … sort of]
So, I enjoyed some of the theme, but found it flawed. The fill was up and down. Good parts: Looking at R?DCR??? for 40D made me think the C was wrong, but the correct answer quickly fell into place after I moved over and got CLARA (49D: Barton of the 40D). Good misdirection with [Blood group?]. This puzzle also featured a number of long clues for short answers, including the ones for LIE (23A: What "can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," per Mark Twain) and EARS (2D: What friends, Romans and countrymen lent, in Shakespeare), but I kind of like when that happens, so I was fine with that. Not sure why the "in Shakespeare" is necessary in 2D… where else did friends, Romans and countrymen lend parts of their body?! (Don't answer that.)
Besides the last theme answer, there were quite a few partials in this puzzle, including 6D: "You're A REAL pal" and 38D: "I'M AS surprised as you are". I guess the North is a little dense on theme (with the semi-stacking of 20A and 24A), but the result is 14/15 Wheel of Fortune letters (I forget what Rex calls them, but I mean RSTLNE). The IMAS section only has to deal with the end of 39A, and considering it crosses the obscure AARONS (47A: ___ rod (molding with a twined serpent design)), I would have tried to redo the East.
- TEN ACE (43A: Bridge player's combo) — This looks a lot like "menace," but it does not rhyme with it. Curious.
- OON (33D: Suffix with ball) — I always wondered if this was valid, because I don't really associate a balloon with a ball, though I guess it is ball-like. A quick Googling of "balloon etymology" puts my fears to rest: it comes from the Italian palla, "ball," + -one, suffix indicating great size. Who knew?
- SEE ME (6D: Curt summons) — Anyone else read this as [Court summons]? Wanted WRIT or SUBPOENA or something.
- PASSE (5A: So last year) — Also contributing to my troubles in the north, since I first had RETRO, then OUTRE, since I apparently don't know what OUTRE means.
- BASIL (68A: Pesto ingredient) — My dad (hi dad!) makes absolutely delicious pesto. We get our Italian food in Little Italy in the Bronx, near Fordham University. Check it out if you get the chance!
Signed, Finn Vigeland, Competitive Spit-Taker of CrossWorld