As I Lay Dying father / THU 1-17-13 / Midsize moon of Saturn / Dweller on Straits of Johor / Antarctic body named for Englishman / Battle of Fort Brooke locale 1863 / Automaton of Jewish folklore / City intersected by I-76 I-77
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Constructor: Milo Beckman
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: MIND THE [GAP] (62A: Tube warning ... or an apt title for this puzzle?) — the word "GAP" appears in what should be gaps between one side of the grid and the other
Word of the Day: TETHYS (4D: Midsize moon of Saturn) —
In Greek mythology, Tethys (Ancient Greek: Τηθύς), daughter of Uranus and Gaia was an archaic Titaness and aquatic sea goddess, invoked in classical Greek poetry, but not venerated in cult. Tethys was both sister and wife of Oceanus. She was mother of the chief rivers of the world known to the Greeks, such as the Nile, the Alpheus, the Maeander, and about three thousand daughters called the Oceanids. Considered as an embodiment of the waters of the world she also may be seen as a counterpart of Thalassa, the embodiment of the sea. [...] Tethys, a moon of the planet Saturn, and the prehistoric Tethys Ocean are named after this goddess. (wikipedia)
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I like this puzzle but I *imagine* the GAP squares were black in the newspaper (is that true?). We got this big NOTE in AcrossLite (.puz) saying "This puzzle features elements that cannot be duplicated in electronic formats. We strongly suggest using the PDF file instead," so I printed out the PDF version ... and it looked just like the grid in AcrossLite. I just solved it as a rebus (i.e. as it appears in the grid, except actually I left the GAP squares blank ... but the puzzle didn't accept that, so then I just put in "G"s and bam, done). Turns out "Print Puzzle" at the NYT site is Not the same as PDF, which is a separate, hard-to-see link ... No idea why the "Print Puzzle" option doesn't just print a .pdf, or in this case why the "Print Puzzle" option didn't give me the *proper* grid. Ugh. The tech on that site continues to be terrible and un-user-friendly. So the upshot of my experience is annoyance at the NYT for even offering the patently useless (today) "Print Puzzle" option. Now that I've seen what the puzzle is supposed to look like (actually two separate grids with empty space where the eighth column would normally be), I'm more impressed. Puzzle was probably easier if you saw it in this format, as the GAP is much, much more obvious. I picked it up at THE BIG APPLE, once I had the -PLE in place. After that, the theme answers were pretty easy, though the rest cluing and fill remained tough throughout. This was especially true in the NW—TETHYS next to ANSE (5D: "As I Lay Dying" father) is going to destroy some people. Those are not what you would call household names. I knew ANSE because, well, I know far too much crosswordese, but I was not at all sure about TETHYS. It's not like the awkward RAT-TAT (?) was much help in picking up that initial "T" in TETHYS. Other areas of the grid posed problems, but none were back-breaking.
- 19A: Locational nickname with origins in horse racing (THE BIG APPLE)
- 32A: Noted series of paintings by Andrew Wyeth (HELGA PICTURES) — I love this answer, though I would've called them the Helga Paintings ... I mean, the "P" in GAP made "PICTURES" an easy guess, but the exact phrasing here was new to me.
- 39A: Preparing to be shot, say (STRIKING A POSE)
- 49A: Dweller on the Straits of Johor (SINGAPOREAN) — whoa. Funny-looking word. Got it by inference.
- 24A: Antarctic body named for an Englishman (ROSS SEA) — triple-S score! I think I learned about this sea while constructing a puzzle one time. Lots of very, very useful letters.
- 42A: Medical subject of Time magazine covers of 1967 and 2010 (THE PILL) — great clue and answer. Not sure what the '67 cover was for, but the '10 cover was for the 50th anniversary of THE PILL's approval for use in the U.S.
- 11D: Battle of Fort Brooke locale, 1863 (TAMPA) — No idea. None. I didn't know anything important ever happened in TAMPA, or all of Florida, for that matter. Doesn't seem like a real place. No offense, Florida.
- 22D: Food with an inedible center? (DONUT) — yeah, that's good.
- 44D: Automaton of Jewish folklore (GOLEM) — there's a silent movie from 1920 called "The GOLEM" that's in my Netflix queue ... along with a thousand other movies that I haven't yet watched.
- 46D: City intersected by I-76 and I-77 (AKRON) — needed the "K" to get this. Without "K," ???? With "K," easy.
- 50D: Architect ___ Ming Pei (IOEH) — Smugly thought, "HA, I know this," and then wrote in YEOH ... despite the fact that that would make him Y. M. PEI. D'oh!