Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Constructor: Michael David
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: TRADITIONAL / ANNIVERSARY / GIFTS (28A: With 49- and 69-Across, a hint to the meanings of the bracketed clues) — theme clues are just numbers in brackets, representing the year that corresponds with the appropriate anniversary gift
Word of the Day: FLANGES (41D: Projecting wheel rims) —
A protruding rim, edge, rib, or collar, as on a wheel or a pipe shaft, used to strengthen an object, hold it in place, or attach it to another object.
[Possibly variant of flanch, device at the side of an escutcheon, perhaps from French flanche, feminine of flanc, side. See flank.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/flange#ixzz2I6acXdwI
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The grid looks pretty good, but I don't think that much of this theme. It's pretty ragged. I mean, there are a lot of anniversary gifts in there, and (after 1) they are all multiples of five, so they're roundish, but they are placed in the grid all harum-scarum, and even the revealer ends up being somewhat alop. Plus I just don't care much about this topic, so PFFT. It's not a bad puzzle. I just didn't care for it. I did, however, like the biggish corners, which I thought were going to make the puzzle a bit more difficult than usual, but didn't. OFF-PEAK (3D: Like late-night commuter trains) and ILLEGIT (11D: Dishonest, informally) are nice, unusual answers, and "ONE LOVE" has a nice resonance with the theme, but the random placement of the theme answers, and the general dullness of those answers, has me playing a game in my head where I wonder anniversary is the STYRENE anniversary (12D: Compound in disposable coffee cups). Or the OLESTRA anniversary (2D: Faux fat). I personally can't wait for the NABISCO anniversary (what is that, 22?). My next anniversary is TIN, which ... oh, now, come on—is it TIN because TIN kind of sounds like "ten"? That is pretty weak.
- WOOD (1A: )
- PAPER (5A: )
- SILVER (21A: )
- TIN (31A: )
- PEARL (51A: )
- GOLD (70A: )
- CHINA (20D: )
- DIAMOND (24D: )
- CRYSTAL (46D: )
- RUBY (52D: )
Nothing very troubling today, difficulty-wise. I forgot that "South Pacific" was set in BALI (15D: "South Pacific" setting). Wasn't sure if a [Seller of TV spots] was an AD MAN or an AD REP (38D: Seller of TV spots). Wrote in LAIRD for LIEGE (27A: Feudal lord). Flat-out didn't know FLANGES (it's a word I've heard but could not have defined ... very accurately). Everything else was something close to Monday-easy. My daughter is going slowly but steadily plowing through the original "Star Trek" on Netflix, so I have been seeing SPOCK (19A: Pointy-eared TV character) on a regular basis lately. I'm kind of hoping she gets burnt out on the series before she falls into the black hole of Trekdom. She's nerdy enough, frankly.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld