Yellow-eyed birds of prey / WED 2-27-13 / Cybermenaces / Sonata finale often / Late 19th-century anarchist's foe / Pre-election ad buyer / Online party reminder
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Constructor: Daniel Kantor
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: CHANGE OF HEART (37A: Decision reversal ... or, literally, what can be found inside 17-, 22-, 49- and 58-Across) — rearrangement of letter string "heart" can be found in each of four 15-letter answers.
GREAT HORNED OWL (17A: Yellow-eyed birds of prey)
SECRET HANDSHAKE (22A: Part of a fraternity ritual, perhaps)
COMPUTER HACKERS (49A: Cybermenaces)
SEEN BUT NOT HEARD (58A: How children should be, in a saying)
Word of the Day: COHOS (54D: Some Pacific salmon) —
The coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, (from the Russian кижуч kizhuch) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers". It is the state animal of Chiba, Japan. [...] The traditional range of the coho salmon runs along both sides of the North Pacific Ocean, from Hokkaidō, Japan and eastern Russian, around the Bering Sea to mainland Alaska, and south to Monterey Bay, California. Coho salmon have also been introduced in all the Great Lakes, as well as many landlocked reservoirs throughout the United States. (wikipedia)
• • •This was an extremely easy puzzle. My not-so-impressive time represents a. my dealing with rather upsetting pet issues *right* before sitting down to do the puzzle (I just wasn't in a mood to speed) and b. my spending 30 seconds or so looking for a stupid IPADS for IPODS error (66A: Apple products since 2001). One look at the year in the clue, or at the cross, would've told me PAD not POD, but I guess I was distracted. Anyway, there was not one point in the puzzle where I slowed down or struggled. In a very segmented grid like this, there are lots of short answers, and that tends to signal "easy." Here's the downside of not driving longer Downs through more than two theme answers: lots of short stuff and not a lot of sizzle. Since all the themes (except the reveal) are 15s, you can't sneak a long Down around any of them, so there's no non-theme answer longer than 6 in the whole puzzle. Hence easiness, and dullness. Now, the theme answers themselves are gold. Really great individual answers. The theme is not exciting—I immediately thought "I've seen this before ... this must have been done a bunch." Which is not true. Or, rather, it's true that the revealer has been a theme answer a bunch before, but the concept has not been executed in quite this way. So basically this is a grid with four very good answers. Theme isn't that clever and fill is clean but unremarkable. I had to pause slightly at RAW BAR (11D: Where to order oysters), NAIFS (25D: Unworldly ones) and ABA (44A: Counselors' org.) (I had APA, thinking of a different kind of "counselor"). My favorite non-theme answer in the puzzle by far is "I'M LIKE..." (12D: "My answer was ...," in teen-speak). It's terribly, horribly accurate, and not just for teenagers. Plenty of grown-ups, most of my students, and occasionally I use this phrase. I have often found myself standing in line for coffee on campus, counting the "LIKE"s in the conversations around me. You get up into the double-digits very, very quickly. Sometimes within a few sentences. This is all to say that the phrase "I'M LIKE..." is ubiquitous. I also really like the clue on PAC (32D: Pre-election ad buyer, maybe). Still waiting to see SUPER-PAC in a puzzle (I think).