Thursday, March 7, 2013
Constructor: Jim Page
Relative difficulty: easily medium challenging. Or, How Much Do you Like Baseball?
THEME: HOT CORNER (35A Third base, in baseball lingo ... or a hint for answering eight other clues in this puzzle)—all eight answers around the outside of the grid require adding "HOT" in front to fit the clues.
Word of the Day: SLIVOVITZ (Plum brandy) — a distilled beverage made from Damson plums. It is frequently called plum brandy. There's a lot more on wiki about all the places that make this stuff and what they call it, but this will suffice for our purposes.
• • •Hello, Rexworld. This is treedweller filling in. As you are probably aware, this weekend is the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in Brooklyn. So, no doubt, Rex is sharpening his pencils, laying out his lucky outfit, studying atlases (MT. APO!), practicing with a mockup of the giant-sized puzzle he will see in the finals, and meditating over peppermint tea in preparation for the competition.
Though it's likely a large number of regular readers here are similarly occupied at the Super Bowl of Cruciverbalists, Mr Shortz was kind enough to leave a puzzle for us schlubs who couldn't make the trip. Some of us should find it to be a fairly easy Thursday offering. The rest of us have lives outside of baseball.
- 1A Difficult political situation: (Hot) POTATO
- 1D Snacks in the frozen food aisle: (Hot) POCKETS
- 7A Chili: (Hot) PEPPER
- 12D Lover of souped-up engines: (Hot) RODDER
- 42D Spicy pretzel dip: (Hot) MUSTARD
- 43D It's hard to score: (Hot) TICKET
- 63A Real good-looker: (Hot) TAMALE
- 64A Showed off: (Hot) DOGGED
- 35A Third base, in baseball lingo ... or a hint for answering eight other clues in this puzzle: HOT CORNER
Each theme entry I filled in, I had a niggling thought that it didn't really make sense, though it would if preceded by HOT, but I still failed to put it together until I was three-quarters done. So this came out challenging for me. I think most people will find it easier than that. In the end, I guess it was kinda fun to see all the HOT phrases, but I was hit in too many blind spots and just plowed my way through it.
- 61A Gird: ENSTEEL — I envision enlivened enwranglement ensuing around this entry, though personally I find it perfectly cromulent.
- 18A Plop preceder: KER — pretty easy, once "cup of coffee" didn't fit.
- TAL ELAM REE IGER ORECK ENID OLAS SISTA CITI — IRAE EZINE NUS
- 51D Latin lover's words: TEAMO — If I have to pick a team, I will happily choose Team O.
Signed, treedweller, on behalf of
Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld