Grassy expanse in Southwest / MON 3-4-13 / Nevada city on Humboldt River / Little Dickens girl / M.I.T. business school name / Bovine mouthful / Four-time Daytona 500 winner / Legal thriller author who wrote Presumed Innocent / Cantina chip
Monday, March 4, 2013
Constructor: Ian Livengood
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: RHO (35D: Greek letter that sounds like the ends of 16-, 22-, 36-, 47- or 58-Across) — just like it says:
- 16A: Legal thriller author who wrote "Presumed Innocent" (SCOTT TUROW)
- 22A: Illustrious warrior returning from battle (CONQUERING HERO)
- 36A: King Tut, e.g. (EGYPTIAN PHARAOH)
- 47A: Four-time Daytona 500 winner (CALE YARBOROUGH)
- 58A: Journalists' office (NEWS BUREAU)
Word of the Day: NELL Trent (43A: "Little" Dickens girl) —
The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel by Charles Dickens. The plot follows the life of Nell Trent and her grandfather, both residents of The Old Curiosity Shop in London.
• • •Wow, looks like I'm in top form for this weekend's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Sarcasm! Stumbled all over myself trying to get the correct words in the grid and then hit "Done" with one square still blank. *That*'ll cost you come tournament time. A lot. It's a really, really good thing that all solving is done on paper, because I spend much of my on-line solving time (on easy puzzles particularly) fixing typos and trying with only varying degrees of success to get the cursor where I want it to go. You'd think with so much typing and solving practice I'd have this all down by now, but no. Today, I was cruising along thinking this was the easiest puzzle I'd done in a while, but my stupid fat fingers kept betraying me, and so I ended up with a normal time. Still, I have to think the puzzle will play on the Easy side, so I'm splitting the difference with my difficulty rating. Anyway, none of this has much to do with the puzzle, which is quite nice. A very strong Monday. Very simple theme, very grabbily executed. All "RHO" sounds are spelled differently, which is a nice (necessary, but still nice) touch. I suppose it's possible that either or both of the names SCOTT TUROW and CALE YARBOROUGH might not be familiar to some solvers, but both of them are major contributors to Crosswordese: CALE for his first name, and TUROW for his memoir "ONE L."
The NW, with its OHI (?) / ASSOC crossing, is slightly ugly, but most everywhere else looks good. I got slightly slowed down in various places. With just "G" in place, I didn't know GROIN (3D: Body part often pulled in sports). I thought GLUTE, but wrote in nothing. Couldn't remember if SLOAN was right for 7D: M.I.T. business school name. It was my first instinct, but in my brain it had an "E" on the end. I also, very briefly, considered SLONE (?). Blanked at 9A: Daffodil-to-be (BULB) and 12D: Name said before and after James (BOND) when I first saw them. As I've said before, I hate *all* [Laugh syllable] clues, so screw you, HAR. Looked at 38D: Sit ___ by and could Not get my head around it. Figured it must be a partial. Racked my brain for two-word answers that worked. Eventually stopped racking and moved on. That's all my lowlights. As I said, it's a solid Monday puzzle overall. Thumbs up to puzzle, thumbs down to my abysmal speed-typing skills.