Sauce often served with oysters / SAT 9-28-13 / Woodenware / Former Israeli president Katsav / Plastic that can be made permanently rigid /
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Constructor: Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Challenging
Word of the Day: REMISE (5D: Release a claim to, legally) —
tr.v. re·mised, re·mis·ing, re·mis·es
To relinquish a claim to; surrender by deed.(thefreedictionary.com)
• • •
MIGNONETTE as marquee words (28A: Sauce often served with oysters). ORNAMENTAL TREES (17A: Mimosas and such). I know mimosas (only) as drinks. No "aha" on that one. Just ... whatever. A few ugly answers here and there, but for a low-word-count puzzle, this one's actually pretty clean. It's just ... fill by database, cluing by tin ear. I grinded this one out (ground?), but rarely enjoyed myself. When a puzzle takes me forever, as this one did, I always look back and think "how did that take so long?" or "if I'd just looked at this clue earlier ... why didn't I do that?" Today, the thing that took me Forever was TIME SINK (40A: Angry Birds or Tetris, e.g.) (that should Really have been "perhaps," not "e.g."; they are not TIME SINKs per se, though they are for some). But once I (finally) looked at 23D: Occupy opponent, it didn't take me long (with -AN-) in place to get BIG BANK, which gave me the "K", which was all I needed. Dumb. Wait, TREEN? Am I seeing that right? Holy crud, my distaste for this puzzle just jumped upwards (13D: Woodenware). Hard. Gack. What is that? If it were a Thing, we would be seeing it All The Time. Those are common letters. And I thought REMISE was bad. NINS at least was a gimme.
NINS and PAW PRINT. Took a little work, but had that corner done pretty quickly. Not so lucky elsewhere. Took a long time for BARTOLI's name to float into view, which is what finally made that SE corner solvable. Repeatedly misread 53A: Words after "say" or before "bad" (IT ISN'T SO) and thus kept trying to make both "say" and "bad" follow the phrase. Last section to fall was the NE, largely because I didn't have the part following ORNAMENTAL. Also because TREEN is from outer space. Those damned NEEDY, always seeking attention (12D: Attention-seeking, say). If only I'd been a heartless ass, I could've gotten that one Much more quickly.
BIG BANK and BIG BANG are the same phrase minus one letter. Crossing them at the center doesn't change this. I know the guy yesterday did it and it was supposed to be all cute but That puzzle had the CHANGE / ONE / LETTER theme and this one ... doesn't.
Why the hell is "[fun fact!]" in that SCHOOLMATE clue. Faux enthusiasm. No thanks. You know what's a fun fact—that TREEN exists and does not mean "the plural of trees."
Enough of this.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld