XW Info

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
by Jean O'Conor
Wed 7/30/2014
© 2014, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Wacky interpretations of normal kitchen items today, for example COOKIE SHEET being clued to tracking cookies on a web browser. I particularly enjoyed MICROWAVE, evoking an image of a teeny-tiny surfer catching a teeny-tiny wave. CAN OPENER was fun too, with the "jail" definition of CAN being employed. Good stuff.

Isn't there a real thing as a MEASURING CUP when it comes to undergarments? I got slightly confused when I hit this one, wondering if I hadn't grokked the theme as I had thought. I assumed this was an actual thing, no? Like a muffin tin with cups of different depth?

It's amazing that anyone ever takes me seriously.

Anyhoo, Jean packs in six themers, a very difficult task. Look at how much overlap there is in between adjacent themers. I'm quite impressed that she made the NE corner work, for example, as any time you have an overlap of six letters (the RINSEO of RINSEOFF sandwiched in between COOKIE SHEET and MEASURING CUP), you're bound to have some trouble. It's often difficult to find a word that slips in between while providing you smooth fill. But both this corner and the opposite one come out pretty clean. Well done there; great use of cheater squares (above SHOP AT and below DECAFS) to smooth things out.

I admire the usage of two long downs. TV CHANNELS and especially GETAWAY CAR are beautiful answers which add a lot of spice to the puzzle. They do add a lot of constraints though, and the roughest parts of the puzzle fall within those regions. The west is pretty good with just AVEO and our old crossword friend ISAO Aoki popping up, but that east section felt pretty crunchy with STELA, ELEV and the Scrabbly but esoteric SAXE all crammed together. It's a reasonable tradeoff to get the nice long entries. I wonder if another set of cheater squares could have helped.

All in all, a fun solve. Humor is subjective (ask my poor wife) but many of these themers brought me a chuckle.

1.Sandwich usually served with mayo : BLT
4.Like messy beds : UNMADE
10.Scott Pelley's network : CBS
13.Tyler of "The Lord of the Rings" : LIV
14.April to September, for baseball : SEASON
15.Stadium closed in 2008 : SHEA
16.Like some stocks, for short : OTC
17.List of user IDs? : COOKIESHEET
19."I'm surprised to see you!" : OHHI
21.Run some water over : RINSEOFF
22.Undergarment fitting device? : MEASURINGCUP
25.Tag ... or a word that can precede tag : NAME
26.Plains Indians : OSAGES
30.Jailer with a key ring? : CANOPENER
35.The Rosetta Stone is one : STELA
36.Massachusetts or Connecticut in D.C. : AVE
37.Was livid : FUMED
39.Cowboy moniker : TEX
40.Card combinations : MELDS
43.Hardly an attraction for a surfer? : MICROWAVE
46.Impersonate : POSEAS
48."... ducks in ___" : AROW
49.Directors in charge of downsizing? : CUTTINGBOARD
55.Elementary start : GRADEONE
57.Textile artist, perhaps : DYER
58.Attractive but annoying date? : CHAFINGDISH
61.TurboTax alternative, for short : CPA
62.Features of many late-1950s cars : FINS
63.___ greens : TURNIP
64.Vessel that was 300 cubits long : ARK
65.Poison ___ : OAK
66.Jerks : SPASMS
67.Fish eggs : ROE
1.What century plants do only once : BLOOM
2.Limber : LITHE
3.Just 2 to 13, once : TVCHANNELS
4.Sch. with a noted marching band : USC
5.Opposite of paleo- : NEO
6.Most Cook Islanders : MAORI
7.Welcome at the door : ASKIN
8."___ anything later?" : DOING
9."Romanian Rhapsodies" composer : ENESCO
10.Food Network V.I.P. : CHEF
11.Gripe : BEEF
12.College Board creation : SAT
15.Patronize, as a store : SHOPAT
18.Noted children's "doctor" : SEUSS
20.Golfer Aoki : ISAO
23.One crouching at home : UMP
24.Snorkeling spot : REEF
27.Aid for a bank heist : GETAWAYCAR
28.Peak figure: Abbr. : ELEV
29.___-Coburg (former German duchy) : SAXE
30.Summer getaway : CAMP
31.Former Chevy subcompact : AVEO
32.Book before Deut. : NUM
33.British record giant : EMI
34.Cam button : REC
38.Bummer : DRAG
41.Some coffee orders : DECAFS
42.Arab kingdom native : SAUDI
44.Planet, e.g. : ORB
45.Pinocchio material : WOOD
47.Hospital implants : STENTS
50.Dress smartly, in old parlance : TOGUP
51.Hindu warrior king : INDRA
52.German refusals : NEINS
53.Not an original : REPRO
54.Rapper with the 3x platinum single "Hold On, We're Going Home" : DRAKE
55.Karmann ___, classic German sports car : GHIA
56.Arrange in order : RANK
58.Exec in charge of $$$ : CFO
59.___ card : SIM
60.Some PCs and printers : HPS

© 2014, Jim Horne