Thursday, September 8, 2011

Czech religious reformer Jan / FRI 9-9-11 / Anatomical aqueducts / Alice 1971 antidrug book / 1953 hit for Mitch Miller / Home of Sun Devil stadium

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: RYS (61D: Roads with train tracks: Abbr.) —
Var. of RWYS, or "Railways" (
• • •

I really don't have much of an appetite for this tonight. I live in Binghamton, NY. Turn on the Weather Channel. You'll see. Twenty-thousand evacuated, river well over record flood stage in places, all major roads turned into rivers, National Guard, Blackhawk helicopters, etc. The county canceled all classes. Even classes at my STATE UNIVERSITY (62A: Appalachian, e.g.) were canceled (the Events Center there has been turned into a shelter for thousands of displaced residents). We are under "conserve water" and "no unnecessary travel" advisories. And to top it off, my wife got bit by a dog while out running. Really bit. Blood and bruise and doctor's visit bit. So ... yeah. It's been a day.

Puzzle: briefly, it was OK. Top half holds up, bottom half really truly goes to hell. NABES (48D: Local theaters) next to ITERS (49D: Anatomical aqueducts) next to GO ASK (50D: "___ Alice" (1971 antidrug book)) is barfy, I have never ever seen RYS before and was sure I had an error down there, and the ELUTE (45D: Dissolve out) / LOA crossing is criminally bad, esp. with that ridiculous clue on LOA (51A: "Aloha nui ___" (warm greeting in Waikiki)). TIPIS, also terrible (34D: Plains homes: Var.). Best part of the grid was FISHERMAN'S WHARF (1A: Starting point for a ferry ride to Alcatraz). Things go slowly downhill from there as you move (fittingly) down the grid.

Also, SCARLET TANAGERS (30A: North American singers with raspy notes) is the new A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE — I never want to see it in my puzzle again. It's officially played out.

  • 63A: 1953 hit for Mitch Miller ("UNDER PARIS SKIES") — who? what? pass!
  • 12D: Czech religious reformer Jan (HUS) — who? what? pass!
  • 38D: Saint-___ (Delibes contemporary) (SAENS) — OK, Saint-SAENS I know, but your clue reference is supposed to be the *familiar* one of the pair. No way in Hell Delibes is even a fraction as famous as Saint-SAENS.
I'LL GO now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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