Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Muslim mystic / WED 10-26-11 / Actress Naldi of silents / Nicest room on ship / Funnywoman Martha

Constructor: Milo Beckman

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: INCORRECT CHANGE (38A: Cashier's error ... as suggested by 17-, 22-, 47- and 58-Across) — familiar phrases containing coin denominations have those denominations swapped out for other, "incorrect" denominations. Wacky answers, but no wacky cluing involved.

Word of the Day: SUFI (46D: Muslim mystic) —
Sufism or taṣawwuf (Arabic: تصوّف‎) is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a ṣūfī (صُوفِيّ). Another name for a Sufi is Dervish. // Classical Sufi scholars have defined Sufism as "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God." Alternatively, in the words of the Darqawi Sufi teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba, "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one's inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits." (wikipedia)
• • •

But these aren't funny. And there's no logic to the denomination changes. PUMPERQUARTER is pure nonsense. I don't know what's happening this week, but it's not good. The fill isn't even interesting enough to talk about. It's all very common. Not bad (except for that IIN / NMI juxtaposition, o man ...), and not good. Just boring.

GANG SIGNS is a cool answer (11D: Handy IDs in the hood?), and the clues on ESP (5D: Medium capacity?) and VERA (35A: Aloe additive?) and EROS (42A: Baby taking a bow?) were clever. That's about all I got in the way of praise for this one. I can't think of a puzzle about which I've had less to say. Well, one interesting feature—the puzzle has thirteen (!?) "?" clues. For a Wednesday ... for any day, that is a Lot. And still the puzzle was quite easy. Usually "?" clues act like speedbumps; today, that effect appears to have been negligible.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Exhibited perfect braking (STOPPED ON A PENNY)
  • 22A: Nicest room on a ship, probably (CAPTAIN'S DIMES)
  • 47A: Certain loaf (PUMPERQUARTER)
  • 58A: Being frugal (PINCHING NICKELS)
Did you know that TAHOE is a 1,000-foot-deep lake that straddles a state line? Well, now you do. Seriously, I got nothing today. OTO, ADZE, AGAS, RESET, ILE ... what, exactly, am I supposed to dig into here?

["Pitchin' pennies, honies had the high-top jellies..."]

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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