Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Whimsical 2001 film set in Paris / WED 10-19-11 / Muslim palace divisions / Mast attachment / Cross aromatherapy patient

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: Cross words — idioms meaning "cross" (as in "angry" or "miffed") are given jokey ("?"-style), literal clues

Word of the Day:  Guinea-BISSAU (49D: Guinea-___ (West African nation)) —
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau Listeni/ˈɡɪni bɪˈs/ (Portuguese: República da Guiné-Bissau [...]) is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west. // It covers 36,125 km² (nearly 14,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,600,000. // Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were part of the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. It then became the Portuguese colony of Portuguese Guinea in the 19th century. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with the Republic of Guinea. (wikipedia)
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"CROSS" WORDS CONTEST week! All the puzzles this week, from Monday to Saturday, have been created by one person, Patrick Berry. Have your solutions handy, because the Saturday puzzle conceals a meta-challenge involving the solution grids of all six. When you have the answer to the meta-challenge, mail it to: Please do not post your answers here on the blog and please do not mail them to me! Only answers e-mailed to the above address will be considered. Twenty-five correct solvers, chosen at random, whose entries are received by 6:00 p.m. E.T. Sunday, Oct. 23, will receive copies of “Will Shortz Picks His Favorite Puzzles: 101 of the Top Crosswords From The New York Times.” Only one entry per person, please. The answer and winners’ names will appear on Friday, Oct. 28, at
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Cute use of idioms today. This one played slightly harder than a normal Wednesday for me, but only slightly, and some of that slowness was my own damn stuck-brain fault. I mean, blanking on the stupid Swiss canton? Who does that? (1A: Swiss canton=>URI) I wanted ARI or ULM ... bah. Never heard of Guinea-BISSAU, so that really hurt me toward the end. So did having LETS / LINUX instead of VETS / VISTA (57D: Ones out of service? / 57A: Windows operating system released in 2007). I don't know what I was thinking with LINUX, as it doesn't fit the clue at all). Other moments of slowness came not from the obscurity of the answers, but from the (to my ear) strangeness of the clue. [Homeboys] and PALS don't really hang out in the same neighborhood, language-wise. I had BROS. I don't think of an ICICLE as a point (3D: Freezing point?). It *has* a point. I have never wanted a student to say "AHA" (35D: What a teacher likes to hear from a pupil). In fact, I have never, ever, ever heard a student say such a thing. "I SEE," maybe. "I GET IT," even more likely. "I DON'T DESERVE THIS GRADE. I'M AN 'A' STUDENT," all the time.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: The cross baby was ... (UP IN ARMS)
  • 24A: The cross motorist stuck at a stoplight was ... (SEEING RED)
  • 37A: The cross man who'd been cloned was ... (BESIDE HIMSELF)
  • 52A: The cross woman taking her bubble bath was ... (IN A LATHER)
  • 62A: The cross aromatherapy patient was ... (INCENSED)
I slowed myself down by botching a few things here and there. SPAR for SAIL (15A: Mast attachment). SAUL (?) for PAUL (36A: Author of several New Testament epistles). Something about the word "divisions" made it hard for me to come up with HAREMS (67A: Muslim palace divisions). Couldn't tell what was being divided and whether there were multiple divisions in one palace or whether clue was just asking for a plural of a single division (or area) within a palace. Never had any desire to see "I AM SAM" (45D: 2001 drama whose title is taken from "Green Eggs and Ham"), though the soundtrack (all Beatles covers) is quite good. Also never had any desire to see "AMÉLIE" (8D: Whimsical 2001 film set in Paris), despite the enthusiastic ravings of so many filmies. Wait, did I say "despite?" I meant "because of."

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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