Friday, November 4, 2011

Glassware ovens / SAT 11-5-11 / 19th dynasty's founder / Sister of Nephthys / 2004-06 Haitian PM / Ulysses star 1967

Constructor: Kurt Mueller

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LEHRS (46D: Glassware ovens) —
(engineering) A long oven in which glass is cooled and annealed after being formed. Also spelled lear; leer.
• • •

Wow, that was unpleasant. I was nowhere near this puzzle's wavelength, and almost nothing made me go "wow" or "cool" or clever. Just not for me. At all. I have to say that the construction seems really shoddy right around the SW corner. If you are going to stack one 15 on top of another, maybe don't choose words that give you --HR- in one of the crosses. LEHRS is very obscure, and then there's a crud fill domino effect with ATHOL (ugh, terrible fill—a little town that only northeasterners are going to have heard of) (45A: Massachusetts town near the New Hampshire border) and then some Haitian P.M. who was in power for a whole two years (36D: 2004-06 Haitian P.M. = LATORTUE). Does his name mean "torture," because ... that seems apt (I think it means "turtle," actually). Oh, and LECT (41A: Symposium offering: Abbr.)—also not so good, also located in that cluster*$@# of a corner. RAMSESI is ugly (37A: 19th dynasty's founder). You would never say that a ROADSIDE "holds" a "shoulder" (37D: Shoulder holder). MIR went around an ORB? Really? Really? You're calling Earth an ORB now, Shakespeare? (15D: It was last inhabited in 2000). And LMN and ALI are such awesome fill that you want to call attention to them with this KO nonsense? I'm guessing there are lots of people who don't see WARLORDs as particularly "minor" (18A: Minor despot). Wahoo is an ELM? Do the bobolinks live there? A torpedo is a sandwich? AN E? (52D: The 4th of November?) I'm supposed to accept that indefinite article? ANE is a suffix and that's all it is. That's All It Is. Dear lord. I've heard of NEO-conservative, but not a NEO-liberal (56D: Liberal leader?). A county in Maryland? (9A: Queen ___ (Maryland county) = ANNE'S) See, the ridiculous clues are on the crappy fill. This is always a bad combo.

I liked GOLD CARD and ALFRED HITCHCOCK and, to a lesser extent, GRILLED / CORN (Street fair fare). Otherwise, this was tough and unpleasant, my least favorite puzzle combo.


  • 1A: First name in eroticism (ANAIS) —also, half of a perfume name.

  • 14A: Relative of a bobolink (BALTIMORE ORIOLE) — I guess if you can't make your clues clever, you just look up some ridiculous name in a bird book.
  • 21A: Title role for Omar Sharif or Benicio Del Toro (CHE) — one of a handful of little gimmes strewn about the puzzle. I think Sharif has been used to clue "CHE!" (1969) in late-week puzzles before.
  • 44A: Popular tech news site (CNET) — seems puzzleworthy to me, but I realize that I very rarely see it. Maybe it's seen as too off-the-radar for most NYT solvers to be commonplace. 
  • 59A: Gives a "Yoo-hoo!" on Facebook (POKES) — another gimme. I never understood the POKE function. If I want to get someone's attention, I just write on that person's wall or use Direct Message. I think the "POKE" function was invented and became popular only because it sounds funny / sexual. Seems useless.
  • 26D: Tony's boss on "Who's the Boss?" (ANGELA) — one of the very few times today where I thought "Now you're speaking my language!" 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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