Monday, January 2, 2012

Chaiken co-creator/writer of The L Word / TUE 1-3-12 / Hitter of 511 career home runs / Baseball brothers George Ken / Fictional reporter Kent

Constructor: Allan E. Parrish

Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning toward Medium-Challenging)

THEME: Middleton and Jackson —two-word phrases where second word is an anagram of KATES

Word of the Day: EROSE (26D: Not even, as a leaf's edge) —
Irregularly notched, toothed, or indented: erose leaves.

[From Latin ērōsus, past participle of ērōdere, to gnaw off. See erode.]
• • •

  • Highlight: LORETTA! (25D: "Get back, ___ ... Go home" (Beatles lyric)) (also [Two-time All-Star second baseman Mark])
  • Lowlight: ILENE (no offense to her personally, but she's an outlier here, fame-wise) (46A: ___ Chaiken, co-creator/writer of "The L Word")
Didn't think much of the theme, but LOVE the grid. It's essentially a themeless grid (i.e. low word-count, in this case 72) and from NE to SW corner, and particularly in the middle, it is very wide-open. I wasn't even sure where the theme answers were at first. Long Acrosses don't really jump out in a grid like this. Anyway, I'm impressed that a 72-worder can be Tuesday-easy. Maybe this was a *little* tougher than usual, but I was still well under 4, which is not outside my Tuesday norm at all. Hardest answer for me By Far was (irony!) MEL OTT (12D: Hitter of 511 career home runs), the crosswordiest baseball player of all (pace ALOU family). Simply was not expecting that answer to be anything except a single last name. "Who the hell is ... MELIOT? MELOIT? Who is this French Guy!!?" Had a little trouble up there also because I misspelled SELASSIE ("A" for "E" in that second slot), and then wrote in ABBOT for 16A: Often-consulted church figure (ELDER). I also had a little trouble getting into the SW because of a tenacious wrong answer at 45A: Expensive coat? (GILT). I had PELT, which works (or appears to work) for every cross but one—the "P"; if it hadn't been for the manifest wrongness of NEPLECTS (the last answer I got), I'd have finished with an error. As it was, I made an easy fix. Strange that I was willing to buy CUTEES as an appropriate spelling, but I was.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: It goes in the ground at a campground (TENT STAKE)
  • 24A: Four-wheeled wear (ROLLER SKATE)
  • 35A: Tenderized cut of beef (MINUTE STEAK)
  • 47A: "Huh ... what?" reactions (DOUBLE TAKES)
  • 56A: "Ode on a Grecian Urn" poet (JOHN KEATS)
Speaking of MELOTT, this was an über-basebally puzzle, with a double dose of MELOTT (see also GIANT), and then a double double dose of baseball baseball brother brothers. There should be some way to clue the fact that you will only have heard of one of the brothers. George BRETT is a Hall-of-Famer active during my prime baseball fan years (ages 8-14), his brother... ? (22D: Baseball brothers George and Ken) Joe TORRE is the legendary Yankee manager. Frank ... ? (52A: Baseball brothers Joe and Frank)

[10D: Fictional reporter Kent]

Beware the CARROT ID of Jennifer ANISE-TON! It's an orange, licoricey nightmare!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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