Monday, January 30, 2012

Chilean novelist Allende / TUE 1-31-12 / Victime of springtime hoax / MP3 player that weighs less than ounce / Newspaper puzzle with anagrams

Constructor: Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Olla podrida — theme answers are familiar phrases whose last words all mean "mishmash"

Word of the Day: Katherine HEIGL (30D: Katherine of "Knocked Up") —
Katherine Marie Heigl  (... born November 24, 1978) is an American actress and producer. She is possibly best known for her role as Dr. Izzie Stevens on ABC's Grey's Anatomy from 2005 to 2010, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series in 2007. She has also starred in films such as Knocked Up, Zyzzyx Road, 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, Killers, Life As We Know It, New Year's Eve and One for the Money. (wikipedia)
• • •

Weird, I just added Katherine HEIGL to my database, like, a couple days ago.

The theme is hardly brilliant, but it hardly matters. This is what a Tuesday should be: easy, solid, well-filled, with bouncy theme answers and some interesting other answers thrown in for good measure. Fill seems a *tad* on the mundane side of Doug, but that's more the nature of the grid than anything else (lots of short stuff). I know it as simply the JUMBLE, but the "DAILY" part sounds at least familiar. I had LEMONADE and no idea what followed. So there was at least a few surprises and a mild amount of drama, despite the overall easiness. Stuff like YAKIMA, GO UP TO, and GIRLIE make me happy. Nice when your mid-range stuff is so snazzy. Not much else to say today—and Tuesday and Thursday write-ups could be a little brief for the foreseeable future, as I start back up at school tomorrow with a godawful early start time that makes early-morning write-ups impossible. So everything has to be done at night on the very night I need to be getting to sleep earliest. Anyway, this is just to say that if T and Th (or T and R, in my Univ's code) seem a bit thin, there's a reason.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Newspaper puzzle with anagrams (DAILY JUMBLE)
  • 28A: MP3 player that weighs less than an ounce (IPOD SHUFFLE)
  • 47A: Frenzied rush (MAD SCRAMBLE) — I had MAD STRUGGLE ... maybe I thought JUMBLE was RUMBLE and SHUFFLE was SCUFFLE and just invented a new theme in which STRUGGLE would be the logical answer; yes, I like that.
  • 63A: Tart powdered drink preparation (LEMONADE MIX)

Screw-ups: DALE for VALE (DALE works too, right? Yes! "Synonym: VALE." We really should get rid of one of these words); that and MAD STRUGGLE may have been the only real stumbles. Took me too long to get ADJS (5D: Sm., med. and lg., e.g.)—and that clue has far too many "." in it. Never have liked YOS as a plural answer (69A: Informal greetings), though I know I've been tempted to use it on more than one occasion. I wrote an entire puzzle around the answer APRIL FOOL'S! once, so 11D: Victim of a springtime hoax was a nice familiar face. I have read exactly one ISABEL Allende novel—in college (67A: Chilean novelist Allende). It was required. And it wasn't "House of the Spirits." I want to say it was "Of Love and Shadows." Anyway, clearly it didn't leave a lasting impression. She lingers in my mind primarily because her first and last names are very grid-friendly.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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