Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Grammy winner Elliott / THU 1-5-12 / Org featured in 1983's WarGames / Book after Zechariah / Miniscule lengths / Early gangsta rap group featuring Dr Dre

Constructor: Dan Schmiedeler

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: ALL FOR ONE / ONE FOR ALL (34A: With 21-Down, catchphrase that provides a hint to eight answers in this puzzle) — words with letter string "ALL" in them are clued as if they were words that had that same letter string replaced with "ONE"—and symmetrical vice versa

Word of the Day: ALTON B. Parker (19A: ___ B. Parker, Theodore Roosevelt's 1904 opponent for president) —
Alton Brooks Parker (May 14, 1852 – May 10, 1926) was an American lawyer, judge and the Democratic nominee for U.S. president in the 1904 elections. (wikipedia)
• • •

I imagine people will like this one, but all I see are lots of ONEs and ALLs—neither word very exciting, as fill goes. I do think the idea is clever, and despite the fact that the concept was easy to uncover, and gave away huge swatches of real estate in the grid, I still got turned around a few times, forgetting that the switch was on and instead writing the Same word in two different (symmetrical) places in the grid. So a puzzle that really should've been Easy came in a pretty solid Medium. Nothing very interesting in the grid, though I do sort of like both MALACHI (1D: Book after Zechariah) and TWEEZES (42D: Plucks, in a way). But DOUAI? (44A: French city near the Belgian border) OATSEED? (43D: Cereal grain) Those are pretty rough. What really stands out (badly), though, is the single longest partial I've ever seen: LESSER OF. The rule on partials is—not longer than five letters, except on rare occasions. I had assumed that on rare occasions that meant that a six might slide in. But eight. Eight is horrible. LESSER OF is not a valid answer.

Theme answers:
  • 3D: Set up, as software (IN STONE) / 41D: Fixed (INSTALL)
  • 4D: Schoolyard game (T-BONE) / 49D: Certain steak (T-BALL)
  • 14A: "That was funny!" (GOODALL) / 59A: Jane who wrote "In the Shadow of Man" (GOOD ONE)
  • 24A: Captivates (ENTHRONES) / 47A: Crowns (ENTHRALLS)
  • 33A: Grammy winner Elliott (MISSY) — really feels like she's dropped off the map. Very big a decade+ ago.
  • 37A: Org. featured in 1983's "WarGames" (NORAD) — "Shall we play a game?" Right in my teenage nerd wheelhouse.

  • 46A: Early gangsta rap group featuring Dr. Dre (NWA) — I expect complaints here. They are not legitimate. This is one of the most influential rap groups of all time. Lots and lots and lots of profanity, so beware:

  • 52A: Miniscule lengths (MILS) — I've only ever encountered this word in crosswords. It's now a gimme.
  • 50D: Part of a Caesarean trio (VIDI) — Weird to see "Caeserian" used in non-birthing context—not that the clue was deceptive at all.
  • 11D: Shells of shells (CASINGS) — Nice, tough (for me) clue. I kept looking for something pasta-related.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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