Monday, January 16, 2012

River on Texas/Louisiana border / TUE 1-17-12 / Rodent-eating reptiles / Season-ending events on Bachelor / Sting Ray informally

Constructor: Elizabeth A. Long

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: VINCENT / VAN GOGH (48A: With 50-Across, Dutch painter represented by this puzzle's circled letters) — circled letters form the image of and contain the words representing the images of a human face, sans left ear—EYE, EYE, EAR, NOSE, MOUTH

Word of the Day: FLOSSY (43A: Showily stylish) —
adj., -i·er, -i·est.
  1. Superficially stylish; slick: wrote flossy articles about the lifestyles of the rich.
  2. Of, relating to, or resembling floss.
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[It's pledge week here at the Rex Parker site (thru Sat.) —read my pitch for donations in the opening paragraphs of Sunday's write-up, here ... and thanks for your faithful readership (and the many kind messages I've received so far)]

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OK, this was kind of adorable, in a grotesque way. The reveal genuinely made me go "Oh! Cool," which is about the best thing that can happen on a Tuesday (you know how Tuesdays are ... always stuck in that awkward phase ... neither here nor there ... I think my friend Wade once referred to them as the red-headed stepchildren of puzzles ... no offense to redheaded stepchildren intended). Would've been cool to have the body parts embedded / hidden inside other answers, but also would probably have been too much to ask. Sometimes keeping it simple works. Interestingly, though self-portraits show VAN GOGH with a bandage on his right ear, it was his left ear that he maimed.

Puzzle felt very easy. I had only a couple minor hiccups—no idea what RATSNAKES are (32D: Rodent-eating reptiles), and had WAVE instead of WAKE at first (58A: Evidence of a ship's passing), *and* couldn't remember the damn Texas/Louisiana border river, so I had a little moment of "uh oh" there in the west for a few seconds. Eventually caught that the reptiles must be RAT SNAKES (and not, as I briefly imagined, RAT KNAVES), and so got out of there without much harm. The only other issue was FLOSSY (43A: Showily stylish), which feels very old-fashioned. Isn't that a horse's name? Why do I think that? I can't recall ever seeing / hearing the word in the wild. I like it a lot. Feels like something a character in a '30s gangster movie would say. I wrote in NEPAL instead of KOREA (57A: It used to be called the Hermit Kingdom), forgot a Sting Ray was a 'VETTE (50D: Sting Ray, e.g., informally), and spelled GREY wrong (67A: "Pardon me, would you have any ___ Poupon?"). Otherwise, I was writing (typing) almost as fast as I could.

Not much more to say today. Hope you enjoyed your long weekend if you had one. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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