Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The One in the Matrix / THU 2-23-12 / Meany of story / Famous cloth locale / Magazine once published by Playboy / Ancient Mexican / Big name in vacuums

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: AROUND (46A: Word needed to be added to 12 appropriately placed answers in this puzzle for their clues to make sense) — answers AROUND the edge of the grid need to be followed by AROUND to make sense

Word of the Day: MEGABIT (40A: Storage unit) —
The megabit is a multiple of the unit bit for digital information or computer storage. The prefix mega (symbol M) is defined in the International System of Units (SI) as a multiplier of 106 (1 million),[1] and therefore
1 megabit = 106bits = 1000000bits = 1000 kilobits.
The megabit has the unit symbol Mbit or Mb.
Using the common byte size of 8 bits, 1 Mbit is roughly equal to 125 kilobytes (kB) or approximately 122 kibibytes (KiB). (wikipedia) [please don't ask me to explain the relationship of MEGABIT to "megabyte," because it's too late and I barely understand myself]
• • •

Just getting over a cold and I have to teach early, so this will be super-short.

I liked it fine. I can't decide if this benefits from or suffers because of the recent MARGIN FOR ERROR puzzle. This puzzle is certainly superior, but having just seen a "answers on the edges have x in common" puzzle, the revelation of this puzzle's gimmick did nothing for me. Shrug. I like all the Ks, and for a grid with a preponderance of short fill, it's pretty lively and interesting. Lots of Ks, which is rarely bad. The random placement of AROUND is a bit of a distraction (this gives the puzzle something in common with the MARGIN FOR ERROR, though the revealer placement there was more "train wreck" than oddity). I probably took longest to get the MEGABIT portion of the grid. Did not know that was a word. Or, I did, but then "megabyte" ate it alive and so I forgot it. That [Meany of story] clue should get a prize. Don't know if it's original, but it's good. Like a good chunk of America, I instinctively dropped in OGRE (it's OWEN). 

Theme answers:
  • ROOT
  • JERK
  • FOOL (I wrote FART at first; not kidding) 
  • POKE
  • MESS
  • KICK
  • COME 
  • SHOP

  • 17A: Many a nude beach visitor (OGLER) — this seems an unfair assumption. Why not just write [Many a beach visitor]? Seems at least as likely to be true.
  • 34A: The One, in "The Matrix" (NEO) — recently had a class discussion about NEO. Students made lots of great comparisons between him and Aeneas.  
  • 5D: Famous cloth locale (TURIN) — frowny face. Is this about the Shroud? Or do they really make cloth in TURIN?
  • 29D: Items sometimes tossed in strongman contests (KEGS) — really? Can't picture it. I think I'm thinking of the Highland Games, where guys throw logs or hammers or sheep or something.
  • 51D: Ancient Mexican (OLMEC) — the good thing about guessing AZTEC is you're 40% right.
  • 54D: Johnny Storm a k a the Human ___ (TORCH) — did I mention I also teach Comics? The Human TORCH is one of the "Fantastic Four."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

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