Faerie Queene woman / THU 5-23-13 / Green of TV's Robot Chicken / Company with Running Man logo / Setting of Camus's Stranger / Bluffer's giveaway / Fleming of Spellbound / Sculpture Kryptos sits outside its hdqrs / Me say this word in 1957 hit
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Constructor: David Levinson Wilk
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (Easy for me, but times at NYT suggest not That easy)
THEME: REN ROA ZIE REA DOS — not really: theme is actually a riddle / play on words
18A: With 50-Across, how one can tell that this puzzle was up all night waiting to be solved? (IT HAS CIRCLES / UNDER ITS EYES) ... thus, there are circles under the letter string "EYE" throughout the grid.
Word of the Day: Carol HEISS (44D: Five-time world figure skating champion Carol) —
Carol Elizabeth Heiss Jenkins (born January 20, 1940 in New York City) is an American figure skater and former actress. She is the 1960 Olympic Champion in Ladies Singles, 1956 Olympic silver medalist and five-time World Champion (1956–1960). (wikipedia)
Like yesterday's puzzle, this puzzle's theme answers are almost too easy to solve. With the first few letters of the "answer" in place (in the NW), I got the whole thing. Then the only thing that was left to do was figure out what other layer there would be to the theme? What do the circles spell out? What does the central Across answer have to do with the theme? Turns out the answers are "nothing" and "it has EYE in it," respectively. My fellow blogger tells me that the Internet Anagram Server's first offering, if you plug in all the circled letters, is A DREARIER SNOOZE, but I'd rate this puzzle somewhat higher than that.
Unlike yesterday's puzzle, however, this one is solidly filled. I do tend to dislike exclamations like YECH and YEOW, since the spelling always feels improvised and arbitrary, and -ULE and ESTH. are gross, but most of the rest of it is OK. Wait, no—I take that back. AMORY WTF!? (63A: ___ Blaine, protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "This Side of Paradise") I would accept AMORY if the letters in the circles did anything besides sit there—that is, if it mattered what letters were in those circles. But it doesn't. Does it? So ... AMORY seems perverse. There's a certain quirky imagination at work in this puzzle, and I like that. The joke is corny and the puzzle was too easy, but I appreciate the attempt at originality here.
Finished this one in just a few seconds over 5, which is (once again) about a minute to 90 seconds faster than my typical time for this day of the week. I attribute this speed almost entirely to the easily graspable theme, though the fill was all right over the plate, for the most part. I only struggled slightly, in weird places, with stuff like LBJ and VOLLEYERS and HEISS (44D: Five-time world figure skating champion Carol). Had some good guesses along the way. Got ISBN off the "S", ESTH. off the "H", etc. I knew who Stephanie MEYER and MIMI Rogers and SETH Green (6A: Green of TV's "Robot Chicken") and Ned YOST were—I suppose if you didn't, this could've played much harder. But I didn't know AMORY or IRENA (13A: "The Faerie Queene" woman) or HEISS and still didn't get held up.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld