Tuesday Crossword: NYTimes No. 0329
Not my favorite crossword puzzle ever. Too much reliance upon proper names for my taste. The theme was golf, and the inner puzzle was cute (38A: DOGLEGS; Some links holes … with a hint to the circled letters). Took me 21 minutes to complete the grid, not very good for a Tuesday crossword.
I first saw 1A: SETS (Volleyball action between bumps and spikes) and 1D: SILO (Missile ___), but soon left the NW when I got bogged down on 17A (What red markers may indicate on 59-Acrosses) [LADIESTEES]. If I played more golf, I’d probably have known that one right off.
Instead I went to 59A: GOLFCOURSE (18 holes, often), which frankly was almost too easy, and confirmed it with 61D: FAT (What beef marbling is).
I then made my sole error of the day when I misanswered 46D: SUNOCO (Gas brand with an arrow in the logo) as Conoco. I soon realized my mistake when I saw 51A: UKE (Luau instrument, informally), but stubbornly left my incorrect answer until almost the end.
My real problem today was the (to me) overuse of proper names. Let’s see: 21A: Cat in the record store (STEVENS, knew it);
24A: Musician Reed or Rawls (LOU, knew it);
27A: Musical name after Tori or before Lee (AMOS, knew Tori Amos, but not Amos Lee);
33A: 1960’s Egyptian president (NASSER, I had the last three letters, and Nasser came to me as an inspiration, but I can’t say I knew it); 58A: “Out of Africa” author Dinesen (ISAK, I had no clue and had to rely on crossers); 67A: Nobel winner Wiesel (ELIE, who? What did he/she win the Nobel for? When? Sorry I don’t know this… ); 2D: Op-ed columnist Timothy (EGAN, again, who?); 24D: Early filmmaker Fritz (LANG, no clue on this one either); 42D: Morning TV weatherman (ALROKER, finally! One I know); 47D: “Always on Time” rapper (JARULE, sorry, heard of him, but couldn’t pick him or his music out of a line-up); 52D: World leader with a distinctive jacket (MAO, ok, that one’s a gimme); 56D: Morales of “La Bamba” (ESAI, I’ve heard of him… ). That’s like twelve proper names, and I haven’t even mentioned the geographic names. Just too many for me, especially so early in the week.
Then there were the five golf-related clues. I’ve already mentioned 17A, 38A, and 59A. Also there were 20A: ONAPAR (Even (with)) and 55A: CARDED (Scored, as on a 59-Across), which took me a minute since I am not familiar with 55D: CCNY (Sch. overlooking Harlem) the Alma Mater of Henry Kissinger, Woody Allen, Ed Koch, Colin Powell.
The best part for me were the inner puzzle answers, all set at a dogleg: SETTER, BEAGLE, POODLE, COLLIE.
I did also enjoy the other long vertical answers: 3D: TODAYONLY (“Act quickly! This offer will end very soon!”); 10D: PRIVIES (Outhouses); and 34D: SCOUNDREL (Rascal).
Altogether not a bad puzzle, but still, not my favorite type.