The Press Crossword -K8XN_crossword_6.3.11
Once in a lifetime, a puzzle so remarkable comes along that mere words cannnot do it justice. Alex Boisvert pointed out this one, and I had to come out of retirement to ensure it got the recognition it deserves.
To steal entire passages from the great Seattle constructor, Sam Donaldson, at length and without permission, except for changing the numbers:
This time, it’s a 84/53 freestyle puzzle (that’s shorthand for saying 84 words and 53 black squares). The typical freestyle–that’s what the cool kids call a “themeless” puzzle–has no more than 72 words, and, while there is no conventional limit on the number of black squares, the typical freestyle usually sports 32 or fewer black squares.
When I see conventions get flouted, I expect there to be some kind of payoff or some other justification for the departures. [/end theft]
The payoff here is a puzzle with a “freshness factor” (to steal a term from another Seattler/ite) off the charts. The clues and answers will shock you, or my name isn’t Patrick Krozel Quigley.
Now for the highlights.
One- letter answers: E, P. The clues are missing in my copy. so I guess this is really an 86/53.
Exabyte- EB. 1 EB = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 B = 1018 bytes = 1 billion gigabytes = 1 million terabytes. The largest unit ever seen in crosswords. Bravo!
4th US state – GA. The other 3 states are solid, liquid and gas.
Public promotion of a product – AD. The alliteration gives away the fact that the answer starts with P.
Point midway between N and E – NE. First of the theme answers.
Bladed tool – AX. Usually seen with an unnecessary E. But E already appears in this puzzle so it makes sense.
2001 Spielberg film – AI the ExtraTerrestrial.
Rural delivery – RD. Nice misdirection using the small d.
Silver – AG. Glad that stale attorney-general clue was avoided.
Newark Del. school – UD. Take that, overexposed USC and MIT.
Atomic #27 – CO for Cobalt. This should say obsolete, as Cobalt has been replaced by Cruze. I drive a Cruze, a wonderful car that I have to take in tomorrow since I got a recall notice saying everything is fine, don’t worry, but it is possible that the steering will fail AT ANY TIME AND YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH!
The long answers:
1/1000 of an inch – MIL. Right next to EB for a cool big/small pairing.
ADA/AGA/ARA. A mini-theme-a.
‘___ death do us part – TIL. Apostrophes rock!
Easiest crossing: [South African village] KRAAL crossing [Swedish krona] SKR/BAEL/ALM. We see that every day. C’mon, challenge me!
[Yellow edible Indian fruit] – BAEL. ”Edible” gave it away. I was thinking “BANANA”.
[River in Upper Austria] – ALM. You wanted Lower Austria, didn’t you?
[Boater] – WATERMAN. L”homme d’eau in French.
[Ursidae family] – BEAR. Mama, Papa and Baby Ursidae.
[Removes an apple's center] – CORER. Nice mismatch to throw us.
[Fipple flute] – RECORDER. Gimme. I played a RECORDER in Mr. Fipple’s grade two class.
BOMB/BANGS/BAGS – All in one row! Cool!
[Czar (alt.)] – the rarely seen TSAR.
[Rhizopodan (alt. sp.)] – AMEBA. Other alt. sp. for Rhizopodan are SDFGDS, BNGHUTY, BRITNEY and KUMQUAT.
[Region near TROY] – TROAS, also known as the Catskills.
[One afflicted with paresis] – PARETIC.
[A maker of saddles] – SADDLER. Wow. Genius.
[Interpersed with introns] – EXONS. Didn’t we just see this clue/answer combo last Monday?
[MN 55121] – EAGAN. Famous, of course, for the 2008 vote where the citizens voted 53% to 47% to allow for private development of a defunct golf course instead of having the City purchase the land for future public development or open space. That was a nailbiter.
[Founder of Babism] – BAB. Known as The Bab, he hit 71.4 home runs.
[Supernatural force] – MANA. The only force stronger than MANA is WOMANA.
Other theme answers: [Midway between NE and E] – ENE and [One point S of due E] -EBS. Or maybe EHS. EES? Could be anything.
There’s more but…well, there’s less but…I’ll solve the rest while waiting for my car. If I make it to the dealer. Well, at least my last crossword will be a memorable one.