My Treat (07-03-2011)
Happy 4th of July (almost)! In typical Will-Shortz-Hates-America fashion, today’s puzzle will never reference America’s 235 birthday, though we do get ANAL crossed with LOINS, right next to DAMN, which, um, we just don’t have anything to say about that. I mean, granted, the puzzle is about ice-cream, and thus obesity, which is just as American as apple pie, which, really, we should probably lay off. We think that if Michelle Obama wants to curb obesity then she should start the movement towards “as American as Carrots!”
Yup. The theme was Ice-Cream Sodas, which, do they even exist anymore? The theme answers were witty comments about things having to do with ice cream sodas like CHOCOLATE and SELTZER WATER. Other clever answers included FLEXIBLE STRAW and even TALL GLASS. Good work, Pete Muller! You’ve included all the ingredients with random hints like TWO SCOOPS. And if after all those clues we were still confused, thanks for the picture. So realistic, we gained weight looking at it. Also, we learned some new things about the physics of ice cream sodas. Did you know that while glasses are see through in terms of seeing straws and spoons, ice cream just hovers near the top. You can see a little bit through the glass, but mostly not. Wow! You can make the picture by connecting random Ds, Is, Ns, Es, and Rs (which spells DINER, where you might get an ice-cream soda if you lived in 1947). Note that you don’t connect all the Ds, Is, Ns, Es, or Rs, just the ones that Muller wants you to. It’s not like he designed a puzzle where the letters made a picture. Instead, he made a puzzle then drew a shitty picture on top. Ours is already on the fridge.
- Mary. Despite her best efforts, Mary was somewhat helpful today. She nailed 68A: French kings’ coronation city (RHEIMS) and 31D: Meas. of screen resolution (DPI), which we were stuck on for quite some time. She was over an hour late, and her insistence that 92A: ___ Fields was CAS, (it’s MRS) detracted from our ability to think. But still, thumbs up for Mary’s last crossword.
- Abbie. We don’t know for sure, but Abbie may have gotten the whole puzzle if not for Eric’s shitastic performance and general insistence that Abbie was not only wrong, but TOTALLY OFF. We have counted, and there were honest-to-God 10 of our 14 errors that Abbie was trying to change to the correct letters. Unfortunately, Eric was holding the pen today, and we ended up with 14 mistakes.
- 69A: Imprudent (RASH). Haha. 69.
- 129A: Versatile utensil (RUNCIBLE SPOON). No, the answer was SPORK, but loyal readers will know that a runcible spoon is a spork!
- 100D: Artist whose name is an anagram of ‘artisan’ (SINATRA). Puzzles turn out to be much easier when they give you the letters in the clue. Also, who knew!?
- 41D: Jewish deli order (KNISH). Question: What order at a deli isn’t Jewish? Answer: BLT.
WILL SHORTZ’S MISTAKES
- 34A: “_____, danke” (NEIN). Detracts from the pro-Jewish slant to include Nazi words, don’tcha think?
- 5A: Start of a nursery rhyme (ABCD). That is not a nursery rhyme! Jack Sprat… There was an old woman… Little Miss Muffet… Humpty-Dumpty… Jack be Nimble… really, when you think about it, _ _ C _ should be JACK. Any parents who are using the alphabet as a fairy tale for their kids at night should not be surprised when their kids are good readers with no morals.
- 24A: Spanish for “rope” (REATA). Eric was dissapointed with himself for not knowing this word since Abbie totally rocked her Latin clue. Then we looked up the definition and determined that REATA is the Spanish word for a lariat, which is a fancy word for “lasso”. Lassos are made of rope, but it’s like saying that chair is synonymous with wood. Very, very weak, or should we say, debil.
- 4D: Container for a 117-Across [which was ICE CREAM SODA] (TALL GLASS). Really? A GLASS isn’t good enough? It has to be tall? Although, to be fair, you wouldn’t be able to fit a 84D: Utensil for 117-Across (LONG SPOON) in a regular glass.
- 37D: Possible response to “You’ve got spinach between your teeth” (SHUT UP BITCH! YOU DON’T KNOW ME!) We’re not kidding. That was the answer in the puzzle! Just kidding. It was not. DO I? Yes, you do, that’s why I said it in the first place. No, sorry, I think it’s fun to tell people randomly about the spinach in their teeth and watch them pick.
- 60D: Pots and pans for baking (OVEN WARE). Note to chefs: If you are putting your pots in the oven, you might want to consider a career change.
- 42A: ____ honor (IT’S AN). Blech. We don’t like pronouns in the puzzles. It’s just lazy writing: be specific. ____ honor (BEING HERE WITH YOU, MR. PRESIDENT IS AN), that we’re fine with.
- 94D: Bit of gymwear (SNEAKER). This is not a ‘bit’. It’s 50% of your footwear. A ‘bit’ is like a piece of rubber on the sole of a shoe.
- 18D: Bristle (SETA) Well that’s not fair. We thought SETA was Latin for “morbid internal growth.” How were we supposed to know it had a double meaning? Actually, according to William Whitaker, SETA has a heptuple meaning: hair; coarse; stiff; bristle; brush; morbid internal growth; and fishing-leader. We should find excuses to use ‘heptuple’ more often.
- 116D: Old U.S.P.S routing codes (RFDS). This is probably not a mistake, and we’re fine with this clue. Here’s the problem: when we read the clue to Mary and showed her RF_S, she started shouting “D! R-F-D-S!” We excitedly thought she knew the answer and asked her what it meant. Still yelling, she declared “ROUTE FORWARDING DIRECTION…S” We doubted her, and it turns out she knew nothing. “Rural Free Deliveries.”
- 14D: Obscure things (ESOTERY). Google asked us if we meant “esoteric”, and we’d like to ask Will Shortz the same thing.
- 9D: Baby baby? (EMBRYO). Whoa. We don’t need this to be a debate on the merits of abortion. This just got real heavy. Although, to be fair, obesity and abortion debates pretty much sum up America. Happy Fourth, y’all!