Hey, Mister! 12-27-10

This week’s blog entry, though a day late, is a pure example of our dedication to our well-honed craft: through the wonders of technology, Eric and Abbie were able to complete the crossword while in TWO different cities. It was magical.

That was the only magical part about this crossword experience. The puzzle was impossible – not because it was actually hard, but because they (let’s see…Mr. Darin McDaniel – calling you out, buddy) made words up.

The one redeeming aspect of this puzzle was that we found out that clearly Mr. Shortz reads our blog. Way back in November, we suggested that BAAAAED would be a better answer than BLEATED for 23A “Sounded Sheepish?”. Today, Mr. Shortz OBVIOUSLY responded to our criticism by adding 119A “Pastoral Sounds” (BAAS). Thank you, Mr. Shortz.

Now, onto why you suck.

Will Shortz’s Mistakes:
27A: “Low Tip” (TOENAIL) Lowest tip of your body? Like…you’re a toenail if you tip a waiter badly? Like…no nothing. I have no more excuses for you, Will Shortz.

55A: “Modern Pentathalon Event” (EPEE) Ok, Abbie called in her brother, who has a state GOLD medal in the 800m, and her sister, who STILL (after 6 years) holds the Prince of Peace Middle School 100m hurdles record, (which we checked while back at PoP for Christmas Eve mass) and NEITHER could think of any track event with four letters. So then we found out the answer was a kind of sword…or the founder of public deaf education, Charles-Michel de l’Epee. Soooo clearly those make sense as Pentathalon events. Fuck you, Will Shortz.

56A: “Difference in days between the lunar and solar year” (EPACT): We guessed eight. Since eight is actually a number. You know, 1, 2, 3, epact, 4, 5…wait, what?

72A: “One ____ (ballgame)”(OCAT): Wikipedia tells us that this is an old form of baseball involving only one base. So….cricket (wait that’s two o cat)? Apparently that one base was called the “old cat,” thus the name “One O Cat.” And apparently this game was quite popular before the Civil War, but so was slavery, so, you know.

73A: “WW II Carrier Praised by Churchill for its ability to “sting twice” (USS WASP): We were unaware ships were named after bugs. Either that, or there’s some 51st state named Wasp that we never learned about in history. Which makes sense, we probably don’t want to associate ourselves with any state who chooses that for a name; I mean, really.

101A “Song on an Album” (CUT): A cut is not a song. Eric’s more mad about this one than Abbie.

14D: “Harshly Bright” (AGLARE): Apparently aglare is one single word, and not “a glare.” Lame. Fun fact – according to Merriam Webster, the following words rhyme with “aglare”: airfare, baudelaire, beachwear, antbear, and au pair. Thanks Merriam!

This is a "teasel"

15D: “Prickly Plants” (TEASELS): To be fair, they do look prickly.

43D: “Literally ‘guilty mind'” (MENS REA): No, not “literally” a guilty mind. It “literally” says “things of the mind.” I keep many other things in my mind besides guilt: birthdays, song lyrics, disdain for Will Shortz, etc.

48D: “Run ___ the mouth” (OFF AT): Ok, you can run your mouth off but you can’t run off at the mouth. Come on, Will. Eric says it looks like this puzzle was written by one of his ESOL students. Clearly Will’s having some issues with idioms.

52D: “Chorus of Approvals” (YEAHS): Yays – ok. Yeahs? No. Eric: “That’s a PMS medication!” Abbie: “That’s Yaz and it’s birth control…but YEAHS Will Shortz sucks.”

60D: “Stir” (THE POKY): Am I stirring a poky? Stirring with a poky? Who’s poky? WHAT IS A POKY??

102D: “Decree” (UKASE): Apparently, a ukase is a proclamation of a czar but it sounds more like something Abbie ate in Japan.

A poor way to end a year, NYT. We’ll be expecting better things and fewer made-up words from you in 2011.

4 Responses to “Hey, Mister! 12-27-10”

  1. Christopher Says:

    Don’t look up the other modern pentathlon events. Oh, the foppishness.

  2. Yeah, that’s pretty bad.

    For the record, I (the world’s foremost expert on baseball) have heard of “One Old Cat”, “Two Old Cat”, etc., though I never would have gotten that from the clue. I once read an Abner Doubleday biography that talked about he and some friends turned “One Old Cat” into “Four Old Cat” in the 1830s or 1840s, which was the basis for modern baseball. This is largely why people thought Doubleday invented baseball, so they put the Baseball Hall of Fame in his home town (Cooperstown, NY).

    However, contemporary research suggests that the whole “Doubleday invented baseball” thing is a farce, saying that the guy who wrote the biography made up a bunch of lies. Apparently Doubleday was at Fort Sumter and supposedly fired some of the first shots of the Civil War. Which would be cool, but not as cool as inventing baseball.

    So yeah, that’s a bad clue.

  3. I’m wondering how this will work once it leaves the drawing board – whether it’s physical or mental – and is confronted with concrete situations. No doubt about it, it sounds great on paper.

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