Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wednesday 9-19-07

I really didn't care much for Alan Arbesfeld's "New York Minute". It's what most people call a rebus puzzle, but I call a cram-a-lot-of-letters-into-one-box puzzle, because a rebus is (according to the American Heritage Dictionary): A representation of words in the form of pictures or symbols, often presented as a puzzle, and since there is no picture or symbol that I know of for "week" or "hour" it's not a rebus. (I know I'm in the minority on this opinion, but that's never stopped me before, I'm in the minority in most of my opinions.)
And if you think that's nitpicky, here's my main beef with this puzzle. We've got WEEK up there in the upper lefthand square, DAY in the upper right, HOUR in the lower right -- so what's going to be in the lower left -- well, since our time measurements are getting smaller I'm thinking it's got to be MINUTE or SECOND but no, we go from WEEK to DAY to HOUR to YEAR. That makes no sense. I guess the time-marches-on thing could work if we started at the lower left and went from YEAR to WEEK to DAY to HOUR, but who starts a puzzle at square #63?
And even though I should have known there was no such thing as a minute-end clearance sale, you can tell by all the erasures that I'd never heard of COMMON YEAR (38D: 1999, e.g.) and I had trouble with 48A: OR FIGURES I figured those figures were either RNs or DRs, but they were MDs. Took me a long time to figure out 49D: Dog "house" (BUN) referred to hot dogs, and i think you're stretching it past the breaking point calling a hot dog bun a dog house.

Oh well, some days are like that. You just appreciate the good clues and hope things will go better for you tomorrow.

I did like 45D: They're the pits (STONES) and 2D: Country singer Morgan (LORRIE) because Lorrie Morgan is a great country singer and she does "Evening up the Odds" which is my wife's and my song.


mm said...

I liked this puzzle (though I, too, was slightly annoyed by the random placement of the "times") mainly because I caught on to the cram-a-lot relatively quickly and finished in good time for me.

I also enjoyed the original clues for ONO and ONES (not Eden!).

Howard B said...

I had the most trouble with the country singer's name, as it's the musical genre I'm the least familiar with (with the possibly exception of Gregorian chanting). This despite my father owning a ton of Johnny Cash and Jimmie Rodgers albums, among others... I guess it's the more modern names that stump me.

Although I have to admit I like that song title you mentioned. Should give it a listen one of these days.

Oh yeah, the puzzle. I do enjoy these 'squish-stuff-in-one-box' puzzles. (mm - 'cram-a-lot' - I like that! Very Monty Python-esque, and catchier than 'rebus'.)

Austin said...

Not much to say about this one, really. I was just glad I was able to finish it ... sometimes Wednesdays can be tricky for me.

I did like seeing both TOKYO and SINAI in the puzzle. Don't really see those all that often. A couple of things threw me for a loop before I corrected them. I had SKILLET for GRIDDLE for a while and I fell for 41A and had EDEN for a long while.

I think the most letters I've seen crammed into a square was 5, so I was pretty sure that the bottom left wasn't SECOND or MINUTE, but seriously, WTF is a COMMONYEAR?

Rex Parker said...

Dictionaries are where words go to die.

You may not like 'rebus,' but it's way better than your alternative, so I'm afraid you're going to lose this battle. Lots of words mean different things depending on the context in which they're used. No reason 'rebus' should be any different. Here's how you know it's good - because it's one word (not a ridiculous hyphenation) and you (yes you) know what kind of puzzle I'm talking about instantly when I use it. Succinct and sufficiently precise, ergo tough to beat. Good luck trying, though.

Somehow couldn't get the "WEEK" part of the rebus. Frustrating.


PS COMMON YEAR = non-leap year (or so I hear)

Norrin2 said...

mm, ONES was really tough for me. I wanted EDEN in there so bad I could taste it.
Howard, if your father had that many old country records, he might have had some from Lorrie Morgan's father George Morgan. His biggest hit was "Candy Kisses" and he was the last person to sing at the Grand Ole Opry's original home at the Ryman Auditorium and the first to sing at its new home in Opryland USA.
Austin, like Rex said, a common year is a year without a leap day. Not really a common phrase; I'd never heard it before.
Rex, I know I'm gonna lose this battle. In fact I think it's safe to say I've already lost it since "rebus" is in common parlance for this type of puzzle. But as Clarence Darrow said, "Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for." I grew up watching the old game show Concentration which used rebus puzzles, and since a rebus is a picture puzzle and there are no pictures in this puzzle I can't call it a rebus although I know everybody else does. I think I will take a cue from Howard though and shorten it to "Cramalot." Now that seems perfect, it's descriptive, hyphenless and, like a good crossword, it uses a little wordplay.

Howard B said...

Credit where it's due, 'mm' coined 'cram-a-lot' ;).

Norrin2 said...

So noted. Sorry, MM, didn't mean to misappropraite your coining credit.