World on Time courier / TUE 10-6-15 / Mexican once ranked as world's richest man / Soccer superstar Messi / Old West transport / Ooky family cousin

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Medium+ (normal Tuesday "plus" I just woke up)

THEME: SINKING FEELING (6D: With 44-Down, an "uh-oh" sensation ... or an apt title for this puzzle) — "feelings" are hidden (in circles) inside long theme answers that run Down, and are thus, visually, "sinking":

Theme answers:
  • FRENCH OPEN (3D: Tennis tournament played on red clay)
  • TENDER AGE (34D: What 15, say, would be for leaving home)
  • DROOL OVER (9D: Find incredibly desirable)
  • CARLO SSLIM (30D: Mexican once ranked as the world's richest man)
Word of the Day: CARLOS SLIM
Carlos Slim Helú [...] (born January 28, 1940) is a Mexican business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world. Known as the "Warren Buffett of Mexico"
Slim oversees a vast business empire that is influential in every sector of the Mexican economy and accounts for 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange. He derived his fortune from his extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. The conglomerate comprises a diverse portfolio of businesses from a wide array of industries that include telecommunications, education, health care, industrial manufacturing, food and beverages, real estate, airlines, media, mining, oil, hospitality, entertainment, technology, retail, sports and financial services. Currently, Slim is the chairman and chief executive of telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil. América Móvil, which was Latin America's largest mobile-phone carrier in 2010, accounted for around $49 billion of Slim's wealth by the end of that year. As of August 2015 he is #4 on Forbes list of billionaires, and his net worth is estimated at $65.6 billion. His net worth is nearly equivalent to about 6 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product. (wikiepdia)
• • •

I have come to realize that if I solve first thing in the morning, I have to adjust my difficulty rating considerably, as it takes me half as long again to solve crosswords as it does if I solve at night. I had almost no difficulty with this one, and yet I was a good 30 seconds north of my normal Tuesday time (a significant amount of time when it take you only four minutes to solve a puzzle). Anyway, I liked this one, mostly. I certainly liked it more than I like most Tuesdays. It follows the Patrick Berry Rule (PBR) for "hidden" words, in that the "hidden" word involves / touches all of the words in the answer. No strays. And the theme answers are solid and/or vivid, and the revealer is cool and apt. LOSS seemed like a bit of an odd man out, in that I recognize the other "Feelings" instantly as emotions, whereas LOSS feels rather non-specific / nebulous. Certainly one can have a feeling of loss, but one can have a feeling of lots of things (for instance, I currently have a feeling of hunger, and of mild leg and shoulder soreness). LOSS just seems like a slightly wobbly fourth wheel. But the grid is fresh and clean (CSIS notwithstanding). Ms. Burnikel is prolific, and her puzzles seem to be getting stronger, which is nice to see. HOPE for the future!

You know where I got "stuck," oddly? BUXOM. And with the "X" in place. That is really ... surprising to me, somehow. I mean, you land the "X" (the only letter I had at first), and you figure, "that answer is Mine." And then I got to picture Rubenesque women, which was nice, but BUXOM ... not the thing that was coming to me. Full-bodied, yes. Is that the same thing. I think of BUXOM as more ... chest-related, specifically, so that word did not arrive until late. I also foundered a bit around CSIS, which remains a truly terrible answer, and one I swear I had never seen before last month and now have seen twice. At least this time it wasn't trying to pass itself off as multiple versions of a TV series. I also forgot CARLOS SLIM. I recognize the name, in retrospect. But Mexican + CARLOS and I had "the Jackal" and "Mencia" and that was pretty much it. Santana? Fuentes? SLIM feels like a parody of a rich guy's name. Like some guy who had a lot of money and watched a lot of westerns and thought "yeah ... that's it." So I had to get the SLIM part entirely from crosses, which likely slowed me down a little. 

[I know you won't believe me, but I picked this song (which I love) for the "Feeling" part; the BUXOM connection only just dawned on me. Dolly rules! Dolly forever!]

  • 26D: Desert bloomer (AGAVE) — Had just the "A." First thought was ASTER (perhaps because they're [Autumn bloomers] and it's currently autumn, perhaps because I just do a lot of crosswords). Anyway, always weird when you want an answer, it's the wrong answer, and then bam, there it is, in a different part of the grid (31D: Traditional flower for a 20th wedding anniversary).
  • 19A: Comedian with the double-platinum album "Retaliation" (DANE COOK) — very popular (at one time). Also very divisive. The episode of "Louie" that featured Cook was fantastic:
  • 14D: Number of times the Twins have won the World Series, appropriately (TWO) — little shout-out to Ms. Burnikel's home town here. Nothing wrong with that. The Twins won't be winning another World Series this year. But then, neither will my Tigers, who swept the Twins to open the season ... and then finished with the second-worst record in the AL. Sigh. I will enjoy the postseason, though. My friend Rob Ford is the radio play-by-play guy for the Houston Astros, so I'm psyched for tonight's one-game Wild Card playoff at Yankee Stadium. In the Wild Card games, I'm rooting for the Astros and (in the NL) the Cubs, so, if history is any indication, put all your money on the other guys.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mario with the 1951 #1 hit "Be My Love" / MON 10-5-15 / Part of the eye / Mounts for cowboys / Lightest coins ever minted in the U.S., used in the 19th century / Greeting in Rio

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's an Annabel Monday!!! Hooray!!!

Constructor: Mike Buckley

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: CHANGE IS GOOD — Theme answers included coins.

Theme answers:
  • 7D: Lightest coins ever minted by the U.S., used in the late 19th century (THREE-CENT PIECES)
  • 20A: Showtime series named after an old fiction genre (PENNY DREADFUL)
  • 38A: Charging for every little extra (NICKEL AND DIMING)
  • 52A: Mounts for cowboys (QUARTER HORSES)

Word of the Day: ARLO (18D: Guthrie of Rising Sun Records) —
Arlo Davy Guthrie (born July 10, 1947) is an American folk singer.[1] Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo is known for singing songs of protest against social injustice. Guthrie's best-known work is "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", a satirical talking blues song about 18 minutes in length. His song "Massachusetts" was named the official folk song of the state in which he has lived most of his adult life.


• • •

Hi!!! I'm so excited to be back, especially since it's only been two days since my eighteenth birthday!!! I celebrated by getting tea at the campus cafe with my friends. We go very wild and crazy here at Wellesley. However, the anniversary of my birth isn't the only anniversary I'm's also been exactly a year and ONE day since I officially started blogging for Rex!!!!!!!!!!

Have I learned a lot about myself, grew and changed as a person, discovered all I CANDO as a blogger? Yes. Have I figured out how to solve a crossword puzzle in under 20 minutes?.....These things take time.

This was probably the easiest puzzle I've done so far. I've never gotten so many Acrosses (does...does Across have a plural that actually works?) on my first try! So, perfect for a Monday, IMO. NESS/NEST, RHEA/AMENRA, and ADEN/OPEN were nice little touches.

Theme was a Monday thing, not a lot more to say for it except that I loved THREECENTPIECE. This was the first puzzle that I've blogged with a Down clue in the theme.

(That part at the end is definitely still Spongebob.)
  • HOWTO (14A: Do-it-yourselfer's book genre) — Speaking of which, I have been learning HOWTO play rugby! Yep. I went to a random open rugby practice, loved it, and joined the team totally on a whim. It's so much fun, I get to tackle and maul people!!! No, seriously, "mauling" is an actual rugby thing. I love my sport. <3
  • NESS (65A: Loch ____ Monster) — also the name of an "Earthbound" character. Since ATARI was also in the puzzle (even though Earthbound is Nintendo), have some awesome music!

  • RHEAS (33A: Cousins of ostriches) — I was done with my writeup but then I was like, look at this bird.
Signed, Annabel Thompson, tired college student.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


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