03.22.08 -- Honorificabilitudinitatibus!

Hop Frog -- Greg Hildebrandt
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Click here for abridged post in LARGE PRINT.
Puzzle by Byron Walden, edited by Will Shortz
HAPAX legomenon (word or phrase used only once in a document or corpus) (27A) is the modus operandi for this crucible -- I don’t recall seeing most of these entries, let alone clues, in any crossword of recent memory. NODUH (25A. “Obviously, Einstein!”), NODAT (46D. Tacitly acknowledge) and NOMESS (61A. Claim of convenience, in ads or otherwise) emphasize the negativity of a majority of entries and clues -- OPTSOUTOF (21A. Steps away from); MISPRINT (20A. Big numismatic news); EXMATE (57A. Split personality?); RATTY (14D. Run-down) and others, render this collage of incompatibles STAGY (23A. Forced, in a way) and INANIMATE (32D. Lifeless), fodder for the COMMODE (7D. Where to go)!
Oh, but let me be fair! What’s the limit for a clue? How far out should one be expected to reach for a life-line? How much can one’s life experience of gathered trivial knowledge contribute to the solution of a crossword puzzle? When do the mavens admit to murder?
I’ve never heard of DATEMYMOM (31D. MTV reality show) because I’ve never watched MTV or read a TV Guide. PERIODIDE (29A. Salt with the maximum proportion of element #53) deserves the extended definition given by its clue, simply because there’s no other way to be fair about it. MTARARAT has appeared over and over in crosswords, but to be Saturd'yesque, the clue is (18A. Geographic feature depicted in the Armenian coat of arms). LURKED gets the ornate definition of (17A. Kept one’s own counsel, online).
More? EARPS is clued as (10D. Legendary brothers in law), not to be confused with brothers-in-law. ONCAMERA (16A. Like anchors), RIOTER (59A. Street lighting specialist?), what?, JELLOSHOT (1D. Jigger that jiggles?), BIKESTAND (4D. Lance Armstrong foundation?), even little entries of happenstance fill, e.g., XIA, REP, LYS get TOP treatment with 18D. Earliest recorded Chinese dynasty, 41D. One who stands for something, 36D. Flower of Pâques, and 22D. With 24-Across, number one position -- that’s right, SLOT (24A. See 22-Down).
Had enough? JABBER (1A. Yak) is not YAMMER nor an Asian beast; but for hawking products the likes of SUPERMINI (51A. Volkswagen Polo, for one), HIC (25D. Minute Maid drink brand), OHS (30D. Quaker cereal), RCAS (9D. Some DVRs), and ROXIO (52D. CD-burning software company that bought Napster). How many have that on the tip of their tongues?
DETONATES (33D. Sets off) and BURSTOPEN (3D. Begin to blossom) are the liveliest entries in the puzzle, doh! -- the remains in the long entry category are AQUAPLANE (2D. Alternative to a water ski); EYELINERS (34D. Parts of makeup kits), CARESFOR (7A. Nurses, say), OLEASTER (53A. Shrub also known as Russian olive), DIETSODA (56A. Light mixer), ATTHEGUN (58A. As time expires, in a football game), TOESTOPS (60A. Roller skate features), and TENDAYWAR (38A. 1991 conflict between Slovenia and Yugoslavia), oh sure, we all know that!
Ourang-Outang, or Orangutan, is ORANG (13D. Animal in Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”), a beastly murdering ape not to be confused with Poe’s "Hop-Frog; Or, the Eight Chained Ourangoutangs" or for that matter, ANURANS (40D. Frogs and toads). ENERO (5D. Hot month in Chile) and FERIA (12D. Spanish festival) could likely co-exist. SMART (11D. Sting) and WISEDUP (39D. Saw the light) don’t. STATE gets gussied up with (42A. Western Australia, for example), while BOYMAN (55A. One suspended in adolescence) seems to supplant MANCHILD, albeit either minus SINEW (43A. Brawn).
CHANEY (37D. Star of “London After Midnight,” 1927) receives a lost film reference, TOGO (54D. Neighbor of Ghana) supplants food’s “to go” -- it’s Saturday, you see. Other names from the Attic of Uselessness are WEBERN (44D. Composer of “Das Augenlicht,” 1935), ALITO (47D. First justice alphabetically in the history of the Supreme Court), and PEETE (48D. First African-American golfer with 12 P.G.A. Tour wins) -- no, not WOODS.
Rounding up or rounding out the remaining entries and clues, EQUINE (15A. Zebralike), LASERS (19A. Some pointers), ONENIL (35A. Common soccer score); ENOL (45A. Compound with a double bond); NAPPA (46A. Soft leather used in wallets, whose name derives from a place in California), long way to go for Nappa Valley; ANTIFUR (8D. Like some animal rights campaigns); PATHS (49D. They go places); ASSET (50D. Plus); and REDSUN (6D. Notable distinction for the planet Krypton). Ka-boom!
I bequeath this stumper Shakespeare’s hapax legomenon -- Honorificabilitudinitatibus!
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Renard said...

Nice write-up. Loved Kaboom.

Orangutans are now an endangered species but not for their fur (ratty?). Palm oil is the culprit -causing loss of habitats.

DONALD said...

I breaks one's heart -- the greatest trick the devil has pulled is to convince the world he doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

First NYT puzzle in months if not years, that sent me to Google before I had it 80 percent finished. And even Google was less help than usual. Anurans for frogs and toads, Webern and not Holst for Das Augenlicht composer, oleaster for Russian olive shrub, Xia for Chinese dynasty and Date My Mom for MTV reality show weren't listed or buried deep in the information provided.

DONALD said...


It was a bit of a trek!