Device that keeps ship's compass level / TUE 10-25-16 / Big name in bicycle helmets / Tuliplike flower whose name means butterfly in Spanish / Longtime Federer adversary / Hidden symbol between E X in Fedex logo / Coal-rich German region
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Constructor: John E. Bennett
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for a TUES.)
THEME: "THE ROUND'S ON ME" (35A: Offer at a pub ... as suggested by this puzzle's circled squares) — types of liquor / beer form a vaguely "round" shape in the grid
Word of the Day: MASTIC (12D: Tile adhesive) —
nounnoun: mastic; plural noun: mastics; noun: mastic tree; plural noun: mastic trees
- 1.an aromatic gum or resin exuded from the bark of a Mediterranean tree, used in making varnish and chewing gum and as a flavoring.
- 2.the bushy evergreen Mediterranean tree of the cashew family that yields mastic and has aromatic leaves and fruit, closely related to the pistachio.
- 3.a puttylike waterproof filler and sealant used in building. (google)
That revealer is a swing and a miss. Big miss. Terrible miss. THIS ROUND'S ON ME is a phrase. A fine phrase. A grid-spanning 15-letter phrase. THE ROUND'S ON ME is something the alien pretending to be a human might say. Also, it's not an "offer," as the clue seems to think. It's a declaration. Further, the kinds of alcohol are pretty arbitrary, and only a few of them really fit the whole "this round's on me" thing. A round of cognac? Really? Lastly, the shape is not, in fact, round. It's octagonal. An interesting concept, totally botched in the execution. Don't do this.
GIMBAL (48A: Device that keeps a ship's compass level), MASTIC, and GIRO (26D: Big name in bicycle helmets). That last one especially, hoo boy. Really stymied my eastword motion. I think my last letter was the "A" in GIMBAL. Might've been the "B" if I hadn't already changed THE NET to THE WEB (29D: What Wi-Fi can connect you to). Had LAST LAP instead of LAST LEG (25A: Final part of a relay) and zero idea what a [Common name for a cowboy] could be, despite having watched untold number of westerns. DESTRY Rides Again. I have no idea who this DUSTY guy is, to say nothing of his allegedly numerous namesakes. The lower part of the SW corner is a boatload of atrocious fill, and RETESTS abutting EAGEREST (!?) is also not great to look at. UNREAL is pretty good, as clued (2D: "That is SO incredible!"), but the rest doesn't have much going for it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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