French Sudan today / MON 11-24-14 / Longest river wholly in Switzerland / Shopaholic's indulgence / Beermaking knitting
Monday, November 24, 2014
Constructor: Robert Seminara
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (I mean, yes, easy, but a couple places gave me trouble, which virtually never happens on Monday)
THEME: ROFL (36A: Texter's expression spelled out by the starts of 18-, 28-, 46- and 59-Across) — ROFL stands for ROLLING / ON the / FLOOR / LAUGHING (hence sometimes styled as "ROTFL")
- ROLLING PINS
- ON THE DOWN LOW
- FLOOR MIRRORS
- LAUGHING GAS
Word of the Day: COZEN (16A: Deceive) —
v. coz·ened, coz·en·ing, coz·ensv.tr.
1. To mislead by means of a petty trick or fraud; deceive.2. To persuade or induce to do something by cajoling or wheedling.3. To obtain by deceit or persuasion.v.intr.
To act deceitfully.
[Perhaps from Middle English cosin, fraud, trickery.] (thefreedictionary.com)
SCOTLAND, though) (40D: Site of a 2014 vote for independence). I'm currently having a back-and-forth with another constructor about ROFL vs. ROTFL (the version of this same expression that includes the "T" for "the"). ROFL and ROTFL mean the same thing, essentially, as far as I can tell, so I don't see the big deal, but his/her point is that ROTFL is a better revealer—you've got a "the" in your answer, and you say your revealer "expression" is "spelled out by the starts" of the answers, then you should have the "T" in your revealer (since it's right there in the theme answer). ROTFL is more precise. Here, "O" stands for "On the," which is at least a little odd. In the texting expression ROFL, the "the" is elided, but when you get into claiming that something is "spelled out" in the puzzle, now you're on shakier ground. ROLLING / ON / FLOOR / LAUGHING is spelled, but that's not how you'd translate the expression. THE is in your theme answer, but it's not "spelled out" in your revealer. Still, I think the stakes are pretty low here, and I have no real problem with the theme's execution.
I don't know what FLOOR MIRRORS are, and don't think I've seen them in dressing rooms. Are they free-standing, just sitting on the floor? Seriously, I've seen lots of mirrors in dressing rooms, but they're always affixed to walls. Anyway, with no hope at the FLOOR part of that answer, that west section all of a sudden got really hard. Had CMI and TAT and *nothing* else west of LEO. Couldn't get any of the Downs from their first and last letters alone. If I hadn't known ROFL, well, LOL. But I knew it, and things fell into place. Got slowed down by weird AGO clue (60D: "Give it A GO!"), and the pretty awkward cross-reference at 59D: See 58-Down (LAB). Rest of puzzle was OK, though it felt safe and old-fashioned. Tepid. Grid is highly segmented, loaded with short fill, and short on interesting stuff (except BEDSORE, which literally made me say EWW…) (24D: Long-term hospital patient's problem). I like the digital spirit of this one, but overall it's just about average.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld