Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle: Ionian Sea vacation isle / WED 3-6-13 / 2000s Vienna state Opera conductor / Caesar of old TV / Rombauer of cookery / Built-in feature of Apple II / yalie's cheer word / Light tennis shots that fall just over net / Fenway nine on scoreboards
THEME: tic tac toe — theme answers all have three consecutive Os in them
18A: Lacks pizzazz (HAS NO OOMPH)
26A: Overly partisan (TOO ONE-SIDED)
47A: Animal on display (ZOO OCCUPANT)
61A: Inuit, maybe (IGLOO OWNER)
Word of the Day: DOS (44D: Built-in feature of the Apple II) —
Apple DOS refers to operating systems for the Apple II series of microcomputers from late 1978 through early 1983. Apple DOS had three major releases: DOS 3.1, DOS 3.2, and DOS 3.3; each one of these three releases was followed by a second, minor "bug-fix" release, but only in the case of Apple DOS 3.2 did that minor release receive its own version number, Apple DOS 3.2.1. The best-known and most-used version was Apple DOS 3.3 in the 1980 and 1983 releases. Prior to the release of Apple DOS 3.1, Apple users had to rely on audio cassette tapes for data storage and retrieval, but that method was notoriously slow, inconvenient and unreliable. (wikipedia)
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Did not like this one at all. Those aren't real phrases. They're totally arbitrary, and I can think of scores off the top of my head that might work just as well. STARTS TO OOZE. BOO ORIOLES. SWITCH TO OOLONG. KANGAROO OMELET. I mean, really, ZOO OCCUPANT? The chimps aren't on a year-to-year lease. Fill is OK on this one, but the absurd theme answers made the whole thing rather unpalatable. I was a little on the slow side today, but not remarkably so. Most of my slowness came from my expecting the theme answers to be real things, and then remembering "oh, right. The theme." I liked BLEW OFF a lot, though it took me a ridiculously long time to come up with it. I may have gone with BLED OFF first, thinking it some kind of Briticism. I'm not familiar with the rank of LT. GEN., though I've likely seen it in puzzles before, so that took some piecing together. I had no idea what DOS had to do with Apple. I think of MS/DOS as an IBM thing. I'd've gone with DOC there and then, to avoid CHAD duplication, changed CHAD to CHAR or CHAN or something. Maybe CHAP and then change DICE to PIKE or PINE. I'd've killed DOS as subpar fill, is what I'm saying. I had MEHTA conducting the 2000s Vienna State Opera at first (it's OZAWA) (27D: 2000s Vienna state Opera conductor). Otherwise, I a pretty normal Wednesday at the office.
Got PAPA DOC early (and loved it) (20A: Former Haitian leader Duvalier), but took Forever to see THREADS (22A: Clothing, slangily). It was a weird day for not seeing fairly obvious stuff (see BLEW OFF, above). Would've taken a while to get CORFU (16A: Ionian Sea vacation isle) if I hadn't had the -FU before ever seeing the clue. Misread 21D: Light tennis shots that fall just over the net (DINKS) as singular, and so couldn't figure it out. But for all these little mistakes there was at least one flat-out gimme. IRMA (11D: Rombauer of cookery) and SFPD (12D: "Bullitt" law enforcement org.) made the NE a cinch. IMUS helped out in the center (23A: Radio host who often wears cowboy hats). Misspelled SID as SYD (24D: Caesar of old TV). I am now just cataloguing ordinary ticky-tack mistakes, so I'll stop. I'm headed to NYC tomorrow, in advance of the ACPT in Brooklyn (which starts on Friday night). There will be subs filling in for me here while I'm gone, though I'm sure I'll pop in now and again. Have a lovely week.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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