Frank Longo returns to basics with this week's Premier Crossword titled "Perfect Presentation", which is soon revealed to be one of his trade-mark riddle puzzles. It's always fun to try to figure out the riddle and the answer as I progress down the grid but today I had the answer before the riddle was complete, which turned out to be hugely helpful in solving the whole thing. I was stuck in a few places around the grid but once I knew the theme I was able to piece the rest together from the letters I already had in place. It went like this:
116a-DON'T MOVE A MORSEL! (Riddle's answer)
23a - AFTER A GREAT CHEF
31a - HAD PAINSTAKINGLY
50a - ARRANGED EACH OF THE
70a - TIDBITS ON THE PLATE, WHAT
84a - ORDER DID HE SHOUT TO
102a-ALL OF HIS ASSISTANTS?
I probably would have gotten a bigger chuckle if I knew the riddle before I had the answer, but that's my problem not the puzzle's. As always, a tip o' the hat for the symmetry of the theme answers which has to increase the difficulty for the constructor. (I wonder if when he has all the words in place he says, "don't move a letter!"?)
It's a beautiful day and I have things to do outside, so very quickly:
- DESCRY (63a - Catch sight of) is my new word for the day - it seems like a very useful verb that I should have known.
- We have a PAYEE (92a - Check casher, say) getting some spending money at the DRAWEE (1d - Bank in a check transaction).
- LEELEE (101d - "Joan of Arc"star Sobieski); seriously?
- The ISLES (86d - Makeup of Hawaii) (I wanted "lava ") are where they do the HULA (88d - Wakiki wiggling). I kept looking for a "lei" in the grid since that seems like something Frank might do, but I couldn't find one. Maybe MAGMA (6d - Molten Rock) is one of the UNITS (122a - Subparts) of the mini-theme.
- CENS. (25d - 100-yr. stretches) has an air of desperation about it, but I suppose this alternative clue would have been too obscure: "The Center for Embedded Networked Sensing is a research enterprise funded by the National Science Foundation based at the University of California, Los Angeles. CENS was established at UCLA in 2002." (Wiki)
- speaking of desperation, I googled REUNE (19a - Meet with fellow grads) and found this definition at urbandictionary.com: "to hold a reunion; back formation; popular among desperate crossword puzzle constructors" (emphasis mine).
- "Film terrier" (73d) should always be "Asta" - TOTO took me completely by surprise.
- One last NIT (82a - Little peeve): "Performs like Snoop Lion" (85d) is incorrect as a clue for RAPS, and here's why (from wiki, of course): "In 2012, after a trip to Jamaica, Snoop announced a conversion to the Rastafari movement and a new alias, Snoop Lion. Under the new moniker, he released a reggae album, Reincarnated, and a documentary film of the same name, of his Jamaican experience, in early 2013. He is currently working on his last solo studio album under his rap moniker Snoop Dogg. (emphasis added)".
- I really, really wanted "Dr. of radio" (103d - LAURA) to be "fever", because of this guy:
See you next week.