SATURDAY, Oct. 7, 2006 - David Quarfoot

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Solving time: Indeterminate

THEME: none

Daughter had a sleepover last night, and for some reason I decided to start the puzzle right during the chaos of teeth-brushing, self-dressing, bunk-bed-climbing, cat-chasing, etc., all of it going on in plain sight not ten feet from my face. So the puzzle ... it looks like this:But I got it done, with just one square wrong (in the NE corner) which isn't horrible for a Saturday, but is far from satisfying, especially when we consider the square in question.

Oh, and another thing: Tigers 6, Yankees 0.

And congratulations (if that's appropriate) to David Quarfoot for this challenging Saturday puzzle, as well as for becoming the first puzzle constructor to have a second puzzle treated on this site. (see my commentary on his last puzzle.)

9A: Fictional N.Y.P.D. cop (Kojak)

I was stuck in NYPD Blue-land until I realized that "Blue" was not part of the clue. Telly Savalas was a minor god to my friend Steve back in the 90s (if not today). So, here, for his enjoyment, is a picture: "Who Loves Ya, Baby!?"
16A: "Good alone is good without _____": Shak. (a name)

I have been teaching Shakespeare's sonnets for the past two weeks, so tanking a Shakespeare clue, even if it is from All's Well That Ends Well and not the sonnets, is particularly galling. Worse, I had "A N A [blank] E" - but the only answers I was considering were ones where A N formed the indefinite article. So I'm like "good without an ace? ... good without an axe? an age?" Honestly, it never occurred to me that "a" and "n" were parts of separate words. Didn't help that I had never heard of 12D: "Entrapment" director Jon (Amiel). Isn't that a horrible Connery / Zeta-Jones vehicle? Yes, yes it is.

Oh, also, why is "Shak." written as an abbreviation in the clue when the answer has nothing abbreviated about it?

33A: Part of a fault line? (mea)

Normally I hate cutesy question-mark clues, but this one is pretty genius. Another phrase to add to "Latin Phrases You Know" - mea culpa.

37A: Awesome, in slang (da bomb)

I would type a longer entry here, but I can't stop laughing. Any hip-hop-derived slang in the NYT crossword is usually a decade old. So here I have the joy of contemplating not only the answer's future obsolescence, but its current near-obsolescence as well. Not that it's not fun to say, or that it's not an ingenious answer, in its way.

Things that are "da bomb" - according to a Google images search:

52A: One subjected to disarmament? (Venus de Milo)

A statue which will forever be associated, in my mind, with the word "gummi." Here's a toy featuring Homer stealing the Gummi Venus:And here is a picture of the Gummi Venus close-up.

5D: Jazzman Saunders (Merl)

I hate the word "Jazzman" almost as much as I hate the Carole King song of the same name. If you look at the scan of my puzzle, you can see I had about nineteen different answers here before "Merl" became the indisputable choice. The only Musical Merle I acknowledge is Merle Haggard, who rules. I'm putting him on iTunes right now.

42D: Some springs (helices)

I have to look this up. I know that the Helicon was a spring sacred to the Muses, said to give poetic inspiration to those who drank from its waters. But the only "helix" I know is a double helix, and has nothing to do with Muses. Oh ... so the helix is shaped like the "springs" of your mattress (or vice versa). OK. Whatever.

50D: Astringent fruit (sloes)

I'm using this occasion to find out what the hell a "sloe" is, as I know the name only from the drink "sloe gin fizz,"" which I have never actually seen or tasted. Sloe berries are the fruit of the blackthorn, and they are infused into gin to make "sloe gin" - a red liqueur. This, from all-knowing Wikipedia: "Folklore has it that when making sloe gin, you shouldn't prick the berries with a metal fork, unless it is made of silver." You know ... to keep the werewolves away. God bless Wikipedia.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy this crossword blog. Very nicely done.

I've been a poster/lurker at the NYT forum for about 8 years, been doing the puzzles for about 35 years.

I find your and Amy's blogs to be the best places to read about the puzzles, by far.

Keep up the good work.


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