Saturday, December 23, 2006
Solving time: untimed (reasonbly fast)
THEME: Donuts (or, none)
After choking, almost literally, on the malicious chicken bone that was the NW corner of David Quarfoot's Friday Sun puzzle last night, it was nice to regain my puzzle footing (somewhat) with this Saturday offering. There are two squares of which I am unsure, and which you are about to watch me Google in real time ...
Here is what I actually have entered right now for the answers in question:
22A: Farm sound (haw)
38A: Rock formation, to geologists (terrane)
The initial "H" and "T" in those answers are guesses because I do not know This Guy:
22D: "Woman With a Pearl" painter (Horot)
And now to see if these answers are right (my wife gave "H" and "T" for the most likely letters in these positions too, so I feel my odds are good)...
OK, so it's COROT, a name I considered, having vaguely heard of it, but discarded because of infallible logic, i.e. CAW is NOT a "Farm sound"!!!!!! ... any more than it's a sound of any other part of the world where crows might appear. I guess because crows will eat seeds out of fields, necessitating Scare Crows, etc. you have a very attenuated case. But I hate this answer. I hate being wrong. Shocker.
Still, this puzzle was Great.
[just want to point out that Blondie's "Atomic" - one of my very very favorite songs, esp the live version - is playing on my stereo right this second in honor of 46A: Couple in the news in 1945 (atomic bombs)]
I am mildly embarrassed to admit that the way I opened this puzzle up was by starting with 11A: Cow: Sp. (vaca) - a gimme - and then building immediately on the first "A" with the long, long Down crossing - 12D: Mr. Deeds player (Adam Sandler). I love when lowbrow (I wrote "lowbrown"...?) knowledge cracks the coconut for me.
Normally I hate question-marked clues, or at least find them irritating, but today I was loving almost all of them, esp
17A: Locks up? (spiked hair)
20A: Ones with well-defined careers? (oilmen)
3D: Crowd in Old Rome? (III)
24D: Dispenser of gossip? (water cooler) (wife didn't care for this one so much)
Who knew that my legendary cross-country late-80s teenage driving escapade - which I took with my sister to visit my Aunt Nancy (hi Nancy!) in the summer of 1988 - would help me solve a puzzle one day? Well, it did. Hey Amy, let's see if you remember: 4D: Nevada county or its seat...
I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with Lawrence WELK-O.
15A: Set of routine duties (daily dozen)
35D: Word in several Dunkin' Donuts doughnut names (Kreme)
57D: Quote from Homer (D'oh!)
And now you know why I suggested today's theme was Donuts.
Did not know that burlesque legend Lili St. CYR (who appeared in a puzzle a couple months back) was named after "France's West Point" (42D). Surprised to see that there is Yet Another way to clue REA (50A: Blakey of CNN). As Rusty Griswold asks in National Lampoon's Vacation, after his parents start singing a song he can't believe is real : "Is that made up? That sounds made up."
54A: 1968 album with the song "John Looked Down" (Arlo)
Monday fill with Saturday cluing. Nice.
51A: Fly (by) [whoosh!] is super-fun fill. I'm not sure about accuracy, but I don't care. Nice also that WHOOSH sits directly underneath the ATOMIC in ATOMIC BOMBS (46A).
Is it a puzzle rule violation that THREE is the answer to TWO of today's clues? Granted one looks like this (III) and the other like this (47D: Lithium, on the periodic table (three), but still, that's a violation of the spirit, if not the letter of the law. I'll let it slide, though, as the III answer is so sweet (donut-sweet).
I'm off to Philadelphia now, then Colorado, where I will be the next time I write this damned commentary.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld