Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Solving time: 5:13
THEME: Family REUNION - three long theme answers (one of which is impossibly good) describe sets of relatives, such as one might find at a REUNION (40A: Celebration that may involve the people in 20-, 42- and 56-Across)
These are your theme answers, listed here, in order, from good to mind-blowing.
- 56A: 2005 Mark Wahlberg movie ("Four Brothers")
- 20A: Chekhov play, with "The" ("Three Sisters")
- 35A: With 42-Across, Lesléa Newman book ("Heather Has / Two Mommies")
Yesterday I announced a moratorium on guys named Dave/David authoring puzzles. I then grandfathered a bunch of Davids, but forgot to grandfather Dave Mackey (I did it in Comments). And then voila, here he is. So, he's legal, but seriously, don't push me. Oh, I also forgot to grandfather Dave Tuller. I wonder what the record is for using "grandfather" as a verb in a single day. Single paragraph?
14A: Followers of so (la ti)
2D: Nobel-winning Nelly (Sachs)
How many times will I be suckered in by the damned "notes on a scale" trick, where SO or DO are used in a clue as if they are words, but then it turns out they are part of that damned Sound of Music song!? Do you know any effeminate homosexual men who have won the Nobel prize in anything? I don't. Wait, did Auden win? The only Sachs I know is Oliver, and I don't really know him except by name. LATI looks incredibly stupid and wrong when written into the grid. These two answers, up in the always slippery "Seattle" section of the puzzle, gave me my only real solving challenge of this puzzle. Everything else more or less fell together without much pause (for once).
25D: Actor Milo (O'Shea)
So I posted the new 2007 Pantheon line-up yesterday, and immediately second-guessed myself like crazy. I'm already considering new words for next year, and this puzzle makes a good case for O'SHEA, who comes up a lot for a dead Irishman. O, my bad, he's not dead. He was the friar in Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet (pictured). He was also somehow involved in the Janeane Garofalo movie The MatchMaker. Guy's gotta eat. Actually ... I saw that movie in the theater. What's more, I didn't ... hate it. Might have ... liked it. Enough movie confession. O'SHEA is a worthy Pantheon candidate ... for another year. See also 53D: Home on high (aerie) and 55D: Perfume compound (ester) - which reminds me, I really really want to see Perfume; the novel was amazing, especially at the end when ... well, you'll see.
24A: "Hamlet" setting (Elsinore)
48A: Five Nations tribe (Onondaga)
So much colorful symmetrical goodness here. ONONDAGA live nearby, so I'm familiar with their name. ELSINORE took a little cajoling to come out into the light (DENMARK being the only "setting" that came to mind at first glance), but a couple of crosses made the answer obvious. This is one of the best Tuesday puzzles in a long time - between the beautifully structured and highly original theme, and the super-fresh fill in the non-themed answers. I am putting this one into the "Puzzle Awards 2007" folder I have on my desktop - it'll probably get nominated for best theme answer and best Tuesday. But who knows - there are still 11.5 months to go, and anything can happen.
4D: Musical liabilities (tin ears)
44D: Pizza slices, usually (eighths)
More hot symmetry. These answers are both musical, if you hold them in the right light. I love that EIGHTHS has five consonants in a row (one of the few words in English that can claim that). I also love that apparently I can't spell "consonant" (keeps coming out "consanant").
10D: Pale lager (pilsner)
43D: _____ Mann of 1960's pop (Manfred)
OK, I swear, this is the last pair of symmetrical answers I will shower with adulation. I just love it when these long connectors are something other than workmanlike. PILSNER isn't astounding, but it's sort of jaunty, and MANFRED Mann is a crazy blast from the past. "Blinded by the Light!" - Springsteen did a version of this song, but I prefer MANFRED's. Has the greatest misunderstood (by me) lyric in the history of song. But I am too modest to write it down; the line starts "Wrapped up..." That's all I'll say. Did you know that a PILSNER glass is FOOTED - It's true. How do I know. A little puzzle told me so - about 2-3 months ago.
62A: 1986 Indy winner Bobby (Rahal)
I have yelled at ESPN more times than I can count for its decision to count NASCAR and other auto-racing events as "sports." The machine does the work: NOT A SPORT. And yet, I must have absorbed something while ignoring the screen during the NASCAR coverage, because RAHAL was a gimme. I didn't know my gimmes went beyond Jeff Gordon, but apparently they do. So bring on the NASCAR, if you must. I am no longer afraid.
19A: Sue of "Lolita" (Lyon)
If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now: Kubrick's is the only "Lolita" you want to see. Doesn't matter that Sue LYON is way too old. Peter Sellers is some kind of genius in that movie (as is Shelley Winters), and the Jeremy Irons version is Pitifully lame and unfunny. No Sense of Humor. Nabokov would have retched. If I have performed this tirade before, my apologies.
33D: Steve the late Crocodile Hunter (Irwin)
This clue sounds more like a children's book title than a clue about a recently dead guy. "Steve hunted crocodiles, but he could never seem to get to work on time..." His death is sad, of course, in the way that all unnecessary deaths are sad. Did no one learn anything from Grizzly Man?!?! Let's leave the lethal animals alone, as God intended.
40D: Sonata ending, often (rondo)
I am running out of steam this morning. Andrew, what does this mean? And does anyone else remember a refreshing soft drink from the late-70s that went by the name of "Rondo?" HA ha, the (musical) RONDO entry at Wikipedia begins with an advisory: "For the former U.S. soft drink, please see Rondo (soft drink)." Only when you go there, you just get redirected to a generic "Citrus Drink" page, where RONDO is described very briefly. Answers.com tells me that two of its slogans were:
* "Rondo - The Thirst Crusher!"
* "Lightly carbonated, so you can slam it down fast!"
I want a picture of the can!!!! There don't appear to be any in existence (on the whole internet!? how is that possible?). Free "Rex Parker" T-shirt to the first person who can provide me with a pic. That is, when I actually get around to having the T-Shirts made. Or even designed.
Speaking of which, I received a "scholarship" to Stamford from my Aunt Nancy, which was very thoughtful. I am clearly going to have to set up something in the sidebar that acknowledges my benefactors; something like "Brought to you by ... IHOP ... the Letter 'K' ... and the Nancy McNichols Foundation for Better Blogging."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS I love that OLEO gets elected Pantheon President on a Monday, and then turns around and makes a puzzle appearance on a Tuesday. She's a man of the people.