Monday, February 19, 2007
Solving time: 3:51
THEME: X-Y-X - three-word phrases, wherein the third word is a repetition of the first word, e.g. 20A: 007's introduction (Bond, James Bond)
An easy and rather listless theme, though I do like BOND, JAMES BOND as an answer. Did I mention how great the new Bond is? A very bad HOMBRE (1D: Man of La Mancha). The other two theme answers are:
36A: Embroidered sampler phrase (Home Sweet Home)
54A: Repeatedly (time after time)
For the record, these two answers could have been clued in a way far more entertaining to yours truly, which is to say, via 1980's pop music. Let's see, for 36A, how 'bout [Motley Crüe anthem] and for 54A, [Cyndi Lauper ballad]. If only some some novelty act had recorded a song in the 80's about James Bond, I could have hit the recluing Jackpot.
1A: "Survivor" shelter (hut)
Two things. First of all, I wouldn't call what most of them live in HUTs - HUT implies a far more completed and somewhat less porous structure than anything I've seen on "Survivor." Second, my wife can tell you if I'm correct about HUTS because she is a ... devotee ... of the show. Every season I vow not to get dragged back in to "Survivor" drama, but then inevitably, about mid-season, I'm getting roped in. So far, in this new season, I'm staying strong. But it's probably just a matter of time before it sucks me in and TAINTS (3D: Contaminates) my very soul, once more.
12A: October birthstone (Opal)
Here's something weird. I know this answer because my stepsister's birthday is in October, and for some reason the fact that OPAL was her birthstone has somehow stuck in my head. I could not tell you the birthstone of anyone else in my family. In fact, I'm hard pressed to name any other birthstones. Oooh, I think TOPAZ is one. BERYL? SARD? Seriously, I know birthstones like I know European rivers.
23A: Dustin's role in "Midnight Cowboy"
Really wish I'd actually seen this clue, as I love this movie. I like to say variations on "Hey, I'm walkin' here!" when crossing the street in front of impatient cars, or just generally walking around, anywhere, to whoever will listen. There's a nice little movie pile-up going in the NW, with RATSO just underneath BOND, JAMES BOND and intersecting JODIE (21D: "Panic Room" actress Foster). Speaking of Panic Room, I am very excited to see the new movie by "Panic Room" director [insert name here]: Zodiac. I normally hate serial killer movies, but this one has three great actors in it (Robert Downey, Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mark Ruffalo), and the movie seems to have a sense of humor, so I'm in. Other "actors" in the puzzle include Britney Spears (10D: Britney Spears's "_____ Slave 4 U" (I'm a) - one of the least savory clues of all time), Gwyneth Paltrow (56D: Gwyneth Paltrow title role (Emma)) and HOMER Simpson (39D: "The Simpsons" dad), star of the upcoming The Simpsons Movie, opening this July. WILLARD was a movie about a creepy rat guy - who is actually much more pleasant to think about than the guy this clue actually references: 38D: Weatherman Scott.
A few more notes before I leave this one alone: 17A: The year 1052 (MLII) is one of the laziest, weakest clues ever. Couldn't you have found some pope or emperor or something to clue it to. It's like you just gave up. I've actually never seen a Roman numeral clued so literally and directly. The Northeast, or "Bangor," section of the grid gave me much grief for a Monday. First of all, AMBIT!?! (7A: Circumference) - that's some fancy fill for a Monday. Had to get several letter from crosses before it ever occurred to me. Second, TOM!?!?! (11D: Mr. Turkey). TOM intersects AMBIT at the "T," so you can see my dilemma. When I saw [Mr. Turkey], my mind went to two places - first, advertising: I thought maybe there was a "Mr. Turkey" the same way there was a "Mr. Coffee" or "Mr. Clean." Second - Bodybuilding! Is there a "Mr. Turkey" the way there's a "Mr. Universe" or whatever? Who is from Turkey who is famous enough to be in a Monday puzzle? Answer: nobody. You call a male turkey a TOM. I am pretty sure that unless you are high or writing a children's book, you do not call him "mister." Hey, speaking of bodybuilding, wasn't Charles ATLAS (50A: Map book) a bodybuilder? Score, nice segue, Rex. The word AURAL (61A: Hearing-related) appears in the advertising literature for an on-campus talk today. Despite the fact that the talk somehow involves the awesome Stevie Wonder song "Livin' for the City," I am not going. That's just the kind of colleague I am: lazy. Actually, when people start subjecting Stevie to the deadening, dehumanizing, and smugly posturing language of contemporary theory ... well that is the kind of BAD DREAM (9D: Nightmare) I could do without. I'm gonna put Stevie on right now, and pay him proper reverence: awed silence, with occasional bouncing to the rhythm. After that, some Dr. DRE (29A: Hip-hop doc?), then maybe a Beethoven OVERTURE (37D: Orchestral intro) just to cool things down, and then full day's work (write read write read write etc.).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld