Thursday, February 22, 2007
- 20A: Quest for a stereotypical Jewish mother? (mission of guilt)
- 25A: What the dry cleaner might say after losing a garment? (dress unknown)
- 43A: Reactions to poetry? (verse effects)
This solving on paper thing is rough. I'm glad I switched now, a month before the tournament, because I Clearly need practice at paper-solving. I didn't feel like this puzzle presented much trouble, and yet my time was over 12. Ick. Oh well, there's still time.
9A: It's held in a hold (cargo)
Dear god this one gave me trouble. The only "hold" I could think of was a wrestling hold, like a half-nelson or something, so I was thinking arms ... then I thought maybe it was a rebus puzzle, and maybe it was [4 ... or fore?]ARMS. Of course the answer is not calling for a plural, so I'm not sure why my brain went where it did, but it did. This NE corner was the last thing to fall. I guessed early on, correctly, that 13D: Home of Bruce Peninsula Natl. Park was ONT (as in ONTario, right?). That helped a little. But NTEST (19A: Provocative military move, briefly) stayed out of sight for a while because "move" made me think of something a human being might do, so I kept thinking something along the lines of, I don't know, GOOSESTEPPING or SABRE-RATTLING (both far, far too long). Please see other commentaries for my feelings about NTEST / HTEST / ATEST - in short, :(
Oh, and nice to have TWO Canadian references in the NE section: not just ONT, but 9D: Losers to the Rangers for the 1994 Stanley Cup (Canucks) - I'm sure my many Canadian readers are either thrilled to see a Canadian team get some face time (during this period of American team dominance in the NHL) or they are sad because this team is clued in relation to its Losing. Poor Canada. Take your sport back! I assure you that no one down here actually wants it.
23A: A tiny bit (one iota)
Not much to say about this one except that I loved the fullness of it. The whole phrase, ONE IOTA, instead of just the normal, crossword-friendly IOTA. My feelings on colloquialisms are well known (i.e. I am for them ... with some notable exceptions). See also WHAT THE!? (48A: "Huh...?!")
35A: Author who inspired a Baltimore team's nickname (Poe)
The team in question is the Baltimore Ravens (NFL), in case you didn't know. This clue represents one possible weakness I have when solving on paper - my eye wanders over the page, and when it alights on a clue it knows, it wants me to go there, even if I'm in a groove and breaking down some other part of the puzzle. I actually stopped whatever I was hacking away at when I saw this clue, just so I could fill it in, instead of keeping up my rhythm and being patient.
28D: Word with black or fire (opal)
I finished this puzzle, walked into my bedroom, curled up with yet another NYT puzzle (from a giant book of them with some marathon runner on the cover crossing a finish line) and soon found that the puzzle in the book had this exact clue / answer pairing. Weird coincidence. That's all I have to say about that.
36A: Stuns (zaps)
56D: "Pow!" ("Bam!")
Now here's a subtheme I can really enjoy: comic book sounds! Thank god for ZAPS, as I never would have gotten "Z" cross without it: 31D: Sea of _____ between Russia and Ukraine (Azov). Hey, isn't Ukraine where LVOV is? Yes, but it's on the other (western) side from the Sea of AZOV, which is that little pouch of a sea on top of the Black Sea. Good to know.
6D: Some rings (arenas)
7D: Scrubbed (nogo)
8D: Anachronism, e.g. (goof)
These are all the Downs in the far North or "Fargo" portion of the puzzle. Despite having the first three letters of all of them very quickly, NOGO was the only one that would behave (btw, are you taunting me with the I GO, GIGO, NOGO - type clues? Every day...). I would like to know that someone, somewhere out there had AREOLA or some desperate made-up version of the word for [Some rings]. AREOLI!? For some reason, even with GOO- in place I could not think of an [Anachronism, e.g.] as a GOOF. Needed the cross to see the semi-obvious.
63A: George Strait's "All My _____ Live in Texas" (Exs)
I was just rereading an old blog entry wherein I commented on this very answer, and how odd the spelling was. And here it is again. What's weird / sad is that in rereading that entry, I was thinking of how weird EXS looks on paper, and then for some reason with today's puzzle, I still couldn't spell it right. I wrote XES first. Stupid.
12D: Heart (gist)
55D: Heart (crux)
Again, cute. Again, stop it. Unless the repeated clues have 180-degree rotational symmetry, in which case, I'll allow it.
33D: Duke it out (spar)
I thought SPARring was fake boxing. Like, practice. [Duke it out] implies actual fighting to me, so I hereby challenge the validity of this clue. I throw down the gauntlet. Nothnagel and I can [Duke it out] at some later date.
45D: Wealthy TV family (Ewings)
53D: "Thirtysomething" actor (Olin)
The first of these answers is Hot. EWINGS came to me immediately, though I suppose there are probably any number of wealthy families on TV. Something about "Dallas" is so campy and dated that I'm always happy to see it in the grid. OLIN (any relation to actress Lena OLIN?) took a while to rise to the top of my brains. Had just the "O" and had to sit patiently for a few seconds while the fog cleared and OLIN eventually presented himself. I did not watch this show much. Because I was not "thirtysomething" then. I am "thirtysomething" now. And what do I watch? "American Idol." I voted for Lakisha. What a world.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld