Wednesday, February 21, 2007
- 20A: Slangy question from a benefactor, maybe ("Who's your daddy?")
- 36A: 1964 party song by Manfred Mann ("Do Wah Diddy Diddy")
- 50A: Stuffy sort (old fuddy duddy)
14A: El Cid, to Spaniards (hero)
If this had been [El Cid, e.g.], I would have liked it better. "To Spaniards" implies that the answer is a Spanish word, and while HERO may in fact be a Spanish word, it's also an English word, so the "to Spaniards" really does nothing but muddy the waters. I was expecting something much more Spain-specific.
16A: Title girl in a 1986 Starship hit (Sara)
SaraYes, it's terrible, but it beats hell out of "We Built This City on Rock 'n' Roll." PS if you really really want to make me happy, you will construct a puzzle crammed with 1986 pop culture. All of it somehow stuck to me like glue - or some worse substance, as the case may be.
Storms are brewing in your eyes
23A: Prosperity (weal)
Ew. Gross word. Sounds like what little pig does when you grab it by its hind legs and take it off to become bacon. I don't believe the word WEAL is Ever used these days except perhaps in the (archaic, but still somehow in-the-language) Common WEAL. Must be related to WEALTH, right? In fact, WEALTH seems the better answer for a clue like [Prosperity]. It's like someone got lazy and couldn't be bothered to write that final "TH," and then WEAL just took on a life of its own. And so now we're stuck with a stupid, useless word that sounds like a frightened animal sound. Stupid lazy scribes.
24A: Style of shorthand, informally (Gregg's)
I feel as if we've had this before, but I didn't know it then, and I don't know it now.
42A: Cancellation (No Go)
I GO, YOU GO, We all GO for NO GO. GIGO! For a full list of NOGO-rhyming and NOGO-affiliated words, see one of the reader comments on yesterday's commentary. Oh, and we can add to that list a gigantic variant, GOO GOO (28D: Baby talk).
49A: Author Sholem (Asch)
This marks one of the first times that blogging some obscure (to me) answer has benefited me in the future. I blogged about Mr. ASCH several months back, and today I stared at A-C- and knew that I knew the answer ... and then it came to me, bam! So awesome. I mean, it's just two letters there, but I was happy to recall an answer I'd previously missed. This happened previously with AURIGA, a ridiculously obscure astronomical answer that I've seen Twice now in puzzles.
58A: Kind of artery (iliac)
A pretty specific kind of artery for a Wednesday. I somewhat resent that both ILIAL and ILIAC appear to be accepted adjectival forms. There was a Saturday puzzle a while back where the answer was ILIAL (I had originally written ILIAC), and today the answer is ILIAC (I had originally written ILIAL). Make up your minds!
41A: "Gosh" ("Aw, gee")
56A: Suffix with stink (-eroo)
60A: Highly distasteful (icky)
What are: things Dennis the Menace might say!? "AW, GEE, you StinkEROO, that's ICKY!" "Oh, don't be an OLD FUDDY DUDDY (50A)." EROO and ICKY are in the deep SW, or "San Diego" portion of the puzzle, one of two places I got a little bogged down. EROO and ICKY weren't the problem. Rather, I thought 63A: Brokerage initialism was NYSE, not NASD. Is NASD short of NASDAQ? And if so ... well, it's not that short. Did not help that I also didn't know one of the Down crosses, 48D: Earl _____, first African-American to play in the N.B.A. (Lloyd), although I feel I should have. It's Black History Month, so this clue is somewhat timely, I guess.
9D: Education (pedagogy)
31D: Ancient dweller of modern Iran (Mede)
PEDAGOGY is one of those academic buzzwords that I have to live with every day of my life, so that was easy. No one can just say "teaching" any more. Ugh. Anyway, I first learned about MEDEs not as a student, but as a teacher, i.e. through my PEDAGOGY - as a T.A. in a very very massive Great Books course, which all Honors freshmen were required to take at Michigan. I think there are MEDEs in Herodotus. Yes, there are.
45D: Excites, with "up" (psychs)
Man that's a hard word to see with only partial fill in place. The "C" is from ILIAC, so you can see why I was wondering which version of that adjective was right - I couldn't think of any words that ended -YCHS. Trust me, if PSYCHS is not in your head, as it is now, -YCHS just looks nuts, and if you're not entirely sure of the letters, then you start second-guessing yourself. Sholem ASCH gave me the "S," which made the answer obvious, but only after much time-wasting struggle.
51D: 1997 Peter Fonda title role (Ulee)
52D: Naturalist Fossey (Dian)
Crossword constructors everywhere should pay annual homage to Ms. Fossey and Mr. ULEE, as they represent some of the crutchiest, get-you-out-of-a-jam, what-can-I-fit-here four-word fill around. Very Pantheonic. ULEE is just an ugly (UGLEE) word, though, so I won't let it in the Pantheon. As for DIAN ... we'll see.
3D: Bowed, in music (arco)
ARCO is the first word I ever learned from my daughter. The first puzzle-worthy word, anyway. Needless to say, she is taking violin lessons. Since learning ARCO, I have used it at least twice in crosswords. Lesson: pay attention to 6-yr-olds! There's wisdom in between the crazy stories about monkeys and princesses.
65A: Cries during a bikini waxing? (yows)
Um ... why is there a question mark in this clue? It's pretty literal.
11D: "The Company of Women" author, 1980 (Mary Gordon)
Nope. Never heard of her. Sounds like a title that I would have seen on my mom's (massive) bookshelves back in the day, like Nora Ephron's Scribble Scribble and Gail Sheehy's Passages - why those are the very first books that leap to mind, I have no idea.
Have a nice day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld