Sunday, March 18, 2007
Solving time: 4:27
THEME: POT _____ - first words of four theme answers can all be preceded by POT to form a familiar phrase, e.g. 17A: Sinuous Mideast entertainer (belly dancer)
SINUOUS!? That word always makes me think of some ropy, wiry guy whose SINEWS I can see. Turns out, those two words (sinuous / sinews) are unrelated, "sinuous" being derived from L. sinus, curve (I thought sinus mean cavity more precisely, but whatever). The adjective to describe the ropy, wiry guy above would be "sinewy." Clearly "sinuous" is not in my vocabulary. I would never, ever, in a million years, have called a BELLY DANCER "sinuous" (not the one I have in my mind, anyway). The word now makes me think simultaneously of sinews and sinuses, neither of which are sexy. To me. I like the gender equity of the puzzle, as BEEFCAKE (37D: Muscle mag photos) balances out BELLY DANCER in the opposite corner of the grid. Eye candy for everyone.
26A: Chance, at cards (luck of the draw)
42A: One way to fall in love (head over heels)
56A: Host of a Friars Club event (roast master)
I had TOAST MASTER for ROAST MASTER, briefly, because that phrase is way more in my (if not The) language, and ... because I don't think I'd actually looked at the clue at the point that I wrote it in. Happens sometimes on a Monday.
The one major problem I had with this puzzle was the abundance of plurals, especially plural names, which should really be kept to a minimum (0-1 per puzzle, IMOO). Here we have:
7D: Raggedy _____ (dolls) => ANNS
13D: Senators Kennedy and Stevens => TEDS
44D: Tara plantation family => O'HARAS
Then there's URLS (21A: www addresses), ATMS (25D: Places to get quick money, quickly), OAFS (47A: Blockheads), RUSES (28D: Stratagems), and (worst of all) ALLS (38D: Cure-_____ (panaceas)). Further, many of the celebrity names were very lazily and uninterestingly clued. Consider the monotony of the following:
6A: Designer Lauren (Ralph)
18D: Explorer Sir Francis (Drake)
39A: Comic Caesar (Sid)
30D: Poet Whitman (Walt)
31D: Poet Ogden (Nash)
51A: Novelist Ambler (Eric)
And with just slight embellishment:
35A: Golfer Palmer, familiarly (Arnie)
10D: Jazz's Hancock or Mann (Herbie)
13D: Senators Kennedy and Stevens (Teds)
I know Monday is supposed to be easy, so you clue these answers more obviously / directly than you do on other days of the week. Fine. But easy does not have to be colorless.
The best name in the puzzle is AMY, first because it's my sister's name, second because it's the name of another crossword blogger of note, and finally because it's clued 33A: David Sedaris's comic sister, and AMY Sedaris is hilarious to me.
REAIM (41D: Adjust one's sights) is crap fill. CRY UNCLE (5D: Throw in the towel) doesn't fill me with joy, either. SAY UNCLE = way more in-the-language, as Google can attest.
- 6D: Theater district (Rialto) - what? I know it's a common theater name, but a district?
- 14A: How most mail goes nowadays (by air) - I wanted a five-letter word for "electronically," which is surely the right answer
- 11A: Lunch counter sandwich, for short (BLT) - I had SUB, perhaps because that's what I had for lunch yesterday
- 20A: Ballpark fig. (est.) - I had RBI; then when the "E" went in, I thought "Oh, it's E.R.A." Wrong again.
- 51D: To be, in old Rome (esse) - ESSE wants into the Pantheon, as does AUDI (24D: BMW competitor). New inductions coming in the spring, so ... keep your fingers crossed, boys.
- 1D: French cleric (abbé) - It's a crossword standard (Pantheon-worthy?) but as French goes, it's a little off the beaten path. For a Monday, that is.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld