Saturday, March 31, 2007
Solving time: I won't be posting my times any more...
THEME: 7D: With 27-Down and others like 10-Across and others (CONTINUED ON THE NEXT / LINE) - 10 answers run off the end of the puzzle and continue on the next line
I should not attempt to do irregular puzzles like this late at night, especially after consuming an entire bag of chips and something like a pound of guacamole. And a beer. I returned home from a screening of Orson Welles's Lady from Shanghai (during which I almost fell asleep despite the movie's goodness), and sort of poked at the puzzle for a while before finally settling down in bed and tackling the puzzle in earnest. I can't say the experience was terribly enjoyable, though I was briefly happy to finally "get" what the hell was going on. The trick (which I've seen before, and should have picked up more quickly) involved a seemingly normal Across clue that was followed by another Across clue that was simply a dash: "-". I think I last saw this cluing strategy in the Giant "H" puzzle a few months back, where answers traversed the black space formed by a Giant "H" in the middle of the puzzle grid. Anyhoo...
The "continued" answers include:
- 10A [with 14A]: Freddy Krueger and others (slas / hers) => SLASHERS
- 16A [with 17A]: Continental locales (airp / orts) => AIRPORTS
- 19A [with 20A]: Sell short (unde / restimates) => UNDERESTIMATES
- 24A [with 25A]: Musician with the first record formally certified as a million-seller (Glenn M / iller) => GLENN MILLER (I had GLENN MERCER at first ... wtf?)
- 34A [with 38A]: Jacquerie (upri / sing) => UPRISING (totally new word to me: between my decent French and my wife's Historian-ness, we came up with nothing)
- 40A [with 41A]: One who shakes in a kitchen, maybe (seas / oner) => SEASONER (I kind of like how often these answers break into parts that are themselves actual words)
- 45A [with 46A]: Like Oedipus's marriage (prede / stined) => PREDESTINED
- 54A [with 59A]: Hamstrings (incapacit / ates) => INCAPACITATES
- 61A [with 62A]: Mulling (rumi / nant) => RUMINANT
- 64A [with 65A]: Crepe paper feature (crin / kles) => CRINKLES
The "C" in CRINKLES was the last square I filled in. I had WRINKLES and I asked Sandy, "Do you understand how 55D: Dict. label could be ARWH?? I don' t get it." She was no help. Part of me wanted to leave it, figuring it was some Saturday crap I just didn't know. Then I looked for the weakest link, which turned out to be the "W," and tada: CRINKLES.
If I never see SPERM in the puzzle again (13D: Kind of bank), it will be too soon. Not too happy about LAIN - 26D: Been intimate (with) - either. Seriously, SPERM + LAIN + "Oedipus's marriage" = me grossed out.
Please explain 24D: '00's, now (grads) to me. I think it has something to do with this decade, but ... it's not making any sense to me.
I was so thrilled to see Toots SHOR (1D: Famed host near Broadway) in the puzzle again, if only because this is the second time I've gotten to use his name since I learned it, from a puzzle, something like 6 months ago. I will put him on the Pantheon nominee list if this frequency trend continues.
FERMI (5D: Tiny distance unit) has to be the most versatile name in all of science. I find that his name is the best guess to any potentially physics-related question. He is to science crossword clues what Henry Fonda was to the Entertainment category in the original "Trivial Pursuit." In the 80's, all those Entertainment clues were oriented toward an era way before my own, and my sister and I took to answering all Entertainment questions we didn't know (most) with "Henry Fonda!?" Sometimes we were right. (Speaking of Entertainment, didn't know IRENE - 48D: Godfrey's woman in "My Man Godfrey" - but could infer it easily enough) Best thing I ever learned from "Trivial Pursuit": "Who betrayed Norway to the Nazis?" => Vidkun Quisling. We cried laughing over how completely, ridiculously obscure that answer was (to a couple of teenagers in the 80's). It became emblematic of all esoterica. I've since learned that Quisling's not That obscure, and that Quisling even got his own noun, quisling (lower-case), meaning, of course, "traitor."
Not much else in this puzzle is thrilling me, though I did like the cleverly clued ABEAM (6D: At three or nine o'clock), the split IPSO / FACTO (25D: With 5-Across phrase of clarification), which took me a while to get, and EBOOK (15A: Modern library offering), which, along with 51D: "Green _____" ("Acres"), was one of the few true gimmes in the puzzle. Also enjoyed the relatively obscure gaming answers 8D: Pari-mutuel machine (tote) and 44A: Card game with a bank (faro). I also have a certain affection for SPANK (46D: Severely outscore, slangily), having nothing to do with severely outscoring. Had forgotten that Drago's first name was IVAN (54D: _____ Drago, "Rocky IV" villain) - never saw the movie, but it was pretty iconic in my youth. Was that the "Rocky" movie with James Brown's "Living in America" as its anthem? Yes. Glorious, mid-80's, Soviet-hating jingoism. That is how I like to remember my high school days.
Lastly, did Shakespeare name his famous Forest of ARDEN after his mother? Seems weirdly Freudian. Discuss.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld