MONDAY, Apr. 16, 2007 - Randall J. Hartman

Monday, April 16, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy, with some challenge in the theme answers

THEME: "-ARR!" - Familiar words with "-AR" sound have another "R" added, thereby embedding celebrity "-ARR" names within the word, creating a new, ridiculous compound adjectives, which are then clued.

You can tell this theme kind of sucks by how hard it is to explain. The theme clues and answers are as follows:

17A: Like folks cared for by former congressman Bob? (Barr-tended)
10D: Like a ball retrieved by actor Jamie? (Farr-fetched)
24D: Like clay molded by drummer Ringo? (Starr-shaped)
55A: Like funds gathered by singer Vikki? (Carr-pooled)

First off, the only BARR I care to know about (or know about, at all) is Roseanne BARR, even if that is not her current name (I have no idea at this point). I know the name Vikki CARR, but couldn't pick her out of a line-up to save my life (that's her with the cleavage there on the left). That Ringo answer is the worst of them all, in that I don't think of "Star-Shaped" as a very common or in-the-language kind of word, the way that all the other theme answers are. That leaves FARR-FETCHED, which I liked. This puzzle could have appeared 30+ years ago - REBA (1D: McEntire of country and western) is really the only answer that places this puzzle post-1980. I mean, TOM SWIFT (42A: Boy genius of juvenile fiction)!? That came out of nowhere. I have an old TOM SWIFT book in my collection, and have stared at enough "boys' fiction" from last century to know the name, so I dodged this bullet, but I sure felt it whistle past my ear. And BAER (36A: Max of "The Beverly Hillbillies")? Well, you see what I mean about the time warp frame of reference.

Today is a snow day so family is home. I've never seen this much snow this late in the year, and I've lived in Michigan or NY for the past 16 years. It's like I'm paying some kind of weather penalty for having spent the past week in the gloriously temperate tropics. I had to look just now to make sure that Cancún was in fact in the tropics, and it is, just inside the Tropic of Cancer.

You can read more about the wisdom I acquired from my Mexican Vacation here.

As for the puzzle, I got off to a rough start, not seeing ROVER (1A: Gadabout) and then really balking at MOMS' (6A: Dads' counterpart) - both because it seemed far too obvious and because "counterpart" is singular. I poked at MOMS' for a bit and got a cross or two, decided it must be right, then went back to the NW where I picked up the Pantheonic ENERO (14A: January, in Juárez), which caused the NW to fall quickly. But BARR-TENDED was invisible to me, as I didn't know Bob BARR - thought the answer involved the name BARRY so had a "Y" where the "T" should have been. This gave me ROY- for the beginning of 5D: The spit in a spit roast, e.g. (rotator). Thus, I clunked around the upstairs portion of this puzzle in an awkward manner. I absolutely scorched the puzzle from there on out, but still ended up with just an average Monday time. My only other hiccup was the far west (not to be confused with Mae WEST (8D), whom I handled just fine). As I've said, STARR-SHAPED was not a phrase that was coming to me, BAER is a bit off my radar, TOM SWIFT took a few beats to get - all of which resulted in a momentary sluggishness.

Not a lot else to comment on. I did love 29A: Man of steel? as a clue for CARNEGIE. O, forgot to mention that another part of the logjam of the NW was 21A: Book after Joel (Amos), which I had as ENOS. Turns out ENOS is not a "book" of the Bible, though it is a name in the geneology of Adam. I like that ENOS can be clued via the Bible, the Book of Mormon (fourth book), baseball, or short-lived TV spin-offs. AMOS would have been easier to pick up via cookies or old-time radio. Baseball's AMOS Otis might have been too rough a way to go on a Monday.

Must get to work.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

17 comments:

DONALD 9:44 AM  

I fell on the floor when I read "Google whore"!

Ultra 9:49 AM  

An attempt at a pirate theme, with AYE AYE, CHEST, and lots of ARR-ing?

Rex, I'm with you about the aged qualitiy of this one - Beverly Hillbillies? Puh-lease! Didn't mind seeing Anais NIN and MAE West in there, though.

It's raining, a lot. Marathoners will be drenched before they start.

Orange 9:58 AM  

The other day, I saw a clue that mentioned Beverly Hills, 90210—and I misread it as The Beverly Hillbillies. Was wondering just how old Gabrielle Carteris is! (Never mind.)

STARR-SHAPED could have been improved with a clue pertaining to Brenda Starr, no?

Linda G 10:10 AM  

STARRSHAPED came right to mind for Beatle fans, although FARRFETCHED was my favorite.

I guess the reason this was so easy for me is because of all the old-time clues. I may not know The Pretender (I agree with Rex, though...ick), but I know the Beverly Hillbillies and MASH.

Rex, Rex, Rex...how could you think for a minute that I wouldn't continue to live here. You are the King, and (Ava and) I worship you and your site.

I remain your ever-faithful, forever fan.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

hate to disagree but I was a fan of the theme, I think the snow has turned u into a negative nelly. I liked it even though I (still) have no idea who any of those people are except for Ringo

rgershberg 10:29 AM  

FYI- Jaime farr played klinger on M*A*S*H

mmpo 10:46 AM  

Somebody mentioned not being "phased" by a clue a few weeks ago. I thought about mentioning that it might be good to know the difference between phase and faze, as it might come up in a crossword, but thought it would probably be annoying to mention it. :) But there it is in the FARR-flung RING-ZING corner of this easy Monday puzzle, making its contribution to helping crossword solvers to learn something new every day--even on a Monday!
We got dumped on up here in Montreal as well. Thick, wet snow, perfect for making snowballs, but the kind you don't want to get hit with. Roads were pretty clear by morning, though, so I don't think any schools were affected. I took my snow tires off on Friday, so slip-siding back home from the other side of town was a little bit stressful--especially when you factor in Montreal's notoriously aggressive and reckless drivers who go about their wanton ways undaunted by slippery conditions and reduced visibility.
ARR...this puzzle should have had a pirate sub-theme.

mmpo 10:54 AM  

Come to think of it, this puzzle did indeed have a pirate sub-theme...
AYE-AYE, CHESTS, HAFT and EPEES and plenty of ARs (OMAR, HARP, ARC, CARNEGIE...). And let's not forget WAIF--a piece of property found (as washed up by the sea) but unclaimed OR stolen goods thrown away by a thief in flight.
Hey, it's Monday.

Norrin2 12:18 PM  

I never heard of Bob Barr either. I can understand why they didn't go with Roseanne, as I think she eschews surnames altogether these days, but as you pointed out this puzzle's clues are all a bit antiquated, so why not famous fifties stripper (and tabloid fodder) Candy Barr?
Or if they wanted to go with something only comic book geeks like me would get, how about comic writer Mike W. Barr?

mmpo 12:22 PM  

p.s. If the above seemed to ignore Ultra(Vi)'s comment, it's because neither her comment nor Donald's had yet appeared in my Blogger..Post a Comment window. Strange goings-on...

Ultra Vi 2:43 PM  

mmpo,

Whew! And I thought you were ignoring me!

:)

mmpo 3:53 PM  

Arrr...

u v 4:04 PM  

mmpo,

Thanks for the laugh!

Eric 5:34 PM  

Didn't anyone else try to think of a 4 letter root beer brand for Dads' Counterpart?? A&W...no... Sprecher...too obscure for national audiences...

Rex Parker 6:07 PM  

Yes, Eric, that was my first inclination. I'd forgotten about that.

RP

Linda G 7:23 PM  

I didn't make the root beer connection. But when I had FIREARMS for 9D, that made for a very strange word at 6A.

Ultra Vi 11:05 PM  

Rex,

Did I say how absolutely great it is to have you back?

See Monday's Sun puzzle for some other fun spa treatments you could have indulged in. Well...maybe not.

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