Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Theme - see 36-Across.
Difficulty - Moderate for a Thursday, with a couple of sharp, pointy teeth.
Tonight we have a clever little theme, as hinted at by the appropriately located theme entry, COMEDY CENTRAL. What's that signify? Well, we've got four other theme entries, each with a 4-letter comedian sandwiched perfectly in the center:
Seems deceptively simple, and yet I'm still stumped as to how people come up with these themes. Just impressive.
TUBAS as (Tornado clouds) - that's an unfamiliar clue to me. You may know it better as a 'funnel cloud'. Here we have an actual photo of a tornadic tuba, along with an amazingly accurate artist's depiction of one:
(take note of the crossword teeth)
In addition to the theme answers, there's unexpected puzzle goodness to be had in UMBILICAL, the becoming-more-common CNBC, TEENER, TENTHS, and a tough but interesting cinematic clue for SPARTA - (Mississippi town in "The Heat of the Night").
Best clue, by far: (The less you see of this person the better) for DIETER.
Update 4/12: Linda kindly alerted me to my omission of REX in the grid, sitting regally at 54-Down. Seems I never actually read that clue during the solve, and it flew under the radar in the post-game wrapup. Thanks for the heads-up. Were I authorized to hand out T-shirts, mugs, or new cars, I'd send one of those your way, Linda.
Well, yesterday the toughie was MAHARAYA, today it's NEOSHO. Learn something new every day here, I suppose. This was part of today's Nasty Crossing: HASHED(Fouled up)/NEOSHO(Kansas' ___ River). Not being from Kansas, this was another new one, and I can't for the life of me figure out HASHED from that clue. I guess it's another gap in the old noggin here. How nasty was this cross for me? Upon closer inspection, I noticed something interesting:
Proof positive that it is a nasty one indeed.
Also a mini-comics crosswordese theme, between (Prince Valiant's wife)ALETA and Hi & Lois' neigbor IRMA (seen to the right in a rare appearance):
So, what do you think of this puzzle? Don't be shy, c'mon.
Be sure to welcome back Rex upon his return, as I'm sure you all appreciate him that much more after my turn here.
Thanks, Rex, for letting me ramble in a public forum about a pastime I enjoy, and thanks to his great readers and posters for doing their part as well. Always fun. And with that, I leave you to your solving.