Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "FISHTAILS" (33D: Has the rear end move side to side ... or a hint to the five asterisked clues): each of the non-fish-related answers to the five asterisked clues ends in a word that that can be followed (or "tailed") by "fish."
And the fishy answers are:
17A: *Chicken (scaredy cat) => CAT FISH
23A: *Very good child (little angel) => ANGEL FISH, etc.
48A: *Venus (Evening Star)
59A: *Purple sandwich filler (grape jelly)
11D: *Short shadow caster (mid-day sun)
Cute theme with nice, symmetrical execution. FISHTAILS suggests to my ear that the words will follow, not precede FISH, but whatever; it works. Had the most trouble with GRAPE JELLY, first because I wouldn't let that stuff anywhere near my sandwich, second, because the clue should have read "spread," not "filler" (gross), and lastly, because the SE was just kind of a mess. I had TUILE and TOILE before I finally got TULLE (?) for 51D: Veil material (me and fabrics ... don't get along). Further, I could not think of any "Mae" but FANNIE, so 64A: _____ Mae (college money provider) eluded me in eel-like fashion for a few beats down there. Oh, and JAL (61D: Major Asian carrier, for short) - which I assume stands for Japan Airlines - was unknown to me. I've never been to Japan - or Asia, period, for that matter. Wow, is that true? Yes it is.
28A: Tiebreakers, briefly (OTs) - not always. I think of a "tie-breaker" as something that Definitely breaks a tie, not a period of time during which a tie might be broken.
39D: Frequent flier's reward (free trip) - not always. Sometimes you get upgrades.
38A: You might R.S.V.P. online to this (e-Vite) - I'm not sure which letter gets capitalized; the way I have it makes the answer look like the brand name of a vitamin drink. This answer is creeping into more and more puzzles. The Internet has been a Massive Boon to the crossword constructing industry.
35A: It lets things go (releaser) - yikes! Horrible odd-job answer. See also...
41A: Snugglers (nestlers) - I let this one pass because I know the Nestlers, and they are wonderful people.
43A: Reddish-brown (sienna) - When is Sienna going to come back on the show? Now that Craig has taken over Worldwide and changed its name to Montgomery Enterprises (abbreviated "ME," ha ha), I'd expect to see his ex-wife return to the show for some kind of shenanigans. If you don't watch "As The World Turns," just ignore the preceding comment.
44A: "Die Lorelei" poet (Heine) - I have this weird feeling that this clue / answer pairing was common about 20+ years ago, but not so much recently. I had to get it from crosses.
45A: Vietnam Memorial designer (Lin) - damn her and her common name, which I always forget.
1D: Photographer Adams (Ansel) - my family somehow knows his family. It's all kind of hazy to me, but true. I grew up in Central California, where Adams is like unto a god. When I was a kid, Adams and Leroy Nieman were the only artists (besides maybe Monet) whose work I could identify at a glance.
22D: Obviously injured (bleeding) - normally I'd have something smart-ass to say about this answer, but on the day after the (how many times can they say it) "worst mass-killing in American history," and on a day when I have to return to my own college campus and face a bunch of kids who look just like those Virginia Tech kids, in my own totally unsecured lecture hall ... I'm just not in the mood.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld