Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy to Medium
THEME: H2O - four theme answers all "celebrity" water names, and the theme is revealed at 36D: Theme of this puzzle (H2O)
I have "HTO" in the grid because when I do the puzzle on the applet (at the NYT on-line site), I always enter the first letter of whatever word or number is supposed to go into any rebus square. Would have amended it to "2" but, as usual, the NYT site froze on me when I clicked DONE, and I could not be bothered to retype the grid, so I just grabbed what I had.
The watery celebrities are:
- 20A: Captain Renault player in "Casablanca" (Claude Rains) - I would have spelled his name RAINES
- 11D: "Enter Talking" autobiographer (Joan Rivers)
- 29D: Singer with the 1984 hit "Caribbean Queen" (Billy Ocean) - mmmm, high school
- 57A: Oscar nominee for "Pinky," 1949 (Ethel Waters) - best wrong answer of the year: I had Ethel MERMAN (it fits the theme!!!!)
1D: 1 on the Mohs scale (talc) - now the crossword taught me what the Mohs scale was many months ago (measuring mineral hardness), but I did not learn what the various numbers signified. I guessed SOFT here at first.
2D: One on a pedestal (idol) - Last night's episode (read my write-up here) kind of sucked, but at this point it doesn't really matter because there's a sizeable buffer of terribleness between the singers I like and the person who will get kicked off the show tonight.
4D: Break down and then draw in (seduce) - possibly the hottest clue ever written.
25A: Actor Epps (Omar) - Ubiquitous, and used for both his last and first name. He's this century's Paul Anka.
37A: Nancy who married Ronald Reagan (Davis) - blanked on this. DAVIS is not a memorable name, somehow. Plus, Nancy DAVIS ... sounds like somebody who is already famous for something else, though I can't think who that would be. Clearly I'm just confused.
40A: When clocks are changed back from D.S.T. in the fall (at 2 a.m.) - I had TWO AM written in here, but then figured that the theme of this puzzle (36D) could not possibly be HOO. ONE AM would have give me HEO. So I had to rethink the center of this puzzle completely. Thankfully, I already had Joan RIVERS in place, and so the H20 theme jumped out at me, giving me AT 2 AM for the Across. And that was that.
50A: Like some stares (glassy) - vivid answer. Usually stares are ICY. GLASSY is more colorful ... and more alarming. Easy to read ICY, hard to read GLASSY.
68A: Jay Gould railroad (Erie) - I have no idea what this clue means, but add this to the 1000+ ways to clue ERIE list. Stephen Jay Gould was a famous anthropologist. He was also once on an episode of "The Simpsons."
12D: Hodgpodge (olio) - I just love the word. The evil twin of OLEO.
27D: U.S. Grant's given first name (Hiram)
28D: _____ Rogers St. John (Adela) - the west coast of the grid is an obscure names extravaganza. I don't even know who this ADELA person is. Wow, cool, she was a "girl reporter" from the 20's and 30's, as well as a silent movie screenwriter and a host of other stuff.
46D: He directed Marlon (Elia) - my first thought: KEENEN IVORY? Sadly, no. The clue meant Marlon BRANDO, and thus the answer is ELIA Kazan. ELIA also often comes in [Lamb alias] flavor.
56D: Certain iPod (mini) - nice fakeout. I had NANO.
60D: Bookie's worry (raid) - also, insect's worry. I had ODDS.
63D: Never, in Nuremberg (nie) - always nice to pick up a little foreign language instruction in my daily puzzle. I'll had this to the "4 German Words I Know" list, thus changing the name of said list.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld