Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Relative difficuly: Easy
THEME: "Do-Re-Mi" - three 15-letter theme answers are the definitions of "Do," "Re," and "Mi," respectively, according to the song "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music"
This puzzle is pretty awesome. I would love to have seen the look on Mr. Wolff's face when it dawned on him that
DEER A FEMALE DEER (17A: Doe, in song)
DROP OF GOLDEN SUN (36A: Ray, in song), and
NAME I CALL MYSELF (55A: Me, in song)
are all fifteen-letter phrases. What luck. I like how other theme-related answers (clued in non-movie fashion) are strewn about the grid, including DO-RE-MI (43A: Money, slangily), GERMANY (35D: 1990 reunification site) (yes, the film is set in Austria and Switzerland, but the Third Reich is ascending...), and EDELWEISS (11D: Alpine flower) (like "Do-Re-Mi," a song from the movie). As far as conception and execution of theme goes, I'll give this puzzle a 98 out of 100, with two points taken off for not picking up the song's fourth note in the theme answer, e.g. [Far, in song => LONG LONG WAY TO RUN ... damn, 16 letters ... 2 RUN? That's what it would be called if it were covered by Prince]. My favorite part of this puzzle is that - in a puzzle dedicated so thoroughly to "The Sound of Music," the constructor decided that the one movie title in the grid would be ... ROBOCOP!
32D: One dressed in blue (policeman)
15A: Plan that stinks (rotten idea)
ROBOCOP was indeed a POLICEMAN and a ROTTEN IDEA (just ask his creators).
27A: Teeny-tiny distance (micron)
48A: Charged particle (anion)
Puzzle science. Before I started doing puzzles, I knew that an ION is a charged particle (atom with extra electron??), and that MICRO- meant small, but MICRON was barely in my vocabulary and ANION not at all. They are useful.
14A: On deep water (asea)
5A: Covered with water (awash)
I'm a-fraid that I a-must a-say that I'm a-ppalled by the inclusion of both these words, and so close to each other. Other pair I'm not too fond of: the intersecting IN ESSE (44D: Real) and ESTE (63A: Spanish direction).
Today's "Celebrity" Peanut Gallery
- 20A: Three-time U.S. Open champ (Lendl) - I played a lot of tennis when I was a teenager, and I was a huge John McEnroe fan. Thus, I hated Ivan LENDL with the white hot jingoistic passion of any red-blooded American tennis fan. It helped that he looked like the skinny bastard son of Frankenstein's monster.
- 3D: Oscar-winning Witherspoon (Reese) - Just yesterday I saw it written somewhere that she had won an Oscar for her performance in "Walk the Line" and my reaction was ".... really? How did I forget that so fast?" Oh, I know where I read it - in an article on her divorce from Ryan Phillippe. Apparently both of them want physical custody of the children ... but I digress.
- 4D: N.B.A. first name that's Arabic for "noble" or "exalted" (Kareem) - what is this, twice in three days for KAREEM? Quite a comeback for someone who's been retired almost twenty years.
- 12D: Entertainer Pinky or Peggy (Lee) - Peggy LEE gives me fever. I don't know what Pinky LEE does.
- 26D: Actress Verdugo (Elena) - I know her from crosswords, and that is all.
- 47D: Golfer Mediate (Rocco) - best name in the puzzle. This guy would make a great way to clue MEDIATE, actually.
- 56D: "The Greatest" (Ali) - not his birth name; see also KAREEM. I've told you all about the ALI signature hanging over my desk here. Some day I will scan it for you (and me, I guess, so in case there's ever a fire or something I have a record of it).
- 58D: Author Deighton (Len)
My favorite answer in the grid (besides ROBOCOP, of course) is ONE, TWO (54A: Boxing combo) just because it's colorful and fun and kinda violent. My least favorite: MOLINE (39A: One of the Quad Cities, in Illinois). Don't like how it looks (a typo of Alfred MOLINA's last name?) or sounds ("Mo-LEEN?" "MO-line?"). Also, don't like that it's pretty obscure to a non-midwesterner. Otherwise, this puzzle was pretty damned enjoyable.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS I take it back: "ALLISON Road" (18D: "_____ Road," 1994 hit by the Gin Blossoms) is my least favorite answer - anything that makes me recall the pop culture HADES (1D: Pluto's alias) that was the early-mid 90's deserves a good beating. What a dumb name for a song. At least the puzzle didn't make me remember the Gin Blossoms' other, bigger hit, "Hey Jealousy" ... dammit, now I've gone and made myself remember it. I'm off to find another, less inane song to get stuck in my head.