Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Phases of the moon" (64A: Starts of 17-, 27- and 49 Across)
Would have really liked to see the word GIBBOUS in this grid, but no such luck. This is a clever theme, but not one that you needed to know in order to get the theme answers, which are all clued straight(ly):
- 17A: One not taking just a few classes (FULL-time student)
- 27A: Magazine with the recurring heading "Onward and Upward With the Arts," with "The" ("NEW Yorker")
- 49A: Kind of sale (HALF price)
The only other part of the puzzle where I even hesitated was at 32A: Comedian Fields (Totie), of whom I had Never heard, and whose name looks all kinds of wrong. She was apparently a fat lady who did fat jokes before dying in the late 70's. I was 8 in the late 70's, so she was Not on my radar. Oh, I tripped for a couple of seconds on 31D: Doolittle of fiction (Eliza), assuming that the clue was after the first name of the Doctor. I wrote in ELMER (his actual name = John).
This is a very musical grid. In addition to Steve EARLE, we have TRINI Lopez (33D: Singer Lopez), PETE Townshend (50D: Townshend of the Who), and the Kinks' song LOLA (41D: Kinks hit with a spelled-out title). There are also the less scintillating but no less musical LUTE (70A: Relative of a mandolin) and ARIA (16A: Song for Dame Nellie Melba). Oh, and WIND, clued as 12D: Oboe, e.g.
There are some pretty weak clues and answers at the bottom of the grid, with 58D: Early p.m.'s (afts) leading the pack and 63D: &&&& (ands) close behind. The first one I have never seen or heard (though it's easily inferrable) and the latter ... that's just giving up. Maybe it's better than ["No ifs, _____, or buts"], but if so, not by much. I did like the clue for NOIR, though: 61D: Bet that's not rouge - highly original. In middle school, I learned two column types: doric and IONIC (34D: Column style). Did I learn this in Mrs. Stevens' Geography class? Possibly. I had a big crush on her daughter at one point, so my memory of everything Stevens is a bit fuzzy.
You should know that Geraint's love is ENID (47A: Wife of Geraint) just as you should know Rose's love is ABIE. If you want to solve crosswords quickly, that is. I like AMMO (60D: BB's, e.g.) and MISSAL (20A: Catholic prayer book) together in the grid, even if the latter is spelled in non-AMMO fashion. Lastly, I tip my hat to two quiet but lovely clues: 26D: Where ends meet (corner) and 29D: Info on an invitation (where). Sometimes subtle is good.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld