Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: TIMOTHY LEARY (53A: Speaker of the catchphrase that starts 20-, 27- and 47-Across)
Worst Nothnagel puzzle Ever! HA ha, I'm just kidding, this one was good. LEARY has been all over the puzzle lately (well, twice this past month, at least), and now, here he is, with his full name, ruling over his own interplanetary puzzle domain. There was something vaguely outer-spacey about this puzzle, with ORBIT (isn't that where LEARY's ashes are now: in ORBIT around the Earth?) (28D: Go around and around) and the first theme answer, TURN ON AN AXIS (20A: Revolve). I really wish LSD had been in the puzzle; it would have accompanied DAZE (69A: Stun) so nicely. Or maybe the YETI (17A: Himalayan legend) and N SYNC (32A: "Bye Bye Bye" boy band) are part of some drug-induced vision that the puzzle is trying to conjure up. Who knows?
The Theme, clearly expressed in RED:
- 27A: "Don't miss the next episode..." ("Tune in tomorrow...")
- 20A: Revolve (turn on an axis)
- 47A: Become a recluse, perhaps (drop out of sight)
I do not like the word TOILETS (52A: Rest stop features) in my puzzle. I can handle all kinds of near-profanity and sexual innuendo, but TOILETS, no. There's not a ton to say about the non-theme fill. There are a pair of answers in the NE that I like a lot, one because it's exotic and unusual (SUMATRA - 10D: Indonesian island crossed by the Equator), and the other because it's educational (KNOX - 11D: The "K" in James K. Polk - love those K's). I like the mixed message sent by the intersection of TUNE IN TOMORROW and "See IT NOW" (23D: Edward R. Murrow's "See _____"). And lastly, as a counterpoint to the drug-addled theme of the puzzle, I enjoy the simple, "Dennis the Menace"-like pleasures of LILYPAD (46D: Frog's perch) and POPOVER (43D: Light muffin).
That's all. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld