MONDAY, Jun. 11, 2007 - Harriet Clifton

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium (this means average for a Monday)

THEME: "Short on dough" - this is the clue for five themed answers ... so lots of words and phrases meaning "broke" (including FLAT BROKE)

This is a nice Monday puzzle, and the theme allows for the inclusion of a lot of great idiomatic phrases, which are never unwelcome, particularly in an early-week grid. Started out fast, tripped around a bit - couldn't pull out VICAR (34D: Church official) off just the "V," which broke my rhythm, then couldn't spell LOOIE right (45A: Sarge's superior); I had LOUIE; then couldn't (and still can't) figure out how CUE IN works for 27D: Give hints to; wanted CLUE IN - but still ended up with right around my typical Monday time (low 4's). There's some good multi-word phrases, at least one answer I didn't know at all, and a very interesting BRA mini-theme going on in the NW. But first, your (maxi-)theme answers (all of them clued [Short on dough])

  • 17A: FLAT BROKE
  • 21A: STRAPPED
  • 41A: FEELING THE PINCH
  • 56A: IN THE RED
  • 66A: TAPPED OUT

All good. I especially like TAPPED OUT, even though it makes me think more of a keg than a wallet. But let's get straight to the BRAS, shall we?

3D: Garments that usually clasp at the back (bras)

I always like BRAS in my puzzle. BRAS yes, toilets no. That's pretty much a constructing rule to live by, right there. But today's BRAS are unlike any other day's BRAS because of the fabulous intersecting and surrounding fill ("fill," HA ha - BRAS is giving every other word I type a new meaning...). I love how BRAS intersects both FLAT (from FLAT BROKE) and TISSUE (20A: Kind of paper for gift-wrapping). Because, you know, if you're FLAT, you might wanna stuff your BRA with TISSUE. After all (and here comes the nearby parallel fill), you want your breasts to appear nice and SOFT (1D: Downy), and not at all UGLI (2D: Wrinkly fruit, HA ha). I love also how the first three theme answers can all be read in BRA-related ways: FLAT ... STRAPPED ... FEELING THE PINCH. If this is a coincidence, it's a glorious one.

4D: Takes off on a cruise (sets sail)
43D: "Enough already!" ("I've had it")

I love when the long non-theme fill is multi-word and vibrant like these symmetrical answers. A very weird thing happened when I read the clue ["Enough already!"] - immediately, even before I looked at the grid, a song popped into my head: an Aimee Mann song called (luckily, eerily) "I've Had It." Have I raved about her before? Well, she deserves it. Love her.

24D: Ballet's Fonteyn (Margot)

Absolutely no clue who this is. Who will be the first jackass to write in expressing shock and dismay at my appalling ignorance? It could be you! Hurry!

42D: Polite refusal ("No, sir")
57D: "Uh-uh" ("Nope")
35D: Prefix with -centric (ethno-)

At first I was a bit irked to see "NO SIR" and "NOPE" in the grid together. But then ETHNO came along and gave a new spin to the whole "NO" theme, and somehow I'm no longer irked.

MAPPED (50D: In an atlas) pairs nicely with TAPPED (in TAPPED OUT), which it intersects. Other nice pairings include ROSIE and PEREZ (22D: With 71-Across, "White Men Can't Jump" co-star), and AUDIO (36A: The "A" in A/V) followed immediately by RADIO (38A: Howard Stern's medium). Speaking of nice pairings ... I refer you to BRAS, above.

Thank you. Good night. Tip your waitress. Etc.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

22 comments:

Orange 9:46 PM  

When the BRA'S shoulder straps SLID, one cup did A POP and that always IRKS ANNIE or MARGOT, especially when the paparazzi are around. Which is not to say that STAN or the VICAR might not be cross-dressers, NO SIR. A handy TIP for you: a little double-sided tape can help the straps to ADHERE.

The air conditioning at IHOP tonight was cranked way up—thank goodness for BRAS!

Norrin2 10:45 PM  

You don't know Margot Fontaine??!! I am shocked and dismayed.
(Neither do I, but I wanted to be the first jackass.)

Wendy 11:25 PM  

Wouldn't something about Bob and Doug McKenzie been a better clue for HOSER than something about driveway washing? I'm just sayin' ... Are driveways washed?!

Orange 11:38 PM  

Dangit, Rex, you're just so negative! All you do is whine, whine, whine. "Glorious" this and "love" that, "fabulous" this and "vibrant" that. Man, are you played out. This blog sucks. Why do you hate America?

Orange 11:38 PM  

(Meta-comment on comment on yesterday's post, for those who think I've gone off the deep end, which maybe I have.)

Linda G 12:00 AM  

I'm glad Robert was the first jackass. He's usually such a nice guy ; )

I pulled her name from somewhere in the recesses of my brain when I had some letters, but I wouldn't say I know who Ms. Fonteyn is.

Howard B 12:33 AM  

Jackass contribution of the day:
You, with your fancy computer-solving gizmos and doodads! Why, we didn't even use paper when we solved! We'd carve out our own grid in a chunk of marble, and chisel each letter in one by one. Let me tell you, we made sure we didn't make any mistakes then - we didn't have time to criticize the puzzle writers after a full day of chiseling! We made sure we knew our Eurasian ox genuses and plant phyla down pat!
Bah, fie, grumble grumble, etc.

How's that? :)
Nice Monday puzzle, by the way.

Anonymous 5:18 AM  

You really are the king. I was a little disappointed by you lack of knowledge of the identity of M. Fonteyn but not dismayed. You can't know everything! Some years ago Katie Couric, on national TV, admitted that she didn't know who Dr. David Livingston (Dr. Livingston, I presume) was. Now that really surprised me.

Wendy 7:54 AM  

Did anyone realize that there's an extra online puzzle from yesterday for which the clues were written by Lee Iococca? Someone mentioned it on Orange's blog or it would have escaped my notice. Haven't done it yet.

Orange 8:22 AM  

Howard, you're going to make a heckuva crabby old man some day.

Wait, who is this "disappointed" anonymous commenter? Do I hear a braying "hee-haw"?

Howard B 8:29 AM  

Why, thank you. BRAva to your commentary, also. (ducks for cover)

Do me a favor, if they still have those cornmeal pancakes at IHOP, save one for me, will ya? Thanks. I'm sure they'll stay well.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Margot Fontein was a British ballerina. I saw her dance in Montreal in the fifties.

Ultra Vi 9:58 AM  

Fun puzzle and hilarious blog. Rex, I love your admiration for BRAS and all things in them.

Commenters are getting feisty. I'll have to catch up on the past days' blogs and see what transpired...

barrywep 10:47 AM  

Maybe we should have a jackass of the week contest and we get to vote for our favorites?

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

Rex

Just finished reading your Sunday post - as a constructor, I compliment you on your critical view of the puzzles.

Constructive feedback from my audience is important - honest feedback on others' puzzles, even though negative, helps me fine-tune and rework puzzles so they meet the solvers' exacting standards. Of course, it goes without saying that, as a new constructor, I could never have gotten away with the Sunday grid.

So, to all of you on this blog, please post away about your likes and dislikes - as long as they are helpful to constructors, keep them coming!

AC :-)
(Anonymous Constructor)

mmpo 3:56 PM  

I thought we'd moved on, but I apologize for perhaps having been perceived as that jackass once (that I remember) in the not-so-distant past...
Also, I did yesterday's puzzle this morning and wondered how PLOP-PLOP got past the breakfast-table test. Your inclusion of the rest of the Alka Seltzer jingle set my mind at ease.
Have a great week everybody...

Harleypeyton 6:17 PM  

An easy Monday. Fonteyn was known, in part, as a frequent partner for Rudolph Nureyev.

Kitt 10:56 PM  

I know it's late and don't know if you will see this Howard B. but your "jackass contribution of the day" was incredibly funny. Loved it!!

Nice~

Howard B 11:24 AM  

Thanks Kitt :). However, Rex may have to post a sign outside my enclosure stating, "Please do not feed the random blog commenters." Just hope my random posting hasn't dragged the blog's quality down too far ;).

I always appreciate the time and effort the bloggers put in, as well as the interesting commentary to be found within (myself excluded).

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

I am not a jackass. Ballet has my been my life for over 50 years. Dame Margot Fonteyn (spell it correctly, folks -- the next puzzle you solve may depend on it) was probably the first ballerina my mother took me to see back in 1950-something. She was one of the greatest ballerinas in ballet history. Her name was -- and is-- world famous, generally known by far, far more people than just the avid balletomane. The indomitable Fonteyn was still performing while well in her fifties, while most ballet dancers retire in their late 30s. That's when her partnership with Rudolf (not Rudolph) Nureyev flourished.
Rex, my esteem of you has been diminished by your jackass comment, I must say. Or, perhaps you knew her only by her original name, Peggy Hookham?

eager NYT Sunday crossword solver

Anonymous 10:56 PM  

Dunno if people read the rest of "TheArts" section, but I found it to be amusing that today (Tuesday, June 12), "Margot Fonteyn" appears on the front page (third and forth line in the "Save the Last Dance for Covent Garden" article).

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

6WL :::::::

Enjoyed the theme. Margot was a gimme. I agree with Wendy's point about HOSER and the MacKenzies.
I wonder if TSAR is in the Pantheon, I'll have to go check. It has been used so frequently of late.

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