Sunday, June 17, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "[blank] of the [body of water]"
This took me way longer than it should have, and I blame 1A: #1 number two who became the #2 number one (Adams), which is the kind of stupid riddle I can't do even when I'm not rushing through the puzzle. I made the mistake of actually stopping to pay attention to this clue, which did me no good. To my credit, I sensed it had something to do with the Vice Presidency, but I couldn't make GEORGE H.W. BUSH or AL GORE fit, so I moved on, only when I came back, I couldn't get two of the Down crosses to behave:
- 2D: "Are we agreed?" ("Deal?")
- 5D: Sag on a nag (swayback) - dear god more of this @#$#-ing "cute" cluing; I don't want my Monday puzzle in a box with a fox, I just want it smoooooth.
DEAL just wouldn't come - no good reason - and SWAYBACK isn't exactly in my vocabulary, though I can infer what it means. I don't have much first- (or second-) hand experience with horses. SNEEZE AT (9D: Take lightly) was somewhat elusive as well - In general, I wasn't expecting so much multiple-wordiness and clue chicanery in my Monday puzzle.
- 20A: She offered Excalibur to the future King Arthur (Lady of the Lake) - I teach a course in Arthurian Literature every so often, so this wasn't hard
- 37A: Popular canned tuna (Chicken of the Sea) - we ate Starkist
- 48A: Columbia, in old patriotic song (Gem of the Ocean) - I have No Idea what the clue is getting at. Columbia the city? Columbia University? Patriotic like "USA" patriotic? What song?
Where's DOCK OF THE BAY?
Best Answer in the Grid: ETOUFFEE (38D: Crayfish dish)
No idea who this MACRAE person is (25A: Gordon of "Oklahoma!") and barely know GREER (32D: Garson of "Mrs. Miniver") - this puzzle feels like it skews toward an older demograhic. The CBS-watching, "Murder, She Wrote"-loving crowd. Even the SEX is old (58D: Topic for Dr. Ruth). Not that there's anything wrong with that. And I guess the puzzle does get youthified a bit with MY BAD (10D: "Oops! I made a mistake") and the fabulous POSSE (31D: Rapper's entourage).
Overly cute cluing held me up on EMAIL (46D: Earthlink transmission), and HEADCASE (39D: One who could use a shrink) got held up because I thought for sure that BED (the "D" cross) was BEE (47A: Quilt locale).
That's all on this one.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld