Friday, June 8, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
The first correct answer I got in this puzzle was EGGHEADS (4D: Einsteins), which amuses me. Seems somehow revealing. I got it off of 25A: AIDA, which was wrong. I figured out it was wrong because of the second correct answer I got in this puzzle: CATES (22A: "Princess Caraboo" star). This answer also amuses me, deeply, because it reminds me of trolling the video store in the mid-90s with my friends Shaun and Steve. We watched so many movies back then, to the point that we got very indiscriminate - after watching the filmed- as- a- musical- but- re-edited- to- a- non-musical train wreck called "I'll Do Anything" (starring Nick NOLTE - 40A: Best Actor nominee for "Affliction," 1998) we even coined a slogan for this indiscriminateness: "I'll Rent Anything." Anyway, back to CATES - I can see the front cover of this video cassette (that's what we watched back then) vividly in my mind's eye because it featured CATES (Mrs. Kevin Kline) in a tight-fitting, breast-enhancing princess gown - one which prompted Shaun (if I remember correctly) to redub the movie "Princess Caraboobs." This is one of the few times you will find me reliving my twenties with something like fondness.
So not AIDA but ELSA (25A: Opera heroine with the aria "Einsam in truben Tagen"), which I guessed after AIDA failed and I recalled ELSA being an opera answer I didn't know many months ago. Wagner, I think. And the NW fell in short order from there. One answer up there surprised me a bit: I never sang in any kind of group anywhere ever, so I didn't know (or never really thought about the fact) that GLEE CLUB was traditionally for men (1A: Extracurricular activity traditionally for men).
- 26A: Singer Stubbs of the Four Tops (Levi) - had the "V" and entered DAVE, and off of that "D" I entered the next mistake:
- 26D: Newswoman Logan (Lara) - I had DARA; weird how a total guess / wrong answer, built off another wrong answer, ended up being 75% correct.
- 10D: He wrote "There was an old man of Thermopylae / Who never did anything properly..." (Lear) - god I love that clue; sadly I had NASH for a while.
- 14D: Pirates' domain (open seas) - I had SEAS and entered HIGH SEAS. This answer goes nicely with 43A: Captain of Stubb and Flask (Ahab) and 39D: Brother and husband of Tethys (Oceanus), which is an answer I pulled from godknowswhere. I figured if we're talking husband-brothers, then we are talking some primal, early, originary gods. Guessed it off the CEA. Other classical mythology answer I dredged up from some dank part of my brain: 29D: Princess loved by Heracles (Iole) - but only after I had the -OLE, so maybe not the biggest accomplishment.
- 20A: Confident affirmation ("I sure can") - in a ridiculous fit of optimism, I entered I CAN DO IT off of just the initial "I".
- 48A: Split (fled) - I had FLEE; easy mistake.
- 9A: Measure of reflected light (albedo) - today's entry in the Science Blindness sweepstakes ... well, there are two. This one, and 46D: German astronomer who was the first to measure the distance to a star (Bessel). Thought BESSEL was a vacuum cleaner. Turns out that's BISSEL.
- 11D: River craft (bateau) - when did this jump languages?
- 28A: Valium, generically (diazepam) - yikes ... and yet ... I feel as if I've seen it before, possibly (and I know this sounds nuts) in a crossword somewhere.
- 37A: Tognazzi of "La Cage aux Folles" (Ugo) - Just a huge "?" for me.
- 45D: Hindu drink of immortality (Amrita) - AMRITA stands parallel to BESSEL, so I'm damned lucky I knew all the crosses. I'm also damned lucky I knew an AMRITA in high school, making the answer somehow plausible in my mind. I haven't seen or thought of her in 20 years, but I'd like the thank AMRITA Desai for the assist on this one.
The SW would have remained a complete mystery, I'm convinced, if it hadn't been for the ubiquitous Mr. NOLTE, who was a gimme. His "N" let me know that 32D: Colt handler began with GUN and it didn't take long to figure out the answer must be GUNSMITH. Took me forever to remember what "bovarism" meant (I was thinking something to do with cows...), but my college French Lit course kicked in and I managed to get EGOMANIA (33D: Extreme bovarism) off of just the E-O beginning.
It's late and I must now read myself to sleep.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld