THURSDAY, Jun. 28, 2007 - Joseph Crowley

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "Colorful" - five Looooooong theme answers: four contain colors and the fifth contains the word RAINBOW

I loved this puzzle, though it was the easiest Thursday puzzle I've solved in a long time (7 minutes flat, which is pretty fast for me). I can't remember seeing a puzzle where the great majority (here, 80%) of the theme answers were 15 letters long. Amazing. And stacked in two stacks of two, no less. Stacked, I say! Fabulous. And even with such heavy theme demands, the puzzle does not suffer in its non-theme fill - all fine entries, a little on the easy side, with only one answer I'd never seen before. My favorite crossing in the puzzle, for no explainable reason, is RABBI (28D: Harry Kemelman sleuth David Small, e.g.) v. BJORK (42A: Oscar-nominated Icelandic singer). Favorite misparsing: I SOUR (for IS OUR - 33A: "A Mighty Fortress _____ God" (hymn)).

Theme answers:

  • 14A: Colorful opening course (mixed green salad)
  • 17A: Colorful spread (orange marmalade)
  • 37A: With 39-Across, colorful dessert (rainbow / sherbet)
  • 61A: Colorful breakfast food (blueberry muffin)
  • 64A: Colorful entree (red beans and rice)
I started the puzzle strong, guessing (correctly) on 1A: Greta Garbo, by birth (Swede) and easily getting the next answer over, 6A: Title name after the lyric "What's it all about when you sort it out" ("Alfie") - I'm a big Burt Bachrach fan (see also my affection for DION(N)E Warwick, below). Remind me to tell you about seeing him in concert a few years ago in Minnesota. . .

I tripped over FER (8D: _____-de-lance) thinking it was FEU (!?). LEASERS (7D: Not owners) and I WON'T (33D: Obstreperous child) both felt very wrong, but ended up working out. I loved seeing DWEEB (45D: Nerd), and, being one, got it with no crosses. For once I was able to handle a moon of Saturn with relatively little difficulty. I like DIONE (45A: Moon of Saturn) because it resembles two of my favorite singers, DIONNE (Warwick) and DION. Never ever heard of REVERSI (43D: Game on an 8 x 8 board), but it sounds and looks nice, and considering there are no other obscurities in this puzzle, I'll accept it. And though ESAU (10D: "_____ Wood would saw wood..." (part of a classic tongue twister)) is tired, ENOS (19A: "The Dukes of Hazzard" deputy) is never unwelcome, as you know. Actually, that ESAU clue is the most entertaining, and possibly the most desperate, attempt I've ever seen to spruce up decrepit fill.

That is all.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Linda G 9:21 AM  

Nice writeup, dweeb ; )

We both had colorful posts, although my rainbow was Roy G Biv from left to right. You know what they minds are sick minds.

Alex 9:30 AM  

You may know Reversi by another name: Othello.

I've never heard the "Esau Wood would saw wood" tongue twister before.

It's a good thing ENOS ("Dukes of Hazzard Deputy") was a gimme from my childhood or I'd have been stucke with RENTERS instead of LEASERS for a long time.

I'd like to thank Tom Cruise for being in Vanilla Sky, prompting me to see the original version, which is the only reason I know the Spanish word for eye.

I have no idea why I was so confident of GHANA that I put it in with no crosses.

jlsnyc 10:03 AM  

"i saw esau sittin' on a see-saw.." and "how much wood would a woodchuck chuck..." are the tongue twisters i know. live and learn!

oh -- and how could you omit *celine* dion?!

(verrrrrrry easily! ;-) )


Wade 10:27 AM  

I didn't find this one so easy--took me almost exactly twice as long as Rex. I got several clues on the first run-through, including SWEDE, GHANA, SHAW and ENOS, but they weren't much immediate help. __I__EDGREENSALAD crossing with S_O_ and E_A_ hung me up til the very end. Before that I was stuck all across the bottom because I couldn't figure out what the colorful red entree was (I kept wanting something like redfish.) Tough one for me, but an admirable puzzle.

crossnerd 10:27 AM  

You know, I _know_ that I've seen SWEDE clued like that half a dozen times before, but every time I see it, I try to figure out what Greta Garbo's birth name was.

Her first name really was Greta, it turns out. And her last name is extremely long. Something to remember, I guess.

Brian 11:09 AM  


Greta Lovisa Gustafsson.

Nice puzzle. Too easy for a Thursday, though.

Scott 11:19 AM  

I saw Bachrach in Chicago when he was touring with Elvis Costello. Very strange crowd -- retirees, 40-somethings like myself who discovered Costello in the 70's, and lots of young punk-types. Burt's voice was shot but he seemed to be enjoying the tribute.

shaun 12:22 PM  

I'll remind you about that concert in Minnesota -- at least the part about how it was actually in Philadelphia, 7 years ago. (Close your eyes, think back, think hot tubs and Leo and Carole Bayer Sager . . . )

Rex Parker 12:47 PM  

I'm laughing so hard (at myself) right now - I thought I saw Bachrach in Minnesota because, well, all I remember is WHO was with me (my friend Steve, who lives now, as he did then, in Minnesota). I wish I could put an audiofile on this site of Steve imitating Burt's endless, chuckly, mumbly, and hilariously dated on-stage patter ... part of which involved buying a race horse with Neil Diamond. I laughed when Burt was talking, but I cried laughing - literally cried til it hurt - hearing Steve's post-concert imitation (which involved added, occasionally pornographic stuff Burt didn't actually say ... but could have). Hadn't laughed that hard since, well, probably a week earlier, when Steve and I improvised dialogue for the two couples sitting near us in a Thai restaurant. We had them cheerily discussing the best way to kill hoboes. But I (really, really) digress...


profphil 12:48 PM  

A rabbi crossing?? Shame on you! -- Kidding. I was thrilled to see the clue for rabbi as I loved the David Small mysteries. My Mom read them and I would "borrow" them from her. The titles were cool too: "Friday the Rabbi Slept Late," and "Saturday... One for each week.

Much later I worked with Harry Kemelman's daughter. Have not thought about either for a while.

blue stater 1:14 PM  

Like several here, I found this one harder than Rex did. I went along OK, if rather slowly, until I returned to the NW, where I got hung up for the longest time on MIXEDGREENSALAD, mostly because the 1D clue isn't quite right. Smog, at least the kind I encountered in 15-plus years in SoCal, doesn't cause heavy breathing. It makes your eyes water; it can make you just feel mildly nauseated and headachy. But that's a minor blemish in an otherwise technically good puzzle.

PEB 1:20 PM  

"Reversi," by the way, is simply another name for the game "Othello." It's the original name, I believe.

Fergus 1:42 PM  

No special tricks today -- suspiciously easy, which is why it took me at least twenty minutes. I had just read the article about Kobayashi, so 53A OUTEAT was a piece of cake.

Orange 2:55 PM  

blue stater, if you've got asthma, a smoggy day mucks up your breathing. Shortness of breath = trying harder to inhale enough air through narrowed airways = "heavy breathing." Works for me.

Alex 6:38 PM  

I think I agree with blue stater, though compared to other clue/answer mismatches it really isn't that major.

But to me difficulty of breathing does not equal heavy breathing. But it could easily be my usage is not standard. I'd never say someone going through an asthma attack was breathing heavily.

Kitt 8:16 PM  

Liked the puzzle today!

Took me a little bit to figure out rainbow sherbet and then was sure that other colors would be involved. Just to uncover them...

All around a good puzzle....loved the "stacks" plus good fill. No ernes, arias, or asps today... In my world that gives this puzzle an A+.

s2007 10:16 PM  

Again--I didn't think this one was so easy. I did finish it, but it took me longer than you, Rex. (like three times longer). I always have an easier time with the puzzles you seem to think are harder. Funny how minds work, huh?

Michael 11:09 PM  

I agree about ENOS -- so much more fun to ref. Dukes of Hazzard than the Biblical one. And I woulda preferred for RED BEANS AND RICE if they used the lyrics from Baby Got Back:

Gimme a sista can't resist her
Red beans and rice didn't miss her

If they're gonna reference Bjork, why not Sir Mix-a-lot, right?

Wendy 11:17 PM  

Friday is Nothnagel day again! Yay!

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

6WL :::::::

I missed DIONE (Moon of Saturn). I had DIANE, because I had OJA for Spanish eye rather than OJO. If I wanted to do a crossword puzzle in Spanish I would! Though I woun't get any answers correct. Foreign words should be illegal. Unless, of course, they're French, as I know some of those mots.....

Clever clue on ONES (kind of place)

katya 3:27 PM  

My only quibble was clue for TVAD (50A). I would prefer "spot of Madison Ave." to "bit of Madison Ave. planning."

The ad is the result, not the plan.

Indo-Aryan (51D) sounds odd to me.

Vince 6:12 PM  

I just gotta say that this was the first NYT crossword that I've completed in one sitting.... so I guess it must be easy!

I was embarrassed to have to change IDEAS and YUPPIAS into IDEES and YUPPIES. I stuck with Indo-CHINA instead of Indo-ARYAN for a while, too.

Mmm, I'd sure like some Rainbow Sherbet right now...

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