Monday, June 11, 2007
Relative Difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Knots" (36A: Word that can follow the starts of 17-, 23-, 51- and 59-Across)
I plodded through this deliberately - no hang-ups, and yet I was not the hot knife through butter I like to be on a Tuesday. Got off to a terrible start with 1A: Former U.N. chief Javier _____ de Cuéllar (Perez), which I did not know at all, and which took what seemed like a long time to come together, especially since I originally had two of the crosses wrong (LAST for PAST at 1D: Previous, and MOB for ZOO at 5D: Madhouse). Oh, actually I had a third PEREZ cross wrong, but this one didn't affect PEREZ - off the "R" I wrote in RAIN GEAR for RAIN WEAR, which may seem minor, but it kept @#$#-ing WINDSOR CASTLE hidden from me for far too many seconds. Anyway, none of these problems was severe. But no record time today. Not even close (high 5's).
- 17A: Spoonerism, usually (slip of the tongue) - stumbled on this one, as I initially thought the answer itself was going to be a spoonerism
- 23A: Sight along the Thames (Windsor Castle)
- 51A: Hoedown folks (square dancers) - somehow "folks" threw me; "participants" would have clued me in better - I wanted HILLBILLIES or something less pejorative
- 59A: San Francisco tourist attraction (Fisherman's Wharf) - born in S.F., know it well.
12D: Crews' craft (sculls)
Got confused because "craft" is singular and "sculls" feels plural. This answer goes nicely with 39D: Crew's leader (coxswain), which took me a while to get (I wanted COXSMAN). COXSWAIN looks great in the grid but really wrong as a word.
15A: Gutter site (eave)
8D: Grandmother of Enoch (Eve)
Nice homonymic crossing. Speaking of "gutters," we really really need to clean ours. I think there are miniature trees growing out of them.
37D: "Happy Days" put-down ("Nerd!")
Strangely, I don't have a clear recollection of this term's being used on "Happy Days," which I watched Religiously as a child - it's the first primetime show I can remember watching: "Happy Days," "Laverne & Shirley," bedtime. I was really hoping the answer would be "SIT ON IT," which I have never heard or seen used except on "Happy Days."
49A: Like some dental floss (unwaxed)
Had the -ED and could think only of WAXED and wondered what other types of floss there were. MINTED? GLOSSY? CINNAMON? Interesting to go with UNWAXED - it's strange to require a qualifying adjective to refer to a thing in its unaltered state. If you follow. I'm not sure I do.
57D: Gaelic language (Erse)
58D: Newts (efts)
Two old guys just hanging out in the corner, remembering the good old days and making fun of the young whippersnappers like YAHOO (7D: Popular e-mail provider) and the highly dubious WHA!? (62D: "Huh?"). ERSE and EFTS have been through the wars. In their day, candy bars cost a nickel and I think you still had to crank your phone to get it to work. I'm saying they're old old oldskool is what I'm saying. I have a strange affection for them.
And I'm done.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld