WEDNESDAY, Jun. 6, 2007 - Richard Silvestri

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: I to Y - common phrases have an "I" changed to a "Y" to create odd new phrases, which are then clued

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Stealing some computer memory? (taking a byte)
  • 54A: Always use the term "coloring agent?" (never say "dye") - best of today's theme answers by Far
  • 11D: Ways to make lefts and rights? (turn styles)
  • 29D: Assorted hydroxides? (a pack of lyes)

Not a lot to say today. The theme is fairly unremarkable, and the non-theme fill is, for the most part, ordinary. There are some interesting answer groupings, though, so I guess I will make those the primary subject of today's...

Featured Five

15A: Corrida creature (toro)
19A: Like unfortunate bullfighters (gored)

For a sport that doesn't exist in this country, bullfighting gets a ton of crossword action. I like that in today's puzzle, the bull gets some revenge. Speaking of revenge...

21D: "Revenge of the _____" ("Nerds")
50A: Sig Chi, e.g. (frat)

"Revenge of the NERDS" was a staple of my high-school movie-viewing experience. I think it played every day on HBO for my entire adolescence. Anyway, in the movie, after being rejected and picked on by football types, the "NERDS" start their own FRAT, Lambda Lambda Lambda, or the Tri-Lams, and then they enter the Greek Games (or some such inter-FRAT competition) and, using their collective geniuses, manage to win it all. Hence, "Revenge." I think one of the "NERDS" (possibly Anthony Edwards) also gets a pretty sorority girl in the end. It's a very dumb but strangely enjoyable movie.

4D: Come through (deliver)
38A: Narrow pieces (slivers)

Don or Lena (river)

These, uh, rhyme, with RIVER and SLIVERS intersecting right at the center of the puzzle. The Don and the Lena are both in Russia, FYI.

46D: Saying grace (praying)
4D: Come through (deliver)
44A: Word of agreement ("Amen")

Nice little prayer theme going here. I threw DELIVER in here because of the phrase "... DELIVER us from evil," from the Lord's Prayer.

10D: Chinese cosmic order (Tao)
41A: Kung fu star (Lee)

LEE's fighting philosophy was heavily influenced by TAOism and Buddhism. Many pictures of him feature him in front of the TAOist yin/yang symbol. After his death, some of LEE's notes on fighting were reworked and published as a book called TAO of Jeet Kune Do.

Some unusual words:

  • 16A: Pleasant Island, today (Nauru) - never heard of it
  • 32D: Cordwood measure (stere) - a half-guess; I've seen it before but could not have defined it for you
  • 18A: Broadway's _____ Jay Lerner (Alan) - a gimme for some, perhaps, but for me ... no. Got it from crosses.
  • 61D: Faline's mother, in "Bambi" (Ena) - never seen the movie and don't care to. Again, got it from crosses.
  • 57D: Sledge (dray) - good word. I think of a DRAY as a wagon or cart - is that what "sledge" means here? Probably.

That's all for today. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Alex 9:38 AM  

Today was a classic example of just getting up and walking away for a while.

Most of the puzzle was pretty smooth (though I wouldn't say easy).

But I was going to fast at the beginning and missed the tense of the clue and put SPIT where SPAT should be. This lead to IMAM where ARAB should be which prevented me from seeing the 20A theme answer.

Since I was completely confident in the I-A- part of IMAM I spent ten minutes trying to think of and google other words.

Finally walked away and watched the embarrassment that is America's Got Talent for half an hour. When I came back I saw my mistake in about 15 seconds.

I was very much pleased with the 1A, 1D combination of A BIT (Slightly) and ALIT (Found a perch) until I realized I was wrong about 1A.

Really do not like RAYED (Sent out beams).

Ron 10:08 AM  

First time I have finished a Wednesday puzzle in less than an hour ! not too difficult tho, and I got the theme right up front. But didnt know the B-Ball Tomjanovich or the Pleasant Island, so guessed (wrong) on those, but googled after and made the changes . Now, off to a productive day !

Linda G 10:19 AM  

I made a connection between GORED and TAPER (to a point?) but totally missed TORO sitting right there.

The talented Ms. Clarkson was clued and you didn't mention her.

Didn't know that Don and Lena were rivers, much less that they're in Russia. I assumed their last name was River and I'd just never heard of them. I hope someone else made that assumption : )

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Sholokhov wrote a series in the 1940's. The first book's title was "And Quiet Flows the Don." Another was "The Don Flows Home to the Sea."
I have read this books (for a college course in Russian Lit.) but remember not a whit re either one of them. It was forty years ago but...Too much compulsory reading then coupled with reports, research, exams. Sensory overload.
Good clue as one would think that Don and Lena were people who shared a surname or something on those lines.

profphil 11:53 AM  

I too though Don and Lena were people and not Russian rivers. I also had "a bit" as opposed to "a tad" at first but quicly corrected it doing the down clues.

Rex, In the days of yore, Ena was almost pantheonic. I however could not remeber it although I remembered the clue.

Norrin2 12:03 PM  

I had AIM as an outfielder's asset (I mean an arm's no good without aim, right?) and since I didn't have Mr and Mrs. River I was trying to find a homework assignment that would work in _EPOITS. That held me up a little.

Orange 12:27 PM  

Didn't Archie Bunker have to write repoits when he was a schoolboy?

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Nauru's actually an interesting little Pacific island. It's the world's smallest independant republic (8 sq miles, 13k people) and the majority of the island has been rendered uninhabitable due to 100 years of reckless and rampant phosphate mining.

barrywep 4:58 PM  

I enjoyed this much more than Rex. Silvestri is one of my favorite constructors and we don't see enough of his work. Too bust ordering TSINGDAO at the CASHBAR I guess.

Anonymous 5:45 PM  

Nauru is where Australia dumps woulb be asylum seekers found at sea to keep them from reaching the mainland. Nauru gets paid by Australia for this.

campesite 7:00 PM  

Barrywep, TSINGTAO and CASHBAR rightly intersect at the NY Sun Cafe.

Kitt 7:39 PM  

Alex: I think you'll find (I assume others here have also) that if you leave the puzzle for a bit -- or for a tad :) something will pop into your brain that you didn't know was waiting there for you....anyway, it happens to me very often.

It makes me think about how incredible the brain is to be able to do that...go take a shower, send an email, put in some laundry -- next thing you know the word you need is right there.

Pretty cool when that happens~

Ultra Vi 9:11 PM  

I very much liked this Silvestr(y) and all the y's thrown in in addition to the theme-y y's.

I especially liked RAYed; I guess you could say I have my reasons.

Ultra Vi 9:13 PM  

I very much liked this Silvestr(y) and all the y's thrown in in addition to the theme-y y's.

I especially liked RAYed; I guess you could say I have my reasons.

Wendy 9:44 PM  

Though hard, I enjoyed this very much. I like the way this Silvestri fellow clues.

Loved A TAD intersecting with TADA. And AMOK is always welcome anywhere. Some juicy -ed words: GORED and NURSED.

Got hung up on Don and Lena like others. Could have been Horne, but google told me there wasn't a Don Horne. Could have been Olin(s) but google said no to Don Olin. Finally I wondered about RIVER. I knew there was a Don River in Toronto; I didn't know from rivers in Russia but it turned out to be right.

I thought Makeshift Screwdriver was priceless (DIME). When that one dawned on me it was a true TA DA moment. I wanted Most of 1-76 across Pennsylvania to be Speed Trap, but obviously that wasn't gonna work ;)

Beermat? Can't say I've ever heard COASTERs called that before.

Liked WHIP too. Very 'get in touch with your inner civics student'.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

6WL ::::

Me too (Lena Horne). The v in SLIVERS got me onto RIVER pretty quickly though.

Re. 69a, is a gyro really a sandwich? I thought two bread slices were involved.

It would have been better if SLIVERS (the center answer) related to the theme / contained a Y. I am thankful, though, that SLIVERS is not a sequel to the dreadful WBaldwin / SStone movie "Sliver".

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