MONDAY, Jul. 16, 2007 - Elizabeth A. Long

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium to Challenging

THEME: 25D: With 22-Down, what the ends of the four starred clues are examples of (how to fix / your hair)

Theme answers:

  • 17A: It rolls across the Plains (sage brush)
  • 11D: Juice drink brand (Ocean Spray)
  • 31D: Alluring dance (striptease)
  • 65A: Beehive contents (honeycomb)

The wording on that theme-revealing clue is infelicitous in the extreme, and I don't like the layout of the theme-revealing answer: the verticality of the two parts is OK - a nice twist - but I really don't like that YOUR HAIR is a step higher than HOW TO FIX. Answers should read left to right and Top to Bottom. The higher second part hurts my head. Plus, when I got to 22D and saw "see 25D," then saw the wording on 25D, I resented being run around (if you solve on paper, you won't appreciate this as much as if you solve on-line, where you can't see all the clues at a glance). So I got slowed up some and ended up with another average Monday time (mid-low 4's).


So overall, a fine Monday puzzle, with some awkwardness of construction that made me wince - but I'm willing to admit it just may be a personal thing against what I perceive as fussiness in a grid. I thought some of the non-theme fill was pretty challenging and vibrant. 3D: Rapper Snoop _____ (Dogg) and nearby 5D: Snarling dog (cur) make a nice pairing, as do the once (LIRA) and future (EURO) coins of Italy. 59A: Saint _____, Caribbean nation (Lucia) did not come to me at all at first. Aren't there many Saint somethingorothers in the Caribbean? The Latinate crossings of 52A: Wife of Marc Antony (Octavia) and 45D: Cautions (caveats) also added a bit of BRIO (55A: Vivacity) to the grid. Lastly, CANASTA (9D: Card game with melding) gives me fond memories of long Pacific coast road trips as a kid, during which my sister, step-sister, and I would play CANASTA and other card games over and over and over as a way of entertaining ourselves during the Long drives, first from Fresno to Medford, OR, and then on up to Bellevue, WA. I am grateful that I we didn't have any technological distractions greater than a Walkman. The trip, I'm convinced, would have been far less memorable.

I'm out of here tomorrow (Fenway-bound) and won't be back til Thursday's puzzle. Linda G will be taking over for me for the next two days, so stop in and say 'hi' to her.

Good night,

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

21 comments:

jlsnyc 10:54 PM  

re: the wording of the theme-revealing clue -- oh, man, do i ever second that emotion. loved the fill, but.....

have a fabulous fenway!

;-)

janie

jlsnyc 10:56 PM  

p.s. your choices in graphics never cease to delight!

Wendy, OSU class of '74 11:18 PM  

Well, I know that's not the 'Parker' family ... so who IS it?

Today's diabolical clue: Shooters' org which can be NBA (as I had) or NRA (which is the correct answer).

Lots of groovy answers, I thought, and I did like the theme for its eccentricity. OCEAN SPRAY - nice! Also had Imana instead of AMANA, I think I was mixing up an old toothpaste brand with an appliance brand.

Grimaced a bit for "The Buckeyes, for short." OSU is not 'short' for the Buckeyes. It's the abbreviation of the school for which the Buckeyes play. Am I being too picky here? I suppose on a scoreboard it would be. Oh goodnight.

Linda G 11:33 PM  

That photo was a riot! If I have any pictures like that, I'm going to destroy them right this minute.

Have a good time, Rex. Give my regards to Boston ; )

Howard B 12:28 AM  

Have a good trip.
Seconding Linda on the pic - that's some serious nightmare fuel there. I'm sure they're fine people, but I can't shake the thought that there are some Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style pods growing in those hair nests... *shudder*

Anonymous 5:54 AM  

medium to challenging?

liebestraum 7:06 AM  

medium to challenging for a Monday puzzle.

hobbyist 8:34 AM  

I don't like the use of "fix" to mean doing one's hair.
Are curs snarlers by definition? Thought they were just mongrels?

Orange 9:46 AM  

Hobbyist, even beauty pageant contestants use the phrase: "It takes me about 30 minutes to fix my hair." Completely sensible from an idiomatic standpoint.

crossnerd 10:29 AM  

Hope you have a nice trip! I miss summertime Boston already, though it'll probably be years before I miss the winters.

And re: your "fussiness," I don't think you're being particularly fussy about this one. The alignment of HOWTOFIX and YOURHAIR bothered me too, but I wasn't quite sure why until I read your post. Thanks!

DONALD 10:45 AM  

The HOWTOFIX and YOURHAIR alignment made sense to me as one does reach up to "fix" one's hair, if one has same!

STRIPTEASE is sure to give the Puzzle Police pause, who think The New York Times is answerable to a more prudish standard than other newspapers when it comes to the contents of its crossword puzzles -- however, this is surely a Biblical reference, e.g., Salome of the dance of the seven veils, so the reference should pass muster.

Fergus 12:11 PM  

Speaking of the Puzzle Police, I remember a year or two ago the clue Boulder Holder, with the answer being DCUP. That's about as risque/crude as I've seen get through that filter.

OPART and HONEYCOMB both had the mini-delight of a plural-hinted clue without ending in S. When I get really stuck, just throwing in an S in the last square can give the illusion of progress ....

I see that the lowly Royals will be visiting Fenway. Does anyone else find a correlation between enthusiasm for baseball and crossword puzzles? I found perfect harmony one Saturday afternoon down the right field line, filling in squares on a grid and not bothering with the scorecard.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Wendy - The toothpaste was IPANA, not IMANA.

judith8 12:34 PM  

Hi,

This is my first time posting to this site, though I have been reading it for a couple of months now. I was one letter off from getting the puzzle correct. Since I have yet to finish a whole puzzle, I was happy to almost get there. Enjoy the trip to Fenway. You are going to have a blast. Sometimes NESN broadcasts outside on Yawkey Way before the game. Before checking that out, you should probably get a drink at the Cask and check out the new digs in the basement of Game On. If you have time during your stay to go to the North End for a casual dinner, I suggest Giacomo's at 355 Hanover St. The line starts forming at 7 and you will be sitting pretty close to your neighbors, but the pasta is great. Get a cannoli at Mike's Pastry afterwards. Um, yeah, I live in Boston.

judith8 12:34 PM  

Hi,

This is my first time posting to this site, though I have been reading it for a couple of months now. I was one letter off from getting the puzzle correct. Since I have yet to finish a whole puzzle, I was happy to almost get there. Enjoy the trip to Fenway. You are going to have a blast. Sometimes NESN broadcasts outside on Yawkey Way before the game. Before checking that out, you should probably get a drink at the Cask and check out the new digs in the basement of Game On. If you have time during your stay to go to the North End for a casual dinner, I suggest Giacomo's at 355 Hanover St. The line starts forming at 7 and you will be sitting pretty close to your neighbors, but the pasta is great. Get a cannoli at Mike's Pastry afterwards. Um, yeah, I live in Boston.

campesite 3:04 PM  

This, to me, was a fine Monday puzzle: some challenging fill, a cute theme, and a few clever clues.

It seems we've been seeing OP ART quite a bit lately.

Michael 4:38 PM  

re: risque--I distinctly remember seeing SCUMBAG in the puzzle a few months back and almost losing my breakfast. Of course, that was before I used Across Lite, so maybe it was projection on my part?

Fergus 4:56 PM  

I remember SCUMBAG, too. But what was the clue? Think it was just something like Scoundrel, or Dirty Rat rather than anything too literal.

Linda g's reading of TRIPLE-X rather than TRIPLEX for a sort of cinema palace just the other day may have been sneakily licentious on the constructor's part.

Kitt 6:35 PM  

"Fixing your hair" is a comment I cannot believe every woman -- and possibly some men have used.

FX: "All I've got to do is change my clothes and fix my hair -- then we can go out for dinner." Very commom phrase in my opinion.

BTW -- Welcome Judith.

Ellen 10:03 PM  

There was a mention of scumbag last year that caused quite a hoo-ha. http://www.slate.com/id/2139453/

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

6WL :::

Pretty straightforward. At 55a, I automatically entered "elan" rather than BRIO which took some undoing. When I lived in San Francisco, use of the term FRISCO (44a) was taboo.

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