Monday, July 30, 2007
- 20A: Game equipment for an old sitcom star? (Lucille's ball)
- 35A: Game location for an actress? (Sally's field)
- 52A: Game site for a popular singer? (Neil's diamond)
This doesn't feel like a theme. I got LUCILLE'S BALL pretty quickly - or rather, I got LUCILLE and then wondered what the trick could be. If it's "baseball," then how does the changing of the first name to a possessive fit in, theme-wise? Seems an extra, unexplained wrinkle.
I ran into just one problem in the grid, and it was major. Right around the "Ohio" region of the puzzle, I came to a dead stop at least a couple of times. 8D: Hand-to-hand fighting (combat) took far too long to come to me than it should have. But getting it (which I did, finally) should have made 9D: 8-Down ender easy. It Did Not. Since when does a TREATY end "hand-to-hand fighting." I know that the way it's clued, technically, a TREATY is supposed to end COMBAT, which is not wrong, but when that COMBAT is clued as the hand-to-hand variety (which suggests karate, pugilism, etc., i.e. one-on-one combat), then TREATY does not even show up on the radar as an appropriate word here. TRUCE would have been somewhat more expected. That, or KNOCKOUT. TREATIES are between peoples, states, nations. If COMBAT had been clued as simply [Fighting], I would have had a lot less trouble, conceptually.
If you had any trouble with this puzzle, it likely involved one or more of the following answers:
1D: Actor Snipes of "Blade" (Wesley) - a gimme, but experience tells me that many of you haven't the foggiest clue about pop culture post-Kennedy administration (if then), and I know only about six of you will have deigned to see "Blade," so...
3D: Owner of MTV and BET (Viacom) - again, easy for pop culture fans, maybe not so easy for shut-ins like yourselves (I'm teasing!). Actually, a shut-in would probably watch a lot of TV.
24A: Organic salt (oleate) - ????
22D: Speaker's spot (lectern) - this word just wouldn't give itself up. For a while I had just the initial "L," and all I could think of was PODIUM, ROSTRUM (!?), and DAIS. Really needed the "C," which I finally got (last thing I filled in, I think), when I got...
30A: Captains of industry (tycoons) - that is one cool word, now that I look at it. Sounds good, rhymes with "raccoons." Since I didn't have TREATY for a long time, I didn't have the "Y" here, just the initial "T," and as with LECTERN, the initial letter alone did nothing for me.
41A: IBM/Apple product starting in the early 90's (Power PC) - I had one of these circa '95. The crazy consonantal pile-up at the end there looks good in the grid.
42: A _____ (kind of reasoning) (priori) - I'm always surprised when this word shows up in the grid. Feels very specialized / esoteric, and yet I've seen it multiple times this past year.
50D: Winston Churchill flashed it (V sign) - great clue. Gotta love an entry starting "VS..."
Lastly I would like to GROUSE (45D: Bellyache) about 51D: Love of one's life (amour) ... in France, maybe. And even then, AMOUR is just love, not necessarily the hyperbolic kind suggested by the clue.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld