Saturday, July 7, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
I was going to print this out and solve it over breakfast, but once I took a look at it and saw 11A: Three-time Gold Glove winner _____ Otis (Amos) sitting there (a gimme for me), I started typing in answers, and never stopped. In fact, I barely paused. The thing about 10-letter answers - there are 12 of them in this puzzle - is that if you can unlock one with just a few crosses, then it really opens the puzzle up. In this case, none of the long answers were very tricky. After getting AMOS and then MOLT (16A: Undergo ecdysis - an incredible guess on my part, inferred from my knowing that an "ecdysiast" is a stripper), I set down the long answers in the NE in 1-2-3 fashion, but in reverse. First STEP ASIDE (14D: Relinquishes control), then OL' MAN RIVER (13D: Show tune sung by a stevedore named Joe), then MONTESSORI (12D: Casa dei Bambini school founder). A few more little crosses, and just like that, one quadrant of the puzzle was done.
Once I changed GREW to FLEW (9D: Gained popular acceptance), the long NW answers started to fall into place, beginning with HELLO HELLO (15A: Enthusiastic welcome) - I just had the second HELLO at first, and briefly considered A FINE HELLO, but got the right answer fairly easily. There is one insane answer in the NW: 5D: Eternal (eonian) - yikes. Thankfully, all the crosses were super-common words.
I was aided by the return of some fill I'd seen recently, including EXACTA (23D: Track wager) and TO SIR (10D: Quaint note opener). Oh, and PINA COLADA (61A: Cosmopolitan alternative) - though last time, that answer was clued in a far more gettable fashion, via the Rupert Holmes song.
Check out the high-end cluing on crossword staple OLE - 39A: Outboard motor inventor Evinrude! No bullfighting clues today.
I'm wondering if 37A: Zolaesque imputation ("J'accuse") will give people trouble. It was a gimme for me, but it might seem from outer space for people who have never heard of the Dreyfus Affair.
Only a few other little answers provided any kind of obstacle. Didn't know:
- 60A: Fröbe who played Goldfinger (Gert) - I feel as if I have not known this before...
- 54D: Sourdough's dream (lode) - bread has dreams? (I eventually figured out that this must be a term for a prospector, and only just this second figured out the connection between the bread and S.F. and the Gold Rush).
- 56A: St. _____ (Cornwall resort town) (Ives) - Is this the same St. IVES as in the poem "As I was going to St. IVES, I met a man with seven wives..."?
- 29A: Sorority letters (XIs) - I thought "X" was called a "CHI," but I guessed this spelling anyway, and as with nearly all my guesses in this puzzle, it was right.
- 51D: Pick _____ (pettifog) (a nit) - "pettifog"!?!? Now that's a new one to me. I know PETITS FOURS ... PETTICOAT ... TOM PETTY ... THE VELVET FOG ... but no, not this word.
The one square I nearly blew was at the intersection of MR. ED (41A: TV role for Bamboo Harvester) and MARSALA (41D: Zabaglione ingredient). Had _RED and _ARS__A and was seriously going to enter FRED / FARSINA (!? - I think I was thinking FARINA, like the flour...?), but then I got the _ARSALA part and that first letter became an "M." MR. ED, of course. Not sure what FRED I was thinking of. Maybe the voice of FRED Flintstone ... or FRED from "Scooby Doo"...
That's all. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld