Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: 59A: The starts to 17-, 30-, 38- and 47-Across, collectively (song by Paul Simon)
And what is that song...? BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER
17A: Loan to a company before it goes public, say (BRIDGE financing) - not a term I know, because I am Finance-Ignorant in the Xtreme
30A: Spilling out (OVER the edge) - not having looked at the clue, I was puzzled as to why I couldn't get "OVER THE HEDGE" to fit. That's what happens when you have a little girl who loves animated feature films.
38A: Periods of unrest (TROUBLED times)
47A: Remover of impurities (WATER filter)
Now that I look at this grid in the clear light of morning, I see that it is fantastic. Almost no boring or tired fill, and a clever theme gimmick. I always think of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as a Simon & Garfunkel song, though I guess Simon wrote it, so the answer's fair. Poor Art. Speaking of Paul Simon, apparently he is doing mini-concerts in support of Chris Dodd's presidential campaign in Iowa. Just a bit of trivia for those of you who don't listen to NPR's "All Things Considered."
Some answers I loved:
3D: Racing feat (triple crown) - the clue's a bit tepid, but the answer's lively, with lots of mid-range Scrabble letters (P, C, W).
39D: Harsh and metallic (brassy) - What would you describe this way? I always think of BRASSY (when I think of it, which is admittedly rarely) as an adjective for a person, namely an annoying blonde. But blondes aren't "metallic" ... exactly. Maybe harsh sounds are described as BRASSY.
47D: Home mixologist's spot (wet bar) - haven't heard the phrase (much) since we moved into my childhood home in Fresno in 1976. It was quite stylin' for its time, in that it had a WET BAR, as well as an outdoor barbecue pit and a pool house with a sauna. Parents turned that wet bar into a pantry real quick, which in retrospect seems a real shame, although one should probably be grateful for having non-alcoholics for parents.
56A: Place to shop in Tokyo (ginza) - not sure why I know this answer, but it pleases me - sounds like something tasty to eat while simultaneously reminding me of the GINSU knife ads of my childhood. Took a while to get as I had FOLD for FAIL (49D: Go bankrupt), and so had GL--A staring at me for a bit.
In fact, that SE was a bit of a struggle - the only one in the whole grid. Not having that "Z" made it hard to get ZIMA (58D: Coors brand) - does anyone actually drink that crap? It was already a joke drink by the mid-90's. Anyway, the other troubling bits down here were 67A: Pour out from (empty) - a clue that still seems off to me - and 64D: Carrie of "Creepshow" (Nye). I know Bill NYE the Science Guy, and that is all the NYEs I know. Lastly, for some reason, even though I knew OTT (63D: Baseball's Master Melvin), I balked at filling it in, mainly because I'd never seen the word "Master" attached to him. Makes him sound like a rapper. Master Melvin's cigarette of choice: Chesterfield.
Nice to see ITASCA (26A: Lake that is a source of the Mississippi) atop TOD (34A: Director Browning), two answers I learned from doing crosswords this past year. My only real complaint about today's puzzle is all the abbrev.'s, including BPOE (55D: Fraternal org.), NTSB (54A: Crash-probing agcy.), LDS (53A: Mormons, initially), and NSEC (57D: Tiny fraction of a min.). Other than that, the puzzle's quite sweet. Tuesdays are hard to pull off - some of the puzzles I have hated most have been Tuesdays - so I'm impressed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld