Thursday, August 2, 2007
Relative difficulty: Challenging
Well I NEVER (46D: "How dare you!") heard of the FIBONACCI SERIES (35A: "The Da Vinci Code" sequence). That basically tells you all you need to know about my solving experience. I wouldn't touch "The Da Vinci Code" (book or movie) with a ten foot pole. Oh, and the GAELS (30D: Iona College athletes) is the stupidest name for a college team ever. GAELS is barely a word. I had GAULS for the longest time, making SERIES invisible to me. In fact, I kept getting frustrated that I couldn't make ANYTHING out of the crosses I had for FIBONACCI SERIES. Wanted ACCESSORIES to be involved somehow. So bad was all this that I second-guessed MALRAUX (26D: France's first minister of culture, 1959-69), kept changing INSECURE (36D: Wobbly) to UNSECURE and back again, and repeatedly cursed the downright stupidity of the clue for B NATURAL (37D: Note offering good advice for life?). Speaking of B NATURAL, if you have never seen this short film from "Mystery Science Theater 3000," you really should. Oh, and here's Part II, if you really want more.
The rest of the puzzle was tough, but fair. The other 15-letter answer in the puzzle, VOODOO ECONOMICS (8D: Derogatory term popularized by George H.W. Bush) was s-h-h-h-ooooo much better than that "Da Vinci" code crap. I was thinking TAX-AND-SPENDER or some such dreck, but the actual answer is great (used by Bush against Reagan and his "supply-side economics," back when he and Reagan were both running for the Republican presidential nomination). I'd forgotten about that phrase. Had PANTIES for JAMMIES (53A: Undercover wear?), so that screwed things up a bit. Really like the way KOOKY (49A: Out there) looks over JAMMIES, btw. SKI TOW (43D: Help in getting up) is a weird term. It's called a T-BAR where I come from.
I don't think I ever knew Chamorro's first name - 15A: Two-time Nicaraguan president Chamorro (Emiliano). Was lucky to remember SAHL (54D: "Look Forward in Anger" comedian) from a puzzle not too long ago. I thought XENA had a sidekick. Didn't know she was one (51A: Gabrielle's sidekick, in a TV series). No idea how I remembered (almost instantly) the name of the family on "Soap" - 6D: "Soap family" (Tates). If I hadn't lived my early life in California, and had relatives in the Bay Area, I might still be puzzling over SAN MATEO (17A: County whose seat is Redwood City). Wanted 23A: Beaucoup de Louises (rois) to be ELLES, so feminine does that plural look. Had I'VE GOT IT for 1A: Celebratory cry (Mazel Tov), and even after I knew the answer, the spelling ... was another story. Other tough bits (for me) included
- 44A: _____ Bay (South China Sea inlet) (Subic) (!?);
- 10D: Head makeup (suds) (which I only just now got);
- 2D: Stuff in a bomb (amatol);
- 4D: Hackberry relative (elm);
- 5D: Pseudologue (liar); and
- 55A: Prescription notation (ter) - TER means "three" in Latin, but this could have been anything; I had B.I.D.
Oh, and I don't think I've ever seen JEAN in the singular (53D: Sturdy, twilled cotton fabric). Oh, and further, 56A: Bottle (nurser)!?!?! Yuck. [Sipper] or [Mother, perhaps]. The bottle can't actually "nurse" anything without the agency of a human (oh, unless it's one of those upside-down bottles that hang in animal cages, I guess, ugh). This answer does tie in semi-nicely, however, with 42A: Temp takers (RNs) and 52A: Place for 42-Across (ICU). Two other parts I liked - appropriately, I find the word ANODYNES soothing (14D: Soothing things); and 58A: Horror cry ("It's alive!") is easily the best answer in this grid.
In case you ever wondered what Billy GRAHAM (60A: Religious leader who wrote "Peace With God") would look like on top of SELENA (62A: Jennifer Lopez title role) - now you know.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld