Sunday, August 12, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Daily / Paper" (5A: With 72-Across, the end of 20-, 37-, 44- or 59-Across)
Got 1A: "Woe is me!" ("Alas!") easy and then moved to the next Across answer, which was 5A, and saw all those numbers and thought "screw that, I'm outta here." Then went on to solve the whole puzzle in under 4 minutes (finally - it's been months since I got under 4). Didn't notice the theme until I began writing this entry. It's pretty cute. Most of the non-theme fill is forgettable or tired, but some of it's nice. I really like both long 9-letter Downs - 11D: Hand protectors for bakers (oven mitts) and 36D: Earned run average, e.g. (statistic). I shouldn't like STATISTIC very much. Not a very fancy word. But something about it is striking me as rather fancy, unlike ALAS and ESTES and EWER and EVEL (ugh) and ARIAS and ALII and some of the others. To its credit, the puzzle does have two X's and a Q, even if it doesn't do much with them. Further, it has some curious words like OCTAL (34D: In base eight) - complemented by the equally mathish 5D: Tenth: Prefix (deci-) - and ... wait a minute: should JESU (10D: Bach's "_____, Joy of Man's Desiring") really be intersecting SEXY (19A: Like a Playmate of the Month)!? The fact that he's intersecting SUN is a nice, punny twist, but SEXY? I don't think Bach meant "Desiring" in that way.
- 20A: 1951 Montgomery Clift/Elizabeth Taylor film, with "A" ("Place in the Sun")
- 37A: Venus (Morning Star)
- 44A: Place to do business in the Old West (trading post) - I had POST and wrote HITCHING in front of it, which ... I'm not sure how I did that, since it doesn't fit, but I did it, and then was surprised when the far West of the puzzle didn't work out. The only hiccup I had in the whole puzzle.
- 59A: 1987 Prince song and album ("Sign O' the Times") - a gimme (it's a Great double album), though for a couple seconds I thought I was wrong because I couldn't make it fit (I had "of" instead of the cheeky non-Irish "O'").
Words I like in this puzzle:
- GORP (14A: Hiker's snack) - this stuff is gross, but the word sounds fabulous
- ERNIE (15A: Els of the links) - prefer when he's clued in relation to Burt, but this'll do. Hey, speaking of golf, who won the PGA Tournament today...? Aha. This is from the PGA website:
Tiger Woods made the final round of the 89th PGA Championship more interesting than most everyone thought it might be this afternoon, allowing ERNIE Els and Woody Austin to dream of pulling off a major upset down the stretch. But Woods toughened up just when he needed to, protected his lead and put the finishing touches on his fourth PGA Championship and 13th major title.Good for him.
Back to the puzzle...
- BONN (29D: East Berlin's counterpart during the cold war) - young 'uns will not find this a gimme, what with the Cold War (capitals, right?) being over for a while now
- LITHO (8D: Many an art print, for short) is slightly unusual, though awfully pretentious sounding
- IVOR (38D: Actor/composer Novello) was the one huge question mark in this puzzle. I have no conception of who this is. He was British. He was gay. He was a character in Altman's "Gosford Park"? Well, I've learned something, so I'm done.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld