Sunday, August 26, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: ANTS (68A: Tiny critters found twice each in 17-, 38- and 60-Across)
Blew through this quickly except for the NW, which was clunky as all hell. In the end, I had an error that I spent a good three minutes tracking down. The error produced valid-looking entries in both directions, hence the long delay. I started at 1A: It's rounded up in a roundup and couldn't think of anything. When I came back to the NW at 14A: Hawaii's "Valley Isle" I wrote in OAHU. Wrong. Eventually 1D: Insurance grp. (HMO) gave me the "M" for MAUI. Eventually had HE-D for the 1A clue, and wrote in HEAD - as in, HEAD of cattle. It made total sense at the time. Didn't check the cross, which was AUG (totally valid abbrev.). Sadly, the clue was 3D: Oriental _____, making AUG unequivocally wrong. HEAD and AUG eventually became HERD and RUG.
- 17A: Operation for a new liver or kidney (organ transplant)
- 38A: Beneficial substance in fruits, vegetables and tea (antioxidant)
- 60A: Literary genre popular with women (romantic fantasy)
Most inventive answer in the grid is 27D: Four (two x two) - I've never seen the letter "X" used as a multiplication symbol in a grid before. Hot. The phrasing on 43A: Picking _____ with (nits) seems off, or awkward. The positioning of "with" is bugging me for some reason. Apparently FOIE gras (36D: _____ gras) is illegal in Chicago, but nobody, especially law enforcement, cares. It is Chicago, right? Some big city, anyway. I didn't know that ROMANTIC FANTASY was an established genre (60A: Literary genre popular with women). FANTASY tends to skew toward the Sci-fi in my mind. Just learned today (from wife) that linen is made from FLAX (16A: Linen fiber). Wife also had the decency to point out actual, real-live I-BAR (47A: Letter-shaped building support) in the parking lot of the Carousel Mall in Syracuse last weekend.
Tripped slightly in the SW, where having SOON for ANON (66A: Shortly) caused a minor typing and retyping kerfuffle. TASSEL (50A: Mortarboard addition) just looks wrong, as a word. TASSLE looks right. Don't argue with me. CLASS ACTION (11D: Kind of suit) is a fun, fancy phrase for a Monday. Lastly, I like the musical pile-up where G MINOR (29D: Key of Saint-Saens's "Danse macabre" - a great piece) pierces right through VOICE (44A: Alto or soprano) and CAROLS (49A: Yuletide songs). And we get a Yuletide reprise, despite its being all out-of-season, at 71A: Yuletide (Noel).
Long day ahead of me tomorrow. Must get some rest.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS many new vintage paperbacks and commentaries at my other blog