Saturday, August 11, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Lightheaded" - first word in all long theme answers describes a type of moon, clued by 52D: Ralph Kramden catchphrase on old TV ... and a hint to this puzzle's theme ("To the moon!")
Once again, I have had to delete comments from weirdly overzealous commenters who, for some reason, can't wait until my write-up to comment on the Sunday puzzle. I don't care that you get the puzzle on Saturday a.m. and are so bloody excited about it that you just have to tell someone. Don't Tell Me. Even saying anything about the puzzle, Anything, is a massive distraction. Comments section is for commenting on That Day's Puzzle. Why am I having to explain this???
Took me a while to catch the theme, and would have taken much longer if I hadn't gotten 52D fairly early on (third theme entry I got). "Lightheaded" is a Terrible Title for this puzzle. Otherwise, it was a reasonably enjoyable puzzle.
- 22A: Tarot reading, crystals, spiritualism, etc. (New Age movements) - MOVEMENTS is completely inapt here. No one would describe Tarot or crystals as MOVEMENTS.
- 33A: Traditional English festival (Harvest Home) - never heard of it. Got these first two theme answers and had no idea what the hell was going on.
- 44A: Little John's weapon in Robin Hood legend (quarter staff) - is there another Little John who is not from "Robin Hood legend?"
- 38D: Proverbial portion (half a loaf) - don't know this expression. Had HALF A LOAD for a bit.
- 64A: Brooke Shields movie, with "The" ("Blue Lagoon") - gimme gimme gimme. Cheesy gimme.
- 75A: Its roar is worse than its bite (paper tiger)
- 94A: Dinner bun (crescent roll)
- 103A: Hair removal site (waxing salon) - they have salons just for waxing now!?
- 119A: 1987 Kubrick film ("Full Metal Jacket") - another movie gimme; really helped me out.
There was some tricky stuff up top - I had NEB. for 6D: Sen. John Kerry served there ('Nam), which is a very nice trap [if you don't know the difference between John Kerry and Bob Kerrey - see Comments], but I gotta object to the slangy NAM, which is not quite the same as the abbreviation implied by the clue's use of "Sen." Had KEEN for WEEP (26A: Mourn audibly) which screwed some things up. Thought GO SEE (13D: Start of a referral) was pretty stretchy, if strangely interesting. Real snag happened in the NW, where I had ETHOS instead of ETHIC (14A: Body of precepts), giving me SENSE for CENSE (18D: Perfume, in a way). Having the wrong CPLS for CPOS (29A: U.S.N. noncoms) gave me the hideous ODIL-S for 17D: See red, talk a blue streak, etc. (idioms). Not sure how I extricated myself from that one.
Next tricky part was the whole "California" portion of the puzzle, starting with ENFIELD (87A: Northernmost borough of London), which I'd never heard of - it's an awfully British puzzle in some ways, now that I look at it. 80D: Hiram Walker, for one (distiller) was the last thing I filled in. The intersections with ENFIELD and LATIN (97A: Exempli gratia, e.g.) were what was holding me up. While we're down here, let me just say that I love love love the NILLA / AXILLA nexus (117A: Nabisco's _____ wafers and 98D: Underarm).
Final sticking point was in the far SE, where TOODLEOO (125A: "Ta-ta") took far too long to come to me, largely because I'd forgotten about JOY (122D: Procter & Gamble detergent) and LEON (115D: Province NW of Madrid) was completely unknown to me. I'd also forgotten 112A: "South Pacific" role (Emile). I like the fancy ELYSIAN for 128A: Like a paradise.
- 106A: Composer Franz (Lehar) - ??
- 30A: Wheel on a spur (rowel) - looks like a typo of any number of words
- 25A: Jack who played a sawmil worker in "Twin Peaks" (Nance)
- 91A: Elongated marine fish (eelpout) - who named that!? Horrible.
- 11D: Spiritual path in Hinduism (Tantra) - mistakenly thought TANTRA was Buddhist (!)
- 35D: Boring tool (trepan) - actually, I knew this (with help of some crosses), but only because it has been in the puzzle before
- 92D: Singer with the double-platinum album "The Memory of Trees" (Enya) - god, the title alone makes me want to punch her
- 108A: Seed cover (aril) - I always want to call it ANIL
- 86D: French town on the Vire (St. Lo) - more French includes 124A: Capital of France's Aube department (Troyes), and sort of, 116D: W.W. II arena (ETO)
Liked the double-Greekness of AGORA (60D: Old Greek market) and ODEA (53D: Ancient theaters). Also like that I got totally faked out by 99A: Abbr. on Rockies skeds (MST), thinking the clue had to do with baseball. Happy not to get thrown by the shifty 104D: Centaur's head (soft C). I think that's all. Nope - gotta give out a shout out to Nelson ALGREN (58D: Nelson _____, author of "The Man With the Golden Arm"), if only because I have a copy of this book in my paperback collection. Oh, and I almost forgot. Didn't know 46D: Alice of "Hollywood Cavalcade" (Faye), though she is apparently famous enough to have an entire DVD collection devoted to her.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld