Monday, August 20, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: BEES (60D: Theme of this puzzle) - Each of the four theme answers has a bee-related word in it
This went very fast. Had to search for a while for a typo and still finished in under five. Didn't see or get the theme until the very end; it hardly mattered, time-wise. I need to get some sleep tonight, so I'm going to keep it short.
- 17A: Police ploys (sting operations)
- 30A: End-of-day spousal salutation ("Honey, I'm home!")
- 46A: "Call when you get the chance" ("Give me a buzz")
- 62A: Bogart/Hepburn film ("The African Queen")
Didn't get a single word until the fifth Across clue I looked at (15A: OBOE). Got my first toe-hold by working the Downs in the NW, four out of five of which I got right on the first pass (with good old standbys like 5D: Wee bit of work (erg) and gimmes like 3D: Quickly growing "pet" (Chia) it wasn't that hard). Had BILL for COST (1D: How much to pay), but that was quickly fixed.
Enjoyed the intersecting SORE EYES (8D: what a welcome sight relieves) and STYE (21A: Lid trouble), as well as the arty quartet of HENRI (4D: Painter Matisse), TATE (42A: Gallery showing works by Turner, Reynolds and Constable), ALBA (58A: Duchess of _____, Goya subject), and ANDY (61D: Pop artist Warhol). The combo of ENERO (34D: First month in Madrid) and AÑOS (43A: Calendario units) is less inspiring. UPTAKE is an interesting word, in that I never hear it except in the phrase "slow on the UPTAKE." Though it's clued properly enough (48D: Mental grasp), it's weird to see it isolated like this.
I liked two of the long non-theme answers: CHIP SHOTS (10D: Lofted approaches to the green) and MEAT PIES (41D: Pastries in "Sweeney Todd") - I think the "Sweeney Todd" pastries are filled with ... people meat. The only answer in the grid I'd never seen before is KIROV (29D: Russian ballet company). I am notorious pathetic when it comes to ballet questions. Luckily, they are fairly rare. Finally, it was nice to see Téa LEONI (28D: Téa of "Spanglish") in the puzzle, first because I sort of like her as an actress, and second because she was fresh on my mind - NPR did an interview with her husband, David Duchovny (of "X-Files" fame) only last week, and her name came up. One of the PERKs (66A: Use of a company car or private washroom, say) of listening to public radio is that occasionally the information comes in very handy, puzzle-wise.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld