Monday, August 6, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: As Heard On "The Sopranos"...
Is FUHGEDABOUDIT (25A: "Not on your life!") standard, spelling-wise? Is that in the dictionary? I feel like half my time on this puzzle was spent amending the spelling for that entry alone. I'm exaggerating, but not a lot.
Other theme answers:
- 20A: "Just like that!" ("Bada bing!")
- 42A: "Yeah, wanna start somethin'?" ("You talkin' to me") - that's more "Taxi Driver" than "Sopranos," but whatever
- 50A: "The Sopranos" clip? ... or where you might hear 20-, 25- and 42-Across (mob scene) - I don't quite get it. Or maybe I do. I mean ... this is a play on words, right? Because MOB SCENE in general usage just means a really crowded place, not a place where mobsters hang out.
I like that the symmetrically-placed EZ-PASS (22A: Electronic toll-collecting system in the Northeast) and BADDIE (47A: No-goodnik) have a certain thematic edge to them, the first relating to Jersey (they have EZ-PASS there, right?) and the second relating to criminality.
Stupid mistakes in this once include the rookie ELSA / ILSA (36A: Rick's "Casablanca" love) screw-up, which kept the cruel-sounding IRON CAGE (36D: Circus animal enclosure) hidden for Far too long. Also the CARATS / KARATS (40A: Gold standards) screw-up. Also had URGED for EGGED (59A: Goaded, with "on"). Also had CREW CUT for BUZZ CUT (9D: Army barber's specialty) - BUZZ CUT is much better, if only for the "Z"s. Had a lot of trouble remembering the correct fill for 30D: "Bali _____" ("Hai"). I had HOO, though I think I was thinking of "ballyhoo." In fact, I'm sure of it. "Bali HAI" is a song from "South Pacific."
Otherwise, no serious trouble. Got off to a bad start when I nailed 1A: Liquor holder in a coat pocket (flask) but proceeded to FLUB every Down off of it except FLAB (1D: "Spare tire"). LAVA was pretty well disguised in 2D: Content of some cones, and KIT BAGS (5D: Toiletries holders) is not a phrase I'm familiar with. To me, KIT implies the BAG. For some reason even 4D: Farmer's headwear (straw hat) gave me a little trouble. And yet I got 7D: Henry Clay, politically (Whig) instantly. Go figure.
URANO took some effort (26D: Heavens: Prefix), and was not terribly welcome after I'd already seen a similarly long prefix in the puzzle at 14A: Milk: Prefix (lacti-). Cleverest answer in the puzzle was definitely A TISKET (41D: Start of an Ella Fitzgerald standard) - and crossing Ella (beautiful name...) with KAREN (56A: One of the Carpenters) makes for a nice little musical moment down there in the SE. Sorry Billy OCEAN (54A: Continent separator) - you aren't allowed in music corner this evening. "Caribbean Queen" will have to wait for another night.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS I've finally updated my other blog, where you can now see what I would look like if I were a character on "The Simpsons." Also, I've begun a new project of scanning in / commenting on the covers of the books in my massive vintage paperback collection.
See you tomorrow.