Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
Theme: Daddy's Home - or, Raising Pennsylvania - "PA" is added to familiar phrases to create new phrases, which are clued
Did this one rather quickly, finishing around 6 minutes ... but I had a wrong square and had to go back and check my crosses, which took me a while. Finally found out that I had entered EONS for 61A: Poetic times (e'ens), which gave me the obviously wrong WAGOR, instead of WAGER (51D: It might be placed at a window), in the cross.
It's a pretty simple theme, but so what? Sometimes simple is nice. No need to fuss around too much or get overcomplicated. Nothing here is that memorable, but it's a pleasant diversion nonetheless.
- 20A: Back-to-the-slammer order? (PA-role reversal) - speaking of "Back-to-the-slammer," it looks like I might be teaching in prison starting next month; much more on that later...
- 30A: Reason the kids were left alone? (PA-rent strike)
- 40A: Reward for a Ringling invention? (circus PA-tent)
- 54A: Scuff marks on the prairie? (Buffalo PA-wings) - this one is the weakest; I don't get it - what's a PAWING? Is it just the act of putting one's PAWs on something?
There were no real stumpers in today's puzzle. Some entertaining pop culture clues, though. ADO ANNIE (11D: "Oklahoma!" gal) is a funny, horribly awkward name, though perhaps no funnier than DOOGIE (59A: TV's Howser). DOOGIE is better known these days as a character on "How I Met Your Mother" - can't tell you his character's name, as I don't watch that show, or any live-action sitcom, for that matter. The genre is dead, and I'm waiting for the Resurrection. Wait, I take it back. I like "The Office" and "30 Rock." Like "DOOGIE Howser," they have no laff trak. And I am quite sure that I am now the first person in the history of TV commentary to compare "The Office" and "30 Rock" to "DOOGIE Howser." Other pop culture clues include three movies - "LIFE BOAT" (35D: 1944 Hitchcock classic), which I've never seen, but which stars Tallulah Bankhead, whose autobiography I own (part of my vintage paperback collection); "THE FOG" (14A: 1980 John Carpenter chiller); and "Norma RAE" (60A: "Norma _____") - a musical genre that I've never seen in the grid before: AFRO-POP (4D: Music from across the Atlantic - pretty vague clue, considering how many countries lie across the Atlantic from us) - and a "Saturday Night Live" throwback answer: 51A: Baba _____, Gilda Radner "S.N.L." character (Wawa).
I failed my first test of my newly acquired Biblical knowledge. In desperation, wrote in EBAN for ONAN (25A: Son of Judah), but I figured out my mistake quickly. I mean, really, who can keep all the names in Genesis straight (aside from the really major ones, I mean)? Please don't answer that. It's a hypothetical question.
My wife, currently working the puzzle in the next room, will surely be as annoyed by AL'ER (46A: Devil Ray or Blue Jay, for short) as she was by yesterday's NHL'ER. The Mets, who play at SHEA (33D: 1969 and 2000 World Series venue) are NL'ERs, and their Double-A team plays here in town. I do love a minor league baseball game. I am not a TAPIOCA (43D: Starchy dessert) fan, and rarely come into contact with the stuff, so I have no idea why I nailed that answer off of just the first letter, but I did.
It is weird to me that there is a "Toyota Camry model" (1A), since I always thought "Camry" was the model. Thus SOLARA, a familiar enough name, never readily pops to mind (though I've seen it several times before). Can't really picture a T-STRAP (32D: Woman's shoe style), but with "TS" as the lead letters, I got it pretty quickly anyway. Gertrude EDERLE (17A: Channel swimmer Gertrude) is known to me only from crosswords, and while I know RONA Barrett, RONA Jaffe (18A: Novelist Jaffe) is a bit of a mystery to me. Lastly, have you ever noticed how many letters Paul Anka and SRI LANKA (12D: Ceylon, now) have in common? Now you have.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS Check out my non-biological progeny working the grid. I can't tell you how happy these pictures make me.