Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Broadway musicals - 13 starred clues all have answers that are titles of famous Broadway musicals
Wow, this puzzle was kind of a shocker, first because of the sheer number of theme entries and their impressively symmetrical placement (including a CABARET - EVITA - CANDIDE triple-stack right in the middle of the puzzle); and second because some of the non-theme fill was really high-end, insane-looking stuff. I'm surprised that I did this puzzle as quickly as I did - the theme was easy to get (I got it off of 1A, after I realized SHARON was not the "Stone" in question), so that helped, but there's a fat handful of words I've either never heard of or never seen clued in the way they were today.
- 1A: *Stone of Hollywood (Oliver)
- 7A: *Home for Will Rogers and Garth Brooks (Oklahoma)
- 16A: *What some unscrupulous e-businesses do? (spam a lot) - best clue / theme entry by far
- 19A: *Torn (rent)
- 31A: *Extremely narrow winning margin (hair)
- 35A: *Kind of club (cabaret)
- 41A: *A Peron (Evita)
- 44A: *Student of Dr. Pangloss (Candide)
- 46A: *Lover of Radames (Aida)
- 62A: *Renown (fame)
- 67A: *Site of much horsing around? (carousel)
- 69A: *Perform ostentatiously (showboat)
- 70A: *Destiny (kismet)
Ever wonder what you'd get if you crossed a Minnie MINOSO (15A: 1950s All-Star outfielder Minnie) with a Sydney O'MARR (1D: Astrologer Sydney) [whoops, it's an apostrophe-free "OMARR" - he's not Irish, I guess]? Of course you haven't. Until today, that is. In the grid, the cross was tough (I thought) - in real life, it would not be much prettier:
OK, he's handsome enough, but ...
Next, many of you may be thinking "Hmmm, LAVALIER sounds familiar, but I can't quite picture it..." Further, you are almost certainly thinking "What the hell is a K-PAX and why have I never heard of it?" [answer: it's a horrible movie and 99.9% of America never saw it, so you're not alone] Here are some helpful visuals. LAVALIER (18A: Bejeweled pendant):
K-PAX (8D: 2001 film set in a mental institution):
Let's see if I can knock the rest of these off in a short paragraph. I blanked on COXES (20A: Regatta crew leaders) and CARAVAN (20D: Dodge on the road - "something about a CAR..."), and had SITUATE for SET DOWN at first (30D: Lay). An ANADEM (48D: Ancient garland) is simply a "wreath or garland for the head." A DIADEM is a crown, which I'm sure you knew. I have never seen OCULAR as a noun (28D: Eyepiece), and I have never heard of ALISO Viejo (52D: _____ Viejo (California city near Laguna Beach)). I know nurseries are for taking care of babies, but NEONATAL nurseries (47A: Like some nursery care)? ... o, this must mean a hospital "nursery" - I was thinking, "Who puts their newborn in a nursery? Isn't that a little young?" Maybe I was thinking daycare. Love the FRIEZE (68A: Architectural decoration) / LAMAZE (49D: Kind of class) intersection, though was briefly unsure if the intersection was "S" or "Z." Two rarely-seen words that I got very quickly were REBEC (24D: Renaissance instrument) - from my Ph.D. training - and EVAH (57D: Cole Porter's "Well, Did You _____?") - from my love of Cole Porter, which I developed backwards, from an early 90s tribute album ("Red, Hot, and Blue"). BRINE is a very unappetizing word (29D: Curer of feta cheese), though feta is, of course, tasty (despite sounding a bit like FETID). Lastly, I love a good "Simpsons" clue - 13D: Place to which Bart Simpson makes prank calls (Moe's). Hell, I love any "Simpsons" clue, but you know that. Here is a master list of Bart's calls to Moe over the years.
Thank you all for the kind messages of congratulations yesterday. Sorry I didn't reply. I was in prison. On which, more later.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld