Saturday, September 22, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Flip-Flops" - terms on either side of "FOR" in familiar phrases are switched to create new, silly phrases, which are clued
[updated 12:37 p.m.]
Despite an easyish theme, this was not a snap solving experience for me. The non-theme fill did not flow easily - but that's a good thing. I like to chew on the Sunday puzzle a little rather than just breeze through it. There were some odd phrases, or names I didn't know (or barely knew), so I never got in a groove. I don't really have a lot to say about this puzzle generally. It was fine. I'll dive right in. First...
- 23A: Rolled sixes while on Water Works, in Monopoly? (broke for Go) - does "broke for" mean "made a move for" here? Is Water Works twelve spaces from Go on a Monopoly board? Is that it? Just say 'yes' or 'no'
- 28A: Doesn't throw away, as a stage prop? (keeps for play)
- 35A: What a sushi chef loves to hear? (compliments for fish)
- 48A: "8 Minute Abs," according to some? (the best for workout)
- 69A: January 15? (a day for King)
- 83A: Was late to an appointment at the cosmetician? (lost time for make-up) - I like this theme answer best
- 95A: What scientists working for Gatorade have? (knowledge for thirst) - iffiest, though I had ADVENTURE FOR THIRST at first, which is even iffier
- 108A: Dylan not liking Dell computers? (Apples for Bob) - OK, I changed my mind: this is the best theme answer
- 115A: Like pro bono work? (all for free)
A number of high-end vocabulary words, both in the clues and in the answers:
- 10D: Develop anacusis (go deaf)
- 58A: Vatican emissary (Nuncio)
- 88D: Rear seating section in a theater (parterre) - The PARTERRE is a bit hard for me to visualize, even after much Googling; when the word is used (rarely) it appears to be roughly synonymous with Orchestra seating in contemporary theater divisions, though there appears to be a more specialized meaning of the term related to the blocks of seats at the back of a theater - a meaning derived from PARTERRE in gardening.
As you all know, I am bad with royalty from the Middle East, so FAHD (109D: Late Saudi king) was something I had to get from crosses. Otherwise, there weren't many answers from outside my general body of knowledge. One more name I didn't know: 71D: Pulitzer-winning novelist Shirley Ann _____ (Grau). Oh, I forgot about 126D: Actress Graff (Ilene) - holy crap! She was the mom on "Mrs. Belvedere!" Now there's an 80's sitcom that time forgot. And yet it lasted for 117 episodes! I am soooo tempted to sing the theme song right now. One of Ms. Graff's latest projects appears to involve lesbian Catholic schoolgirls. Hmmm, that sounds ... educational. Netflix!
Sometimes short answers hold some interest for me. Today I wondered out loud why VON (92A: German name part) doesn't appear in the grid that often, while ELO (93A: "Shine a Little Love" grp.) won't go away. I know, I know, it's the "V," but still ... it seems unfair somehow. In addition to ELO, Today's puzzle featured two more three-letter answers from the realm of pop music, both of which look like someone was spelling on drugs. I mean, what business does Ringo have naming his kid ZAK ("it's spelled like YAK!") instead of ZACH (short for Zachary) (62D: Ringo's eldest)? And I thought the COO in "Hoochie COO" had an established "C"-spelling, but oh no, Rick Derringer likes to mix it up with the funky "K" (87D: "Rock and Roll, Hoochie _____") - wouldn't the puzzle normally include the artist in a clue like this? Is it that Rick Derringer is a total nobody and so no one would be helped by his inclusion? Is the phrase "Rock and Roll, Hoochie KOO" so ubiquitous that it no longer matters who used it first? Need answers.
I'll finish up with a mixed bag of answers ... who knows what I'll say?
- 26A: Whirlpool alternative (Amana) - don't know why I'm amused by this misdirection; maybe because my first thoughts were SPA or SAUNA or STEAM BATH
- 41A: "Say Say Say," say (duet) - another former Beatle in the puzzle, as well as a pre-freakshow Michael Jackson; as with the "Mr. Belvedere" theme song, I am tempted to sing ... this song was popular a couple years before "Mr. Belvedere" went on the air.
- 17D: The Beatles arrive in New York in 1964 on this (Pan Am) - the third Beatles-related clue of the day. Subtheme!
- 76A: Historical separation (Apartheid) - this separation was ... historical? In that ... it happened in history? I think my problem here was a I wanted a general word, not a specific "separation."
- 106A: Three-day holiday (Tet) - again, thinking general term, getting specific answer
- 103A: Some moonrocks (basalt) - my science knowledge is poor, but I pieced this together
- 107A: Hero of Sophocles' "Electra" (Orestes) - if science is a weakness, Classics are a strength; this was a gimme (I talked about Orestes just last week in class)
- 8D: Like Mozart's Symphony No. 10 (In G) - spent a while thinking "Mozart didn't write ten symphonies. He wrote nine." Then realized I was thinking of Beethoven. :(
- 56D: Mitch Miller, e.g. (oboist) - wasn't he a gymnast too??? Whoops, nope, that was Mitch Gaylord, HA ha.
- 63D: _____ newt (witches' brew ingredient) (eye of) - yesterday NEWT, today, a newt-related clue. Fantastic.
- 66D: Hogwarts professor (Snape) - double magic clues! Reminds me of my daughter's Harry Potter-themed birthday party yesterday. SNAPE was one of the answers in the trivia game the teams played (after kids were sorted into teams by ... the sorting hat ... oh yeah, we went all out)
- 86D: TV character from the planet Melmac (Alf) - like "Mr. Belvedere" (how many times can I mention that show today?), a paradigmatic 80's sitcom. A (to my mind, embarrassing) favorite of my best friend Andrew. [whoops, not his favorite - his dad's. My apologies]
- 90D: B'way buys (tkts) - this killed me (slightly); the very last letter in the grid was this "K" - I tried all the vowels first. Didn't help that I couldn't fathom what was intended by the cross, 94A: Arcade (walk). Had WAL- and, imagining only a vowel could complete it, came up with nothing. "WALE ... isn't that something to do with corduroy?"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
UPDATE - Announcement: If you live in the Cleveland area, there are two upcoming crossword events you might be interested in. First, there's "An Evening with the Puzzle Master" (that's Will Shortz, duh) to benefit the Cuyahoga County Public Library - info here; second, on Saturday, Sep. 29, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, the "Inaugural Shaker Heights High School Latin Club Crossword Tournament" will take place in the Shaker Heights High School Cafeteria in Shaker Heights, OH - you can download an informational flier from here.