Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Barnyard babies in Australia - first word of each theme answer is a barnyard baby, if your barnyard is in Australia and you raise kangaroos for some reason
In a rush this morning, so sorry to the puzzle authors if I give this short shrift. They closed my daughter's school (literally ... just poof, gone, no school ... crazy hippies!) and so we are in something of a scramble mode to figure out what to do next. Grrr. ANYWAY...
This theme is cute, but there's one problem, and that problem is...
JOEY LAWRENCE (28A: Actor who got his start on TV's "Gimme a Break")
So many things about this answer are irksome / hilarious. First of all, JOEY is totally out of sync with all the other baby animals in the puzzle (CHICK, COLT, CALF) in that you would not find him on a farm in North America. Second, JOEY LAWRENCE is well known enough to be a theme answer in a puzzle??? He "got his start" on TV's "Gimme a Break"? OK, my question is - then what happened to him? Because I couldn't name one damned thing he's been in since. Was he on "Blossom" for a while? My first answer here was GEORGE CLOONEY, but first of all, that didn't fit, and second of all, GEORGE got his start on "The Facts of Life" (with crossword stalwart Charlotte RAE), not "Gimme a Break" (you understand my confusion).
Other theme answers:
- 18A: "Pretty Woman" and "Waiting to Exhale" (chick flicks) - this should have had some qualifier attached to it; the moniker CHICK FLICK is colloquial, not a standard film category. Also, I was surprised to learn that CHICKs dig movies about whores. Interesting.
- 48A: Shooter of westerns (colt revolver)
- 62A: They're exercised when cycling (calf muscles)
As for the Downs, CAFTAN (8D: Beach cover-up) is not a word I've seen or thought of in a long time. I think I did not associate it with the beach. I'm not sure what I associated it with. It's clear I haven't given CAFTAN much thought at all. It sounds foreign / religious. I wanted SARONG here. Speaking of foreign (if not religious), why did I know BEY (21D: Old Turkish title) right away? I feel like that word has been sitting in a dusty corner of my brain since the Maleska era. Loved the pairing of ICKES (12D: Clinton adviser Harold) and ICKY (57D: Totally gross), as well as LIARS (52D: Specialists in storytelling?) and YARN (70A: It's hard to believe). Not too happy to see crosswordese like OMOO and YMA (71A: Singer Sumac) and ARNE (36D: "Rule, Britannia" composer). Also, while I love "The Simpsons," I was a bit dubious about D'OH (44D: "What an idiot I am!"). No, not dubious, as the definition fits OK. It's just that DUH fits too, in a way, though perhaps not as well. Anyway, I had DUH for a bit. Lastly, how many beams are there, exactly, that are shaped like letters??? "Z" is a new one on me (37D: Letter-shaped beam).
Favorite answers in the puzzle: the insane LOQUAT (49D: Plumlike Chinese fruit) and the DiMaggio-endorsed MR. COFFEE (39D: Automatic-drip machine maker).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld