Monday, October 22, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: LITTLE BO PEEP (57A: One who lost what's hidden in 19-, 34- and 42-Across) - "hidden" in those answer (see the circled squares on the grid) are EWE, LAMB, and RAM
I have next to nothing to say about this puzzle, for a few reasons. One, no time. Stupid work keeps impinging on my blogging time. Second, I had an error. In a Monday puzzle. Disgusting. I barely want to talk about it. Third, this theme is ridiculous, if not patently false in its assertions. Fourth, I'm too giddy to write with the proper edge this morning:
- 19A: Bandleader in the Polka Music Hall of Fame (LawrencE WElk) - first reaction: "There's a Polka Music Hall of Fame!?" Got this instantly, and saw the EWE, but that didn't make the theme clear. I moved on.
- 34A: Creamy soup (cLAM Bisque) - looked at this right after getting LAWRENCE WELK and figured it out quickly, with no crosses. So EWE, now LAMB ... and yet, I did not put two and two together - my thinking never got past farm animals, generally.
- 42A: Substantial portion (faiR AMount) - here, the sheepness of the theme asserted itself. But I have a question...
In what part of the "LITTLE BO PEEP" nursery rhyme does it say anything about a EWE, a LAMB, and a RAM? Sounds like the set-up for a bad joke. In fact, I would be much happier with these three walking into a bar than I am with this "LITTLE BO PEEP" attribution. Please go here to find lyrics (and while you're there, please play the song ... which made me laugh out loud with its synthetic artistry ... I just kept waiting for lyrics that never came...). Nothing in the words of the rhyme about specific kinds of sheep. Maybe someone can explain.
Here are several tough words for a Monday:
- 5D: Bangladesh's capital, old-style (Dacca) - really? REALLY!? That's a @#$%-ing Saturday-level clue. Luckily all crosses were easy to get.
- 6D: Color of fall leaves (ocher) - not a color that leaps to the top of my mind, even among the autumnal colors. I put in AMBER at first.
- 38A: City where Van Gogh painted sunflowers (Arles) - The revenge of Van Gogh! Unlike yesterday, today I found Van Gogh quite tractable. Actually, I never saw this clue. But I'd have gotten it if I'd seen it. I think.
- 41A: Pacific republic (Nauru) - again, on a Monday? Like TUVALU, this is a place I learned about from crosswords. Adds to the Pacific flavor of the puzzle (along with MAUI and HULA).
There were a few things I liked about the puzzle, like the long Downs DREW THE LINE (3D: Made a stand and would go no further) and especially RAQUEL WELCH (25D: "Fantastic Voyage" actress) - I had the "Q" and couldn't get "JACQUELINE" out of my head, even though it clearly wouldn't have fit. Also loved the daring double-Z in RAZZ (65A: Give a hard time). But all of this pleasure is undermined by my ERROR:
- 54A: New Deal program inits. (WPA)
- 55D: Explorer who proved that Greenland is an island (Peary)
I just didn't know the answer. Had W-A and couldn't remember which of seemingly billions of New Deal programs fit there. Had -EARY and couldn't think of any letters that could go there besides "G" or "L." So - failure. O well, it happens. Sometimes. Today, I hardly care, because, in case you joined us late:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS A recent blog entry at Michael 5000's site has engendered an amazing conversation about what exactly constitutes "dorkiness." You should read the "Comments" section to see the astounding revelations of personal dorkiness - and add your own, if you dare.
PPS Here's a freaky coincidence:
Today's 58D: Fearsome dino (T-Rex)
Syndicated puzzle's 58D: T-Rex, e.g. (dino)