Monday, October 8, 2007
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: metal + body part
This felt like a Tuesday puzzle, and a moderately challenging one at that. First 3 Across answers yielded nothing, which almost never happens on Monday. The grid structure is kind of brutal, with only one tiny way out of both the NW and the SE corners. Then there's wide open middle, chock full of slightly strange words composed of super-common letters. I was just swimming in the middle of that puzzle. Oh, and the theme ... is fine, but figuring it out for some reason didn't make getting subsequent theme answers easier. Did puzzle on paper, in bed, so I don't know how long it took. But longer than usual, that's for sure.
- 17A: Bond villain (Goldfinger)
- 29A: Certain trout (steelhead)
- 42A: Classic blues musician (Leadbelly)
- 52A: Patriarchal gorilla (silverback)
46D: Filmdom's Close (Glenn)
I had just finished comparing the Yankees to Glenn Close's character in "Fatal Attraction" last night (see yesterday's Comments) when I lay down to do this puzzle. So this answer made me laugh, though it also felt ominous. Close's character's name in that movie: Alex.
31D: When repeated, cry by Shakespeare's Richard III ("A horse!")
Fantastic answer, though mildly tough for a Monday
Other answers that felt troublesome:
1A: Witty sorts (wags) - another coincidence: just had a longish conversation last night with friends about the origin of the term "scallywag." OK, this isn't really a coincidence, since WAG does not derive from "scallywag," but still. They both have WAG in them.
How did the term "scallywag" come up? One of my friends was telling a story about a colleague of his who was lecturing to a room full of students about the Reconstruction Era South. The professor kept talking about "carpetbaggers" and "scallywags." He finally realized that maybe his students weren't familiar with these terms, and so he asked the class, "You know what a 'carpetbagger' is, right? Who knows what 'carpetbaggers' are?" To which one girl, having tentatively raised her hand, answered: "Lesbians?"
5A: Make sense (add up) - had to get multiple crosses before I figured this out!
10A: Choice word (else) - wanted TRUE
34A: Endless, poetically (eterne) - wow. This form isn't that common even in Olde Poetrye. I knew it, but I teach that stuff. Come on.
37A: Some red wines (clarets) - coulda been MERLOTS
37D: Pole tossed by Scots (caber) - I love All Things Scottish, but could Not retrieve this word. Still looks wrong to me.
Must get to work.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld