Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: SIDE SPLITTING (38A: Hilarious ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) - four different two-word "side" orders are "split," with the first word appearing in one part of the grid and the second appearing in another.
I did this puzzle in just over 6 minutes, which is insanely fast for me on a Thursday. Had a slow start, but once I got some traction, the whole thing went down fast. I think I was slow to get going because I over-thought the theme. Thought there might be some trickery afoot. No, just very familiar side dishes. Hmmm. Can't say I liked the puzzle much, though I do like being fast.
- 5A: With 50-Down, steak go-with (baked / potato)
- 10A: With 68-Across, fish filet go-with (cole / slaw) - I am slowly realizing, now that I've typed it twice, that I hate the word "go-with"
- 1D: With 69-Across, burger go-with (french / fries)
- 33A: With 44-Across, hot sandwich go-with (onion rings) - "hot sandwich?" I ... guess.
Only a couple answers made me say 'yikes.' Yesterday, it was one space answer: GUION Bluford. Today, another space answer: 26D: One of a series of joint Soviet/U.S. space satellites (Bion). The other answer from outer space (figurative outer space now) was GET LOW (45D: 2003 #2 hit for Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz). Guess what I think is the funniest element of this clue / answer*:
a. "GET LOW"
c. "#2 hit"
d. "Lil Jon"
No idea what "The Beeb" is, but TELLY was easy enough with a cross or two (40D: The Beeb is seen on it). Is that short for the BBC? Robert Zimmerman wrote a recent NYT puzzle, and today he returns as a clue: 64A: Bob Dylan's first wife and the title of a song about her (Sara). I know woefully little about Mr. Dylan's work, so this was lost on me. Had the final "A," or otherwise I would have guessed JOAN or BAEZ. Weren't they married? No, apparently not. Just involved, before Dylan married SARA.
I made frowny faces at several clues / answers today. First frowny face goes to 15A: Water, for one (oxide). Water is lots of things. And you know I suck at science. So this is totally fair, but unpleasant to me, personally. Next frowny face goes to 18A: Fix, as a hitch (retie). I dislike most RE-prefixed verbs. And "a hitch?" What is this, the Old West? Blah. Next frowny face: 34A: Like waves on a shoreline (erosive). True enough, I guess. Are all shoreline waves, by definition (or by the inherent properties of water) EROSIVE? No matter the composition of the shore? Just curious. I would have put yet another frowny face next to AVOWER (3D: One saying "I do") - icky Odd Job - but it crosses 14A: Wedding parties?: Abbr. (revs), creating a little wedding mini-theme, so I withhold the frown.
I botched and or tripped over a few answers. Very thrown by KITE (7D: Toy sometimes seen on a beach), perhaps because I don't see it "on a beach." I see it "in the sky" when *I* am "on a beach," maybe. I wanted PAIL or something like that. I was semi-miraculously able to guess CAFTAN (10D: Unisex dress) off of just the "AF" despite not being able to define the word or even picture it to save my life. I spelled it initially with a "K," but whatever. That's pretty good. I reforgot SILAS (32D: Albino in "The Da Vinci Code") today - can we ban "The Da Vinci Code" from the puzzle like we banned "Ally McBeal?" Please? Thanks. I wrote in the highly cool ATTAR instead of the far more pedantic and sciencey-sounding ESTER for 53D: Perfume ingredient.
Not sure why, as I've never seen him act in any way, shape, or form, but TATI was a gimme (56D: 1955 Oscar nominee for "Mr. Hulot's Holiday"). Another, more fun gimme was MEAL (60A: Airline rarity, nowadays). Got this instantly. I miss my airline meals, crappy as they were. Sometimes the stuff you can buy on planes is actually far superior to what you would have received for free in the olden days, but some part of me still resents having to pay for food on a plane. I'm nearly 6'4" and you've got me crammed into a seat intended for somebody 5'10", max; the least you could do is give me some gummy lasagna and super-pale green beans.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld