Saturday, October 6, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
Wow, that's quite a team-up: BEQ and DQ. Not sure how that came about, but the result was pretty enjoyable - a huge improvement over yesterday. The fill today was wacky and wide-ranging; my love is only mildly qualified by the fact that some of the longer, good answers are ones I've seen recently:
- NETFLIX (1A: Blockbuster alternative)
- PVC PIPE (8A: Material for drainage lines) - to be fair, I've seen PVC a few times, but not the complete PVC PIPE
- ESO BESO (63A: 1962 hit with the lyric "Like the samba sound, my heart begins to pound") - crosswordese! Although, again, to be fair, you normally see just ESO
- FEVERFEW (36D: Plant used as an herbal remedy for headaches)
- CRUE! (10D: "Red, White & _____" (2005 rock album)) - oldsters: that's Motley CRÜE ... although, I guess fans of that band are approaching oldster status themselves ... they were big in the late 80s / early 90s, before Nirvana destroyed Hair Metal
The rest of the fill was fairly original, and occasionally fantastic. I especially enjoyed the SW, where SCHWAB (44D: Brokerage giant) rubs elbows with the alien-like CLOACA (45D: Zoological cavity) and Porky's rarely seen girlfriend DARLA shows up (51D: Friend of Porky) - especially tough if you had just the DA- in place, as I did, and repeatedly wanted DAFFY [correction! Darla and Porky are from "Our Gang" - see Comments section. Porky The Pig's girlfriend is, of course, Petunia]. The NW was tricky, with serious ambiguity on 1D: Annual sports event with seven rounds (NFL Draft) and then a word for "brandy" I've never heard of: EAU DE VIE (2D: Brandy). TIME ZONE, however, was a gimme (3D: Mountain, e.g.), as were a surprising number of answers in the puzzle:
- XTERRA (7D: Nissan model)
- LUMIERE (17A: Early filmmaking brothers Auguste and Louis _____)
- DRACO (25A: _____ Malfoy, bully in Harry Potter books)
- IAMB (21D: Foot type)
- BRAUN (33A: Big name in coffee makers)
- SFO (32D: Hub NW of LAX)
- DELOS (51A: Apollo's birthplace)
- KWON (56D: Tae _____ do)
- ABE (61D: Bart Simpson's grandpa)
- THE ONION (40D: Paper that calls itself "America's Finest News Source")
- DUD (59D: Bomb not bursting in air?)
- HOI (54A: Part of "the many," in Greek) - HOI POLLOI; this came to me instantly. Why?!
- SCUSI (52D: "Pardon me," in Parma)
- BUN (22A: Atkins diet no-no)
- REZA (23A: "No god but God" author _____ Aslan) - he's been on "The Daily Show," thus I know his name
- SLOOP (28D: Relative of a cutter) - maybe not a true gimme, but first word I thought of
- VERSO (9D: Back of a leaf) - a gimme 'cause I had the "O" in place; otherwise, I'd have been thinking of tree leaves...
- OOPS (55D: Dropping sound) - again, "O" in place...
Speaking of OOPS ... last night was not a good night for two of the best relief pitchers in baseball. The insanely scary Jaba "The Hutt" Chamberlain got attacked by Canadian Soldiers (a swarm of midges that descended on the ballfield around the 7th inning) and then couldn't find the plate, throwing wild pitch after wild pitch until the Indians tied the game 1-1. Indians would eventually win it in 11, after the Yankees' best pitchers had been used up.
In Boston, the Angels took a tie game into the 10th, riding their amazing closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. But then ... Manny! Note to Alex Rodriguez: THIS is what a future Hall-of-Famer does with runners on base in the post-season when the game is on the line:
As my good friend and fellow blogger Mr. Murphy said in an early-morning email to me: yesterday was the single greatest day of baseball since 2004. Agreed. Now if only those series end the way they're Supposed To (... famous last words).
Speaking of "series" (segue!), I'd never heard of SERIES E (20A: Bond type whose first purchaser was F.D.R.) - not at all, not by a longshot. Had anyone? Anyone doing this puzzle know this answer without crosses? Just curious. If not, I hope you were a hair metal fan, because you had SERIES - crossing CRU-, and that could easily have been devastating. Other answers I had no clue about:
- 6D: "The East _____" (1960s Chinese anthem) ("is Red")
- 58A: Noted Art Deco building in the Big Apple, with "the" (Waldorf)
- 64A: Shop tool with pulleys (band saw) - me and tools ... no.
- 26A: German city where Napoleon defeated the Prussians (Jena)
- 14D: Figure skater Sokolova and others (Elenas)
I got stymied briefly by what turned out to be EN DASH (43A: Minus sign equivalent), because I didn't know how to parse it. BALKS (30A: Pitch problems?) is interesting - many folks probably went with WALKS first. PACE CARS (8D: Track warm-up leaders) is also a bit tricky, in that the word "track" usually conjures up Track & Field, not NASCAR.
Answers I loved for no particular reason:
OARLOCK (55A: Scull part)
CLAN (50A: Reunion gatherers)
HOOEY (41A: Rot) - had DECAY at first
Y'ALL (42D: Dialectical contraction)
COOKED (48D: Like some books)
Finally, I have to congratulate BEQ and DQ for somehow getting SCREW IT (37A: Oh, I give up!") into the puzzle. This is so clearly the equivalent of FUCK IT that I'm just ... in awe that you managed to get it in.
"That's what she said."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld