Sunday, October 14, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Go With The Flow" - all theme answers contain a state, and that state is then crossed by the name of a river that runs through that state: 65A: Robert Redford film ... and a hint to what occurs at 23-, 28-, 54-, 77-, 111- and 116-Across ("A River Runs Through It")
[NOTICE: If you are confused about why there are discrepancies between this puzzle and the one in your paper, contact your paper - there were apparently some syndication screw-ups. I have no affiliation with the NYT or any newspaper so don't ask me what happened.]
I went to bed last night not understanding the theme. That should give you some indication how tired I was. I thought "so ... theme answers contain states, and those states contain rivers ... what state doesn't contain a river?" I somehow never paid proper attention to all the clues that ended in "stream" cluing the river names that intersect the state names. In fact, understanding the theme was what woke me up this morning. A lightbulb went on and I was suddenly wide awake. Yes, one of the dangers in writing about crosswords every day is that sometimes you dream about them, or contemplate them in the half-sleep of early morning.
Today is my wife Sandy's birthday (happy birthday, honey) so I gotta dust this commentary off quickly so we can get to IHOP (only the best for my wife).
23A: Base for many French fries (Idaho potato)
- RIVER through "Idaho" - 3D: Gem State stream (Snake)
- RIVER through "Arizona" - 26D: Grand Canyon State stream (Gila)
77A: Lead-in to "Show me!" ("I'm from Missouri")
- RIVER through "Tennessee" and "Missouri" - 36D: Volunteer State and Show Me State stream (Mississippi)
- RIVER through "Alabama" - 97D: Heart of Dixie stream (Mobile)
- RIVER through "Alaska" - 109D: The Last Frontier stream (Yukon)
- 15A: Having no cost, in Cologne (frei) - I learned this word in rather gruesome fashion - from the phrase "Arbeit macht frei," written over gates to a concentration camp. I learned about the phrase from reading Primo Levi a long time ago.
- 27A: C2H4, e.g. (alkene) - the intersection of this and LUPE (5D: 1966 hit "Little Latin _____ Lu") was one of a handful of places today where I just guessed. I mean, it was an educated guess - what else was that letter gonna be but "E"; and yet the intersection felt fragile.
- 31A: One of two school colors (along with heliotrope) of New York's Purchase College (puce) - stupidest school colors ever. Is this a School of Design?
- 38A: "Nearer the Moon" author Nin (Anaïs) - don't recall this title, but this woman's books were all over my house when I was growing up. . .
- 48A: Setting of Blackmore's "Lorna Doone" (Exmoor) - I just love this word and the way it looks in the grid.
- 58A: Tenor in "The Flying Dutchman" (Erik) - ??? another intersection - at the "E," with 40D: Zaire's Mobutu _____ Seko (Sese) - that felt Very shaky.
- 88A: Tedious (prosy) - !?!?! Yikes. What? This was probably the hardest answer for me to get, both because I never hear the word, and second because it gets its "P" from VAMP, a word I apparently did not know the meaning of - 66D: Improvise. I thought it meant something somewhat more ... sinister.
- 96A: Toscanini's birthplace (Parma) - came quickly; not sure why.
- 99A: Anwar's successor (Hosni) - my most favoritely named world leader, by a long shot. There was a time when my cat's pet name was HOSNI.
- 102A: She was wild about Harry (Leona) - ??? Helmsley?
- 119A: "Bee Season" star, 2005 (Gere) - never heard of this movie. One of my students thought Richard GERE would make a good Gawain if "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" were ever made into a modern film (a little casting project I had them do...).
- 1D: Poem that ends with the funeral of Hector (Iliad) - My kind of 1D. Sweet!
- 9D: Funny Fields (Totie) - "fool me once ... shame on you; fool me ... can't get fooled again!" I got beaten by TOTIE before. No more, ma'am. No more.
- 12D: They get props for their work on Broadway (stage crew) - cute clue
- 13D: 1998 French Open winner Carlos _____ (Moya) - great on clay, not as great on other surfaces.
- 29D: Modern home of ancient Medea (Iran) - I can't pass up ancient clues. I just can't. If I had been a smarter, more industrious guy, I would have been a classicist.
- 80D: Body of water seen in Munch's "The Scream" (Oslo Fjord) - a thing of beauty, this answer. Should get some kind of award for "Most Elegant Non-Theme Answer."
- 91D: Supermodel on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 1982 swimsuit issue (Carol Alt) - her last name is crosswordese. Or was.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Signed Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld