Sunday, October 7, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Political Positions" - rebus puzzle with DEM. squares on the puzzle's left, IND. in the dead center, and REP. squares on the puzzle's right
I feel as if I've seen variations on this theme before, but no matter; this was an enjoyable little puzzle nonetheless. I find that rebus puzzles are Far easier to do on paper - on the computer, I do not take the time mid-solve to use the function that allows me to put multiple letters in one square. Instead, I just type in the first letter of the multiple letter set (software accepts this as a "correct" answer). Problem: when you're speeding around the grid, it's easy to forget which squares are the rebus ones, and hard to see where one might expect another rebus square to show up. So I hiccuped a lot. Rebuses also tend to up the probability not only that I'll make a typo, but that I won't find it easily. That happened today too. My one hangup was the result of such a typo. Proximity of European river AARE (38D: Rhine tributary) "caused" me to write AARACKAGES at 42A. I knew that was a rebus answer, so I didn't look at it too hard. But this mistake caused a mini-chain reaction, where I couldn't get 42D: Summons: Abbr. (cit. - I had AIT?) or 55A: Character size (agate) or 56D: Baguette, for one (gem) - had the -EM on that last one and still, for the life of me, couldn't figure it out for a while. Seriously consdiered HEM. All this has zero to do with quality of the puzzle, which was fine.
- 24A: Event where there might be burping (tupperwa[RE P]arty)
- 15D: Sunken cooking site (fi[RE P]it)
- 26A: Set boundaries ([DEM]arcated)
- 1D: King topper (dia[DEM])
- 33A: Poker player's gloat ("Rea[D 'EM] and weep!")
- 36D: Some records or cards ([DEM]os)
- 42A: Students' gifts from home (ca[RE P]ackages)
- 39D: Brunch serving (c[REP]e)
- 65A: Response to "Want some?" ("Don't m[IND] if I do")
- 51D: Duke Ellington classic ("Sat[IN D]oll")
- 87A: Prize since 1928 (Aca[DEM]y Award)
- 58D: Working together (in tan[DEM])
- 92A: Help in checking calls (instant [REP]lay)
- 86D: Worker in the TV biz (ad [REP])
- 103A: Junkyard supplies (spa[RE P]arts)
- 104D: Loud noise ([REP]ort) - kept wanting ROAR here ...
- 109A: Candidate's "This isn't over" ("I [DEM]and a recount!")
- 95D: Supporting instrumentalist (si[DEM]an)
There are a handful of answers here that are not terribly common or well known in real life, but that recur in crosswords. I'm pretty sure I learned AGRA (35D: Indian tourist mecca) and L-DOPA (61D: Parkinsonism treatment) and LEN (63A: Cariou of Broadway) all from doing the crossword. Even rap-hating solvers know ICE-T (102D: "Rhyme Pays" rapper) by now - you might also like to know that his heyday was 20 years ago and he is no longer nearly as popular as his crossword frequency would imply. Oh, and he's an actor now, on one of those crappy "Law & Order" spin-offs. SUV? LOL? Who knows? This puzzle was full of names, many of which I didn't know or had forgotten, including:
- 69A: Jazzman Jackson (Milt) - didn't know
- 73A: Energy secretary under Clinton (O'Leary) - didn't know
- 90A: Journalist _____ Rogers St. John (Adela) - forgot
- 43D: Bandleader Kyser (Kay) - forgot
- 64D: "Uncle Vanya" woman (Elena) - didn't know; ELENA was in the puzzle yesterday in her ice-skating incarnation
- 88D: Ekberg of "La Dolce Vita" (Anita) - forgot, then remembered with a cross or two
- 98D: Physicist Ampere (Andre) - didn't know
I balked at BALKY (75A: Obstinate) - should have been clued as [Cousin Larry's cousin on "Perfect Strangers"] and had a little trouble with a bunch of stuff I should have known cold, like INCA (2D: Foe of Pizarro) and FLAT PANEL (84A: Feature of many modern computers) and LOURDES (9D: Pilgrimage site) and PINTO (101A: Mottled mount). LOURDES is the name of my local hospital ... PINTO has become irrevocably a car or a bean to me. I had LEADERS for LOOPERS (21A: Sewing machine parts) after being So Proud of myself for "knowing" LEADERS. There are only a few remaining things I didn't know:
- 23A: Sunflower seeds, botanically (achenes) - ouch!
- 40A: Vacuum tube filler (argon)
- 1A: Surgeon's instrument (dilator) - I know you went with SCALPEL here at first ...
Lastly, the kid in me liked BAT DAY (49D: Ball club come-on) and Rain-BLO (60A: Rain-_____ (classic bubble gum balls)). Off to work like crazy so I can "enjoy" Games 3 of the ALDS.
My other blog is always looking for new readers. New paperback covers await your perusal / mockery.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld