Sunday, October 28, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Talking Heads" - theme answers are puns on the names of radio/tv talk show hosts (DONAHUE does radio now, right?)
I can't write this up now - got a non-virtual life to lead this a.m. (friends, pancakes, children). So I'll get back to this around, oh, noon maybe.
I will say that I liked this puzzle. Mostly liked it. And I generally dislike puns, so that's saying something. Good to see a Tausig byline in the Times. It's been a while. Ben edits The Onion's puzzle, which you should definitely be doing if you're not already - you can get to it from "Puzzle Pointers" (see sidebar).
off to eat -- and now I'm back
- 25A: Al's impressions? (Franken sense)
- 27A: "What did Bill do to earn this check, anyway?"? ("Why pay Maher?")
- 48A: Bill's biography? ("Life of O'Reilly")
- 64A: "And tonight's guest is ... Ann!"? ("You're getting Coulter!") - the best answer in the bunch. Glad it's sitting center stage. I imagine someone's saying this to an audience that has misbehaved in some way and is being punished.
- 77A: Dance like Rush? (do the Limbaugh) - gross
- 104A: Phoning Phil and hanging up immediately? (Donahue dare) - "Don't you dare!!"? This is bad, in that DONAHUE does not really sound like "Don't you," and in every other theme answer the pun is on the most interesting / colorful word in the original phrase, and here ... it's not.
- 106A: Don's parting words (Imus be off now) - this phrase sounds off to me. I wanted "I MUST BE GOING" (perhaps because of the Phil Collins' album "Hello, I Must Be Going"), which, by the way, gets 18 times the hits, as a phrase, that [I must be off now] gets. I'm just sayin'. If you can handle the disturbing racial / imperial imagery of the opening part, this Groucho Marx clip is mildly entertaining]
- 84D: What the puzzlemaker did to the name in each of this puzzle's theme answers (punned it) - this may be my favorite puzzle pun of all time. It must have been the inspiration for the entire puzzle. Brilliant.
Took me an embarrassingly long time to piece together OBAMA (8A: Presidential candidate born in Hawaii), who is slowly challenging Eric BANA for the role of the 21st century's Crossword "It Boy." And I totally tanked the nearby crossing of FUJIS (21A: Japanese apples named for a mountain) and BURR (9D: Power-driven shop tool) by mysteriously writing in FIJIS / BIRR. Otherwise, mistakes and real challenges were few, which was a great relief after a couple of brutal puzzles on Friday / Saturday.
Question marks / mistakes:
- 108D: PBS supporter (NEA) - had CPB at first (Corporation for Public Broadcasting)
- 13D: High _____ (jinks) - why did I think this was one word?
- 45D: Ex-Yankee Hideki (Irabu) - OK, I knew this, but omigosh this has gotta be rough for people who don't follow baseball closely. Check out his career MLB stats. Not exactly ... memorable. (I stole this from Wiki)
|Born: May 15, 1969 (1969-05-15)|
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|July 10, 1997 |
for the New York Yankees
|July 12, 2002 |
for the Texas Rangers
|Career highlights and awards|
That's right, NONE. I guess his Yankee-ness makes him fair game for a NY puzzle.
- 47D: "The Galloping Gourmet" host Graham (Kerr) - no idea. Did he ever cook with ...
- 59D: Mushroom with an umbrella cap (agaric) ? - this fungus is new to me.
- 90D: With 89-Down, historic part of NW Europe (Norman / Empire) - this is not a phrase I've seen used. I teach about the Norman Invasion a lot (important moment in history of the English language), but not about the NORMAN EMPIRE. Was it really an EMPIRE?
- 92D: Rabbi's instrument (shofar) - don't get rabbinical with me. You know how ignorant I am. Ugh.
- 57D: Pedicab alternative (cyclo) - eeks! ygrek! zed! WTF!?
- 68A: Old English bard (scop) - grad school comes in handy, for once!
- 93A: Hawaiian staple vegetables (taros) - This word looks weird pluralized. Why? I miss Hawaii.
- 6D: Clooney or Rooney (film star) - I shouldn't like this. Why do I like this?
- 60D: Wrestler Flair famous for the figure four leglock (Ric) - I love this clue so much for not stopping at "Flair."
- 82D: Arizona state flowers (saguaros) - such a great coincidence - Sahra is learning about deserts in school and is way enthralled by the saguaro, which can "grow up to fifty feet high!" I think she's exaggerating a bit, but not by much:
- 87D: Position in a rhythm band (maracas) - got this with remarkably little help. Seemed far-fetched when I wrote it in, but it was right. Always love taking a risk and having it pay off.
- 91D: Some seal hunters (Aleuts) - as with MARACAS, I just wrote it in instinctively, and it ended up being right. Could have been INUITS, I suppose.
- 107D: Black pride cut, informally ('fro) - love it.
- 103D: Set before V (RSTU) - so bad it's good.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld