Thursday, October 25, 2007
- 23A: Beginning of some folk wisdom ("To trust is good")
- 36A: Folk wisdom, part 2 ("Not to...")
- 44A: End of the folk wisdom ("... trust is better")
This is a stupid proverb. Sorry, Italians. Are you sure it's not "MAFIA PROVERB?"
For many reasons, I have no time to devote to this today (I say that every day, but today, it's true). I really liked this puzzle, but entirely for non-theme reasons.
The star answers:
- 4D: Exact proper divisor, in math (aliquot) - AliQUOT? AliQUOT? ("QUOT" is supposed to sound like "What?" there). Reminds me of AZIMUTH, another crazy, scrabbly, mathy word I learned from the puzzle. This actually didn't vex me that much, as I'd heard it before, but I could never have defined it for you.
- 17A: Wither (atrophy) - such a pretty word for such an unseemly concept. I mean, who wouldn't want to win A TROPHY?
- 21D: Medicinal cardiac stimulant (digitalis) - got this off the "-IS" and was so happy; I'm almost certain I learned this word from either Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers, and it was probably used to off some rich old white dude.
- 8D: Incised printing method (intaglio) - like ALIQUOT, I'd heard of it, which helped me piece it together from crosses. I like it 'cause it's pretty. Unlike its neighbor EARLOBE (9D: Pendant place).
- 62A: Makeshift hatrack (antler) - aside from the animal-killing that would necessarily have to go into making such an item, I LOVE this clue. Brilliant, funny, slightly tacky.
- 45D: Dividing membranes (septa) - gross, but it pleases me as an answer
- 48D: Fighters for Jeff Davis (rebs) - took me a few beats to get this, because I could picture only Jeff Bridges.
- 27A: Pacific islands in W.W. II fighting, with "the" (Gilberts) - not sure what I dislike more - that I had never heard of these, or that Google is almost unfamiliar with the practice of calling them "The Gilberts." Lots of hits for "The Gilbert Islands." But I guess this clue is better (much better) than [Obnoxious Gottfried and others]
- 43A: Norwegian coin (ore) - fancy clue, but still a boring answer
- 2D: "_____ to be alone" (words attributed to Greta Garbo) ("I vant ...") - first of all, "words attributed to." What the hell kind of concept is that? Those can go in puzzles now? Second, VANT is not a "word," so I challenge this clue times infinity.
- 18D: Melancholy woodwind (oboe) - really? First time I've seen it called that. I'm picture a sad oboe sitting under a tree pulling petals off a flower and ruminating on his lost clarinet love.
- 25D: The last Pope Paul, e.g. (sixth) - hatred rising ... so many better, less popish ways to clue this. We need a rule that popes are to be avoided if at all possible. We see them plenty as it is - we don't need you going out of your way to give us more popes with our puzzle. I had NINTH, which really really slowed me down, because it made the (alleged) ITALIAN PROVERB begin "TO TRUST IN ...," which is totally plausible.
- 1A: "Thou art not lovelier than _____, - no" (Millay sonnet start) ("lilacs") - pretty. Pretty like INTAGLIO. Yesterday, IRIS, today, LILACS.
- 30A: Hugh _____, successor to Louis V as king of France (Capet) - had an error here at first (SAPET!) because of entering SEAR instead of CHAR at 30D: Scorch. This also gave me EIRE instead of HIRE (35A: Charter), and as any crossword solver knows, you really aren't too apt to blink at EIRE when you see it.
- 33D: Robert of "The 39 Steps" (Donat)
- 39D: Bumps on a ride (jounces) - most unappealing word of the year. I can't even say this word, can't even look at it, without feeling like someone is scraping a chalkboard nearby.