Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "THINGS DRAWN" (59A: What the starts of 17-, 26-, 37- and 52-Across are)
Well my only real problem with today's puzzle is right there in the theme description - the phrase "THINGS DRAWN." It's a very literal description of the theme, but as a self-standing entry in the grid, it's a dud. It's just ... not a phrase one would say. It's not a common expression. It's got no currency. So points off for inelegance. Otherwise, the puzzle seemed just fine, with a few snazzy entries interspersed throughout a solid, if ordinary, grid.
- 17A: Play follower, usually (curtain call)
- 26A: Loofah, e.g. (bath sponge) - I've always found the word "loofah" disturbing. It sounds like an implement with which one would commit unspecified, and possibly unspeakable, acts of carnality.
- 37A: Circulatory system flow (blood stream)
- 52A: Shoot-'em-up figure (gun slinger) - I really wanted GANG BANGER here for a little bit; it's surprising how many letters they have in common...
The best sports entry of the day, of course, is A.L. EAST, clued as 34D: Red Sox div. That's right, it is the Red Sox' division, as they are the reigning A.L. EAST champions (somewhat more satisfying than being champions of the entire A.L., but somewhat less satisfying than being World Series champs). Sox v. Rox starts tomorrow - expect my write-ups to rise and fall based on how the Series goes. My sister lives in Colorado and has already started the (fake) trash-talk (her recent email to me had the subj. line "Bring it, Boston!"). My brother-in-law is now apparently pretending he cares about baseball because the local team is so hot. My sister just feels bad that her son has to grow up with a hometown team that has purple as one of its colors. In fact, I'm going to reprint sister's recent email to me - she's very entertaining. To me. I'm sure she won't mind (Tom is her husband, Miles is her son):
Watched your boys beat the pants off Cleveland last"But what does your sister have to do with the puzzle?," you ask? Answer: she is an ARIES (14A: Sign of spring). And so, returning to the puzzle: I didn't know JAYE P. Morgan was a singer (41A: Singer _____ P. Morgan). I thought she was just a judge on "The Gong Show." Joining Ms. Morgan in the "Out-of-the-Past" category is ILKA Chase (47A: Actress Chase of "Now, Voyager") and DION (39D: Singer of the 1962 hit "The Wanderer"). "The Wanderer" is also a classic Anglo-Saxon poem, FYI. In the "Words - I - See - Only - in - the - Crossword" category, we have the nice intersection of a final-"E"-free ICE AX (15A: Mountaineer's tool) and OXLIP (10D: Primrose family member). Tough clues today include 32A: Pest control brand (D-Con) - never heard of it!? - and NEA (8D: "Read Across America" grp.) - which isn't That tough to guess, but what the hell is "Read Across America?" Please tell me it is something, anything, like "Hands Across America."
night. I have been subjected to more baseball in the
last 2 weeks than in my entire life. Tom was bummed
because he wanted Cleveland against the Rockies; he
doesn't think they can beat Boston. He would make
faces at me every time I would cheer for Boston, but
I'm sorry, most of the teams (including Cleveland and
the Rockies) have zero personality. Boston is all
crazy-melting-pot-like and often scruffy,far more
interesting to watch so I like them better. And Tom
kept commenting on how the fans' hats looked all
scraggly and how they needed to get new ones; I told
him he should have seen your crazy old hat with the
duct tape on the back. I told him he couldn't
appreciate old school because he has been alive longer
than the Rockies have been a team... and purple? What
the hell kind of color is that for a team? Miles asked
about wearing something purple for Rockies day at his
school and I said good luck finding anything purple in
our entire house. Seriously.
Smiley faces today go out to TIN HAT (6D: G.I.'s helmet, slangily) and UNO (30A: 108-card game). Any clue with the word "slangily" in it is OK by me. I had no idea UNO had 108 cards, but I do enjoy playing it with Sahra (age 7), who can beat me now, even when I'm playing in fully competitive mode. It was actually quite exhilarating when I realized that she could beat me at something (besides maybe Candyland) without my having to take it easy on her. She is about the only person on the planet that I want to be better than me at Everything.
A final shout-out to two literary references: a cool quotation from Henry James ("IN ART economy is always beauty" - 21A) and the other a title from my homeboy, William Saroyan: "The HUMAN COMEDY" (11D: Saroyan novel, with "The"). Fresno!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS thanks to reader "DailyPuppyGuy" for providing a reference to this awesome picture, which is of great relevance to today's puzzle: Muhammed Ali shilling for D-CON roach traps!