Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "BORE" homonyms
This felt about right for a Tuesday. Had a little trouble with a couple of phrases (seemed to be a lot of 2+-word answers), and there there were a couple of answers I hadn't heard of - including one of the theme answers! - but otherwise, fairly smooth sailing. Don't have much to say this morning beyond a few scattered observations. First, the theme answers:
- 17A: BORE (tiresome windbag) - I wrote in TIRESOME HANDBAG before ever looking at the clue. "What else is --NDBAG gonna be?," he wondered.
- 23A: BOAR (tusked warthog) - man, that's a good answer. That would make a good PET NAME (40A: Honeybunch or cutie pie)
- 48A: BOER (Cape Afrikaner) - not a phrase I know. Is "Cape" adjectival? Referring to Dutch settlers who lived specifically in or around the various "Capes" in South Africa?
- 57A: BOHR (Danish Physicist) - strangely, the easiest one of the lot to get
Observation 1: ELENA (56A: "Maria _____," Jimmy Dorsey #1 hit) is wearing out her welcome.
I think this is her third trip to the grid (in some form) in the past week. Her name is very convenient, letter-wise, but enough is enough. Take a vacation, ELENA. And look out SEZ (1A: Speaks, informally) - you're on thin ice too.
Observation 2: As I said, lots of multi-word phrases today, many of them quite lively:
- 63A: "Er ... um ..." ("I mean...")
- 9A: Smokey Robinson's music genre, for short (R and B)
- 1D: Have a chair by, as a table (sit at) - the syntax on this one confused the hell out of me
- 9D: Didn't have enough supplies (ran short) - I had RAN OUT OF
- 11D: "Don't worry about it" ("No big deal") - I had NO PROBLEM
- 30D: "This _____ ... Then" (Jennifer Lopez album) ("is me") - gotta go way downmarket to get the bad grammar required for this one
- 34D: Sights at after-Christmas sales (mob scenes)
- 45D: Sticker through a lady's headgear (hat pin) - really hate that clue; potential misdirection of "sticker" negated by "through" - why not just [Lady's headgear sticker]?
- 20A: Have _____ in one's head (a hole) - by far my favorite answer in the puzzle. I have to keep looking at the clue to remind myself how in the world this profane expression managed to get into the puzzle.
Observation 3: There is Good French, and there is Bad French
If there is going to be French in my puzzle, it should be a. from a title of a poem, book, work of art, major historical event, etc., or b. a word that has currency in English (e.g. "nom de plume"). 43A: Meyerbeer's "_____ Huguenots" ("Les") would seem to fulfill the first criterion, but there's something so massively anticlimactic about LES that the clue makes me a bit angry. And as for ARME (33D: French weapon) - that fails on all counts.
Observation 4: Certain words give me pleasure for no good reason
Maybe it's the way they sound - like ELIHU, for example (2D: _____ Yale, for whom Yale University is named) - or the way they look - like SKEINS (46D: Coils of yarn). One of the pleasures of doing the puzzle is just running into words that rub me the right way. I get to appreciate words on a purely superficial, aesthetic level, as well as on the level of meaning.
Observation 5: I am far less elated than I thought I would be at the news that the Yankees' season is over
I decided sometime yesterday afternoon that I would embrace the idea of a Yankee comeback against the Indians, so that Boston and NY could have their ALCS showdown, just as God intended. You have to risk losing to them if you want to beat them, I told myself. And then they went out and just folded last night in a game everyone thought they'd win. Paul Byrd? Really? You couldn't hit him? Anyway, I am in the oddly disconcerting position of feeling semi-bad for the Yankees. And I'm having trouble getting up for facing the Indians (good as they are). And then, if we make it to the World Series, what? The Rockies? The D-Backs? Damn you, Mets! Stupid New York teams and their stupid collapses are making the post-season far less interesting than it could have been.
Observation 6: Yesterday was a very weird day for this site, traffic-wise
First of all, there were several searches that made it onto the top page of search terms at sitemeter yesterday, which almost Never happens on a Monday. CABER, SILVERBACK, and (oddly) Glenn CLOSE were the top three searched-for answers. Second, a single link from (of all places) powerlineblog.com yesterday brought this site about 1000 extra visitors yesterday (and close to 3000 extra to my heretofore poorly trafficked Pop Sensation blog) (powerlineblog.com is a conservative political blog, so if you don't like that sort of stuff, don't click on the link, and dear god, whatever your political persuasion, please don't bring any kind of political rancor onto this blog). So first I want to thank the folks over there for the link. And secondly, I want to ask - why doesn't @#$# like that happen more often!? I want free press and I want it now. Go out now and do your part. It's the least you could do for me. Thank you, and good day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS I nearly forgot. AZO dye? (26D: _____ dye) - one of those answers that I had no clue about, though I also feel that I've had no clue about it before...