Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Add "-ILE" - "ILE" letter string is added to first word of familiar two-word phrases, creating wacky two-word phrases, which are clued
No time to write today. I've painted myself into a corner, work-wise, and though I can be very irresponsible and blow stuff off like nobody's business, even I have my limits. So - to be brief: this puzzle was very unpleasant, theme-wise, and mostly adequate, otherwise. LOTS of crosswordese - OONA, SSNS, STYE, ORTS, EPEE, INRI, EERIE, OSSO, the delicious IHOP, the ugh-y plurals OTTS and EDENS, the newly crosswordesey IMUS, and the once and future crosswordese stalwart ONE L (61A: First-year J.D. candidate). And yet there was enough cool fill to keep me from hating the puzzle completely.
- 17A: All the rockets in existence? (missile universe) - this concept just lies there ... not a funny phrase, not a dynamic phrase, not a phrase I can envision ... meh.
- 26A: "Dry-clean only," e.g.? (textile message) - a little better, but not much
- 44A: Cooking utensil from central Spain? (Castile-iron pan) - terrible; if the "utensil," and not just the iron, is from "central Spain," then you need the adjective "CASTILIAN."
- 58A: HAL 9000, in "2001: A Space Odyssey"? (hostile computer) - first of all, the term "host computer" is only semi-familiar to me. Not as in-the-language as I'd like my baseline answers to be. Second, I'm somewhat insulted that the clue doesn't just stop at [HAL 9000?]. Of course it's from "2001: A Space Odyssey." It's not like I'm going to confuse this HAL 9000 with the one on, say, "Happy Days."
- 1A: The Velvet Fog (Torme) - FUN: first thing in the grid, easily
- 23A: Noughts-and-crosses win (OOO) - oddly, FUN: simply opting for the British title of this game changes everything
- 3D: Angry reaction (rise) - TOUGH: I had RI-E and had to run through the alphabet. All I could think of was RILE
- 9D: Mutual fund redemption charge (exit fee) - TOUGH, and maybe slightly FUN: kept thinking the answer was one word
- 10D: Deep fissure (crevasse) - FUN: it's a great word that sounds both vaguely foreign and vaguely dirty
- 18D: Sarge's superior (looie) - FUN: in that it's fun to say; I had LIEUT, then LOOEY
- 29D: As a friend, to the French (en ami) - TOUGH and FUN: I've never before seen this phrase. I had 7 years of French in high school / college
- 31D: Astronaut _____ Bluford, the first African-American in space (Guion) - TOUGH and FUN: possibly the wrongest-looking name in the history of names. Had GUIDO at one point because, I mean, come on, what other name (in five letters) begins GUI...?
- 37D: First N.F.L. QB with consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons (Y.A. Tittle) - FUN: might have been tough, but he was in the puzzle less than a month ago. Loved his name then, and still love it...
- 42D: "_____ Organum" (1620 Francis Bacon work) ("Novum") - TOUGH and FUN: well, FUN for people who enjoy Latin and / or Early Modern English writing
- 46D: Subject of the 1999 film "Le Temps Retrouve" (Proust) - FUN: possibly TOUGH, if you didn't recognize the play on Proust's "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu" ... so maybe TOUGH if you are most people
- 59D: Geezers' replies (ehs) - FUN: Who doesn't like the word "geezer"? My favorite geezer: Abraham Simpson.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld