Friday, November 23, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Baseball Stadiums (or, none)
Would have rated this "Easy" were it not for the NW corner, which Krushed me. Did anyone else just stare at the four spaces before CHEESE at 17A: Greek salad ingredient and think "How is that not FETA!?!?!"? Never having heard of 1D: _____ Mason (asset management firm) (Legg) or 2D: "_____, dislike it" (start of Marianne Moore's "Poetry") ("I, too"), I was in a hell of a lot of trouble up there for a bit. The whole thing came together only after I spun through my Rolodex of character names from mysteries for an answer to 3D: Fictional character who first appeared in "The House Without a Key" and finally alit on CHAN. Perhaps if 19A: Exhausted (gone) had been more self-evident to me, things would have ended more quickly up there. I mean, I got LICENSE FEE (1A: Bit of income for the Department of Motor Vehicles) right away and the clever ETHNIC VOTE (15A: What someone might win after stumping a cultural group?) shortly thereafter. Never heard of NIC (5D: Robertson of CNN), but it hardly mattered. I had heard of the ... colorful ... Marge SCHOTT (6D: Controversial 1980s-'90s baseball team owner), so most of the NW was in place fairly quickly; and yet fully half my time solving this puzzle was spent mulling over what kind of cheese besides FETA could go in a Greek salad. Sad.
I loved that the long answers were thematically linked:
- 26A: Where Yankees are found at Shea (Visitors dugout)
- 40A: Fan fare? (Ballpark Franks) - not sure whether to capitalize that or not - it's a brand name, though I guess it could also be a general term
- 11A: Waist products (obis) - OBI is going to rule the Pantheon of Crosswordese any day now. Seems there is some kind of unspoken context going on lately to see who can clue this word in the most inventive way.
- 35D: Waste product (trash bag) - a product for carrying waste ... OK
Then there are the many impish clues:
- 20A: Body repair sites, briefly (ORs)
- 35A: Ark contents (Torah)
- 47A: Amer. capital (USD) - that's U.S. Dollar, for the annoyed/confused of you out there...
- 29D: Id output (urges)
- 9D: Big-headed sorts (ETs) - always "big-headed?"
- 57A: Witness to Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala's secret wedding (Artoo Detoo) - I will never be entirely happy with that spelling
- 44A: One-eighties (U-eys) - ditto
- 41D: Start of a little daredevil's declaration ("Look, Ma ...") - speaking of "impish" ...
- 16A: Russian car (Lada) - ??????
- 28D: Ninth-century founder of the Russian monarchy (Rurik) - Did he have a Cube too?
- 42D: Food fish of Australia and New Zealand (red cod) - My Kiwi wife did not know this.
- 51D: Wilson's vice pres. _____ Marshall (Thos.)
And assorted curiosities:
- 39A: Doesn't quite mash (rices) - got it instantly - speaking of "mashed" ... so full ... of mashed potatoes ... turkey ... pie. My fridge is packed with the stuff. I'll be eating Thanksgiving dinner for at least three more days.
- 58A: When tripled, "et cetera" ("yada") - how long has it been since I last claimed not to care for "Seinfeld"? Too long.
- 7D: "A thousand pardons" ("Ever so sorry") - good, though ... who says this? A very polite British guy from at least 50 years ago?
- 10D: Big shoe spec (EEE width) - I love this. EEE is such a tiresome answer, but this is fantastic.
- 24D: City where Cezanne was born (Aix) - Cézanne = my favorite artist ever, FYI.
- 25D: Cuisine that may be served with a chork (Asian fusion) - officially the first time I've ever seen the word "chork" - I hope never to see it again.
- 26D: Hornet genus (vespa) - Scooter genus, as well.
- 27D: "Everything's cool" ("It's all good") - modern! I had "IT'S ALRIGHT" for a bit.
Enjoy Friday. Take it easy on the leftovers, though.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld