Monday, November 5, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: First name "J" - theme answers are all guys whose full names start with initial "J."
Blew through this one in near-record time for me (around 3:45). I think I could have been in the low 3's if a. I had ever heard of J JONAH JAMESON (39A: Editor out to smear Spider-Man), and b. I had gone with BOFF instead of BEAN at 45D: Hit, as on the noggin (which made me trip painfully in the "L.A." section of the grid). I had to get J JONAH JAMESON almost entirely from crosses - that's especially embarrassing given how much I talk about comics, but, as I may have said before, and will certainly say again, I Do Not Read Marvel Comics. They are for teens with inferiority complexes (i.e. no friends and bad skin). I am an adult with a superiority complex. Thus I read DC - or independent publishers.
- 17A: T.S. Eliot title character who measures out his life with coffee spoons (J Alfred Prufrock) - I'd be impressed by this answer if I hadn't seen it recently
- 39A: J JONAH JAMESON (see clue, above)
- 61A: Vice president who once famously mashed "potato" (J Danforth Quayle) - hate the clue, but love the name - this must have been in the grid before; it's the perfect length, and it's got many highly Scrabbly letters.
There is nothing challenging about this puzzle. My BEAN for BOFF screw-up delayed my getting 50A: A goose egg (zippo), which, by the domino theory of crosswords, kept me from getting PONDS right away (51D: Unilever skin cream brand). I patched it all up rather quickly, but in doing so squandered my potential record-breaking time.
What I like most about the puzzle, besides J DANFORTH QUAYLE, is its poppy musicality. Check out the wide variety of pop music clues:
- 1A: "Lady Marmalade" singer _____ LaBelle (Patti)
- 2D: Frankie of "Beach Blanket Bingo" (Avalon)
- 9D: Lively '60s dance (frug)
- 30D: Its first ad touted "1,000 songs in your pocket" (iPod)
- 36D: Singsong syllables (la la)
- 39D: Guitarist Hendrix (Jimi)
- 61D: Female singer's 2001 album that debuted at #1 (J-Lo) - wait, is she a theme answer too? If so, genius.
- 24D: California city in a 1968 Dionne Warwick hit (San Jose) - love every Bacharach song she ever sang
SAN JOSE pairs nicely with SAO PAULO (11D: Brazil's largest city), which, it turns out, I can't spell. I instinctively spell it PAOLO, which gave me ORI at 34A: Geller with a spoon-bending act. Scanning the puzzle, I figured OR I was just a weird partial (though now I can't think of any xword-worthy clue for OR I). The answer here is of course URI. I think he has some dumbass new show on FOX. My first thought: "He's still alive?" He looks ... well preserved.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld