Saturday, November 10, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
Despite some harrowing clues and answers, I finished this one up in about average Saturday time (circa 15 minutes, for me). One square was an utter and complete guess, and I was actually stunned when the Times site accepted my grid. I thought for sure I'd get the dreaded "Your puzzle is incorrect" message. I still don't understand how the answer fits the clue:
29D: Some matériel (arms)
ARMS isn't even a French word, as far as I know. So I remain baffled. If you know the answer, let me know (NOTE: by the time you read this, it is likely that many people will have already answered the question in the "Comments" section, so if you know the answer, just check first).
The long answers are all worth noting, so I will note them now:
- 17A: Knee problem (grass stain) - love the triple "S"
- 21A: Capital, usually (metropolis) - hmmm ... not sure this is true. Maybe national capitals are, but ... is Carson City really a METROPOLIS? Salem? Olympia? Helena? I could go on.
- 3D: Feature of many a big do (teased hair) - recently thumbed through my high school yearbook, and saw much of this.
- 49A: Like Y, e.g. (next to last) - part of me admires this clue, and the other part feels like some essential ingredient is missing in the clue (or answer)
- 54A: Soft, high-fiber dish (mashed peas) - had the MASHED part and my first thought for the rest of the answer was YAMS. Why?
- 28D: Some clichéd writing (journalese) - by far the most brutal of the long answers. I stared at -OU---LESE for a good while. That "J" would really have helped, but holy moses that cross was obscure (see below)
Many sparkling clues and answers today, including:
- 31A: Senior ctr.? (sch.)
- 34A: Before analysis, after "a" (priori) - see explanation here
- 1D: Maker of a historic touchdown (Eagle) - it has landed, or so I hear
- 7D: Had a causerie (chatted) - OK, this isn't so great, but I love the word "causerie" - I initially forgot what it meant; it sounds much more violent than "chatted" - like "caustic" or "cauterize"
- 10D: Jaunty (debonair) - what was great about this was not the clue or answer, but my initial wrong fill. I had HAZE instead of DAZE at 10A: Fog, and thus for 10D: Jaunty here I had HEB... and I was like "Heb...raic? Really? But it won't fit..."
- 39D: Game derived from 500 rummy (canasta) - reminds me of many a summer vacation up the west coast from Fresno to (eventually) Seattle, sitting in the back of the van, playing cards over and over and over again with my sister and stepsister. How we ever got hooked up with such an old-fashioned game, I don't remember.
- 42D: Light carriage with a folding top (calash) - well, SURREY wouldn't fit, and after that, I was all out of carriages. CALASH reminds me of an ethnic food of some kind on "The Simpsons" called "klav kalash."
The question marks:
- 1A: Vegetable oil, e.g. (ester) - at this point, I'm beginning to wonder what isn't an ESTER...
- 40A: Character lineup (rst) - I knew this, just couldn't believe it was right. I can tolerate answers like this, and DCC (55D: Multiple of LXX) in an otherwise very strong puzzle.
- 42A: Ammunition carrier on wheels (caisson) - learned the word from crosswords; before seeing the word in a crossword, never knew what it was exactly that went rolling along in that song.
- 46A: Target of a rabbit punch (nape) - I wrote in SIDE; thought it was a kidney punch.
- 56A: Red-bellied trout (char) - ... nope, don't know it.
- 4D: Neighbor of Monterey Park, briefly (East L.A.) - never fails to evoke the Cheech Marin song "Born in EAST L.A." (sung to the tune of Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."
- 8D: The sacred bull Apis was his embodiment (Osiris) - didn't know it, but his is an easy name to piece together from crosses.
- 11D: Botanist's angle (axil) - does a rose have an AXIL, 'cause that would make me happy.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld