Saturday, November 17, 2007
- I have somewhere to be very soon
- The puzzle took me longer to finish than any puzzle has taken me in a Long, Long Time - for some good and some not very good reasons
The only part of this puzzle I truly liked and respected was the SE, particularly the stack of 10's:
- PLAZAHOTEL (59A: National Historic Landmark in Manhattan)
- FELICITOUS (62A: Apropos)
- CRAZY HORSE (64A: Big name in Dakota history)
I particularly like that last one for two, admittedly highly personal reasons.
- I remember visiting the Unbelievably Gigantic Crazy Horse Monument when I was in South Dakota visiting one of my bestest friends. Its projected size is So Big that I doubt it will ever be completed. Its face alone is nine stories high.
- Sahra learned about Crazy Horse in school but then forgot his name when she was trying to tell us about him, so she called him "Silly Horse," which we have now decided is the perfect name for our next dog, whenever we happen to acquire one.
Here's what I can't believe is right - and I mean ... I "finished" this puzzle last night Absolutely Certain that all of these answers Had to be wrong:
The biggest problem: 46D: Character on trial in "A Passage to India" (Dr. Aziz) - This is one of those brutal you- know- it- or- you- don't- and- it's- foreign- and- compound- and- unfamiliar- so- crosses- are- of- limited- help answers that seem purposefully cruel. This one was made worse by intersecting TWO words I'd never seen before in my life: GOURDE (45A: 100 centimes, in Haiti) and BLATS (55A: Makes a raucous noise). I got up this morning to do some humiliating Googling, only to find that my grid was correct. Perfect. So my intense dislike of this obscurity-fest is tempered by pride in my educated guessing skills.
The part that took me longest, however, was the NW, which stayed mostly blank forever and ever. In retrospect, there were two answers I should have seen, which would have tipped (did tip, in fact) the whole thing. I had None of the Acrosses up there, and the only two Downs I had were a near-certain ANACIN (2D: Its ads once showed hammer inside the head) and a very tentative (but ultimately correct) ORANGEY (6D: Like a bad spray-on tan). I had fallen into the stupid (on my part) trap at 20A: Put down some chips? (snack) - I had ANTED. And I stared and stared. Now, here was my main problem:
24A: Its banks are lined with nearly 200 palaces (Grand Canal) - for some completely mysterious reason, the whole time I was doing this puzzle, right up to the point I got this answer correct, I was Certain that the CANAL in question was in India. Why? WHY? I couldn't think of a place that would have that many "palaces" in the West. So I felt like a complete idiot when this answer eventually presented itself. Also, WTF is up with 27A: "Giuliani: Nasty Man" author (Ed Koch)? Really? That seems ... preposterous. I mean, I'm sure it's right, but ... everything about that title is embarrassing. Tipping point for me in the NW was 3D: One of a protective pair (mitten) - I had the -TEN and could think of NOTHING. At one point, in frustration, I just started saying every English word I could think of that ended with -TEN. I said "KITTEN ... HA ha, that would be funny: two KITTENs protecting your ... oh wait. @#$#$#! MITTEN! Aaaarrgh!" (that transcript may or may not be literal; it's at least close). Also can't believe how long it took me to get CURATE (1D: Parish leader), when I already had the -ATE. LEGATE? PRELATE? Etc? Also initially had ETTE for ENNE (26A: Cousin of -trix).
- 4D: Org. addressing class conflict (PTA) - I completely challenge this. In trying to be cute, you've completely misrepresented what the PTA does
- 7D: Score direction: abbr. (ritard.) - longest abbreviation Ever.
- 10D: "Saving Private Ryan" craft, for short (LST) - I'll never remember this
- 8D: Scottish cereal staple (oat cake) - weird ... OAT, I get. I never had an OAT CAKE when I was there (for many months)
- 14D: Lemony meringue concoction (angel pie) - again, I say, WTF?
- 34D: Keen of vision (lynx-eyed) - well now you're just making up words
- 49D: Mint-family plant with bright-colored leaves and blue flowers (coleus) - all from crosses; to my wife's credit, she knew COLEUS was a plant (she also got MITTEN in about one second, damn her)
- 56D: "_____ Ching" (classic book of Chinese poetry) ("Shih") - I had "THE I," duh
- 32A: "In the," in Italy (nei) - I was so cocky when I entered the first word of "Inferno" - NEL ... that's what pride gets me
- 21D: Celtic Kevin with a retired jersey #32 (McHale) - I was a huge Celtics fan at the peak of this guy's career, so this was a gimme. MCHALE is now GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- 12D: Player in a shirt pocket (iPod Nano) - hot. One of my very favorite possessions. Mine is red and has my name on it. Its design ... its feel ... it's just so pleasing.
- 21A: Minute buzzer (midge) - I just this second realized that the clue is trying to be cute, as if the referent is a timing device and not a flying pest. The trick never occurred to me, thank god.
- 43A: Rx specification (ter) - Latin! (for "three")
- 59D: U.S.M.C. E-2 (PFC) - I love that there are no words anywhere in that clue/answer
- 37D: Novus _____ seclorum (Great Seal phrase) (ordo) - Latin! (for "order")
- 51A: Nightspots where the attraction is simply a gas (oxygen bars) - I got this so fast. Do these exist anywhere outside of NYC/LA?
And I'm done
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld