Saturday, November 24, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Golfing (or, none)
This felt very easy. I didn't solve it in one unbroken wave, but when I got bogged down (a time or two), I rebooted fairly easily in another portion of the puzzle. The NE was particularly easy - more Thursday than Saturday. But the puzzle was reasonably colorful and entertaining, and, really, did I need to be taxed severely while my brain and other organs are still recovering from the unfamiliar onslaught of turkey? Answer: no.
There is no theme to today's puzzle, but as with yesterday's, the two, long anchor-answers appear to be thematically related - yesterday it was baseball, today, golf:
- 11D: Display at a golf tournament (leader board)
- 23D: Open competitors, often (touring pros)
Now TOURING PROS could refer to other sports, most notably tennis, but given the golfiness of its fellow long answer, I'm calling it a golf clue.
A number of gimmes added to the easiness of the puzzle, though in some cases the "gimme" status of a clue may have applied only to me.
- 17A: 1976-85 sitcom setting (Mel's Diner) - Mmmm, my cultural sweet spot. Got this with just the "N" in place (from another gimme, 7D: 1980s-'90s N.B.A. star Danny (Ainge) - I think that this clue is recycled from the Last time we saw AINGE - a few months ago)
- 20A: Rd. designer, e.g. (engr.)
- 34A: Three-time 1990s French Open winner (Seles) - stabbed in the back by an insane Steffi Graf fan during a match in 1993 - she was never the same player after that, despite winning one more Grand Slam - the Australian Open - in 1996. She grunted a lot on court.
- 47A: Where to find "Rome" (HBO) - easy easy easy; my gateway to the SE
- 1D: Pitcher who was the 1995 N.L. Rookie of the Year (Nomo) - Hideo Nomo. A pitcher in 4 letters, from the 90's? There aren't many. Nomo pitched the last Red Sox no-hitter before Clay Buchholz pitched his earlier this year. Buchholz pitched his no-hitter in his second career start, while Nomo pitched his in his Red Sox debut.
- 4D: Part of a long and winding road? (ess)
- 8D: Many a camper, informally (RV'er)
- 41D: "Ten North Frederick" novelist (O'Hara) - OK, maybe that one is a gimme only for me and a few assorted John O'Hara fans out there.
- 44A: Fast-food chain known for its floats ("A and W") - God I love root beer floats. "A&W" is the actual corporate name, so ... the "AND" feels a little wrong; and yet it was easy, and floats are tasty, so who cares?
- 52D: Big Apple-bound luggage tag code (LGA) - like all the above clues, Very easy
Not to say that there wasn't some trouble:
- 25A: Doesn't belt it out (croons) - this threw me, as the opposite of "belt it out" to me is something like "sings softly" - which is apparently Exactly what "CROONS" means. I thought it was just another word for "sings"; so I balked at CROONS, thinking, "If Bing Crosby was really a 'crooner,' how did anybody ever hear him?"
- 33A: "Happy Days Are Here Again" composer (Ager)
- 35A: Israeli opera conductor Daniel (Oren)
- 38A: _____ Diamond, author of the 1998 Pulitzer-winning book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" (Jared) - seen this book on the shelves of bookstores Many time; never noticed the name. I'd like to thank the puzzle constructors for going the Pulitzer route here and not making me think about the Subway sandwich guy this morning.
- 46D: Loudness unit (sone) - my high Physics grades from high school / college did not help me here.
Assorted other stuff:
- 21A: Begin energetically (wade in) - I don't doubt that this is correct, but "wading" is such a non-energetic act that this pairing feels off kilter to me.
- 29A: Source of political support (power base) - I had PARTY BASE, which seems a more in-the-language phrase for politics, but this is good too.
- 9D: "_____ out!" ("Yer") - had "GET" at first; YER is much better.
- 5D: It's usually spun first (side one) - Me, trying to solve this clue: "SIDE ... CAR? SIDE ... ARM?" I was cursing this one until I got it. Brilliant.
- 43D: Massey of film (Ilona) - memorize her name, as she is on the prowl and likely to return (this is her second appearance in the past couple months).
Happy birthday to my brother-in-law, Tom (and Happy birthday Eve Eve to me),
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld