Saturday, November 17, 2007
Comments are half the fun of this endeavor. That said, I need to make one rule clear: You may not comment on any puzzle that is not the current day's puzzle. That means no Sunday puzzle comments on my Saturday post (what kind of jackass does that?), no queries about other puzzles, nothing of the sort. This is not a general puzzle forum. This is a blog about the NYT Puzzle. All irrelevant comments will be ruthlessly deleted from here on out, and if the problem continues I'll just switch the Comments section off.
If you want to talk about other puzzles, start your own blog. If you don't like my rules, please feel free to stop visiting this site. There are so many other puzzle bloggers who would probably welcome your readership. I am not hurting for traffic, so I have no problem telling you to be courteous or go away. (I posted this yesterday as a separate message, and of course it took only about ten minutes for someone to tell me to go to hell. Awesome! "Delete"!)
PS Wendy, thanks for speaking out ...
Now, on to the puzzle:
Loved the theme. There are some truly great phrases that result from this "word play" (which is what I thought the title of the puzzle was until I was three theme answers deep in the puzzle and realized I'd misread it). Patrick Berry's puzzles are unfailingly solid, and usually I don't have much confidence as I move through the grid - I feel like I'm about to trip or fall into some pit all the time. I managed to do this in just over 16 minutes, which isn't a record for me, but it's good, and considering it's within the 1.5-x-Orange metric, I'm bordering on ecstatic. [Orange is another blogger and champion solver, and my speeds are normally 2-3 times hers]
Theme answers (11 of them!):
- 23A: Run away from chewing-tobacco users? (flee spitters => from "fee splitters")
- 25A: Alexander the Great's ambition? (to slay the East => from "to say the least")
- 37A: Problem for a sweaty-handed Tarzan? (viny sliding => from "vinyl siding")
- 56A: One who's crazy for a sharp-dressed man? (women, according to ZZ Top - but for our purposes, fop lover => from "flop over")
- 66A: Shakespearean prince who's handsome and muscular? (studly Hal => from "study hall") - this gets the silver medal for the day
- 78A: Fish-worshiping groups? (cod cults => from "cold cuts") - bronze medal
- 92A: What a magician might do with a big saw? (halve the gal => from "have the gall")
- 107A: How to avoid getting tipsy on hard liquor? (pace your belts => from "place your bets")
- 113A: Designed jeans? (plotted pants => from "potted plants)
- 15D: Oil spill? (seeping slickness => from "sleeping sickness")
- 36D: Macho beer-drinker's outerwear? (coat of manly Coors => from "Coat of Many Colors") - this makes absolutely no sense; thus, it wins today's theme answer gold medal
The tough stuff (not much of it, it turns out...)
- 13A: El _____ (Peruvian volcano) (Misti) - I know I've had this recently, but couldn't remember it at all
- 22A: Nebraska town, named after an Indian tribe, featured in "Lonesome Dove" (Ogallala) - got the whole ugly thing from crosses
- 85A: Tridactyl bird (emu) - "tridactyl" is a new word to me, though its meaning now seems obvious
- 53A: Technique involving thickly applied paint (impasto) - sounds edible
- 35D: One of the Forsytes in "The Forsyte Saga" (Irene) - ????
- 50D: Greek god of ridicule (Momus) - I think there is a masque by Milton with this name ... nope that's "Comus"; never mind
- 66D: Unable to see much (sand blind) - took me forever, even after I had the "BLIND" part
- 106D: What a line of dots may signify (stet) - I only recently learned this, and it took some time for this answer to kick in today
- 108D: Charles Lindbergh's wife (Anne) - so many Annes in the world ...
- 122A: Producer of the Keystone Cops films (Sennett) - really really unsure about that one. Isn't SENNETT a kind of laxative? Nope, that's Senokot. I think I merged SENOKOT and RENNET in my head ... pretty disgusting. Needless to say, Never heard of this SENNETT guy.
Here are the happy gimmes that made my job easy today:
- 8A: "_____ at Large," 2003 Fox sitcom ("Wanda") - I like Wanda Sykes, in general. She's doing some voice-over work for some horrible new ads now ... ah, yes, here we go; I know they're paying you a ton, Wanda, but come on. A "spokesapple?"
- 29A: Revolution-era loyalist (Tory) - Joe Torre is now a Dodger. Go Dodgers.
- 58A: Moved two chessmen in one turn (castled) - a great verb
- 59A: Early collaborator with Eastwood (Leone) - mmm, spaghetti westerns ...
- 82A: Novelist Jamaica _____ (Kincaid) - helped a Lot in the WSW region
- 2D: Ship launched from Ioclus (Argo) - OK, I didn't know this straight off, but when I saw four letters, I knew there could be only one answer
- 24D: "Man is by nature a _____ animal": Aristotle ("political") - wanted SOCIAL, but went immediately to POLITICAL when I saw SOCIAL wouldn't fit
- 51D: Contemporary of Virgil (Ovid) - my hero
- 63D: Pitts of silent film (Zasu) - a name made for crosswords
- 94D: With 52-Down, "Symphonie Fantastique" composer (Hector / Berlioz) - LOVE this. My best friend Andrew also loves it, and is the one responsible for my knowing about it at all, for which I hereby acknowledge him.
- 95D: Discharges (egests) - HA ha; I used this word in my write-up only two days ago while making fun of ENOUNCE
- 113D: ESP, remote viewing, and such (Psi) - I knew this instantly, but ... what is "remote viewing?" Oh my god, did Will crib his clue from Wikipedia? (read second paragraph here)
- 114D: Hall-of-Famer Dawson (Len)
- 84A: Backup singer's syllable (ooh) - hovering between love and hate on this one ... and love wins
- 119A: Flat remover (tire iron) - first thought on reading clue: "How do you remove an apartment?"
- 10D: They're not positive (noes) - if you stare at that word for even a few seconds, you will see why I find it disturbing; my mind sees only a typo.
- 60D: Perceptive person's detection (nuance) - good one - took me a while ...
- 79D: Take up the entire sofa (loll) - now, as someone who frequently takes up the entire sofa, I should have nailed this. But I had LOAF. I LOAF. I do not LOLL. Further, can't one LOLL in many ways? And in many places, not just on sofas? And why the "entire" sofa? Couldn't you LOLL on just part of it? My questions demand answers.
- 88D: Iconic Anne Baxter role (Eve) - Love this movie, so why did it take me so long to get this little answer?
- 96D: Party to many a civil union (gay) - is this a noun? Because "party" is a noun. "Hey Cletus, that gay over there is gonna get hisself a civil union." Weird.
- 103D: French business partner, maybe (frère) - Is this like "Sanford and Son," if "Sanford and Son" were French? That kind of "business partner?" Again, weird.
Happy Sunday. Mom comes into town today, so expect write-ups to be cursory affairs for a while.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS As you may know, I grew up in Fresno, CA ... [cough] ... yes, prestigious. Anyway, here is an ad for Toyota Prius that incurred the wrath of the mayor of Fresno, who complained to Sen. Feinstein, who convinced Toyota to pull the Fresno reference. It's an annoyingly self-serving ad, imagining a future I have no desire to live in ... but it's not wrong about Fresno. Trust me.