Thursday, November 15, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Palindromes - three long theme answers are all palindromic
Woo hoo! Palindromes! I graduated college in 1991, and the "name" of our graduating class, whatever that means, was "Palindrome!" (OK, maybe it didn't have the exclamation mark) - because of course a palindromic year would not come around for another ... well, technically, just eleven years, but after that, it would certainly be a while. Palindromes always make puzzles easy. I found myself just instinctively filling in corresponding letters whenever I'd fill in a new letter in a theme answer. The central, two-part theme answer went down first, and fast. The other two took slightly longer to untangle, but all in all, the puzzle was a piece of cake.
- 17A: Palindromic thought about preparing to pay down massive debt (must save vast sum)
- 24A: With 47-Across, palindromic Senate worker looks with amazement upon job payment inconsistency (page gawks at / task wage gap)
- 61A: Palindromic plan for freshening part of a lab (aerate pipet area) - I learned the term PIPET only last week (I think), so it was almost nice to see it again here - I don't care for it, as a word, but it certainly was handy to know today
I started this puzzle in unusual fashion - by getting the answer at the dead center of the puzzle first: 38A: It has M.S.G. in it (NYC). M.S.G. has been in the news a lot of late, what with a very public sexual harassment suit against M.S.G and the Knicks, and now (in the past couple days) more insane Knicks controversy. Can't any NY sports team just play ball without becoming a [bleep]-ing sideshow? (See also recent A-Rod developments - that [bleep] has come crawling back to the Yankees, sans agent - I guess it will be easier than I thought to retain my antipathy for that particular organization next year).
ANYway, I made a cross in the puzzle's center with KAYAK (28D: Vessel in icy waters) and was on my way. Thought TAMMI Terrell (36A: 1960s singer Terrell) was spelled TAMI, then TAMMY - she is best known for singing duets with Marvin Gaye. I went through a Huge Motown phase in high school, so I have a weird, vast reservoir of radio hits from the 60s and 70s. I also went to Michigan for grad school, so 56A: Michigan is part of it (Big Ten) was a gimme as well.
Some junk I didn't know (or forgot, or reforgot):
- 9A: Prince Valiant's wife (Aleta) - while I will never, ever forget Valiant's son's name (ARN), I am doomed forever to forget this lady's name (which sounds like a new line of car from Hyundai)
- 14A: Unlucky board game square (lose a turn) - GO TO JAIL was the only phrase that wanted to go here, even though it didn't fit
- 19A: It might set off a light (sensor) - spent many seconds pondering the physics involved in such a proposition. "Set off ... sounds explosive ... or maybe it's decorative ... maybe the answer is 'a nice set of DRAPES'..."
- 45A: Line starter in "Hot Cross Buns" (one A) - ????? Go here to torture your eardrums / soul with a version of the song
- 65A: Role played in films by Chief Thundercloud (Tonto) - no idea, but really ... how many answers could this have been? Name three recurring Native American roles in film. Right now. I Dare You.
- 1D: Landmark Newport mansion, with "the" ("Elms") - Nope, no clue. Got it from crosses.
- 15D: "_____ to Remember," biopic on Frederic Chopin ("A song") - Nope, no clue. Got it from ... thinking about the only phrase that seemed apt to go there
- 24D: Minor, at law (petit) - took me Way longer than it should have. I never think of the word for "small" in French as having any kind of legal meaning, though of course it does
- 27D: One-named supermodel (Emme) - I always want this clue in four letter to be IMAN. And I always think this EMME person's name is really ESME, for some reason.
- 30D: Whence the line "They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hosea) - that "E" was one of the last letters I filled in. Not on my personal Top Ten Books of the Bible list.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld