Thursday, November 29, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: AMEN CORNERS (1A: Parts of churches appropriate to this puzzle) - rebus puzzle, where AMEN appears in each corner of the grid
A very nice puzzle. Interestingly, I learned the term AMEN CORNER from ... [wait for it] ... Crosswords! I am just now beginning to realize how much of my general knowledge base had its origins in the crosswords. Why go to college? Just do crosswords every day, look up what you don't know, and shazam: Edumacation!
Blanked out during my first pass as the Northern Acrosses. Nothing came to me until TRI (19A: Angular opening?) which was the first of a run of correct first guesses, including 7.5 of the next 9 Acrosses:
- 20A: Follower of Max or Paul? (-ine)
- 21A: Ones with cool jobs? (ice men)
- 22A: Veronica of "Hill Street Blues" (Hamel) - the one I did NOT know
- 24A: Frenzied (amok)
- 26A: "Do _____ others..." ("unto")
- 28A: Petri dish gel (agar)
- 29A: Touch up, as text (edit)
- 30A: Italian leaders (duces) - I was half right: I had DOGES
- 31A: Quick change artist? (teller)
Not a bad run. Oh, right, the theme answers. I almost forgot. I got the theme while puzzling over the intersection of 9A and 14D in the NE corner. It was really 14D that tipped it - I could get nothing meaning [Adds to or subtracts from] in three letters. Looked at 9A, where I had CAMERA, and when that didn't fit the clue, I realized something was up with the "A." Ta da.
- 1D: "You sure said it!" ("AMEN to that!") - my least favorite of the theme answers, because AMEN is used as ... AMEN
- 9A: TV news crew (camerAMEN)
- 14D: Adds to or subtracts from (AMENds)
- 60D: Filament holder (stAMEN)
- 65A: Factor in a hotel rating (AMENities)
- 66A: Egyptian royal (TutankhAMEN) - nice; possibly the best of them today
- 46D: Citizen soldiers (militiAMEN)
Weird to have the completely unrelated END RESULT (36A: Consequence) in the high-profile center Across position, but no big deal. The center Down answer - also non-thematic - is very fresh: MIMETIC (25D: Imitative). And much of the non-theme stuff is compelling, or at least ... let's say, bouncy. Especially happy to see my old home MICH. in the puzzle today (49A: Thumb locale: Abbr.). Like living in a giant mitt.
Question marks for the day:
- 9D: Wood block for holding an object steady (chock) - I've heard of CHOCK-A-BLOCK, but CHOCK by itself? No. Are they related? Well, yes, and, as usual, World Wide Words breaks it down nicely.
- 32D: Prefix with spore (endo-) - Botany? Bota ... no.
- 50D: Tony winner for "Sweeney Todd," 1979 (Cariou) - I had the -IOU in place (not to future constructors: his name breaks nicely into CAR I.O.U.) and knew instantly who it was, without knowing who in the world the guy is, what he looks like, etc. Anyone who's been doing xwords long enough has surely seen [Actor Cariou] as a clue. Never seen CARIOU in the grid (that I remember) - I love when common crossword stuff changes medium (from clue to fill, vice versa)
- 53D: Edvard _____, Czech president and patriot (Benes) - While I admire that the puzzle passed up a potential "Seinfeld" reference, I have no idea what to do with this. Got it all from crosses.
- 53A: City south of Delray Beach, for short (Boca) - OK, it's not that hard, but there are so many damned place names in Florida that sound the same to me that I can never retrieve any of them with anything like reliability.
- 56D: Setting for many episodes of TV's "Gilmore Girls" (Yale) - Never having seen this show (not once), I wrote in CAFE; I believe my answer must have Some validity - I'm sure I've seen an ad where those "girls" were in a CAFE.
- 40D: Trattoria order (Campari)
- 48D: Trattoria order (scampi)
- 11D: Roomy dress (muu muu)
- 58D: Roomy dress (tent)
And finally the less obvious
- 29D: Mahler's "Das Lied von der _____" ("Erde")
- 45D: Where "Thy will" will be done, in part (on earth") - Great clue
How about [Where "Thy will" was not done] for 6D: Fall place (Eden). Yes, it is good.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld