Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: AFC/NFC football teams - theme answers (in two words) also happened to be names of NFL players, one from the AFC, one from the NFC: 56A: Where this puzzle's theme pairs would like to meet (Super Bowl)
Slow today, but I think that's partly because I did the puzzle as soon as I got out of bed, in my dark office. Words that should have come to me quickly didn't. Partial words looked horribly unfamiliar until a cross dropped into place and then the answers became quite obvious. ETC ETC (44A: "Blah, blah, blah ..."). Gotta go to IHOP with mom this morning, so here's your Kwik Rite-Up:
Theme Answers - followed by the names of the NFL teams involved, and my assessment of the likelihood those teams will meet in the Super Bowl this year:
- 17A: Big spender's woe? (giant bill) => New York Giants (7-3) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-5) - odds: Low
- 25A: Revolver toter? (Colt packer) => Indianapolis Colts (8-2) vs. Green Bay Packers (9-1) - odds: Not Bad - probably the most likely match-up of all the ones featured in this puzzle [my initial answer here was COLT PIRATE ...]
- 37A: MasterCard-carrying ecclesiastic (Cardinal charger) => Arizona Cardinals (5-5) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-5) - odds: Very Low
- 45A: Peter? (Chief Saint) => Kansas City Chiefs (4-6) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-6) - odds: I'm gonna say 'Zero'
A lot of the clues today were semi-tricky, or challengingly vague. Here's some stuff I tripped on:
- 1A: Missing Jimmy (Hoffa) - I wrote OLSEN (so no surprise that I got 7D: Superman's birth name (Kal-El) no problem)
- 9A: General feeling (vibes) - took me Forever to come up with this Cyndi Lauper / Jeff Goldblum movie
- 16A: Take forcibly (usurp) - wanted only WREST
- 19A: "Mule Train" singer, 1949 (Laine) - thankfully, never saw this clue
- 21A: Gum arabic-yielding tree (acacia) - I'm not big on flora, in general
- 22A: Where to find the headings Books, Dolls & Bears, and Collectibles (eBay) - borrowing from one of my favorite writers, I would call this clue "Dazzle Camouflage"; I was too distracted by the nuttiness of the clue to see (very quickly) the obviousness of the answer.
- 40A: New York home of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy) - RPI gets a surprising amount of puzzle play. I wonder why...
- 43A: Mark, as a ballot square (x in) - [wince]
- 60A: Chain unit (store) - one of the main reasons I took a while in the SW. Retail aspect of the word "chain" just didn't occur to me (for a while)
- 46D: Self-help category (how-to) - this is oddly clued. I think of "Self Help" and "How-To" as Completely Different parts of the book store.
- 47D: Due to get, as punishment (in for) - actually stared at INF-R for a few seconds thinking "how can INFER be right!?"
- 64A: Prickly husk (bur) - Yesterday BURR, today BUR. One-R spelling always looks wrong to me.
- 11D: LaCrosse carmaker (Buick) - See also ALERO (24D: Olds discontinued in 2004).
- 21D: Imitative in a silly way (apish) - this answer is silly and yet I got it almost instantly.
- 44D: Sermon ending? (-ette) - a little something to tide you over between sermons? Not a word I'm familiar with. Apparently it simply means "short sermon"... did that concept really need a name?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld