Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "JUST SAY NO" (36A: Slogan popularized in the 1980s ... and a hint to 17-0, 25-, 28-, 48-, 51- and 60-Across)
My write-ups are going to be somewhat abbreviated affairs for the rest of the month, as I am buried in schoolwork, my mother will be in town for a week, and I have a Major Project I have to finish by the end of the month. I'm sure you'll cover what I don't cover on your own, in Comments.
I guess if you JUST SAY NO and then SAY the theme answers, then they make sense. I actually liked this theme, even if it was easy to uncover and then solve. I blew through the puzzle in incredible time, but then completely crashed and had an only ordinary time. Here was the problem:
39D: Derisive word (yah)
What? What??? What is YAH??? And what is it doing in a puzzle where we already have YEAH (49D: Repeated word in "She Loves You"). I had BAH, which was the only "derisive word" I knew of in three letters that ended -AH. This gave me BETIS for 39A: Fabled "snowmen" (yetis), and it never ever occurred to me (well, until the very end, of course), that YETIS could be the answer. It's such crosswordese that I can't believe it wasn't a gimme, but something about the clue completely threw me. I thought I was looking for metaphorical "snowmen," like some people or agency or something. NSA (33D: Code-cracking org.) or CIA or something. Something à la "Falcon and the Snowman." Anyone? YAH YAH, I say, though I don't know what it means. Ditto USIA (37D: Old Voice of America org.), which as of right now not only looks wrong but means Zero to me. Stands for United States Information Agency. I wonder if this is one of those generational things, where older people got it easy. I sort of hope so.
- 17A: A la a free-for-all (holds barred)
- 25A: Really easy decision (brainer)
- 28A: Bum (goodnik) - my favorite theme entry, if only for the suffix "NIK"; see also MONIKER (43D: Handle)
- 48A: Restricted airspace (fly zone)
- 51A: Pitcher's coup (hit game)
- 60A: Mediocre (great shakes)
- 20A: Western lily (sego) - I will always and forever spell this wrong, confusing it with the palm: SAGO
- 31A: "Newhart" setting (inn) - a fine 80's show, featuring Larry, his brother Darryl, and his other brother Darryl
- 58A: "Whoso diggeth _____ shall fall therein": Proverbs ("a pit") - yes, that sounds likely
- 64A: Suffragist Bloomer (Amelia) - nope, never heard of her; luckily for me, her name is an ordinary enough woman's name
- 29D: Little foxes (kits) - cute
- 9D: "The bill and coo of sex" per Elbert Hubbard (poetry) - the only part of any of this that makes any sense to me is POETRY
- 47D: Excessively flattering (smarmy) - it's just a great word
- 36D: Self-professed patriot (jingo) - always sounds to me like a cross between JENGA! and a racial epithet
- 50D: 1952 Brando role (Zapata) - not a movie I've seen, but with the "Z" in place first, the answer was easy to get
- 8D: "The Dick Van Dyke Show" catchphrase ("Oh, Rob!") - man, are people under, say, 45 going to know this? I have watched far too much TV in my time, and think MTM is hot, so it's not weird that I know it, but ... I don't know, maybe it's fair. I love it.
- 67A: Hal David output (lyrics) - great ones. Absolutely adore all his work with Bacharach.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld