Saturday, December 15, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: not really
Found this very very easy, with only the SW giving me any real trouble (and most of that was of my own dumb making). "Easy" does not mean boring or unenjoyable, though, as there were many things to like about this puzzle. Lots of unusual compound phrases that were tricky to parse, and then some interesting pairings or seemingly related answers that played well off each other
- I THINK SO (36D: "Probably")
- I AGREE (16A: Pro's remark) - nice twist on meaning of "Pro"; see also 55A: Pro fighter (anti)
Gotta love complete sentences as answers. Ooh, imperatives like QUIT IT (56A: "Enough!") count as complete sentences too (although then we could say just about any verb is a complete sentence: e.g. FLEE! - 25A: Take off). In certain contexts, GO BACK ON (58A: Fail to keep) could be complete. Then there's EXEUNT (45D: Order to leave - i.e. leave the stage, as in drama). I'll stop now.
- 19A: They're lit (sots)
- 63A: They're fried (tosspots)
This pairing is drunkenly glorious. And it rhymes.
I like the quirkiness of ODDS ARE (31A: Words of expectation) and RAW EGGS (39A: Ingredients in a protein shake), in their central, symmetrical positions. Ditto TEETHE (33A: Raise canines?) and SADIST (35A: Meanie).
Got 1A: They get sore easily (hot heads) instantly. Immediately. One of those fabulous bits of good luck. Opened the NW right up - had that quadrant done in just a minute or two. Didn't pause in my answering until I wandered down to the SW, where I got MEDAL (44A: Get bronze, say), but then was left just hanging out there, with no clue to the Downs. My main problem in solving this quadrant, it turns out, was my unfortunate insistence on writing in -ON for 52A: Paris possessive (ses), figuring the answer would be MON or TON or SON and completely forgetting about the plurals MES, TES, and SES. 46D: 1957 RKO purchaser (Desilu) completely perplexed me - couldn't think of any film studios or bigwigs that started with "D." Further, LOEW (28D: Eponymous theater mogul) appeared to be taunting me from the middle of the puzzle. Eventually (much later, when the rest of the puzzle was done), a complete and utter (though reasonably educated) guess at ETUDES (62A: Liszt's "Paganini _____") gave me the terminal "U" that finally allowed me to see DESILU. And that was the last part of the puzzle to fall.
- 9A: 6'5" All-Star relief ace with identical first two initials (J.J. Putz) - baseball haters will just have to suck it today. This one is terribly current - this guy emerged as a phenomenon only this past year. Could have done without the "identical first two initials" part of this clue. Come on! It's Saturday! Let people work for their "J"s.
- 18A: 1970s-'80s Australian P.M. (Fraser) - no idea; but FRASER seems a good, solid Australian last name.
- 22A: _____-Aztecan language (Uto-) - thankfully, I never saw this clue.
- 50A: "A Chapter on Ears" essayist (Elia) - blah blah blah essayist. That's what the clue looked like to me. Four letters, and an essayist? There is only one answer: ELIA, pen name for Charles Lamb.
- 53A: What reindeer do (prance) - in song, maybe. Do they really do this? Anyway, I like the clue. Very seasonal.
- 61A: Dessert of chilled fruit and coconut (ambrosia) - pardon me while I barf. Now I have "The Biggest Part of Me" running through my head! This clue is SADISTic on many levels.
- 5D: Fangorn Forest dweller (ent) - repeat clue alert! Repeat clue alert! We just had this clue/answer pairing not more than a week ago, I feel.
- 3D: Subject to an assessment? (testable) - worst part of this puzzle. Why is the "?" there?
- 7D: Muscle named for its shape (deltoid) - so easy I couldn't believe it was right.
- 8D: Didn't proceed forthrightly (sneaked) - like that this intersects LIED (28A: Wasn't straight).
- 11D: Org. with aces and chips (PGA) - another gimme.
- 12D: Sci-fi author Le Guin (Ursula) - really really wish the answer had been URSULAK. Now that's some crossword fill.
- 34D: "I'm sorry, Dave" speaker of sci-fi (Hal) - more sci-fi, woo hoo! This clue is Great, in that I can hear it in my head and it makes me laugh.
- 38D: Catherine I and others (tsarinas) - one of the dumber words for a ruler.
- 40D: _____ Peterson, lead role in "Bells Are Ringing" (Ella) - I'm doomed to forget this, like, now ... yep, it's already gone.
- 42D: Composer Puccini (Giacomo) - so proud that I was able to piece this together fairly quickly. You know how I feel about opera.
- 50D: "Symphony in Black" and others (Ertes) - More music!? No. This one is a bit vicious. Unless you are a constant crossword solver, this one probably flummoxed you. ERTE is an art deco illustrator who is super-duper common in the grid. Also, his name gets used as a noun, from time to time, to describe the works he made.
- 57D: Rx instruction (TID) - three times a day. Last time we had this clue, the answer was TER (Latin for "three"). Could easily have been BID (my first guess).
- 59D: "_____ sine scientia nihil est" (old Latin motto) ("Ars") - wish I knew whom this motto belonged to. Easy Latin word, but somehow I had trouble shaking ORA out of my head (as in the crossword-common "ORA pro nobis" - "pray for us").
Happy Saturday. East coasters better live it up while you can. Tomorrow, we are getting blitzed again. It'll be me, hot chocolate, the Pats/Jets game, and a whole lot of exams I should already have finished. Crap, I forgot that I have students who read this blog. Er ... I meant to say that I'm all done with my grading, and if your grade isn't posted yet ... it's the registrar's fault. Yeah, that's it. Call them. On Monday. After noon.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS - Friday's Cureton Creation: