Sunday, December 16, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Movies You May Have Missed" - every theme answer is a movie with an "L" removed from its title, creating a silly variation, which is clued
Well we're getting snowed in yet again today, though right now everything seems calm - only about an inch on the ground and nothing coming down. Winds seem awfully strong, though. Neighbors' giant trees are really swaying. I just hope the power stays on long enough for me to finish this write-up.
This theme is imaginative, but I just wish the end results had been more humorous or lively. The words you get by removing an "L" are just not that fascinating, and thus the new-fangled titles just sort of lie there. Some are wonderful, but most are just blah. I was really happy with the non-theme fill, however, which includes a lot of unusual words and phrases, and cluing that seemed appropriately Sunday-level. Puzzle's got its share of crosswordese, but most Sunday puzzles do. I'm wondering if I'm going to have to nominate MEDOC (7D: French red) and I DIE (51D: Romeo's last words) for the Pantheon, given their weird recent frequency.
[drawing by Emily Cureton]
- 24A: Prison movie about a medical miracle? ("Dead Man Waking") - this one I like
- 31A: Tim Allen comedy about unionizing seasonal workers? ("The Santa Cause")
- 50A: Prequel to "Reservoir Dogs?" ("Pup Fiction") - very nice
- 64A: Ingmar Bergman classic narrated by Jacques Cousteau? ("The Seventh Sea")
- 79A: Chaplin comedy about a religious migration? ("The God Rush")
- 98A: Chiller about glass-climbing reptiles? ("Snakes on a Pane")
- 109A: Tom Cruise action thriller about a nasty argument? ("War of the Words")
- 6D: Sci-fi movie about gender discrimination? ("Men in Back")
- 42D: Bogart/Bacall mystery about serious basement dampness? ("The Big Seep")
- 38D: Spoof about the soul of a fraternity? ("Anima House") - made me laugh
- 78D: Lois Lane player of early TV, whose first name is a hint to this puzzle's theme (Noel Neill) - whoever that is.
- 27A: Wine made from the moscato bianco grape (Asti) - Pantheon-bound
- 28A: O.K.: Var. (indorse) - ouuuuuuuuuch.
- 19D: Toothed, botanically (dentate)
- 30A: Global warming? (detente) - nice, poetic pairing.
- 45A: Court pseudonym (Roe) - crafty; I had DOE.
- 38A: I.S.P. of note (AOL) - that's Internet Service Provider; if you didn't know that, now you do. Don't forget. You'll see it again.
- 53A: Onetime host of "Classic Concentration" (Trebek) - before my time. The show, not Trebek, who is, of course, an icon.
- 55A: Home of Chennai (India) - my geography is much weaker than it should be. I'm getting myself an Atlas for Xmas in hopes of remedying this problem, at least slightly.
- 58A: Airports (dromes) - really? I thought a DROME was just any kind of structure where, say, animals (hippoDROME) or bicycles (veloDROME) might race.
- 60A: "Answer the question" ("yes or no") - it's truly remarkable how often some variation of YES appears in the puzzle - YESES, SAY YES, YES OR NO, YES/NO, etc.
- 67A: Brick holder (hod) - I have the strangest affection for this word, and I honestly don't understand it.
- 73D: With 69-Down, not just hard of hearing (stone / deaf) - nice intersecting two-parter.
- 77A: Meal with bitter herbs (seder) - see also 90A: Like the letters on a dreidel (Hebrew).
- 87A: Conductor _____-Pekka Salonen (Esa) - another one to remember. He is current the musical director of the L.A. Philharmonic.
- 88A: Game resembling crazy eights (Uno) - I feel like Crazy Eights should be capitalized, even though I know that's not so. UNO is a great family card game; requires thought and skill, and yet my seven-year-old can beat me.
- 107A: Private telephone channel (tie line) - unknown to me.
- 114A: Thingum (item) - yuck. ITEM is not sufficiently colloquial here, given that clue.
- 115A: Jealous Olympian (Hera) - now That's an accurate clue.
- 116A: Skull and Bones member, e.g. (Eli) - Pantheonic! As university allegiances go, the NYT puzzle skews heavily Yale-ward.
- 121A: Hens, but not roosters (layers) - beware of LAYERS in your clue, where its different potential meanings can trip you up (see also FLOWER, BEAN, etc.)
- 4D: Jazz guitar great Herb _____ (Ellis) - unknown to me.
- 8D: Had thirds, maybe (overate) - I just had fifths of orange rolls, so ... yeah, OVERATE. It could have been worse. I could have had NINTHS (94D: Odd shares).
- 49D: Medieval hymn start (Dies) - as in "Dies Irae"; medieval answers tend to be gimmes for me, but I'm a professional, so don't feel bad.
- 82D: Pizzeria in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (Sal's) - In addition to SAL Bando and SAL Mineo, this pizzeria is a frequent denizen of the grid. Possibly the single most prominent fictional business. I'm prepared to be proven wrong.
- 91D: Vampy wear (boa) - just love the word "vampy"
- 108A: "It's _____" (Pet Shop Boys hit) ("a Sin") - easily the best synth pop band ever. This song is infectious.
- 97D: Kitchen attraction (aroma) - I've had this clue before, and still couldn't get it quickly. I was thinking "uh ... a really cool blender? Viking stove?" Etc. My house has an AROMA that's a mix of orange rolls and Christmas tree.
Happy blizzard to the NE, and happy Sunday to everyone else.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld