Saturday, December 1, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Car Talk" - every theme answer is a familiar phrase clued as if it had something to do with a make of car
I Smoked this puzzle. My best Sunday time ever: 12:06. I had an in-the-zone feeling that I've never had before - at least not in such a sustained way. It was a pretty cool feeling, I have to say. I had to allow some pretty iffy-sounding stuff to stay in place and just trust my instincts. It all worked out. Hallelujah. After yesterday's beat-down, this experience felt positively uplifting.
- 23A: Ford purchased online? (Internet Explorer)
- 17D: Reliable Suzuki? (trusty Sidekick)
- 38A: Honda owned by one of the Simpsons? (Homer's Odyssey) - mmm, sweet ...
- 58A: City dweller's Acura? (urban Legend)
- 80A: Genuine Isuzu? (real Trooper) - would really have liked a STORM TROOPER answer, but this'll have to do...
- 96A: Tiny Volkswagen? (miniature Golf) - I have a highly irrational and childlike love of this "sport"
- 51D: Half-assembled Mitsubishi? (partial Eclipse)
- 113A: One of the first Buicks to roll off the line? (twentieth Century) - well, this is weird. It occurs to me that this is the first theme answer I got, and yet I started at the top of the puzzle and worked down. Not sure how that's possible. I must have got a theme answer or two without thinking about the rationale.
There was not a lot to test the brain today, though there were a handful of dicey-looking answers. We'll start with SHTETLS (65A: Old Jewish villages), which I've never seen before - but historian wife knew the word as soon as I asked her about it. Her exact words: "I think there were pogroms in some shtetls." Unfortunate association. Luckily, there were other happier Jewish references, like 1D: He ascended to heaven in a whirlwind, in II Kings (Elijah) and 101A: Hanukkah treats (latkes). Speaking of the Jewish "race or culture," what the hell is up with ETHNOS (45A: Group of the same race or culture)? "ETHOS" I know, and "ETHIC." But I've never heard of an "ETHNOS." A definite brow-KNITter (109D: Furrow). Here's another: THRO (87D: Poetic preposition). I have occasion to read a lot of poetry, and this is not a "word" I see often. Maybe occasionally. I wanted THRU, but that's more street sign than poetry, really. Then there's TADS (72D: Squirts). If you tell me you put anything but TOTS in there at first, I am calling you a liar. I guess if you got AIDA before you looked at the clue, you might not have gone with TOTS, but if you had the T and / or S, then you did. I'm tellin' you.
It's the first horribly snowy day of the season here in far upstate NY, and we've got to get to the store before the freezing rain comes, so this will be brief-ish.
- 7A: It's beyond repair (total loss) - loved it, especially for its double-L's and S's.
- 25A: It's measured in degrees (burn) - even after getting this I had to think for a sec to understand it.
- 27A: Word with night or right (all) - "right all?" Oh, ALL right, ALL night, gotcha.
- 33A: It's needed to find the right key (ear) - clever
- 47A: Parts of the lunar landscape (mesas) - love that this intersects the puzzle's other spacey clue, 16D: Space clouds (nebulae)
- 62A: Kind of kick (on-side) - very good; took a few crosses to uncover.
- 77A: It's set partly at the Temple of Vulcan ("Aida") - I love how this is clued to make you think the answer might have something to do with "Star Trek."
- 83A: Like a pop fly (arced) - again, nice, and unexpected
- 120A: 1983 Stephen King thriller ("Christine") - killer car; see also "Cujo" - killer St. Bernard - and "Carrie" - killer prom queen.
- 122A: What a rake may do (leer) - he sure may - nice misdirection with "rake"
- 12D: Nuevo _____, Mexican state (Leon) - no idea, never saw the clue.
- 24D: Big name in stationery (Eaton) - one of the commenters claimed this answer is common, but I don't remember ever seeing it, and it took me a few crosses to come up with it.
- 39D: Emmy winner for "Roots" (Ed Asner) - unexpected - everyone I associate with that mini-series is black.
- 62D: Either sister starring in 2004's "New York Minute" (Olsen) - sticking with highbrow entertainment for the moment ... when I first read the clue, I thought the answer would be DUFF ... which means I know Way too much about teen girl culture.
- 68D: Genoa's Palazzo San _____ (Giorgio) - same as LEON, above, i.e., no clue
- 99D: Performance artist Anderson (Laurie) - is she still working? I remember her spiky hair and haunting visage from the 80's.
Good day to you people,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld