Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Merry Christmas" in different languages
First of all, Merry Christmas to you all (those of you who are still bothering to keep up with crosswords and my blog over the Holidays). It's a gray day and the furnace is doing this new thing where pipes bang violently like the house is haunted by angry and / or four-year-old ghosts. But still, it's a lovely day because I get to drink coffee and eat orange rolls and open presents with my family, woo hoo.
Today's puzzle was a bit ho-hum rather than ho-ho-ho, but it did give me one great new language-related adventure: GLAEDELIG JUL! Mother of pearl! That just looked like nonsense to me. With every new cross, I kept expecting the phrase to become familiar, or at least semi-clear, but it never did. When I was done, I wondered what "GLAEDE LIGJUL" meant. Google told me that it meant virtually nothing. Then I noticed JUL and thought "JUL ... YULE ... yeah, that's probably where the word breaks, dumbass." And sure enough. Hamlet wishes you a Merry Christmas. My time: 6:01 (on paper, as all my times will be from now til tournament time). Sad. But whatever. I'm a patient man.
- 17A: "Merry Christmas" to the French (Joyeux Noel)
- 29A: "Merry Christmas" to the Danes (pound your keyboard with your face! GLAEDELIG JUL!)
- 47A: "Merry Christmas" to Spaniards (Feliz Navidad) - song will be in my head all day.
- 64A: "Merry Christmas" to Italians (Buon Natale)
Blogger / my computer is Really slow this morning, so I'm gonna make this quick.
Bad start: HILTS for HAFTS (1A: Sword handles) followed by SHUN for SNUB (5D: Cold-shoulder), which is less explicable, but still understandable. So that slowed me down. I also tried to anticipate the answer to 10D: Car safety device by writing an "R" at the end: -BAR. Surely some kind of BAR would be used to protect your car. Like The Club. But no. AIRBAG.
- 14A: "One for My Baby" composer Harold (Arlen) - o great, now there's more than one ARLEN to keep track of!?
- 10A: Wood-shaping tool (adze) - I gotta get me one of these. They appear so frequently in puzzles that their powers must be awesome.
- 8D: Greek earth goddess (Gaea) - misspelled it GAIA.
- 6D: Hit the jackpot (won) - got verb tense wrong and wondered what an IVAL was (15A: Horse course - OVAL).
- 33D: Sailor's behind (abaft) - had -B-FT and filled in the remaining letters without even bothering to look at the clue. That's how accustomed I've become to this word.
- 71A: Makeup maker Lauder (Estee) - she's Pantheonic, of course, but I will say that it feels as if her appearance frequency has fallen off of late. Which is Just fine with me.
- 2D: Kitchen drawer? (aroma) - first of all, I wanted some kind of pen, pencil, or marker. Why is AROMA always clued as this cartoonish wafting that lures people into the kitchen. There are billions of AROMAS that are yet to be explored. Get out of the kitchen.
- 25D: It had a notable part in Exodus (Red Sea) - great clue. Me: "Aaron's Rod ... Golden Calf ... er ... locusts." Etc.
- 45D: Make balanced (even off) - ick. I had EVEN OUT, of course.
- 50D: "Rats!" ("Darn!") - Problem here is that you've got at least three plausible "D" answers: DRAT, DANG, and DARN. That is the order I went in.
- 55D: Knock-down-drag-out (melee) - when people fight in CrossWorld, they do so in the form of either a MELEE or a SET-TO. MELEE is the less-stupid-sounding answer.
- 49D: Benzoyl peroxide target (zit) - gross.
- 21A: Winter melon (casaba) - this answer has appeared multiple times this year. I think it's "wrinkly." I know that people came a-Googlin' for it earlier in the year.
"Eleven Geeks a-Googlin'" should be added to the "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
Enjoy your day, do puzzles, stay warm, put on John Denver's Christmas Album (as I do, every year of my life without fail since I was a very small boy). Thanks to everyone who had kind words for me and this blog yesterday. I sincerely appreciate it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[drawing by Emily Cureton]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld