Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "NYC" - song from "ANNIE" (65A) that is embedded in all the theme answers
This was a fairly easy puzzle that challenged me only once - in the tiny SW corner, where I couldn't manage to trust any of my answers enough to piece it together quickly. A little patience - fill in the Most Likely right answer and work from there - and I got it done. The embedded "NYC" theme is not terribly original, but the "NYC"-containing answers are uniformly good. Plus there's an "NYC" in the dead center of the grid for good measure. A nice, solid Wednesday effort. I do not remember the song "NYC" from "Annie." I do remember, Very Well, watching the movie on a hotel TV during some trip (possibly to the east coast - NY/Boston, 1983) with my mom and sister. If I'm right, that was also the trip wherein I had a man threaten my life on a city bus. But that's a story for another time.
- 20A: "The Defiant Ones" co-star, 1958 (ToNY Curtis)
- 10D: 2003 Kentucky Derby winner (FunNYCide) - fantastic answer, which goes well in its equestrianness with ...
- 35D: Vehicles at a petting zoo (poNY Carts) - this was the answer that started the trouble I had in the SW. I wanted CARTS, but it sounded made-up, so I left it blank and went in to the SW and ... well, in retrospect, I have no idea why I stalled. Details below.
- 54A: Cornmeal dish often served with maple syrup (johnNY Cake) - mmmm, syrup. Sadly, my Holiday Eating Phase is over. Actually, I'm not sad. My body wants normal healthy eating back. It's creaking under the fat / sugar stress.
- 38A: Song from 65-Across that's hidden in 20- and 54-Across and 10- and 35-Down ("NYC")
- 65A: Hit Broadway musical based on a comic strip ("Annie") - really, what else was it going to be?
Highlights: Loved the stacking of I, TOO (58A: Langston Hughes poem) and NOT I (61A: Terse denial) in the far south. CANNABIS (40A: Hashish source) looks very cool over ARGYLES (43A: Some socks) and under IDIOT (37A: Yo-yo). The juxtaposition allows you to decide - is smoking pot a. for preppies, or b. for IDIOTs, or c. for preppy IDIOTs? I learned yesterday from an old Onion A/V Club puzzle that ENDO is slang for pot. I wondered why the guys on my rap CDs kept talking about ENDO. I figured it was slang for a place name like, say, North Dakota, or North Dover ... because, of course, rappers love prairie states and Delaware.
More goodness (and some badness):
- 25A: The second Mrs. Michael Corleone (Kay) - is that the one played by Diane Keaton? Did the first Michael Corleone get killed in Italy? Man, I gotta watch those damned movies again.
- 57A: Gore Vidal historical novel ("Burr") - as in Aaron. I wanted QBVII, which both didn't fit and was not written by Vidal (it's crossword stalwart Leon URIS's novel about a libel suit involving allegations of experimental surgery on concentration camp prisoners). I haven't read either book in question.
- 1D: Glacial ridge (arete) - some commenter recently said that if the clue has "ridge" in it, it's ARETE. That advice worked well here.
- 2D: Deep pink (melon) - ??? waterMELON, maybe, but ... many MELONs are not pink. I didn't know this was an official color. I had MAUVE at first.
- 5D: Something risky to work on (spec) - Grrreat clue.
- 9D: Field utensils (mess kit) - a great phrase. I love "K" more than any other letter.
- 33D: Month after Shevat (Adar) - must remember to brush up on my Hebrew calendar. And alphabet.
- 36D: Part of S.S.S.: Abbr. (sys.) - Selective Service SYStem.
- 44D: 1984 gold-medalist marathoner Joan (Benoit) - her name barely, Barely, rings a bell.
- 48D: Kite's clutcher (talon) - fabulous alliterative clue.
- 51D: Fit for duty (able) - my real thorn in the the SW. I was thinking the answer was a draft classification, and couldn't remember if the answer was ONE-A or A-ONE. Figuring they wouldn't name the draft classification after a steak sauce, I went with ONE-A, which cause me to write in ARRS instead of ETAS for 63A: Itinerary data: Abbr. Eventually the "Q" in my guess of AQUA (51A: Pale hue) gave me QUIT (52D: Conk out), and the rest fell quickly.
- 53D: "Superman II" villainess (Ursa) - a bear!? Really? It's been 20 years since I've seen that movie. And I really really want to put another "n" in "villainess."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld