Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "THAT'S A WRAP" (62A: Director's cry ... or a statement about 17-Across and 11- and 29-Down)
Ah, a supremely easy puzzle with mercifully few elements to discuss. Just what I need after a day or so of double-time blogging. Today's puzzle felt slightly easier than yesterday's - a couple of weird clues, but those were more bark than bite ... only one answer I truly didn't know, and that one was easy to get from crosses. So, all in all, a good palate cleanser for people returning from a weekend of spicy, spicy puzzles.
- 17A: Glam rocker's accessory (feather boa) - got this very quickly, perhaps too quickly for someone who has never been a huge fan of glam rock and never cross-dressed with any regularity.
- 11D: Transparent packaging material (cellophane) - I did this whole puzzle without realizing there was a theme. Didn't stop to think about how CELLOPHANE might be like a FEATHER BOA. It's one thing to wrap yourself in a FEATHER BOA, quite another to wrap yourself in CELLOPHANE, and still another to wrap yourself in a ...
- 29D: Taco alternative (beef fajita) - here's the one problem with this theme. You WRAP the BOA and the CELLOPHANE around stuff, but in a BEEF FAJITA (or any FAJITA) it's the tortilla that does the WRAPping. You can't WRAP a BEEF FAJITA around anything. It is a complete, free-standing WRAP job, whereas BOAs and CELLOPHANE are dependent. They need an object to wrap. My wife raised another question - why BEEF FAJITA? If the clue is [Taco alternative], wouldn't the more appropriate answer be FAJITA. I'm sure there's a "Where's the BEEF?" joke to be made here, somewhere. The point is - BEEF is tacked on here. Superfluous, clue-wise. It's a nice phrase, though: BEEFFAJITA. Double-E, Double-F. Very nice.
- 16A: Staff note (memo) - threw me. Was thinking musical notes.
- 20A: The "F" in the equation "F = ma" (Force) - shorthand for Newton's second law of motion. If F = ma, then what = pa?
- 50A: Like trees on a prairie (sparse) - much better than the original clue, [Like hairs on some balding guy's head]
- 55A: One always on the lookout for a deal (narc) - Clever clue. This answer also makes me think of "The Simpsons," but this time, I'll spare you the details.
- 65A: Flood preventer (levee) - despite the New Orleans disaster, this word will always make me think first and foremost of Led Zeppelin.
- 68A: Play to the back of the audience (emote) - shouldn't you always play to them? I mean, they paid for tickets too. Are they supposed to Not hear you, and just guess at what you're saying?
- 1D: Sailor's hook (gaff) - familiar, but not familiar enough. Needed crosses.
- 4D: Moneybags types (fat cats) - My comic book store is called "Fat Cat Books." You will never see anything like a "moneybags type" in there (except maybe Scrooge McDuck). You will, however, see at least one very fat cat.
- 12D: Color meaning "caution" on 13-Down (amber)
- 13D: See 12-Down (roads) - as wife said, AMBER is more on signs and signals than on ROADS per se, but if the ROAD is a metonym for the whole traffic system, then, yeah, OK.
- 18D: Guitar _____ (hit video game series) (Hero) - got it easy, but I have to say, I do Not understand the appeal. If I don't kill someone or beat someone in a sporting event, how is it a video game?
- 26D: They're uplifting (bras) - They sure are.
- 34D: Stereotypical tattoo (Mom) - the answer that made me change A-ONE to ACME (32A: Tiptop)
- 40D: Long-gone bird (dodo) - one of many great bird names. See also MOA, KEA, EMU, SORA ...
- 53D: Wedding band, maybe (octet) - had the "O" and thought ".... O-RING?" Wife got it easily off the same "O."
- 56D: Polite way to interrupt someone (ahem) - we decided that the word "polite" should be in quotation marks here, in that it's not really polite. It's faux-polite. It's a bit pushy, actually, and implies negligence in the part of the person being interrupted. A truly polite person would simply say "Excuse me..."
- 60D: Watering holes (spas) - wanted SALOON or OASIS. Neither fit.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld