Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Culinary puns - three celebrities (one living, two dead) have their last names turned into cooking-related puns
This theme is slightly confusing to me, in that the answers are clued as nouns, but the answers (if you read them as puns) are complete sentences. I get that FREY'S reads like a possessive but sounds like a verb ... but the pun doesn't change much of anything, I think that's the problem. Going to pun should fundamentally transform the meaning of the sentence, but here ... we stay in the same universe. Whose eggs are those? Those are Glenn Frey's eggs. Does he FRY them? No, he FREY'S them. Oh. OK. BOIL / BOYLE also feels like an odd verb to describe the making of STEW (though there's no doubt that STEW does indeed boil during preparation). And STEW and STEAK feel arbitrary - you could BOIL or COOK anything - where at least EGGS seems to go with FRY. I realize I'm overanalyzing here. The theme is cute, and the breakfast- lunch- dinner progression in the clues is a nice touch. I miss Peter BOYLE. "Puttin' on the Riiiiiiiiitz!"
- 20A: Breakfast specialty of a rock singer? (Glenn Frey's eggs)
- 39A: Lunch specialty of an Emmy-winning actor? (Peter Boyle's stew)
- 57A: Dinner specialty of an R&B singer? (Sam Cooke's steak) - SAM COOKE is one of my favorite male singers of all time, if not my favorite. He is single-handedly responsible for any appreciation of gospel I now have.
This puzzle relied heavily on crosswordese, but at least a couple of these words are worth reviewing. While we see ENO (48A: Brian of ambient music) and EWER (66A: Basin go-with) all the time, words like ADAR (6D: Purim's month) and ALB (26D: Priestly garment) show up somewhat less often, and yet are very very handy to know as a solver. Not common, but common enough for you to need to know them if you do puzzles on a regular basis. Another common word, ELATE (36A: Carry away, in a way), is made worse today by the proximity (and symmetry) of its fraternal twin SLATE (44A: Popular online magazine). At least I did not have to endure the dreaded E-MAG (which Slate is often used to clue).
- 14A: Word before luck or cluck (dumb) - though I don't know what it means, I'm going to start using "DUMB cluck" every chance I get (whenever I am angry at chickens, for instance)
- 29A: Constant complainers (cranks) - If this answer had intersected REX (had REX been in the puzzle), I'd have taken it personally.
- 45A: Part of M.Y.O.B. (own) - also part of B.Y.O.B.
- 51A: Clinton cabinet member satirized by Will Ferrell (Reno) - "Janet Reno's Dance Party" - great great stuff. Can't find a clip anywhere.
- 53A: Arkansas River city (Tulsa) - ah, it's not actually *in* Arkansas. I see. Tricky.
- 64A: Docent's offering (tour) - I really really dislike the word "docent," despite its honorable Latin roots. It's a wussy word. Barely there, and ultra-pretentious-sounding. Needs some hard consonants or something.
- 4D: Butchers' offerings (T-bones) - goes nicely with SAM COOKE'S STEAK. Was there really any need to pluralize "Butchers?" "Offerings" gets you the plural you want.
- 5D: Toiler of yore (serf) - had PEON at first. I can barely look at, let alone say, [Toiler of yore]. Too many "r"s, and one letter away from [Toilet of yore].
- 9D: Makeshift bookmark (dogear) - this I like. I like all compound words with "dog" - DOGLEG, DOGSBODY, etc.
- 11D: Dracula feature (fang) - just one?
- 12D: Big Turkish export (figs) - I do not like these, possibly because we had six fig trees in our back yard when I was a kid, and the ripe fruit that splatted onto the ground was the ugliest, milkiest, stickiest, nastiest stuff that grew out of the ground, as far as I was concerned.
- 22D: Wall St. watchdog (SEC) - took me a while to put in the "S" here, mainly because this is the "S" in GLENN FREY'S EGGS, and I couldn't really believe that was the answer.
- 27D: Pueblo dweller (Taos) - TAOS is a person? A tribe? You can be a TAOS? I just thought TAOS was a city.
- 50D: Sound of rebuke (tut tut) - that's really two sounds, or a repeated sound, but OK.
- 54D: Director Sergio (Leone) - I can't even see his name without hearing Ennio Morricone music in the background. I Love the spaghetti westerns. Once Upon a Time in the West is my favorite.
- 56D: Rubber hub (Akron) - Insert condom-related joke here
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld