Thursday, April 24, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "I GOT YOU BABE" (62A: 1965 hit by the performers suggested phonetically by the ends of 18-, 24-, 37- and 56-Across)
And your rebus:
SUN - from MIDNIGHT SUN (18A: Summer arctic phenomenon)
KNEE - from WOUNDED KNEE (24A: 1890 battle site that's now a memorial)
ANNE - from SAINT ANNE (37A: Grandmother of Jesus)
SHARE - from MARKET SHARE (56A: Measure of a company's dominance)
I did this last night right before bedtime, and now barely remember it. Not sure that's the puzzle's fault. What I remember most is not the theme (though the theme is admirably outlandish), but some answers that made me balk. The first was BATCH (9A: Trayful of cookies), which my brain is assuring me is right, but which my heart is rejecting. I think my heart wants "baking" to precede "trayful." Perhaps that's implied. No one said the balking was rational. Then there was UIE (33A: Turnabout, in slang), which irks me only because I have only just acclimated myself to this word, and that was difficult enough when it was spelled UEY. Now I've got UIE to contend with? Hang on ... checking database ... UEY is 3 times more prevalent, although I have, apparently, seen UIE several times in the past couple years. Harrumph. Last balk: A BEAR (71A: Cross as _____ (annoyed)). I wrote in A BOAR, figuring BOARs are fare more likely to be "cross" than BEARs. I love "cross" as a word meaning "angered." It's very retro. I remember hearing it (possibly from mom) in the 70s, but I'm not sure anyone's used it in earnest since. The hyperbolic "furious" or the crass "pissed" have driven "cross" to the margins. I'm going to try to bring it back. Somehow.
The stuff I really liked today includes CARTONS (47D: Smokes in bulk) - the answer's ordinary but the clue is hot - and BERTHA (36D: Mother of Charlemagne), which, like "cross," feels decidedly old-fashioned. You do not want to make BERTHA cross, believe me. Ooh, one more balk: RAN AWAY (1D: Escaped). I had GOT AWAY, which I find to be much the superior answer. Just because you RAN does not mean you "escaped."
Your xword vocabulary of the day (after UIE / UEY):
- 23A: Predecessor of Romans (Acts)
- 66A: Daybreak deity (Eos)
- 27D: Education provider since 1440 (Eton)
- 34D: Foreign visitors? (ETs)
- 39D: River to the Rhine (Aare)
And ... a long list of stuff:
- 14A: Alicia Keys #1 album "_____ Am" ("As I") - remarkably hard for me to parse. YO, I AM? AM I AM? Alicia Keys is insanely talented.
- 20A: Bad off, after "up" (a tree) - this wins for "Most Insane Looking Clue of the Day." I keep reading "bad off" as a verb. "BAD OFF, mutha@#$#!" Or "I'm gonna bad off now ..." (whatever that might mean - just typing that made me laugh very hard ... still laughing even as I'm typing this).
- 28A: Mayo can be found in it (año) - the SANE (58A: Sound) answer here would be JAR. Please keep in mind that we have already heard, a million times, the complaint that ANO (sans tilde) is scatological.
- 31A: "Solaris" author Stanislaw _____ (Lem) - I should really read this guy. I see his name everywhere.
- 45A: Pool accessory (rack) - which pool?, you ask. Precisely.
- 61A: "Sanford and Son" setting (Watts) - made myself laugh out loud mid-solve when I got the two T's (--TT-) and tried inventing my own variant spelling of GHETTO.
- 67A: Classic sportster, for short ('vette) - that "RTST" letter run in "sportster" is rubbing something in my brain the wrong way.
- 4D: Field for Fields (comedy) - works for Totie, W.C., and, on occasion, Kim.
- 7D: European capital (Minsk) - the outer reaches of "Europe." I wanted a unit of currency here.
- 8D: Like some bagels (oniony) - "I'd like an ONIONY bagel please ... but not the ONION bagel ... too ONIONY."
- 10D: Baja's opposite (alta) - I like that this answer sits right next to the word that sounds like the French word for "baja" - BAH (9D: Cross word). CROSS!
- 12D: Condiment made with a mortar and pestle (chutney) - great answer. Up there with ONIONY for deliciousness, but far more ... legitimate as a word.
- 13D: Two-wheeled carriages (hansoms) - the puzzle's most common carriage. Everything I know about carriages, I learned from xwords (having never lived in the 19th c. myself).
- 25D: Item for a travel bag (etui) - HA ha. I've kinda missed this word. Haven't seen it since the tournament. Probably belongs up with the other answers in today's "Crossword Vocabulary" section.
- 51D: War preceder (Man-o-) - the horse or the sea creature, it matters not. Few words are as xword-clue specific as "preceder."
- 57D: Cookout offering (kabob) - tricky word. Many acceptable spellings. Thought it's probably not traditional, I would think a KABOB and CHUTNEY on an ONIONY bagel might actually work.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of Crossworld