Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: NO ID (52D: Reason to be barred from a bar ... or the theme of this puzzle) - "ID" is removed from familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued, "?"-style
A very easy, very solid puzzle from Mr. Perl, who really really wants you to remember that he wrote this puzzle - see ADAM (1A: "Fall" guy) and PERL (1995 Physics Nobelist Martin L. _____) in the first and last Across positions. The puzzle was a nice light dessert at the end of a very relaxing weekend, but now I'm in that weird time warp that happens after three-day weekends where it feels like Monday but isn't. In fact, I completely forgot to write the Weekly Wrap-Up yesterday because my brain somehow convinced the rest of my body that it was Sunday. Wife and I went to buy a new compost bin for the backyard yesterday and had to go through a part of town I rarely see - it was loaded with some of the best commercial signs I have seen around town ("best" in the sense of both "cool" and "ridiculous"), and I am clearly going to have to go back and take pictures. I bought an animal comb the other day called "The Furminator" and it cost an arm and a leg but Man that thing can take the undercoat off your pets faster than you can say "Vitas Gerulaitis" (who was mentioned in a Laura Linney movie I saw this weekend, "The Squid and the Whale"). I think I'm going to buy a bicycle today ... but none of this has anything to do with the puzzle.
- 17A: E.S.L. class, perhaps? (scene of an accent) - fresh off the ESL controversy of the weekend ("Why would a bilingual person take ESL if he/she was already bilingual?"), we get this very clever clue.
- 36A: Seedy hangout across the Atlantic? (Continental dive) - here's something I find odd: why does "Continental" refer to Europe when there are clearly 7 continents (well, 6, I guess, since we're not counting Pluto any more)?
- 56A: Hip-hop critics? (rap response team) - this threw me a bit, as there seemed to be many things that could be RAP(ID) RESPONSE ... though I couldn't name many off hand right now (vehicle ... system ... sled?)
- 47A: Makes verboten (bans) - this clue wants you to believe that "verboten" is some kind of stew, I think. If I didn't know what "verboten" meant, that's what I'd think.
- 52A: Supreme Court count (nine) - only because FDR was thwarted in his attempt to pack the court (documentaries help me learn)
- 60A: Cookie with its name on it (Oreo) - one of my favorite OREO clues
- 64A: Meal with readings (seder) - I went to one of these at my girlfriend's family's house in, let's say 1989. When did "Say Anything" come out, because I think I saw that on the same trip. Anyway, that SEDER was my first and last encounter with gefilte fish.
- 2D: Parcheesi pair (dice) - it's hard for me to convey just how wrong "Parcheesi" looks to me with two "e"s.
- 25D: First name in scat (Ella) - it is most unfortunate that one common meaning of "scat" is "excrement, especially of animal; dung." ELLA Fitzgerald's vocal control was IN + SANE. (37D: Out of one's mind)
- 38D: Ja's opposite (nein) - Hmmm, "verboten" and "NEIN" ... this puzzle's starting to scare me [I'm just baiting one of my readers here ... hi Ulrich].
- 57D: Carrier to Bergen (SAS) - this "carrier" is challenging EL AL's spot as the go-to "carrier" of CrossWorld. EL AL used to be in every other puzzle (or so it seemed) when I started solving back in the early 90s, and SAS was not familiar to me until 2006, but now SAS is everywhere and poor EL AL is struggling to keep pace (actually, according to cruciverb.com, ELAL had one more 2007 appearance in the NYT puzzle than SAS did).
- 59D: Bill (Bojangles) Robinson's forte (tap) - all I could think of was "the old soft shoe." And I had the "T" in place ... weird.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld