Sunday, June 15, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Did You Get the Memo?" - common phrases that start with "RE" are clued as if the "RE" meant "regarding" in a business memo
This was Dull. Really dull. As dull as ... well, as dull as an office memo, presumably. Even searching over all the clues, I could barely find anything remotely interesting to write about. When [Alternatives to Yodels] is your most interesting clue, man, you're in trouble. The difficulty level was pitched just right, there were very few entries that made me wince or gag, but taken as a totality, the puzzle was radically Blah. I have ALMOST (45D: Bordering on) nothing to say about it.
- 23A: Memo about Stephen King's "Christine?" (RE: possessed auto)
- 32A: Memo about an inveterate perjurer? (RE: lying on instinct)
- 48A: Memo about a dating guide? (RE: pair manual)
- 64A: Memo about where tariffs are imposed on incoming ships? (RE: port for duty) - by far my least favorite of these. Supremely awkward.
- 71A: Memo about stores for animal appendages? (RE: tail outlets) - what? There are other, more plausible kinds of tails, you know. Tuxedo tails, kite tails ...
- 82A: Memo about a religious outpost for prisoners? (RE: con mission) - I do like how this intersects NAM (74D: Where Forrest Gump did a tour)
- 101A: Memo about why to buy an air purifier? (RE: mote possibility) - another really bad one
- 114A: Memo about a lyricist? (RE: verse engineer) - why not zazz this clue up? [Memo about AN ACTUAL @#$@#$ING POET]
Short bullet list:
- 28A: Staple figure in origami (crane) - fantastic clue / answer pair, though sadly my first thought was "you don't use staples in origami ..."
- 30A: Emmy-winning Ward (Sela) - part of the postmodern pantheon, i.e. those names that have become crossword staples since Will Shortz took over the puzzle (SELA Ward won her first Emmy in 1994)
- 37A: Like the Honda Element (boxy) - our neighbors' daughter has one of these, so this answer came to me quickly. I love how this word is rotationally symmetrical with MINX (100A: Flirtatious sort). You see so few BOXY MINX these days. MINXES?
- 38A: BBC : Britain :: _____ : Italy (R.A.I.) - I ... just ... what? What? See, the thing about the BBC is that people in the U.S. have Heard Of It. Yeesh. RAI is bad. Thankfully, I never saw the clue while solving this puzzle. I see (from the cruciverb.com database) that it's been in the puzzle before, usually clued as Thor Heyerdahl's boat (RA I), and only twice as the Italian network. At least I didn't get the [Algerian pop music] or [Some Bollywood actor I've clearly never heard of] clue.
- 46A: "Now I see!" ("Ah, yes") - goes nicely with "I DIG IT!" (75D: "Gotcha," to a beatnik)
- 70A: Apple gadget (corer) - nice misdirect with "Apple"
- 74A: Falls on the border (Niagara) - nice noun-for-verb switchout
- 76A: Strategic W.W. I river (Yser) - had EDER, then ESER, which I never bothered to change ... until my puzzle got rejected by the Puzzle Gods
- 88A: 1492 voyager (Pinta) - put it in, couldn't do anything with it, took it out ... put it in. Eventually something happened.
- 112A: Ready to roll? ... or not ready to roll? (tired) - I half-like this. It's daring. I would never say that a car was well TIRED, but whatever.
- 121A: Clothing chain since 1994 (Old Navy) - Much older than I thought.
- 6D: Fourth members of a musical group (fas) - Had FA- and was trying to think how in the world the puzzle was trying to spell FA (FAH? FAL?) when I noticed that the clue wanted a plural.
- 11D: _____ Malfoy, Harry Potter antagonist (Draco) - With SELA, an important part of the postmodern pantheon.
- 15D: "Arrested Development" actress Portia de _____ (Rossi) - she will be marrying Ellen DeGeneres soon, I hear.
- 16D: Candy bar whose name is an exclamation ("Oh, Henry!") - Never thought of it as an exclamation. Interesting. Like that it intersects the equally junk-foody HOHOS.
- 21D: 1958 hit whose B-side was "La Bamba" ("Donna") - one of my best students is named DONNA. Here's the song.
- 29D: Biggest section in a dictionary (ess) - HA ha. I guess that's true.
- 34D: When repeated, Mork's TV sign-off (Nanu) - I blame this answer for R.A.I.
- 36D: Whaling adverb (thar) - awesome
- 50D: LeBlanc of "Joey" (Matt) - sad. He remembers fondly, I'm sure, when he was clued as [LeBlanc of "Friends"]
- 60D: Rule before a revolution, maybe (tyranny) - wow, nice clue. I was thinking of some scientific, perhaps astronomical "rule"
- 66D: Grand _____, setting for "Evangeline" (Pré) - I have no idea what this clue means. What is "Evangeline?" A book? An opera? Oh, whoops, it's a Longfellow poem. I probably should have known that. In fact, maybe I did.
- 85D: How a ringtone may be set (on silent) - hmmmm. Yes, OK. The phrase feels a little shaky to me, in terms of its stand-alone-worthiness.
- 88D: Like many nonanimated Disney films (PG-rated) - what is up with this clue? Why not [Like many films], because that's about how specific this clue is.
- 113D: Old Ottoman title (Dey) - yay, DEY. I always root for DEY over AGA. Then there's always BEY, which is what I had here at first...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS Happy Father's Day to all relevant parties