Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: HIDDEN COSTS (56A: Surprises for buyers ... or what 18-, 28- and 43-Across contain) - the word COST can be found inside the three theme answers
Pretty straightforward stuff, with DELMONICO STEAK being the real marquee answer of the day. Nothing fancy, nothing offensive. A very solid Tuesday outing. Not a lot to say ... Oh, I will say that, though I torched most of this puzzle, I had an oddly hard time right off the bat with 1A: Sportswriters' pick, for short (MVP). I though "pick" here had to do with rankings or predictions and thought briefly the answer might be TIP, but that's more something a TOUT might give at the racetrack. My mind just blanked on the fact that MVPs are, in fact, picked by sportswriters (true in baseball, at any rate). So MVP made me hesitate / stumble, and yet I took down ALTOONA with almost no effort (15A: Pennsylvania railroad city). Odd.
- 18A: 18th-century Parisian design (rocoCO STyle)
- 28A: Beef cut (DelmoniCO STeak)
- 43A: Aggies' home (New MexiCO STate)
- 9D: "The Plastic _____ Band - Live Peace in Toronto" (1970 album) ("ONO") - this clue required nothing after "Band," but I kinda like the embellishment.
- 46A: Rock's Clapton (Eric)
- 24A: Joan at Woodstock (Baez) - she helped me figure out how to spell ALONZO (hint: it's not the Shakespearean way) (5D: Mourning of the N.B.A.)
- 3D: "Poetry Man" singer (Phoebe Snow) - a very good long answer. When I had ...BESNOW and hadn't looked at the clue yet, I had No Idea what it could be. Something NOW?
- 40A: "_____ Beso" (1962 hit) ("Eso") - Mr. Paul Anka!
Throw in ISAAC Stern (30D: Violinist Stern) and his masterful UKE-playing (61A: Luau instrument, informally), and you've got a real hoedown.
"Elementary, My Dear Watson":
- 11A: Masseur's workplace (spa) - not any masseur I've ever been too. (For those of you who didn't get to read it last year, here's the story of the massage I received while in Mexico last year) [scroll down to 19A: Spa employee, generally speaking (pamperer)]
- 20A: Scout's doing (deed) - by definition, it's anyone's "doing."
- 48A: 1940s computer (Eniac) - I have great affection for this antiquated behemoth, as I learned it from crosswords, and I imagine it sitting in a Crossword Museum somewhere, next to the robots from "R.U.R."
- 51A: The "one" of a one-two (jab) - OOH (14A: Look at that!"), I like it. I just started reading a biography of Jack Dempsey called "A Flame of Pure Fire" by Roger Kahn. I'm on a weird 1920s kick lately.
- 60A: _____ Ben Canaan of "Exodus" (Ari) - I feel weirdly obligated to read this book someday, so often does this incarnation of ARI appear in my puzzle. ARIs of my generation include ARI Fleischer and ARI Shapiro.
- 6D: Prickly heat symptom (itch) - I don't ... understand what this is. What is "prickly heat?" A disease? Huh. It's a sweat rash, technical name MILIARIA (which I can't believe I haven't seen in a puzzle yet).
- 8D: Part of Ascap: Abbr. (soc.) - I really don't like the "Part of an abbreviation, which is itself also an abbreviation" clues. Further, I thought ASCAP was written thusly, with caps, but I guess NYT's style guide has some kind of limit on the number of CAPS that can appear in a row.
- 10D: Tennis great Ilie (Nastase) - whoa, switcheroo. Usually you use Nastase to clue ILIE, not the other way around.
- 11D: 3 ft. by 3 ft. (sq. yd.) - sadly, this threw me. I was looking for a more specific unit of measurement. At four letters, I could think only of ACRE, which was clearly wrong.
- 12D: Old Cosmos great (Pele) - New York Cosmos. Pele is legend. The most famous soccer player of all time. Suck it, Beckham. Hey, why doesn't this Freddy ADU kid appear in puzzles more often? I would buy stock in his crossword futures now. (This goal is sick)
- 13D: Sidewalk stand quaffs (ades) - my least favorite crossword beverage.
- 27D: Glad rags (togs) - uh ... are these fancy clothes? Yes, stylish clothes. If you google [glad rags] however, your first hit is ... something else entirely.
- 39D: Web address punctuation (slash) - nice. Something different from the much more predictable DOT.
- 49D: Greek goddess of victory (Nike) - swoosh.
- 54D: Mountain climber's grip (crag) - wanted something technical, like PITON or CRAMPON.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS a reader just sent me this shot of the interior of a 36A - for your consideration: