Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Relative difficulty: Super Easy
THEME: LIE-ABILITY (62A: What 17-, 23-, 37- and 51-Across may demonstrate?) - theme answers are commonly told lies
Despite its manifest cutsiness - what with the made-up word and all - I really liked this theme. WON'T HURT A BIT is jarring in its lack of an initial "THIS," but otherwise, the theme is very smooth. I DIDN'T DO IT is the catchphrase Bart Simpson accidentally invents during a Krusty the Klown skit in the episode "Bart Gets Famous" - the catchphrase propels him to superstardom before leaving him a laughable has-been shortly thereafter (this is a fantastic bit of self-reference on the part of "The Simpsons," as the show's own early fame was propelled by similar, stupid Bart catchphrases like "Ay Caramba!" and "Eat My Shorts!" and "Don't Have a Cow, Man!").
- 17A: Prankster's denial ("I didn't do it")
- 23A: Doctor's assurance ("Won't hurt a bit")
- 37A: Gift recipient's declaration ("Just what I wanted")
- 51A: Debtor's avowal ("It's in the mail")
I finished this puzzle in just over four minutes, without really trying. Felt much more Tuesday than Wednesday, and was probably the easiest Wednesday I've done in recent memory. No misdirection, lots of gimmes. Check out the large volume of common crossword fill - just a sampling:
One of the newest hot bits of crossword fill is WIFI (49D: Internet cafe offering). Like ALITO and OBAMA, it is sure to appear frequently for years to come. WHOA is about the last one you'd expect to pose a problem in this puzzle, and yet it's the only one that I had to make multiple passes at before I figured it out. This puzzle has KILN (14A: Where firings occur) and OAST (28D: Brewery fixture) (a rare oven twofer), and, just a few days after the 40th anniversary of the RFK assassination, ROSEY Grier (33A: Grid great Grier), who was just feet from Kennedy when it happened.
- 5A: Academy newcomer (plebe) - one of my least favorite words. It's like something you'd call a very nerdy extra terrestrial.
- 10A: Shelter array (cots) - wanted DOGS
- 21A: Dernier _____ (latest thing) (cri) - "CRI" literally means (not surprisingly, perhaps) "cry" or "shout"
- 29A: Sled pullers (team) - nice little deke here, as you go looking for the terminal "S" that never arrives...
- 31A: Bygone muscle car (GTO) - I do so love any clue that has "bygone" in it. A klassic krossword klue word.
- 43A: Org. with an "edu" address (sch.) - one of my least favorite abbrs., yet I got it instantly today (doubted it, briefly, because of the whole WHOA issue, but stuck with it anyway). A SCH. is where DEES get you 1.0 (45A: They're worth 1.0)
- 61A: Enterprise Klingon (Worf) - make me think fondly of my wife, who watched "TNG" back in the day (before I knew her). I've never actually seen her watch any "Star Trek" episode, but everything "TNG" makes me think of her anyway.
- 8D: Mediterranean capital (Beirut) - sadly, I never associate this city with the Mediterranean, largely because the Mediterranean conjures up images of placidity and temperateness and abundance, while BEIRUT I know largely from war footage. In my mind, it is uniformly brown and in ruins.
- 40A: Sub's weapon, perhaps (ICBM) - had the "C" and could think only of "ECHO" ... "Can you attack something with ECHOlocation technology ...?" No.
- 63D: Writer Beattie (Ann) - I know her only by name, and only because I used to be such a huge Raymond Carver fan, and her name seemed to come up a lot whenever I read about him.
- 64D: Restaurants competing with Mickey D's (BKs) - this is a horrible answer and a horribly written clue. "Restaurants" is in the proper plural, but "Mickey D's" ... is that supposed to be how your write the plural? Or is that a singular? And has anyone ever used the "word" "BKs" in a sentence? "We've opened five BKs in Uruguay this year!" Huh. Maybe.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS a reader picture of 15A: