Saturday, July 12, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
This puzzle was EZ except for the CA/NV region, which took over a third of my time. I was going to finish my Saturday puzzle in around 10 minutes (a good time for me), but writing in SEEM SAD instead of LOOK SAD (38A: Be down, apparently) put a quick end to that possibility. Here are all the ways I screwed up the long Downs after that
- HOUSEMATES (!?) instead of STALEMATES (26D: Play halters)
- OBOE SONATA (that's a thing, right?) instead of TRIO SONATA (27D: Any one of Handel's Op. 2 pieces)
- TAMILS instead of PEKOES (33D: Sri Lanka exports) - I was thinking that maybe TAMIL Tigers were actual animals, which were exported to ... zoos, I guess.
It's amazing how quickly the puzzle went from intractable to simple once I put in LOOK SAD. The "K" made all the difference (as it often does). I thought this puzzle was SASSY (25A: Flip) and amusing. Lots of odd, cool words and very little crap. I wonder if a lot of people today are going to be wondering what PWTS are because (like me) they wrote in PRANK CALLER instead of CRANK CALLER (1A: 911 pest, e.g.). The impossibility of PWTS led me to CWTS (1D: 100-lb. units), which is fortunate, because I wrote in PRANK CALLER with utter confidence. I do not like FUNSTER (40A: Clown), but it's such an absurd word that I can't work up a lot of anger. Watching FUNSTER try to be a word is like watching my puppy trying to be a dog - it's sort of cute. I somehow got SHEBAT with only a couple of crosses (22A: 30-day winter month). Ooh, maybe people will crash and burn in and around SHEBAT - after all, it's got the ultra-absurd KNEEHOLES (5D: Desk features) running through it. What are KNEEHOLES!?!?!?! How do you put your KNEE (and not your leg) through a hole (without hurting yourself)? There's also the near-violation of the "Natick Principle" that happens when ELENAS (23D: "Uncle Vanya" wife and others) meets AILEEN (36A: Quinn who played Annie in film) - but since their intersection couldn't reasonably be any other letter besides "N" - no foul! Anyway, I can see that SHEBAT corridor being tricky.
Still in pre-vacation mood, so my schedule is stacked today. Must dash this off, list-style:
- 12A: V.P. between Wallace and Barkley (HST) - grumble grumble. Names in clue should parallel name in answer, so I do not like the initials here. I don't care if "V.P." is supposed to tell me they're coming. Yuck.
- 15A: D. H. Lawrence novel made into a 1969 film ("Women in Love") - I think I read this in college. Nope, I read "Sons and Lovers." Nevermind.
- 16A: Time for Tours tourists? (été) - ridiculously easy for a Saturday
- 17A: Many a first course (tossed salad) - this particularly food item has a name that has forever been ruined for me. Let's see if I can find you a link to explain why. Oh yeah, this is it. CAUTION: profanity and adult subject matter abound in the following clip:
- 20A: Had sum problems (misadded) - one of many cute clues today
- 26A: 1999 Clorox acquisition (STP) - do you know how many three-letter detergents there are? A lot.
- 34A: Home of the Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe) - no idea. My go-to answer for all clues of this nature is OSLO, and that didn't fit.
- 41A: Idaho motto starter (Esto) - state mottoes is one of my least favorite brand of clues.
- 45A: Ones with shovellike forefeet (moles) - not too hard. I like "shovellike," as a word
- 47A: What a virtuous woman is worth more than, according to Proverbs 31:10 (rubies) - hence this movie.
- 49A: Aromatic herbal quaff (anise tea) - yuck. Might go well with a TOSSED SALAD, though.
- 51A: _____ Dove (the constellation Columba) (Noah's) - never saw the clue, but now that I do see it, I like it.
- 60A: Fruit with a pit, to a Brit (avocado pear) - oh you Brits and your wacky names for things. No end of fun, you are.
- 61A: Got into the swing, say (sat) - I love this clue so so much. One of my favorites in recent memory.
- 62A: Clandestine classroom communicators (note passers) - I was once one of these, as late as my senior year of college.
- 6D: Enemy of the Moors, with "the" (Cid) - more horribleness. THE CID? I know only "El CID." This Anglicized version hurts my head.
- 24D: What directors sit on: Abbr. (bds.) - [me making a disbelieving cringe-face]
- 8D: Cud chewers (llamas) - the proximity of LLAMAS is about the only thing that makes LOLITAS, esp. as clued (9D: Alluring adolescents), remotely tolerable. "LLAMAS and LOLITAS" could be the title of a memoir of a very disturbing man ... or a LLAMA-loving bibliophile.
- 10D: NASA spacewalks (EVAs) - stands for something, I'm sure.
- 11D: "Yet do thy cheeks look _____ Titan's face": Shak. ("red as") - super easy. No need ever to have read Shak. to get it.
- 14D: Comforters on kids' beds (teddy bears) - great clue
- 21D: "The Count of Monte Cristo" hero (Dantes) - REVENGE!
- 30D: Mashed potato alternative (watusi) - had the "W" and got it almost instantly, much to my shock.
- 35D: They're hooked up to some TV's (Nintendos) - I played with the Wii the other day. That sentence really does not sound like what it means. I like that another TV attachment, TIVO (50D: It can stop the show) is also in the puzzle.
- 46D: French city that shares its name with a car (sedan) - my first guess; saved me from running through every five-letter make or model of car I could think of.
- 57D: "To Helen" writer's inits. (EAP) - Poe, who has the bronze medal for literary initials. Gold goes to TSE, silver to RLS. Honorable Mention goes to GBS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld