Cousins of oribis and dik-diks: SATURDAY, Jul. 26, 2008 - Barry C. Silk (CONDUCTOR OF MANY TV EXPERIMENTS)
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
A very easy breezy Saturday *except* for the NW, where nearly half my fifteen minutes were spent. Never watched whatever MR. WIZARD is (1A: Conductor of many TV experiments), I've seen REEBOKS but not RHEBOKS (2D: Cousins of oribis and dik-diks), though to my credit I got the -BOKS part easily enough. The All Blacks recently played the SPRINGBOKS of S. Africa, I think (and lost, here in Dunedin). Tonight, the All Blacks take on the Wallabees of Australia. Dear Australia, your rugby team name is Ridiculous. Perhaps if you change it, you will win more often. Just a suggestion. So the NZ/AUS match tonight is Huge Business here in NZ, and I am at a massive family gathering where, after "tea" (that's "dinner" to you and me), the men (...) will gather around the TV and watch / talk rugby. I am in for some kind of schooling, I expect. "Let's teach the American about rugby!" All I know about rugby is that there are no helmets involved and the All Blacks uniforms are totally flash. I want one.
Oh, SNAP, we just got wireless to work, so I'm getting off this clunky desktop and work on the Mac, huzzah. Now I can do a screen grab and get the finished grid for you all.
Well, I'm back on the clunky desktop, which is actually less clunky than my laptop when it come to mouse-work. I should have brought my wireless mouse on the trip - touchpads just aren't as fast, for me. Anyway, the puzzle:
Started easily enough with 9A: Many people get 100 on it (IQ test) - once I tested the "Q" crossing - 10D: Big telecom company (Qwest) - I knew I was right. NE corner was done in under a minute. No foolin'. Only real STUMBLEs (13D: Err) occurred at 54A: Second biggest city in Russia's Orenburg region (Orsk), where I entertained only OMSK and then OREL ... maybe OPEL. Not sure I knew ORSK was a real place. Had ERGO for IS TO (26D: What a colon may mean) and GAS LIT for OIL LIT (25A: Like some old lamps) and EST for OST (61D: Right turn from Nord) - the capital "N" should have told me the language wasn't French. Had real ISSUEs with the ISSUE-region of the puzzle (32A: Children). Made a complete and utter (and, it turns out, correct) guess at 24D: New York Congresswoman Slaughter (Louise), and finally worked that narrow passage to the NW down to a single blank square - the NEB. / IBMS crossing. Creighton sounds like it's in NYS (29D: Home of Creighton U.), and computers never occurred to me where "servers" was concerned (35A: Many servers). Once I put the "B" in, I figured I was home free with a sub-10 min. time. But no.
- 19A: Scottish : Mac :: Arabic : _____ (Ibn) - love it. Nice counterpoint to IBMS. Also, being in NZ makes me think often, and fondly, of Scotland - Mac names everywhere. DUNEDIN = EDINBURGH ... just upside-down and backwards. And with palm trees.
- 20A: Where Charles de Gaulle was born (Lille) - there are other, more LILLE-ish clues out there. Alain de _____, for instance. Also, isn't LILLE known for its textile production?
- 23A: Advent number ("Noel") - Proud of my brain for sticking with this one the 10-12 seconds it took to piece it together. Thought "12" as in "12 Days of Christmas," then thought 25 - number of days on an "Advent" calendar (?), then thought "NOEL," but didn't know why. Then figured out what was meant by "number."
- 27A: "Frank TV" airer (TBS) - only just saw this clue. Hmmm. No idea what "Frank TV" is.
- 30A: They don't respond favorably (noes) - wanted NAES then realized I wasn't in Scotland.
- 33A: Snack for a dragonfly (gnat) - no idea why, but this is the first thing that came to me.
- 52A: Ventura County's most populous city (Oxnard) - woo hoo, I got this with only a cross or two. Helps to have lived part of one's life in S. California. OXNARD always sounds vaguely obscene to me - like we're talking about a part of the OX that ought not be discussed.
- 55A: The Guinness book once dubbed her "television's most frequent clapper" (Vanna) - as in White. Seems like the firstness of her name should be indicated somehow.
- 57A: Mount Saint _____ (Alaskan/Canadian peak) (Elias) - no idea. I worked it out, somehow.
- 65A: 1966 Pulitzer-winner poet Richard (Eberhart) - noooo idea. Thankfully all those Downs were Pieces of Cake.
- 67A: Heartbeat halves (systoles) - we had this in a recent late-week puzzle, making it relatively easy to turn up here.
- 1D: High point of the O.T. (Mt. Sinai) - "That part where Moses totally kicks ass!" - it's a literal and figurative "high point" - neat.
- 3D: Stockbreeding devices (weaners) - I shudder to think what one of these looks like. Fake teats?
- 6D: Hospital procedure, for short (angio) - did not come easily to me, but since my dad was a doctor and I spent some time in and around hospitals, I figured the term would eventually come to mind. And it did. One of the earliest articles of Rexiana is a "Slip to Go Home" written out for one of my stuffed animal dogs when I was very very young. Five? Six? Anyway, it had made-up medical stats on it and was titled "Doggy's Angiogram"; only a radiologist's son could pull that one off before grammar school.
- 11D: Pond denizen (teal) - went for TOAD, obviously. Daughter was mauled by ducks today at the Dunedin Botanical garden - they know when people are bringing them little packets of seeds, and they care naught for the sensitivities or phobias of small children. Sahra was tall enough to fend them off with good humor. Other, smaller children were not so lucky. At least one had to be physically rescued by an adult.
- 21D: Title woman of song who "lives in a dream" (Eleanor Rigby) - didn't come immediately, but with a few crosses, it fell right in place, which helped my time on this puzzle considerably.
- 31D: Oahu "thank you" ("Mahalo") - easy if you've ever been to Hawaii; probably hard if you haven't.
- 38D: Melodramatic outburst (sob) - SOB is weird as a noun.
- 39D: They may have just one or two stars (B movies) - great clue, though I got instantly.
- 40D: Ore galore (bonanza) - Clue is great; "Ore Galore" was rejected for the Bond film in favor of her sister, Pussy.
- 43D: Players with saving accounts? (goalies) - another great clue that I got instantly. Watching UEFA this summer helped.
- 47D: Columbus discovery of 1493 (St. Kitts) - I've stumbled on other Columbus discoveries in the past, but today, bam, I nailed this one. No hesitation. Thanks to the "K" from OMSK (now ORSK).
- 52D: She won the 1970 National Book Award for Fiction (Oates) - Joyce Carol. Another one that just came to me, despite my never having read much by her. "Where Are you Going, Where Have you Been?" - that's her, right? That story is creepy.
- 53D: About 5.5 Europeans (Danes) - making Denmark more populous than NZ by somewhere between 500K and a million people.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld