SUNDAY, Jul. 27, 2008 - Mike Nothnagel and David Quarfoot (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN JORDAN / "THINK BIG" SLOGANEER)
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Going Every Which Way" - rebus puzzle with squares representing RIGHT, LEFT, UP and DOWN
Copped the theme straight off, but still found the puzzle quite challenging. Turning UP all those direction squares was a bit exhausting, especially since some of them were really, really cleverly disguised, e.g. S[UP], DOG! (92A: Slangy street greeting). There was only one part of the puzzle that I found really irksome, to the point that I wish the entire area had been torn out and remodeled: the hyper-Germanic far south, where two different Wagner opera heroines duked it out with some African range I didn't know (ATLAS - 152A: Africa's _____ Mountains), somewhere in Jordan I didn't know (PETRA - 156A: Unesco World Heritage Site in Jordan), and Tolkien's crazy-ass middle name (REUEL - 148A: The second "R" in J. R. R. Tolkien). When I wrote in ELSA for (139D: "Bridal Chorus" bride), I honestly didn't know if any letter after the initial "E" was correct. At that point, I didn't even know I was dealing with Wagner. I just knew that ELSA ... was a name. In some crosswords. Yuck. Otherwise, a pitch-perfect Sunday - very doable, but not too doable.
Man, I'm not sure I can list them all...
- 29A: Popular 1970s British TV series ([UP]stairs [DOWN]stairs)
- 1D: Block (dam [UP])
- 30D: Went from second to first, say ([DOWN]-shifted)
- 16D: Barely fair, maybe ([DOWN] the [RIGHT] field line)
- 16A: Command to an overly friendly canine ([DOWN], boy)
- 37A: "Now you're talking!" ("All [RIGHT]")
- 36D: Erect (standing [UP][RIGHT])
- 101A: Football defensive line position ([RIGHT] end)
- 72D: Secured, in a way, with "on" ([LEFT] a [DOWN]payment)
- 71A: Liberals (The [LEFT])
- 84A: Cause of unemployment ([DOWN]-sizing)
- 38A: Took the risk ([LEFT] it [UP] to chance)
- 38D: Not brought home ([LEFT] on base)
- 41D: Awake by ([UP] at)
- 70D: Sentiment suggesting "Try this!" ("It's [RIGHT] [UP] your alley!")
- 90A: "Amen!" ("[RIGHT] on!")
- 95A: Arrangements (set-[UP]s)
- 125A: Exasperated teacher's cry ("Sit [DOWN] and shut [UP]!")
- 113D: Happen, slangily (go [DOWN])
- 89D: Took it easy (rested [UP])
- 137A: Missing glasses' location, usually ([RIGHT] where you [LEFT] them)
- 105D: Common entry point (stage [RIGHT])
- 140D: Bazooka Joe's working peeper ([LEFT] eye)
We are in Dunedin, NZ, on the very large property of some extended family. There are horses and dogs, and a sheep, who this morning was just hanging out in the front yard, grazing. Got to feed a cow and heifer this morning after a long, beautiful, muddy walk, so that was good. It's all too beautiful, really. Not sure what else I can say about it. Maybe I'll show another picture or two in a bit.
Points of interest:
- 20A: Genus of poisonous mushroom (amanita) - YIPE (19D: Exclamation of surprise)! That's the most outer-spaceish answer of the lot, today.
- 25A: Nickname for a bodybuilder (Muscles) - something about this answer seems so dated / campy to me.
- 27A: Junior in the N.F.L. (Seau) - sometimes it pays to watch ESPN. A great defensive player (safety?) who languished on the perennial also-ran Chargers for nearly his entire career.
- 53A: Opening screen option on many an A.T.M. (Español) - ooh, I like this clue.
- 56A: "Think big" sloganeer (IMAX) - I like to blog every "sloganeer" clue, on principle
- 66A: Tic-tac-toe plays (X's and O's) - very very nice. Sahra liked this one (She was watching me solve over my shoulder for a while)
- 68A: Warner Brothers shotgun toter (Elmer) - easy and great. For other animated fare, see also TOM (147D: Cartoon feline)
- 79A: Ralph who co-wrote "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Blane) - YIPE x 2. This is as bad as the poisonous mushroom genus, as far as I'm concerned.
- 81A: Cartoonist Keane (Bil) - of "Family Circus" "fame"
- 86A: It might follow a slash mark (divisor) - lovely. Took me a while - I was aided by a Roman numeral guess at 62D: Benedict III's predecessor (Leo IV)
- 94A: Ball with a yellow stripe (nine) - frightfully clever.
- 102A: Old musical high notes (elas) - no idea what this means, but I know this term ... from crosswords.
- 103A: Deuce beaters (treys) - never heard anyone use this term in real life, except occasionally when a sportscaster refers to a three-pointer in basketball.
- 119A: A hyperbola has two (foci) - a guess. Math constructors must have their math clues.
- 133A: Part of a shark's respiratory system (gill slit) - this phrase feels entirely made up. What's the difference between a gill and a GILL SLIT?
- 153A: A super's may be supersized (key ring) - man, I needed this answer. Was having real trouble, briefly, with the Downs down there.
- 2D: Birds that can sprint at 30 m.p.h. (emus) - also, apparently, good swimmers (we got tricked on an EMU question on quiz night because they included this bit of trivia, throwing us completely off the EMU scent)
- 5D: French orphan of film (Lili) - ???
- 6D: Camper's aid (sterno) - weirdly, I get STENO and STERNO confused
- 12D: Cyclades island (Ios) - pretty sure we had this very recently. Well ... here it is again. Don't confuse it with EOS (Greek goddess of the dawn)
- 15D: Hollow center? (double "L") - goes nicely, in its self-referentiality, with SILENT U (87D: Building component?)
- 42D: Bootleggers' bane (T-men) - why were Treasury Men after bootleggers? Tax avoision?
- 43D: Son-in-law of Muhammad (Ali) - ALI was an educated guess. Not sure what else, in three letters, it was going to be
- 48D: Proposed "fifth taste," which means "savory" in Japanese (umami) - I don't even understand the clue, let alone the answer. There are four other tastes? Salt, sweet ... dancer and blitzen?
- 55D: Tasmania's highest peak (Ossa) - Kiwi folk here did Not know this one. And Tasmania's just over ... there (I'm pointing NW)
- 58D: Z-car brand (Datsun) - had forgotten about these. DATSUN is now Nissan.
- 60D: International oil and gas giant, informally (Oxy) - the only OXY I know gets rid of pimples.
- 81D: Construction project that gave rise to the Ted Williams Tunnel (Big Dig) - nice. Timely. Also, one of the few positive references I've heard made about the Big Dig.
- 98D: Pal of Kenny and Kyle (Stan) - love the "South Park" references.
- 129D: Singer Mann (Aimee) - just got her new album, which has the awesome, hard-to-alphabetize title "@#%&*! Smilers"
I am on indefinite leave after this. No idea when I'll have reliable computer access again before I return to the States. So I leave you (until further notice) in the capable hands of Puzzlegirl OR Wade OR SethG (who should feel free to add pics and video to this write-up as they see fit).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld