Thursday, July 10, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: S to RY (Level ... or a three-word hint to 20-, 38- and 60-Across) - three common phrases ending in "S" have the "S" changed to an "RY," creating a wacky phrase, which is clued.
This felt easy enough, but my time did not bear that out. Not sure why. Still shocked I got BADE right off the bat (1A: Gave an order to). It's weird to make a guess so outlandish that you can't even take it seriously - only to find out that it's the right answer after all. The spelling of LITCHI (52D: Chinese fruit tree) was once again an issue. Not sure how many "correct" spellings there are, but there are at least two. Had APING instead of APERY, not surprisingly (57D: Copycatting); could not think of the first letter in SUMPS (55D: Water pits); started 20A: Arctic explorer post-flight? with BLACK AND BLUE ... and BLACKENED... before finally hitting on the answer; was shocked and amused that NOT ON was the answer to 32A: Off; loved ROLY POLY (12D: Pudgy); guessed THANE (30D: Shakespearean title) and SERAPE (25A: Possible cover for a siesta) right off the bat(s), while GALACTIC (38D: Enormous) eluded me for a good while; and I did not get 53D: Duke's home (Durham) until just this second.
- 20A: Arctic explorer post-fight? (black-eyed Peary)
- 38A: Bows and arrows for Midas? (golden archery)
- 60A: Storage area for ribbed fabric? (corduroy pantry)
I should say that I hated this theme until I got to STORY, and then I grudgingly acknowledged its cleverness.
- 14A: Platinum Card offerer, for short (AmEx) - "offerer"; not a word you see a lot outside of xword clues
- 19A: Alternatives to creams (gels) - I had OILS
- 33A: "_____ Love," 1975 Jackson 5 hit ("I Am") - this was rougher than it should have been; I have no memory of this song.
- 46A: 1985 John Malkovich drama ("Eleni") - no recollection of this movie at all. Know it only from xwords
- 54A: Choice poultry (capons) - I tasted chicken last night; bad vegetarian! Bad vegetarian! (I left my Tofurky brats at home when I went to my neighbor's bbq)
- 65A: Inspector of crime fiction (Morse) - uh ... who wrote about him? I forget. Colin Dexter? I take it back, I didn't forget. I just didn't know.
- 69A: Horse-drawn carriage (shay) - I get this and DRAY mixed up
- 70A: Switch possibilities (AC/DC) - nice ambiguity in the clue ("switch" = verb? noun?)
- 3D: Presidential middle name (Delano) - had some crosses and literally started counting backwards: Walker, Jefferson, Herbert Walker, Wilson, Earl, Ford's middle name, Milhous (HA ha), Baines, Fitzgerald, David, S., DELANO!
- 8D: Polo alternative (Izod) - to go with your IPOD (16A: Shuffle or 67-Across, e.g.) - 67A: MINI
- 10D: Singer of Rossini's "Largo al factotum" (Figaro) - thank you, Looney Toons
- 11D: Zero personality? (operator) - pretty good cluin' there, STUD (64A: Ladies' man)
- 39D: Candy box size (one pound) - that's a lot of candy. Not MINI, or SMA (64D: Little, to Robert Burns)
- 42D: The "I" of Claudius I (ego) - Latin for "I" (first person nominative singular)