THURSDAY, Jul. 17, 2008 - Elizabeth A. Long (STARR OF THE OLD WEST / AVANT-GARDE FILMMAKER BRAKHAGE)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "SHAPES UP" (42D: Quits misbehaving ... or a literal hint to 4-, 9-, 13-, 49- and 57-Down) - theme answers are shapes, which read from bottom to top
Rex here. I'm back blogging for a couple of days, then gone again, then back, etc., until Aug. 7. You'll pardon my lack of blogging motivation. Or you would pardon it, if you'd ever been here in NZ. I promise that I'll at least *try* to care about the puzzle.
Well, this one took me far longer than it should have. Something about Due North just krushed me. Couldn't remember 5A: Starr of the Old West (Belle), thought LIL (7D: One of TV's Rugrats) was DIL, thought BOLL (5D: Cotton pod) was ARIL, then HULL ... ugh. Plus, the theme took me somewhat longer than usual to figure out. So between (among?) 5A, 5D, 7D, and 9D: Coterie (elcric), I was a mess. The rest of the puzzle - mostly fine, difficulty-wise. I am still on super- slo- mo- mode, though, so nothing I say can be trusted at this point. Need several more days to recalibrate. My set-up here at my brother-in-law's is not optimal, but it'll do. I'm currently having trouble printing from Across Lite, which is making mark-up of the puzzle (an important pre-write-up ritual) impossible. Looks like I'm going to have to do some tinkering, because I canNOT do this properly w/o a printed-out puzzle in front of me. For now ... I'm just going to improvise.
Oh, and NZ is beautiful. I had Manuka honey on toast today, and then vegemite on toast. Both excellent. Hour+-long hike with the families and dog to a lake. Trip to Puzzling World (about which much more later).
- 4D: Percussion instrument in an orchestra (elgnairt)
- 9D: Coterie (elcric)
- 13D: Headliner (rats)
- 57D: Racetrack (lavo)
- 49D: Unhip person (erauqs)
The only other non-theme-related trouble I had was in the name collision in the SE, where LORELAI (57A: One of TV's Gilmore Girls) meets DINAH (52D: Alice's pet cat in "Alice in Wonderland"). Didn't know either, and LORELAI in particular took a while to come together.
- 24A: U.N. Secretary General from Ghana (Annan) - Very familiar name I can never remember how to spell. ANAN? ANNAN? KHOFI? KOFFI? KOFI?
- 33A: Colorful lawn or garden feature (whirligig) - great word, and one which I've never seen in the puzzle (to my knowledge). Much better in my puzzle than in my garden (they seem kinda tacky).
- 37A: Soundtrack annoyance (lag) - good clue; LAG often happens on embedded youtube videos
- 44A: Something you might want to get to the heart of? (artichoke) - mmmm. I got spoiled living in California, where these were fresh and plentiful. Delicious. Sidenote on fruit: NZ has the best apples. The Best. I had a Braeburn this morning and I handed it to my wife and said "This. This is what apples are supposed to taste like! This is the apple I look for every time I go shopping! ... This!"
- 50A: Sale day feeling (mania) - I seriously doubt that anyone actually has this feeling. It's what retailers SAY you have, or SAY they have, but ... come on.
- 67A: Doha's domain (Qatar) - the Doha / QATAR clue / answer pair can run in either direction. Doha and QATAR are the emirs of Crossworddom's Middle Eastern region.
- 11D: "The Worst _____ in London" ("Sweeney Todd" song) ("Pies") - misread this at first and thought it was the clue for 21D: Small hill (knoll), so I had "KNIFE"
- 28D: Tourist city between Jaipur and Lucknow (Agra) - AGRA's wearing fancy clothes today. Sadly, AGRA by any other name smells the same.
- 48D: Ha-ha, nowadays (LOL) - I prefer HA ha, actually. It's just one more key stroke, and it reminds me of my all-time favorite laugh.
- 55D: "The Country Girl" playwright, 1950 (Odets) - went through a major Grace Kelly phase in the 90s. Kelly won her Academy Award for her performance in the movie version of this play.
- 60D: Avant-garde filmmaker Brakhage (Stan) - What the what the what the? Of all the STANs. STAN Laurel. STAN Lee. UzbekiSTAN.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld