Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "GREEN EGGS AND HAM" (57A: Dr. Seuss book ... or a description of the answers to the three starred clues) - starred clues are descriptions of "green," "eggs," and "ham," respectively
Yesterday I was wondering where my Tuesday puzzle had gone. Well, I found it. It was hiding in Wednesday's slot. Did this puzzle in well under yesterday's time (closer to Monday's), and with zero hesitation, except for a very brief moment where I thought the attorney general in question might be BURR and perhaps there was a variant version of the well-known Hawaiian dance called the HULU (there is a website called "Hulu.com," which is great - lots of high-quality recent tv clips and other videos). But I played it conservatively and went with BARR (35D: Attorney general after Thornburgh) and HULA (39A: Dance with a wiggle), which ended up being correct. Today's theme is wonderful - tight, concise, clear, clever. Not much to say but "good job."
- 17A: *1986 Newman/Cruise film ("The Color of Money") - in the U.S., yes, this is (a kind of) GREEN
- 26A: *Ritzy delicacy (beluga caviar) - this concept is always confusing to me, as BELUGA is a whale, and whales don't lay eggs... but BELUGA CAVIAR comes from the BELUGA sturgeon found primarily in the Caspian Sea.
- 44A: *Showboating type (grandstander) - HAM ... this definition of HAM seems just a teensy bit off. A bad actor would have been nice here, but perhaps that would have been too insulting. The last thing the NYT wants is an angry letter from Rob Schneider (he fits!).
Not a lot more to say about this puzzle on a general level. My sister and family arrive tomorrow and stay through Saturday, so puzzle commentary will likely get briefer for a few days. Also, I leave for a three-week trip to NZ on the 14th. I have people (I do) covering for me on travel days, but I should be coming to you live from Dunedin (or thereabouts) beginning on the 18th or so. Assuming we don't buy the wrong adapter and explode the laptop. I will take those weeks in NZ to lobby for new crossword words - NZ is horribly under-utilized. Various flora, fauna, and related Maori words could really liven up our language. KEA and TUI alone could do big business in our grids, I think. So ... "RPDTNYTCP" goes international in two weeks. Look for it.
List just in...
- 1A: "The aristocrat of pears" (bosc) - whose (absurd) quote is that? Pear in four letters = BOSC. One of the few SC-ending words that isn't DISC or an abbreviation.
- 23A: Vintner's valley (Napa) - started to write in ASTI when I thought 4D: Milk sources (coconuts) had something to do with COCOA...
- 31A: Woodworking tool (router) - ADZ? Is it ADZ? ADZ won't fit. But ... ADZ!
- 33A: Marvelous, in slang (fab) - also, a detergent.
- 36A and 46D: Symbols of industry (ants)(logos) - check it out - an ant logo:
- 51A: Alternative to Gmail (AOL) - AOL is a minor crossword god, and can apparently be clued a bijillion ways.
- 62A: "Never follow" sloganeer, once (Audi) - ooh, a bygone slogan. Those are always good.
- 63A: Gin flavorer (sloe) - it's gin season. Too bad I will be spending most of it in a NZ winter (yeah, it's winter Down There).
- 6D: Disposition pick-me-up (Prozac) - um ... this clue seems wrong, or at least mis-leading. Prozac is not cocaine or no-doz. It is not (as I understand it ...) fast-acting, so "pick-me-up" seems way way off.
- 7D: Label in a bibliophile's catalog (rare) - This bibliophile does not use this label. Not that I don't have some RARE books.
- 9D: Mag mogul beginning in the '50s (Hef) - easy. He has a good short nickname that you see in crosswords from time to time.
- 11D: Kendo motion (lunge) - is Kendo a martial art? Aha, "the way of the sword." Yes. I would show you video, but I just tried to watch a championship, and it was terminally boring (how is that possible!?), so I'll spare you.
- 19D: Language of Kuala Lumpur (Malay) - Kuala Lumpur used to have the tallest buildings in the world (Petronas Towers), but have since been overtaken by Shanghai and Taipei.
- 24D: Like early night election returns (partial) - wanted PRE-something for a few seconds.
- 26D: Grill option, for short (brat) - I don't think I saw this; it would have thrown me, despite the fact that I've been eating pseudo-brats on a regular basis this summer (Tofurky does much more than ridiculous fake turkey)
- 38D: Tolkien's The Prancing Pony, e.g. (inn) - I have no recollection of this. Luckily (for someone) the nerd factor on Tolkien fans is so incredibly high that there is a detailed description of this inn over at Wikipedia.
- 44D: Dolphins Hall-of-Fame QB Bob (Griese) - QB when I was a kid. I'm surprised his name doesn't appear more often. A potentially useful six-letter "G"-word.
- 51D: Gelatin substitute (agar) - one of the few ultra-crosswordy bits of fill today. Well, I guess there is SLOE. And EMIT. And A TON. And ALOE and OGLE and EONS and LUTE and IRATE and STYES and OSAGE. Hmm, I guess this puzzle gets a lot of credit for making me forget how much crosswordy fill it actually does have.