Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Numbers (HINT = 65A: "The first word of the answer to each of the six starred clues describes the number of that clue," e.g.)
Trying to write this during puppy nap, which is already half over. This puzzle seemed ingenious, but maybe the Math folk (NDE?) can tell me if I'm right or not. I don't know what a "perfect" number is (though apparently "6" is one of them), and I'm not sure why "33" is any more "real" than other numbers (perhaps because it's on every bottle of Rolling Rock beer ...?), but no matter. This is a smart theme, and there were very few groaners required to achieve it. Huzzah.
- 4D: *Balance in personality (EVEN tenor)
- 6D: *Pitcher's dream (PERFECT game)
- 11D: *They don't belong (ODD men out)
- 25D: *Basic Scout ties (SQUARE knots)
- 33D: *It's no fake (REAL McCoy)
- 37D: *It follows the evening news (PRIME time)
On the non-theme front, SYSTOLE (24A: Part of a heartbeat) and POMACE (9D: Crushed pulp) gave me some trouble. I know the word "systolic," but couldn't think of the nominative form, and I wanted to spell POMACE something like PUMICE, which is also a word. Happier experiences included:
- 10A: Mexican muralist Orozco (Jose) - the only "Orozco" I know is former Mets pitcher Jesse, but I'm happy to learn this one (if only because he didn't violate the NATICK Principle - see sidebar under "Important Posts")
- 15A: Major-league team member through 2004 (Expo) - I like how EXPO has gone the way of ALERO, SST, and SSR (among others), in that it continues on in the puzzle despite only fairly recently achieving "bygone" status.
- 16A: Month before Nisan (Adar) - hey, I finally got this without blinking, after years of encountering it and thinking "oh ... starts with 'A' ..."
- 19A: Year Cortes conquered Cuba (MDXI) - thankfully, a Roman numeral year without a pope clue. More of these!
- 20A: "Rhoda" and "Frasier" (spin-offs) - very nice. "Why won't SITCOMS fit!?"
- 25A: Suffix with moon (scape) - took me way Way too long to get
- 27A: Mathematician's "ta-da!" (Q.E.D.) - I just like the "mathematician-as-magician" angle here.
- 40A: Supermodel Carangi (Gia) - like ADAR, she finally went down without a fight.
- 47A: Former Notebook maker (IBM) - I live nextdoor to the original home of IBM. Not that that helped me here.
- 53A: Stimulus response (kinesis) - nice sciencey symmetrical pairing with SYSTOLE
- 1D: Jawbone of _____ (biblical weapon) - this seems wildly desperate, and yet I love it.
- 12D: Old German duchy name (Saxe) - Didn't anything happen in MDLI that could have made this SALE (or MDVI / SAVE)?
- 13D: Land o' blarney (Erin) - the puzzle loves the Irish; the "E"-words alone would fill a small satchel or whatever it is Leprechauns carry their gold in.
- 58D: Gay Talese's "_____ the Sons" ("Unto") - this guy is the oft-omitted name when people speak of "New Journalism"; Hunter Thompson and Tom Wolfe tend to get more credit.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of waiting on a damned mouthy puppy hand and foot