"COME FLY WITH ME" - SUNDAY, Aug. 24, 2008 - Kevin Der (Old actresses Claire and Balin / Blackthorn pickings / Galilee's locale)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Come Fly With Me" - 30A, 48A, 67A, 97A, 138A explain what to do with the puzzle once you've finished:
- CUT ALONG THE DOTTED LINE
- FOLD THROUGH EACH
- PAIR OF NUMBERS
- IN THE GRID SEQUENTIALLY
- GO THROW THE PAPER AIRPLANE
AC/DC! (Another Clever Der Creation) - again, Kevin has gone the "High Level of Difficulty" route with his puzzle, but this time, the puzzle itself is actually enjoyable. In general, I Do Not Like puzzles with post-solution instructions. When I'm done, I'm done. Don't make me draw, cut, fold, etc. The post-solution phase had nothing to do with the content of the grid - I mean content on a substantive level, at the level of the answers. Nothing particularly plane-y about the puzzle. But that said, man, I don't know how he got the grid to work, got all the right numbers in the right places ... it's truly amazing. He should get some kind of award for 5 AGAINST 4 alone (127A: Common hockey power play) - that's the real stunner. Now, the SW corner could have used some, (d)er, help. POOR IDEA indeed (145A: Something you later might think better of). And SPREADER (148A: Machine used to maneuver manure)? It's like the corner is commenting on itself. Still, as a feat of construction, it's something.
- 5A: U.K. counterespionage agcy. (MI-5)
- 7D: Costing a nickel (5-cent) - see, here's the trouble; there are a few of these number answers that feel way too straightforward / obvious, bordering on cheap (i.e. "5-CENT?")
- 8A: Belonging to (as 1 of) - ack
- 10D: Cyclops' feature (1 eye) - true enough
- 13A: July holiday, with "the" (4th) - this is where the theme started to come into view
- 13D: Structure of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" (4 acts)
- 78A: Need for the winner of a Wimbledon men's match (3 sets)
- 66D: File on an iPod (MP3) - nice
- 73D: 1940s conflict: Abbr. (WW2)
- 83A: It follows the initial part of a procedure (step 2) - uh, er, ok
- 109A: Staples of early education (3 R's) - I had RRR, HA ha.
- 109D: N.Y.C. time when it's midnight in L.A. (3 a.m.) - uh ... hmm ... it's true, and yet ... why not a Hillary Clinton "3AM phone call" reference!? Something!
- 113A: How one must win in Ping-Pong (by 2) - again, factual enough ...
- 114D: Like a team that's ahead by a safety (2 up) - OK, no, I don't like intersecting clues that essentially mean the same thing. Ahead BY 2, 2 UP (though I have to say I can't see any good alternative clues)
- 127A: Common hockey power play (5 against 4)
- 127D: Highest-rated, as a hotel (5-star)
- 128D: Like the majority of Interstate highways (4-lane) - I don't think I knew this.
- 34A: Galilee's locale (Israel) - sorry if this sounds blasphemous, but I can't see "Galilee" without thinking of Puff the Magic Dragon
- 43A: Something to go in ... or on (auto) - hmmm, don't you usually go on AUTO-pilot?
- 60A: Victim of Hercules' second labor (Hydra) - I have a very minor obsession with Hercules. I think his is about the most fascinating life story in all Greek/Roman mythology.
- 64A: Little squirt, maybe (oil) - see also 81A: Young 'un (tad); they are related in that I thought both answers would/should be TOT.
- 66A: "_____ et manus" (M.I.T.'s motto) ("mens") - Kevin likes to sneak the M.I.T. stuff into his puzzles. See his "golden beaver" puzzle of a while back ... oh, sorry, I mean BRASS RAT.
- 106A: Blackthorn pickings (sloes) - a very xwordy fruit; coincidentally, I did an old NY Sun puzzle just yesterday that had GIN FIZZ as an answer.
- 123A: Rock candy, essentially (sucrose) - well, it was some kind of -OSE, so why not SUCR-?
- 4D: QB Favre and others (Bretts) - I can't stand this guy anymore. I know I'm in the distinct minority when I say: Good for Green Bay for getting rid of him. You know who likes a retirement tease? No One. All the theater, and drama ... pitiful. I hope the Jets (an otherwise likeable team) get Pounded this year.
- 49D: Safari sight (okapi) - my favorite crossword animal, by far (non-avian category)
- 19D: Subgenre of punk rock (emo) - really the worst-named subgenre in history. Who would want to claim it?
- 26D: 1990s P.M. (Rao) - I enjoy the PEI / POE / PAO / RAO thing this puzzle has going on. Nice. You have to say PEI like the architect, though, not like the province, P.E.I. (142D: Eastern Canadian prov.).
- 31D: Commerce treaty starting 1947 (Gatt) - first of all, where's the "in" before "1947?" Second, I have only vaguely heard of this. NAFTA is more My Generation. I prefer the single-T GAT, preferably somewhere near GAM and/or MOLL.
- 36D: "Stupidest thing I ever heard!" ("Puh-lease!") - what I love is that I got this almost instantly, correct spelling and all. Fabulous answer.
- 41D: Assume the fetal position (curl up) - very nice clue/answer combo
- 80D: Punjabi believers (Sikhs) - I think I had HINDI here at first.
- 107D: "_____ Cried" (1962 hit) ("She") - had "SO I," Ha ha. Very EMO.
- 117D: Trick-taking game (euchre) - I don't play any of said games, but I had the EU- and so this was easy.
- 84D: Internet forum rabble-rouser (troll) - I'm familiar...
- 125D: Comic Charles Nelson (Reilly) - LOVE(d) him. "Match Game" is my favorite game show of all time (though I'm aware he had a musical theater career before that).
- 90D: Greeting to Gaius ("Ave!") - pronounced "Ah'-way"; I liked to use this greeting, and its close kin "Salve!", back when I was learning Latin. Pretentious, yes, but more ridiculous than anything.
- 42D: Ottoman big shot (Aga) - more Turkish poobah fun. I wonder if a week goes by without a Turkish poobah of some sort. I'm going to start keeping track.
- 132D: Bide-_____ (a-wee) - OK, what on god's green earth is this? Sounds like something that helps you hold it when you can't find a toilet. Just Googled it. NO HELP. Is it an animal shelter. A golf course? A motel? Half the hits don't have hyphens, half do. This must be ... regional?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld