MONDAY, Aug. 18, 2008 - Paula Gamache (TITLE GIRL IN A 1983 KOOL & THE GANG HIT / VOCALLY TWANGY / "THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS" AMPHIBIAN)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: DEAD HEAD (63A: Jerry Garcia fan ... or what each part of the answers to the starred clues can take) - both words in every two-word theme answer can be preceded by "DEAD" in a common phrase
Holy smoke, this is a great Monday puzzle. Never saw the theme til I was finished, but that's par for the course with Mondays. Took me a few seconds to understand the theme-revealing answer, but once I got it, I was impressed. Simple, elegant, gorgeous, just like the majority of this grid. LASER TAG (21D: Team game with infrared-sensitive targets) and LET ME SEE (24D: "I'll try to think of something ...") make for nice long Downs. MOUNDS (46D: Hershey's bar with coconut) is perhaps my favorite candy bar. I once bought an entire box of Limited Edition Dark Chocolate Almond Joys, right off the shelf of the check-out aisle at target. I was like "They did it - the perfect candy." My whole life, I had wondered, "How come I have to choose between dark chocolate and the almond? O, cruel world!" Sadly, those bars were indeed limited. Never seen 'em anywhere ever again.
- 16A: *1981 film starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner ("Body Heat") - hot movie. Super hot. KT is sexy, and the movie is Pure Noir.
- 25A: *Hoopster's complete miss (air ball)
- 32A: *Z, alphabetically (last letter)
- 43A: *Painted highway divider (center line)
- 49A: *Touchdown site (end zone)
- 19A: Peter Pan lost his (shadow) - I've ... never seen this / read this, so I did not know this, which means I'm very happy I never even saw this clue
- 54A: Here-there link (nor) - had AND
- 61A: Title girl in a 1983 Kool & the Gang hit (Joanna) - flat-out gimme. 1983 is a year that my brain pretty much owns, pop music-wise. Rode bus for 90 min. a day and driver played a top 40 station the whole time.
- 2D: From a different perspective, in chat room lingo (OTOH) - wow. I'm surprised this made it in. It's pretty ... moderne. I've never seen it used, but it's easy to infer. Please remember to use IMOO whenever possible (it's an honest variation on IMHO - "in my humble opinion" - that I invented)
- 36D: Bearded flower (iris) - weirdly, I had IRIS at 55A: Eye part (uvea) before I ever saw this clue. What are we calling that phenomenon, Andrea?
- 22A: Fed. auditing agency (GAO) - General Accounting Office - I think I learned this from crosswords; that, or my subscriptions to Harper's and The Atlantic are beginning to pay off.
- 41D: "The Wind in the Willows" amphibian (Mr. Toad) - how did I miss this completely? I am only just noticing it now. Always happy to see MR. TOAD (I've enjoyed his Wild Ride, both in the puzzle and in reality)
- 56A: Funnyman Sandler (Adam) - I think he is genuinely funny - but his movies lately are not. "The Wedding Singer" was the last great thing he did (that I can recall). Wait, I liked that movie where he was weird ... "Punch-Drunk Love." Anyway ... that is all.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld