"FADE-OUTS" - SUNDAY, Aug. 17, 2008 - Caleb Madison (OLD TV'S "_____ DERRINGER" / RAPPER WITH THE 1996 NINE-TIME PLATINUM ALBUM "ALL EYEZ ON ME")
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "Fade-Outs" - familiar movies have their titles' final letters knocked off to create wacky new phrase, which are clued as hypothetical movies
Simple concept, nice results. Top half involved a lot of fumbling around, but the middle and bottom were hot knife + butter, and I finished somewhere in the 12's, a very good Sunday time for me.
- 24A: Movie about a "Sopranos"-like actress from the Mediterranean? ("The Maltese Falco" - Edie Falco being one of the stars of "Sopranos")
- 30A: Movie adaptation of "L.A. Law"? ("California Suit")
- 39A: Movie about a time-share? ("Three Days of the Condo")
- 59A: Movie about the coming of difficult times? ("A Hard Day's Nigh")
- 71A: Movie about one of Dumbo's parents? ("The Elephant Ma")
- 88A: Movie about a narco's worst dream? ("Night of the Living D.E.A.") - I thought a "narco" WAS the D.E.A. - is it a user? add an "o" to NARC to get NARC's opposite!?
- 102A: Movie about a bus. on Rodeo Drive? ("Beverly Hills Co.")
- 113A: Movie about the zoo's most punctual simian? ("A Clockwork Orang") - good one
Some complaints: Plurals like EDNAS (40D: Writer Buchanan and others) are inevitable, but the already-pushing-it IZODS (83A: Polo alternatives) followed immediately by the much worse AA'S (85A: Recovery grps.) was a little more than I wanted to take today. And what is up with 1A: Edges at the track (tips) - I would have stuck with NIPS without ever thinking about it had I not been rapper-savvy enough to know that NUPAC is not a rapper (though he damn well should be). TUPAC has been in the puzzle before with almost an identical clue (1D: Rapper with the 1996 nine-time platinum album "All Eyez on Me"). I don't think the "nine-time platinum" part was in the clue last time - I like to imagine that Will got lots of angry mail from rap-hating, pop-culture-hating, 21st-century-resenting solvers about the last TUPAC appearance, and so he put in the "nine-time platinum" bit as an emphatic "he's legitimate, you @#$#ing @#$@#$#s" gesture. But I like to imagine a lot of things.
- 49D: "Dumb, dumb, dumb!" (D'oh!) - I love the answer (It's Homer Simpson, what's not to love?), but not the clue, mainly because I couldn't figure out who was speaking to whom, and it never dawned on me that the voice was speaking to itself. I had DUH.
- 11A: Mother and wife of Uranus: Var. (Gaia) - huh. I thought GAEA was the variant. Interesting.
- 15A: Suffix with electron (-ics) - something about the "s" seems weird, but this is true enough.
- 19A: Sugar in tea, e.g. (solute) - half the reason the top part of the puzzle was slow for me. Had the S and TE and couldn't get it. COHAN (6D: George who was nicknamed "the man who owned Broadway") and ELENI (7D: 1985 Peter Yates-directed movie) didn't help.
- 78A: Meat Loaf's "Rocky Horror Picture Show" role (Eddie) - nooooooo idea. Don't think I've ever seen the movie beginning to end. It was first a phenomenon when I was way too young to go see it. Meat Loaf is good in "Fight Club."
- 71D: Nickname on "The Addams Family" (Tish) - couldn't get past ITT, which isn't even a nickname.
- 79D: Potty (daft) - it's 3 a.m. and I am writing this after waking up to let the puppy out for her nighttime potty. Silly word, yes, but when I repeat it in a soft, encouraging, high-pitched voice to her, man, it works. It's some kind of power when you can make another living being go on command. As for DAFT ... if you say so.
- 105D: Old TV's "_____ Derringer" ("Yancy") - Pop culture, yay. "Old," uh oh. AH ME (38D: Words of woe).
- 117D: Vessel for Thor Heyerdahl (Ra I) - a parsing mystery if you don't know the vessel in question - learned it from xwords.
- 20A: Pointer on a poster (Uncle Sam) - this was easy for some reason. First thought: arrow. Second thought: pointer is a dog. Third thought: UNCLE SAM.
- 26A: Many a Turk (Anatolian) - a word that percolated out of a smattering of crosses.
- 34A: The original Jefferson Airplane, e.g. (sextet) - dear baby boomers, here is your clue for the day.
- 50A: 2000 title role for Richard Gere (Dr. T) - I always want "MR. T." But who doesn't?
- 52D: Popular movie house name (Odeon) - define "popular"; I like this word and its plural, ODEA.
- 53A: Middle of many German names (von) - helped me change DUH to D'OH
- 67A: Former Voice of America org. (USIA) - the one answer in this puzzle (besides YANCY) that I truly didn't know. United States Information Agency.
- 81A: Highest score achievable by a single dart in darts (sixty) - weirdly, I knew this. It's a good clue for SIXTY. There are two moments in my life, game-wise, where I honest-to-god felt like the Force was with me. One was when I lost the first set of a match in a tennis tournament, 6-7, and I started telling myself, over an over in my head, "play like you know you can." It was magical. I couldn't be stopped. Won 8 straight games ... then promptly lost 6 straight to lose the match in three sets. Still, for those 8 games, I was in a mantra-induced zone, and it was awesome. The second such moment: playing darts in a bar in Ann Arbor with a fellow grad student who, I believe, was named Thuen or Tuen. Anyway, I'm sure we were not playing standard rules, but I know that I was so far down (maybe 90) that my last two darts were going to have to be bull's eyes or SIXTYs. And again, I just told myself, "the dart is going in the center" - I visualized it - bam. Bull's eye. Second shot, same mantra ... bam, bull's eye. I hadn't hit a bull's eye or anything with any accuracy all night, AND I was surely half drunk. Again, magical.
- 82A: Der Blaue Reiter artist (Arp) - whoa, really? He's Blue Rider? Marc I knew, and Kandinsky, but ARP. He's DADA to me.
- 87A: Advertiser's "magic word" (free) - well I had MRI where MRE (75D: Soldier's food, for short) was supposed to go, so I had awful trouble here: ERIE? BRIE?
- 112A: Canonized Norwegian king (Saint Olaf) - also a Minnesota college
- 118A: _____-jazz (music style) (avant) - worst naming job ever
- 11D: "Saturday Night Live" has a new one every week (guest star) - Well I had GUEST HOST. They often have multiple "GUEST STARs" (you know, people who make cameos and what not)
- 12D: Handle, in archaeology (ansa) - oh, man, that hurts. That's some high-end crossword fill right there. For future reference, ANSE is a character in Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying."
- 115D: The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. (KSU) - Kansas State. They have been in the puzzle before. I keep forgetting them, despite the fact that I can visualize their football helmet.
- 69D: "Casablanca" extra (Nazi) - one of the more agreeable ways to clue it, I guess.
- 111D: "Star Wars" critter (Ewok) - the critter you Really need to look out for: NAZI EWOK.
- 84D: Lost Persian, e.g. (stray cat) - ... [only my wife knows why I'm including this clue today]
- 100D: Author who wrote "Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?" (Milne) - did Pooh say this? Robin? I got this off the "M" and I don't know why.
- 67D: "Oil!" author Sinclair (Upton) - not Lewis! Gotta love a book title with an exclamation mark in it.
- 93D: Expression for the Joker (grin) - Still haven't seen "Dark Knight"; for Joker-related material, please read F. Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" and/or Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's "The Killing Joke."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld