THURSDAY, Sep. 11, 2008 - Caleb Madison (Ancient Semitic fertility goddess / Request at a laundry / Headline-making illness of 2002-03)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "WALK OF FAME" (4D: Theme of this puzzle) - puzzle also features HOLLYWOOD / BOULEVARD, LOS ANGELES, circled squares you can connect alphabetically into the shape of a star, and a "STAR" rebus that creates an honest-to-god WALK OF FAME down the middle of the puzzle
This puzzle is stunning. A theme that runs three elements deep!? - theme answers, rebus, circled squares. All of it in perfect symmetry (OK, the big star is a little wonky, but it's as unwonky as it could possibly get, and the placement of the circles that form the corners maintains rotational symmetry). Because the theme answers and the circled squares are so immediately evident, that rebus really comes out of nowhere - a truly fantastic and unexpected surprise. This has to be one of the most impressive Thursday puzzles of the year.
- 4D: Theme of this puzzle (Walk of Fame)
- 32D: With 12-Down, locale of the 4-Down (Hollywood / Boulevard)
- 30D: City where 32- and 12-Down is found (Los Angeles)
- 15A: Request at a laundry ("No STAR ch")
- 7D: Ancient Semitic fertility goddess (A STAR te)
- 39A: Illumination of manuscripts, and others (lo STAR ts)
- 27D: Place for picnicking and dog-walking (re STAR ea) - this intersection is fabulous, with STAR breaking across two words in each answer
- 64A: Options during computer woes (re STAR ts)
- 57D: Yellow squirt? (mu STAR d)
- LIV (30A: Actress Tyler)
- ALDA (43A: Tony nominee for "Glengarry Glen Ross")
- LARA (14A: _____ Flynn Boyle of "Twin Peaks")
- ERICH (3D: Filmmaker Von Stroheim)
- VERA (55D: Lynn who sang "We'll Meet Again") - who?
- ETTA (65A: James of jazz)
- ANAIS (5A: First name in erotica)
- AYN (48A: Rand who created Dagny Taggart) - ANAIS and AYN both prominent names on my mother's bookshelves when I was growing up
- IRENE (34A: Adler who outwitted Sherlock Holmes)
- ESTEE (18A: Popular women's fragrance)
- ASTARTE you've met
- ETHAN Allen's from "American history," which has to be one of the lamest clues ever (52D: Allen in American history)
- "TOMA" (later recast and changed to "BARETTA")
- ELAINE MAY
- 25A: Relatives, slangily (fam) - a horrid abbreviation. If I heard it in conversation I would certainly ask whoever said it to repeat him/herself. "What was that ... something about a fan?"
- 1D: Ruiner of many a photo (glare) - "Ruiner" is ugly, but the general idea for the clue is a good one.
- 40A: Headline-making illness of 2002-03 (SARS) - 774 dead, which is a lot, but doesn't even come close to the number of people influenza takes every year.
- 11D: Like some six-packs (abdominal) - sweet, sweet misdirection.
- 44A: Interrogator's discovery (lie) - he/she wishes. I'll never break, copper!
- 61A: Extracted chemical (educt) - up there among the Ugliest Words in the Universe.
- 47D: "That mad game the world so loves to play," to Jonathan Swift (war) - [...]
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS if you stand back a little bit and look at the grid, it actually looks like a street intersection. Another amazing touch.