TUESDAY, Sep. 23, 2008 - Richard Chisholm (Query to a brown cow / Two-time Oscar winner Luise / Bygone school dance)
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: IN HOT WATER (61A: Where 17-, 29-, 36- and 44-Across often wind up)
Tight, cute theme. If only there were fewer black squares ... :) I rated this puzzle "Medium," but now can't quite remember what the rationale was. Seems very easy, though I think I had to wrestle with RAINER (18D: Two-time Oscar winner Luise), of whom I'd never heard. Also probably dropped in ERIN where EIRE belonged (39D: Home of County Clare). Oh, and then I blinked at "AS I DO" (56A: "Like me"), both because I just couldn't think of a phrase that fit, and then because when I got the phrase, I didn't trust it: there's another answer with the phrase "I DO" in it just one black square away. Seemed odd. Other than that, I think, piece of cake.
- 17A: One risking arrest (law breaker)
- 29A: Some seers read them (tea leaves) - I put TEA LEAVES IN HOT WATER less than half an hour ago...
- 36A: Sink items (dirty dishes) - my sink is currently full of them
- 44A: Trattoria offering (spaghetti)
- 22A: One of eight Eng. kings (Edw.) - well I don't like that abbrev., but since it's hot on the heels of another Eng. king (the "J" in K. J. V.), I'll call it a mini-theme and be done with it - 23A: The "V" in K. J. V. (Version).
- 64A: Santa _____ Derby (annual horse race) (Anita) - would have preferred a clue relating to any of these three ANITAs:
- 1D: Drool, basically (saliva) - gross.
- 8D: Glasgow denials (naes) - Och!
- 12D: Actress Caldwell (Zoe) - who is this? I feel like I ask this question every time this particular ZOE comes up. . . she's a stage actress who is not at all familiar to me. Wikipedia says her mother was a "taxi dancer," which is a phrase I want to see in a puzzle, like, tomorrow.
- 30D: Conclude by (end at) - seems off. Clue implies approximation, where answer implies precision.
- 67A: Note on a Chinese menu (No MSG) - nice consonant cluster
- 38D: Query to a brown cow ("How now?") - great answer. What is the origin of this phrase? Whoa, it's a nonsense phrase used to demonstrate rounded vowel sounds. And here I thought there was some olde timey cultural reference I was missing.
- 46D: Bygone school dance (hop) - as in ...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld