Domesticated ox in India - TUESDAY, Sep. 9, 2008 - Patrick John Duggan (Rap star who co-owns the New Jersey Nets / Hundred Acre Wood denizen)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "TOM, DICK, AND HARRY" (17A: Anybody ... and the missing clues for 30-, 48- and 63-Across)
This one felt clunky all over. Imaginative theme, but the phrase is "Every TOM, DICK, AND HARRY"; even thinking about it now, the phrase just feels odd. Seems more "everybody" than "Anybody." To have "Any" as part of the clue, and then have the answer have "AND" in it is weird. I think "Any" makes me want "OR," not "AND." This is all to say that the cluing felt inelegant from the get-go. Having two noun phrases and a verb phrase as the theme answers also felt just a bit off. Some part of my brain wants to shout "parallel construction!" There were other reasons why this puzzle felt like a slog (hence the difficulty rating). But there were also a few things I liked. But first things first.
- 30A: ??? (male turkey)
- 48A: ??? (private eye) - I start teaching "The Maltese Falcon" today, so this answer I like
- 63A: ??? (annoy constantly)
But then there's fabulous stuff like VA-VA-VOOM, a luscious, ecdysiastical phrase marred only by the spelling on its clue, 39D: "Sex-x-xy!" I want to pronounce this "Seksksksy!" Then there's the Sex-x-xy Pierce Brosnan in "Remington STEELE" (37A: 1980s TV's "Remington _____"), a great blast from the past, unlike Lisa LOEB, whose one hit "Stay" makes me think of the worst decade of my, and possibly America's, life: the 1990s (23A: Singer Lisa with the 1994 #1 hit "Stay"). I'm sure she's a nice, talented woman, but I would rather have had the LOEB Latin Library here. Virgil!
The part of this puzzle I love the most, and probably the only one that I will remember in another few hours, is the JAY-Z / ZEBU crossing, which is a work of art (41D: Rap star who co-owns the New Jersey Nets + 52A: Domesticated ox in India). Genius. Terminal Z crossing initial Z ... contemporary American hip-hop crossing traditional Indian livestock ... that's chocolate and peanut butter right there. Fantastic. Warning, if you don't like profanity in your lyrics, or hate rap for any reason, you don't want to watch the following (by far my favorite song that contains the words "bitch" and "ho").
- 1A: Filter's target (spam) - not my first thought. Or my second.
- 21A: On the _____ vive (qui) - I don't even know what this phrase means, I just realized: "on the alert" or "vigilant"
- 38A: Tequila source (agave) - Mmmm, tequila. Beautiful ... dangerous. Can make me happy or make me vomit. Thin line.
- 40A: N.B.A. nickname (Dr. J) - he was in this movie once ...
- 45A: Its HQ is in Brussels (NATO) - well, at least Belgium's good for something besides waffles ...
- 54A: Wally's little bro (Beav) - I find "Leave It To Beaver" kind of mesmerizing. I used to watch it a lot back when my life constituted school and not much else. My favorite episode involves BEAV and Larry getting high on coffee grounds they smoke from Ward's meerschaum pipe
- 1D: Jet-setters' jets, once (SSTs) - Crossword gold even before they were grounded (2003) - the last official flight was on my birthday of that year.
- 2D: Hundred Acre Wood denizen (Pooh) - easy. I just wanted to type "denizen."
- 4D: Old car that was famously available in black, black ... or black (Model T) - cool clue.
- 5D: Middle Ages pseudoscience (alchemy) - medievalist's gimme!
- 13D: Ocular woe (stye) - give me SSTS over STYE any day.
- 27D: Org. co-founded by W. E. B. Du Bois (NAACP) - seems like there's a lot of abbrev. today.
- 29D: ColecoVision rival (Atari) - ATARI's frequency seems to be increasing. I don't remember ColecoVision (except by name).
- 32D: Carolyn who wrote Nancy Drew mysteries (Keene) - goes nicely with PRIVATE EYE, though ... Nancy Drew doesn't take cash for her cases, or wear a fedora (that I know of).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld