WEDNESDAY, Sep. 10, 2008 - Lucas Gaviotis Whitestone (Command Kirk never really gave / Actor songwriter Novello / Menaces to hobbits)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "INNER _____" - four theme answers contain circled squares that, when completed, spell out a word that can succeed "INNER" in a common phrase (64A: Private ... or a hint to the words spelled by the circled letters)
Far too easy for a Wednesday, and certainly easier than yesterday's puzzle. I can find only one or two answers that your average solver would be puzzled by, and the cluing is pretty straightforward all over. Plus, many people will get off to a quick start once they fill in the first few letters of 17A: 1966 Beatles #1 hit from crosses and then throw "PAPERBACK WRITER" across the grid very early on. The whole thing went by so fast, and is mostly so straightforward, that I don't have much to say about it. I think the theme-revealing clue is weirdly worded, with nothing about the fact that INNER precedes all the circled words. The clue is 64A: Private ... or a hint to the words spelled by the circled letters. Actually, INNER was no hint at all to those words. They were already completely filled in (or nearly so) when I read this clue for the first time. When I filled in INNER, my first thought was "... yeah, those words are all IN the theme answers ... wtf?" It is nice that the circled words are "INNER" both in their physical location and in their uses in common phrases, but this one clunked more than it purred. For me.
- 17A: 1966 Beatles #1 hit ("PapErbACk writEr") -> PEACE
- 25A: Louisville landmark (CHurchIlL Downs) -> CHILD
- 42A: Command Kirk never really gave ("BEAm me Up ScoTtY") -> BEAUTY
- 56A: Standard degrees for scientists? (CentIgRade sCaLE) -> CIRCLE
What's to talk about?:
- 14A: Greeted the day (arose) - I arose an hour later than normal today because it was my night to let the puppy out in the middle of the night, and it took me almost exactly an hour to get back to sleep. Puppy has no remorse. She's happily gnawing a bone three feet away from me at the moment.
- 21A: Object of Indiana Jones's first quest (Ark) - Had a whole big discussion with my daughter the other day about what "Raiders of the Lost Ark" meant. She had just read a comic about Jughead called "Riverdale Jones and the Temple of Food" ....
- 59A: Hawaiian Punch alternative (Hi-C) - also the sound a drunk might make after too much rum punch.
- 1D: "Come to _____" ("Papa") - that phrase creeps me out. I had "Come to PASS."
- 3D: Successor of St. Peter (pope) - not a particular POPE, just any TOM, DICK, AND HARRY POPE.
- 7D: Atticus Finch portrayer ... or something finches do (P/peck) - cute.
- 8D: Tattoo, slangily (ink) - I used to watch "Miami Ink," which I claim is less embarrassing than watching "CSI: Miami" or "Miami Vice," but only slightly so. My AVATAR (in my mind) has a cool tattoo.
- 9D: It may be heard in a herd (cowbell) - this word makes me think of only one thing. COWBELL can also be heard in this song (@ about the 2:35 mark):
- 23D: Menaces to hobbits (orcs) - ENTS good, ORCS bad, EFTS ... salamander.
- 37D: Actor and songwriter Novello (Ivor) - early 20th century entertainer from Cardiff, Wales. Here's a more recent Cardiff export (currently near the top of my "What's Holding Back Despair Today?" list):
- 40D: Nation where Wolof and French are spoken (Senegal) - news to me, but easy to get with a few crosses.
- 41D: Obtuse's opposite (acute) - mmm, angles.
- 43D: Become squishy, like chocolate (melt) - "Squishy" is a fundamentally objectionable word. I love chocolate, I love melted chocolate, but I tend to flinch at anything "squishy."
- 45D: Secret Service eyewear (shades) - I guess this is true ... SHADES seems a bit slangy, somehow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld