WEDNESDAY, Sep. 17, 2008 - Edward Safran (Like paper vis-à-vis electronic / Hokkaido seaport / Holocaust hero Wallenberg)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "The Man Who _____" - six theme answers complete movie titles that begin "The Man Who..."
Thought this puzzle was a blast, despite the fact that my reasonably well pop-cultured brain could come up with only two of the titles right off the bat ("WOULD BE KING," "FELL TO EARTH"). This is a fresh and entertaining theme idea, and the intersecting theme answers in the NE and SW make it especially impressive. The northern part of the puzzle was the only part I struggled with, and if my first hack at this puzzle had been this version (as opposed to the version I test-solved), I think that part of the puzzle might have taken me even longer - DEAD TREE was a noun in the test-solved version (8D: Nesting site for bees), and I objected, having no idea what my objection (and that of others, I believe) would lead to; here the answer has been turned into an adjective (8D: Like paper vis-à-vis electronic) I've never heard used before. It's easy to infer its meaning - but ... is there another kind of "DEAD-TREE" product besides paper? I mean, I know other stuff is made from trees, but do tables and houses get referred to as "DEAD-TREE" products. The few examples I can find on-line all refer to documents. "DEAD-TREE" doesn't save you on syllables ... Further, it has this ominous sound to it, like "KILLING PUPPIES" or "YOU'RE A HORRIBLE BASTARD." Not all killing of trees is bad. But who am I to stand in the way of the language development? That would be like trying to stop the (LEE) TIDE (26A: It flows with the wind). Furthermore, Sierras.
- 21A: Sean Connery: "The Man Who _____" (1975) ("... Would Be King")
- 51A: David Bowie: "The Man Who _____" (1976) ("... Fell to Earth")
- 3D: Boris Karloff: "The Man Who _____" (1936) ("... Lived Again")
- 28D: Lloyd Nolan: "The Man Who _____" (1942) ("... Wouldn't Die") - possibly the most obscure of the bunch, but I love how well it goes with the Karloff title
- 30D: Billy Bob Thornton: "The Man Who _____" ("... Wasn't There")
- 9D: Burt Reynolds: "The Man Who _____" (1983) ("... Loved Women") - the genius of this answer is that it reunites with LONI (53D: Anderson of "Stroker Ace"). [I wanted to say that the puzzle "REUNES" (42A: Attends homecoming, say) Burt and LONI, but I just couldn't do it ... god I hate that word. DECOCTS!]
- 9D: Neither-here-nor-there state (limbo) - well, since the puzzle keeps insisting that I quote Dante... Virgil, describing the first ring of hell (LIMBO):
"Those who preceded Christianity
did not worship God according to his law,
and I myself am of this company.
For this defect, and for no other flaw,
we are lost, with this one punishment laid on,
that without hope we feel desire gnaw." (IV.37-42) (tr. Palma)
Yeah, it's a pretty ruthless poem.
- 33A: Rubber hamburger, e.g. (dog toy) - good clue. Despite having DOG TOYs all over my house, I needed several passes to get this one.
- 4D: Gridder Manning (Eli) - "Gridder" - love the "Seen Only in Xword Clues" vocab
- 54D: Cheat, slangily (hose) - "Slangily" [kisses tips of fingers]
- 37A: Hokkaido seaport (Otaru) - never heard of it. Sounds like a gaming system or an ear disease or a crew member of the Starship Enterprise.
- 39A: Climber of Mount Sinai (Moses) - easy; I just like the cluing of MOSES as a hiker, an outdoorsman.
- 60A: Maui veranda (lanai) - "veranda" and LANAI are among my most favorite words. I think the Golden Girls had a LANAI.
- 64A: Ernie on the links (Els) - Yay. No elevated trains today.
- 7D: Sicilia e Sardegna (isole) - One of the main reasons the north was so tough for me - crazy Italian plural.
- 36D: Vuitton of fashion (Louis) - gimme, unlike his equally consecutively voweled counterpart RAOUL (47D: Holocaust hero Wallenberg), whom I'd never heard of.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld