FRIDAY, Oct. 3, 2008 - Harvey Estes (Nero's buyer / Western costume accessory / City noted for its campanile)
Friday, October 3, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
Very short write-up today. Why I scheduled so much for Friday, I don't know.
What to say - stacks of 15s can often be bad news when it comes to the elegance of the fill in the Downs, but this puzzle felt just fine in that respect. Very few groans, lots of interesting fill. I had only a few missteps, including COCAINE for CODEINE (31A: Opium product) - which, yes, was a dumb mistake, but drugs + CO- prefix = COCAINE in my mind. It's a reflex.
As for the 15s. Something about the lack of an "A" before DISH FIT FOR A KING (1A: Unforgettable edible) is jarring to my ears. Phrase feels incomplete without it. You could go the whole Frankenstein's monster diction route and have DISH FIT FOR KING! I mean, you couldn't, but I could at least hear someone (namely Frankenstein's monster) saying it. INTERNAL REVENUE (16A: Concern of a certain federal commissioner) is a fine answer for the clue, though it misses its SERVICE. ATOMIC SUBMARINE (17A: Fission boat?) is fresh and lively. IN CONSIDERATION (58A: On account (of)) I like TO A LESSER EXTENT (62A: Not so much). Lastly, though STREET ADDRESSES is over half E's and S's, its clue is very nicely phrased (63A: They're usually even on one side).
Here's an interesting phenomenon in this puzzle:
- IN TIME (2D: One day)
- INNIES (47D: They're below some chests)
- IN CONSIDERATION
- INTERNAL REVENUE
- INT (20A: 1040 amt.)
- INITIALS (13D: You might exchange words with them)
- INCUR (6D: Rack up)
- 18D: Capital on the Rimac River (Lima) - I should remember this. Luckily, there aren't that many "capitals" that were likely to fit here (I may or may not have had RIGA for a while).
- 21A: Nero's buyer (emptor) - first reaction = "somebody bought Nero?" Then "buyer beware" phrase caveat EMPTOR came to mind.
- 23A: Vehicle for an annual round-the world trip (sleigh) - very cute. HO HO HO.
- 37A: Be in the red for black and tans? (run a tab) - another nice clue.
- 39A: Registration agcy. (SSS) - One "S" less than yesterday's "SSSS."
- 40A: His chariot was drawn by four fire-breathing horses (Ares) - why does ARES get written about in the past tense? He's a god, and thus immortal. Don't make him angry.
- 42A: Neighbor of Sunnyside in New York (Astoria) - I'll take your word for it. Between ASTORIA and the ALCOTTS (43D: 19th-century literary family in Massachusetts), this puzzle had a very Northeastern feel.
- 53A: Large copier (ape) - I think an APE would find this clue demeaning.
- 54A: Tropical fruit, in Toledo (piña) - pineapple in Sp.
- 8D: Drawing device (flue) - mmm, tricky
- 28D: Western costume accessory (riata) - a word I learned from xwords. All cowboys had lassos, as far as I knew, when I was a kid (or when anyone was a kid).
- 32D: N.F.L. cornerback Starks (Duane) - I forgot about him, if I ever knew him.
- 35D: Unlikely number at a rock concert (aria) - I know: ether! (number ... number ... it's a common crossword clue trick ... oh, never mind)
- 38D: Actress Andersson of "Persona" (Bibi) - not registering
- 48D: 2002 Al Pacino film ("Simone") - no thanks. This film will have a much longer name recognition life than it should because of crosswords.
- 51D: Longtime "Days of Our Lives" actress Jones (Renee) - no offense, but DUANE, BIBI, and RENEE are not exactly inspired extras in this crossword drama.
- 54D: City noted for its campanile (Pisa) - don't know what that is. If it's a food, I'm sure I'll find out in Comments.
- 59D: Kidder's word (not) - [Kidder's word circa 1991], maybe.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld