MONDAY, Oct. 13, 2008 - Anthony J. Salvia (Sherlock Holmes adventure, in brief / Beta preceder / Faux Chinese dish / Hurler Hideo)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "MAIN" homonyms - four theme answers end with MAIN, MANE, MEIN, and MAINE, respectively
A "Medium" puzzle that was maybe even slightly more challenging than the ordinary Monday puzzle, primarily because "THE LION'S MANE" means nothing to me. I've read some Sherlock Holmes "adventures," but not this one, I guess. And how is "THE LION'S MANE" "brief" (29A: Sherlock Holmes adventure, in brief)? Oh, I see, you just removed "The Adventure of ..." from the beginning of the title. That feels Highly illegal and shifty to me. I also thought that there was a "The" at the beginning of "USA Today" (16A: _____ Today). As anyone who watches "The Colbert Report" knows, he regularly reads the "The USA Today." The double-"THE" thing is a joke. BUT ... when I look at the paper or the website, it just reads "USA Today," so ... now I don't know what he's going on about. I never read that paper anyway (unless I'm on vacation and the hotel foist it upon me), so maybe it doesn't matter.
- 17A: Caribbean area where pirates plundered (Spanish Main) - again, I would say this is a little tougher than average for a Monday theme answer
- 29A: Sherlock Holmes adventure, in brief ("The Lion's Mane")
- 45A: Faux Chinese dish (beef chow mein)
- 59A: City on the Penobscot River (Bangor, Maine) - wasn't Margaret Houlihan's fiancé on "M*A*S*H" named Donald Penobscot? Yes! Now where the hell is that instant recall of arcana when I need it?!
In an act of shameful pandering to right-wing nutjobs (I'm kidding here, but feel free to get angry if you must), the puzzle has decided to put JOHN McCain into the puzzle (39D: Sen. McCain). What's next, an anagram of PALIN's name in the shape of a cross!? (In fact, that is what is next - see the NW corner of the puzzle.) The puzzle even threw in the JELLO (39A: Translucent dessert) that was McCain's metaphor for the Obama tax plan ("like nailing JELLO to the wall"). Speaking of crossword puzzles about the Republican ticket ... I demand that you all do my VP debate-themed puzzle and then mail it to five people, and then they tell their friends, and so on, and so on, and so on, like in the Vidal Sassoon ad. Aargh, I can't find the ad I'm referring to at YouTube, but I did find this - sorry Roy:
[Update - thanks to "Anonymous" for finding the ad I was looking for - Fabergé, not Sassoon]
- 6A: Alternative to buttons on a jacket (snaps) - why "on a jacket"? They could be an alternative on pants and shirts and other things too.
- 11A: Proof finale (Q.E.D.) - have you seen the movie "Proof" (1991)? It has a good finale. And beginning and middle, too. Russell Crowe has never been more watchable. The following vid has a cheesy song unrelated to the movie - couldn't find embeddable clips - but it's got enough memorable shots in it to make me remember why I Loved this movie.
- 14A: Stewpots (ollas) - here is a New Yorker cartoon someone sent me recently. It's cute, but not funny (like most New Yorker cartoons):
- 24A: Harrison Ford's "Star Wars" role (Han Solo) - Not sure why I'm so excited by this answer. I do tend to like any answer from my childhood.
- 7D: Hurler Hideo (Nomo) - "Hurler" is about the least appetizing baseball word there is. NOMO used to be on the Red Sox. And the Dodgers.
- 41A: Turner who sang "We Don't Need Another Hero" (Tina) - "Two men enter, one man leaves!"
And the actual music video for the song in question:
- 49A: Jupiter's Io and Callisto (moons) - all names from classical mythology. All of them in Ovid's "Metamorphoses," I believe. I'm about to re-embark upon a reading of that poem. It's ... vital.
- 57A: _____ lane (commuters' aid) (HOV) - I had not heard of this until the 21st century. Seems a very very urban thing. Or maybe just a thing of places I've never lived. But I lived in Southern California...
- 69A: Hero's acclaim (glory) - aren't "acclaim" and "GLORY" synonyms? Synonymish?
- 1D: Painter of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (Bosch) - second word in the grid (after BASIC, 1A). Here's the painting:
And the XTC song (from an album I wore out in college):
- 2D: Beta preceder (alpha) - I just like the word "preceder."
- 11D: Kind of equation graphed as a parabola (quadratic) - fancy!
- 26D: Physicist Georg (Ohm) - good thing I knew about his law, because I could not remember that "Georg" was his first name.
- 30D: Postnuptial relative (in-law) - something about the phrasing here is odd-sounding. I think I just don't like the word "postnuptial" - sounds ... graphic.
- 48D: Kuwaiti pooh-bah (emir) - the NYT puzzle is the last place on earth where you can see the word "pooh-bah" at work. Not infrequently.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld