MONDAY, Oct. 6, 2008 - Patrick Blindauer (What gave the Hulk his powers / Yokohama drama / It led to a 1773 Boston "party")
Monday, October 6, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: The U.S. dollar bill - grid in rectangular shape of the dollar bill, with words signifying many of dollar's visual elements, and all those elements in their proper places (!), including ONEs in every corner (!!)
This puzzle is, as the kids say, sick. I have frequently found PB2* puzzles to be fussy and overly clever, despite their conceptual genius. This puzzle, however, sticks the landing so hard that I can't give it anything but unqualified praise. I loved it when I test-solved it two weeks ago, and I didn't even see the ONEs in the corners (they weren't circled for my convenience back then). I don't have much to say about the puzzle - all the things I might normally criticize (namely tired xword fill) are a. barely present, and b. entirely justifiable given the end result. Nobody wants to see SST and SSR in the same puzzle, but then again, hardly anyone's going to notice something so minor when confronted with this much awesome (AWESOME and SULU were jokes, yesterday, btw - I got So Much Mail...).
- 8A: Source of all the tender words in this puzzle? (dollar)
- 26A: 8-Across issuer (The United States of America)
- 35A: Motto of 26-Across found on the 8-Across ("In God We Trust")
- 53A: Symbol of 26-Across found on the 8-Across (Great Seal)
- 58A: Symbol of 26-Across found on the 8-Across (bald eagle)
- 17A: The "Z" of DMZ (Zone) - first response: "Hmmm, a rapper ..." But I was thinking of this guy (DMX) - NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK!!!:
- 63A: Fort Knox feature (steel door) - great answer. Reminds me of Tolkien's fondness for the sound of the phrase "cellar door" (a fondness later misattributed all over hell and gone).
- 2D: Yokohama drama (Noh) - the tires on the car next to mine the other day had "Yokohama" written on them in big letters. This caused me to think of the phrase "Yokohama Mama," which comes from I don't know where. And now this.
- 16D: "Coffee, Tea _____?" (1960s best seller) ("Or Me") - apparently, a book about an easy stewardess. There is a great panel in Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" where she and either her friend or siblings (I forget) are making fun of and aping this book. My sister, as a kid, had a dream once that she was on a plane and the stewardess (flight attendant, if that's more gender neutral for you) was coming down the aisle asking "Coffee? Tea? Big Dog?" - and there was a gigantic dog behind her. I remember this only because my sister would randomly say "Coffee? Tea? Big Dog?" and it was terminally hilarious in a way that only someone who was a. a kid, and b. there could possibly understand. And yet I'm telling you anyway.
- 19D: I.B.M. competitor (NEC) - Do they still make stuff? I haven't seen / thought of that abbrev. in a long time.
- 22D: "Bed-in" participant with Lennon (Ono) - this bill's even got American counter-culture. Cool.
- 34D: "Guys and Dolls" song ("Sue Me") - this song returns to slow me down once again. Second time in the past few weeks. I had -EME and thought "Would you sing a song about CREME?"
- 39D: Immune system lymphocyte (T-cell) - not an amusing word - I first learned it when learning about HIV/AIDS - but it's superhot as a piece of crossword fill. Hurray, initial consonant clusters!
- 60D: "Without further _____ ..." ("ado") - indeed. The End. Have at it.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
*PB2 = Patrick Blindauer. PB1 = the legendary Patrick Berry
PS Here's a press release about an upcoming crossword event that may be of interest to some of you:
Puzzling the World: Sudoku & Crosswords
Thursday, October 23, at 6:30 pm
Few puzzles have swept the world and created such passionate devotees as Sudoku and crosswords. While crosswords require specific linguistic capability, Sudoku players only need to understand basic numbers, a feature that makes Sudoku particularly transnational and global. Maki Kaji, godfather of Sudoku and President of Nikoli Company and Will Shortz, Crossword Puzzle Editor, The New York Times, discuss the similarities and differences of crossword puzzles and Sudoku as well as trends and themes driving the popularity of puzzles around the world today. Moderated by Liane Hansen, Host, Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR. Followed by a reception.
Tickets $10/$8 Japan Society members/$5 seniors & students