THURSDAY, Oct. 30, 2008 - Chuck Hamilton (Point Lighthouse, Massachusetts landmark since 1838 / Longtime NBC Olympics host)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy (again)
THEME: DIRECTOR'S SHOUT (56A: What the ends of 20-, 35- and 42-Across are, collectively) - last words in the theme answers are, in order, LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Once again, the difficulty level feels a bit off. I have "feels like Wednesday" scrawled at the top of my puzzle, and I also have "Easy-Medium" written there, but then the medium is scratched out because ... well, I think I was just getting tired of hearing myself say "Easy," so I added the "Medium" for variety, but then checked myself and went back to my honest reaction. I tried to go back and see where some difficulty might lie, and noticed that there aren't a lot of out-and-out gimmes, but neither are there many "!?!?!" answers. It's all very common fill. I mean, EOSIN (which we saw on Tuesday) is rougher than just about anything here. True, there are three "WTF" -type answers (at least there were for me), but all of those were just common enough names clued via people/places outside my purview (or purlieu, which is a word I feel I should start using). In some ways, the theme itself, while clever enough, is very Monday/Tuesday - straightforward, four-part, no gimmicks or tricks or unexpected zigs or zags. A fine few minutes, but I wasn't wowed and I didn't learn much. Oh, no, wait. ODOR is apparently a word that can mean 6D: Repute. I did learn that.
- 20A: So-called "fox fires" (Northern LIGHTS) - I have never heard them called this, and this clue is actually much harder than the original, [Night sky feature]
- 35A: Recording device (video CAMERA) - way better than those audio cameras you hear everyone talking about
- 42A: Certain lawsuit (class ACTION)
This puzzle has me wondering if Bob COSTAS (4D: Longtime NBC Olympics host) makes PESTO (28D: Penne topper) and eats it with GUSTO (40A: Elan) (and if so, does he use an OSTER - 47A: Kitchen gadget brand). That is a cutesy way of saying this puzzle has a lot of words where the second syllable starts with "ST."
Here are the three WTF answers for the day:
- 60A: _____ Sailer, three-time 1956 skiing gold medalist (Toni) - I *know* she (she? Nope, it's a he) was just in a puzzle, and yet that didn't help much. My favorite Sailer:
- 44D: _____ Point Lighthouse, Massachusetts landmark since 1838 (Ned's) - ugh. Overly geographically specific. Made me yearn for the clue [_____ Atomic Dustbin], which I would not have thought possible.
- 36D: Johnny with the 1958 hit "Willie and the Hand Jive" (Otis) - well, I pretty much *have* to hear/see what that sounds/looks like (uh, speaking of sailors, what are those dancers wearing?):
- 1A: Fruit variety with a sweet-spiced flavor (bosc) - to my knowledge, I have never had a BOSC pear, nor do I know any of its defining features; why, then, was BOSC the first thing to come to my mind when I saw this clue? (likely answer: "variety" + four letters ... brain retrieves word from store of likely crosswordy words, and there you go)
- 16A: Geological range (aeon) - tricky clue, I guess. Had me thinking "mountains" for a bit.
- 25A: Penicillin target (strep) - had STAPH
- 49A: Who's creator (Seuss) - a gimme ... right? That, or you thought there was a typo and the clue was incomplete
- 52A: List in an insurance report, maybe (dents) - Was not aware that one made an actual "dent list."
- 61A: "See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!" speaker (Romeo) - just finished teaching this and it Still wasn't a gimme. We were oddly focused on the Friar for most of our discussion.
- 64A: "Mi Chiamano Mimi" and others (arias) - Italilan song = ARIA unless I'm forced to think otherwise.
- 21D: Modern show shower (HDTV) - this clue smells like yesterday's puzzle
- 26D: European capital (Riga) - For reasons I don't understand, RIGA is my favorite European capital (as a name, not as a place - I haven't been there)
- 39D: Record follower, at times (asterisk) - first Maris, now Bonds
- 54D: Socratic student (tutee) - reclued from [Special student], which sounded all kinds of wrong to me. Not sure this one is entirely accurate (usually the "method" is Socratic), but it's at least an improvement.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld