SATURDAY, Oct. 4, 2008 - Matt Ginsberg (Trix alternative? / Originator of the phrase "Pandora's Box" / Writer of "A Man Must Fight," 1932)
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Einstein quote: "IMAGINATION IS / MORE IMPORTANT / THAN KNOWLEDGE" (20A: Start of an Einstein quote that holds true when solving clever crosswords)
The easiest Saturday I've done in some time. The theme quote was not at all tough or tricky or surprising in any way, and IMAGINATION, IMPORTANT, and KNOWLEDGE were all easy to uncover, providing valuable letters for all the crosses. Then there were a host of very easy clues, like 6A: "Dial _____ Murder" ("M for") - that's a Monday-level clue - and 31D: Big honor for a college athlete (Heisman) and 8D: Hatch in Washington (Orrin) and (for me) 12D: Pac-10's Beavers: Abbr. (OSU). I started with MFOR and ORRIN and I didn't get slowed down much after that. It's a fine puzzle, but not really a Saturday puzzle.
People you might not know or not have seen coming:
45A: Originator of the phrase "Pandora's box" (Erasmus) - well, I know who Erasmus is, but since the story of Pandora is ancient, I had no idea he (of the Renaissance) invented this phrase. That seems ... weird. What was her box called before it was called a "box." Interesting - Wikipedia says that Erasmus, in translating Hesiod from Greek to Latin, rendered pithos (very large jar) as pyxis (box).
34D: Head of state who resigned in 1974 (Meir) - "Resigned?" Why? I was 5. Looking it up ... hmm, something to do with the Yom Kippur War and how it was handled / whether Israel was adequately prepared.
40D: Writer of "A Man Must Fight," 1932 (Tunney) - Gene. Boxer. Heavyweight champ, 1926-28. Didn't know he wrote.
53D: Singer who appeared with Charlton in "Secret of the Incas" (Yma) - Sumac. Common crossword answer. Interesting clue.
Loved the consecutive Rover clues on NASA (16A: Rover's watcher) and TREAT (17A: Rover's reward). Never Ever heard of RUE as it's clued here (42A: Scented, medical plant). Is scent added to it? Don't all plants have some scent? Weeeird. Wanted Lucky Charms for 56A: Trix alternative? (-enne) - a very trixy clue. Anything else? Well, a few things:
- 15A: Europe's third-largest island (Eire) - this took some thought, strangely. I tend to think in terms of countries, not islands. Saturday cluing!
- 23A: Chicken choice (nuggets) - some day we will look back and see that the invention of the chicken nugget was the first Sign of the End Times (I would regularly eat 20 of them as an afternoon snack when I was a teenager - and somehow I wasn't obese)
- 27A: R.S.V.P. facilitator: Abbr. (SAE) - yipes! Where's my stamp, you cheapskate!
- 4D: County in Kansas, Missouri or Oklahoma (Osage) - very common xword answer. It should just be waiting in your arsenal for any time you get a "county" or "river" or "tribe" that is somewhere in the middle of the country.
- 10D: Parts of many military uniforms (insignias) - since it was Saturday, I actually held off on the last letter for a bit, thinking it might be an "E" (!?)
- 21D: Some W.W. II internees (Nisei) - Children of Japanese immigrants, i.e. citizens.
- 51D: Bogotà baby (nene) - no Hawaiian goose? Love that NENE intersects ENNE, but NENE really wants to be a goose. All other clues just seem WRONG (57A: Treat unjustly).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld