Theater mogul Marcus - TUESDAY, Oct. 7, 2008 - Kevin G. Der (Many pizza slices, geometrically / Looie's underling)
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: 3D shapes - four theme answers end in CONE, PYRAMID, SPHERE, and CUBE, respectively
What, no TORUS? Pffft. Come on.
The theme on this one is fine, but it's not what makes the puzzle shine. Check out the super-fresh fill in the long Downs. DOT COM BOOM (31D: Short-lived economic expansion of the late 1990s) provides a nice counterpoint to the, uh, recession / depression / apocalypse we are currently in. And AHA MOMENTS (11D: Occasions to cry "Eureka!") ... did Oprah popularize that phrase? At any rate, crossword solvers use it all the time to describe the moment they finally discover a puzzle's theme, parse a tough clue correctly, or otherwise break a puzzle open. So the puzzle is anchored by a couple of great colloquial answers, to which group we can also add one of the theme answers - BLOGOSPHERE. Huzzah, I'm in the puzzle! Kinda! Most of the rest of the puzzle was just fine or better.
- 17A: Ice cream holder (waffle CONE)
- 32A: Diagram of nutritional needs (Food PYRAMID)
- 48A: Community of Web journals (blogoSPHERE)
- 65A: Six-colored puzzle (Rubik's CUBE)
- 1A: Telly watcher (Brit) - I was trying to think of British slang for "kid" when it occurred to me that British adults call the television the "telly" too. Speaking of telly ... oh hell, I'm just looking for any excuse to play this:
- 20A: Whacked, in the Bible (smote) - makes God sound like a hitman.
- 40A: Many pizza slices, geometrically (octants) - this word, while perfectly legal, hurts my ears. I guess if I can live with the word QUADRANTS (and I can), then I can learn to live with this one. I want my pizza in EIGHTHS is all.
- 47A: Volcano in Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (Etna) - yet another way to clue this most crossworthy of all volcanos.
- 57A: Theater mogul Marcus (Loew) - I don't think I knew his first name before this puzzle.
- 69A: Actress Christensen of "Traffic" (Erika) - didn't see it and don't know her. The only problem was the "K," and IKE (66D: Former White House moniker) took care of that.
- 13D: Mischievous Norse god (Loki) - also the name of reader SethG's son.
- 28D: Where Ali dethroned Foreman (Zaire) - three "Z"s for this puzzle, of which this is the most spectacular.
- 33D: Snowball hurler (pelter) - only if he's accurate.
- 37D: Looie's underling (sarge) - "underling" is one of the ugliest words in the English language. It's as if the relationship described thereby is borderline unspeakable.
- 54D: "Be silent," in music (tacet) - learned it from xwords!
Stay tuned for a special, non-partisan, election-season puzzle, to be distributed free, from this site, in ... I don't know, an hour or so. Let's say 10am... and here it is.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld