WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1, 2008 - Barry Boone (Internet equipment powerhouse / Bangladesh's capital, old-style / Doer of stand-up)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: NO PLACE LIKE HOME (40A: End of a popular saying related to this puzzle's theme...) - OK, so apparently, strictly speaking, the "theme" is the CONNECT-THE-DOTS (20A: Kind of puzzle suggested by this crossword's theme) ... nope, that's not it. OK, what is the "theme" if it's not NO PLACE LIKE HOME and it's not CONNECT-THE-DOTS? Is the picture of the HOME the "theme"? I know the theme's not ALPHABETICALLY (57A: How to link the 12 letters in this puzzle with a single line to make a picture). I'm not sure how "theme is being used in the first two clues. Long story short, you can connect the dots and create a child-like outline of a HOME, complete with door and chimney. Hurray!
Theme is clever and tight. I have no desire to draw on my puzzles once they are done, but that's neither here nor there, really. A very easy puzzle except for the SW, where there was a car I didn't know - the LADA (58D: Russian car). This was a very computeresque puzzle, with two Mac clues - 52A: Mice an be found around them (iMacs) and 61D: Precursor of the Apple Macintosh (Lisa) (?) - an olde-timey supere-computere in ENIAC (42D: 1940s computer), and a modern computer-related corporation in CISCO (5D: Internet equipment powerhouse). There are topical entries like NADER (9D: Candidate trailing Bush and Gore) - he's still running; guy down the block has NADER signs on his lawn - and FDIC (1D: Bank protector, for short). Two kinds of blue in AZUL (57D: Blue, south of the border) and SAD (53A: Blue). You could even SKI (38D: What one might do in 27-Down) in ASPEN (27D: John Denver wrote two songs about this town) in this puzzle. Little thematic bursts to suit any palate. Here's a John Denver song that features neither Aspen nor John Denver:
- 1A: Figure in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (faun) - Mr. Tumnus!
- 5A: Kind of cuisine in which onions, bell peppers and celery are the "holy trinity" (cajun) - gimme. You can get this combo prepackaged in your local grocery store.
- 17A: Hughes poem with the line "They send me to eat in the kitchen" ("I, Too") - a very common four-letter answer; worth remembering. The Hughes in this clue is Langston. Ted Hughes is also a poet. Or was.
- 19A: Cy Young winner Hershiser (Orel) - my favorite pitcher (after Clemens) in the late 80s. Unlike Clemens, Hershiser has stood the test of time.
- 23A: Cleopatra used it as a beauty lotion (aloe) - wanted ASP. Didn't fit.
- 25A: Carnivorous fish (skate) - had MANTA here for a bit.
- 28A: Terse letter opener ("Sir") - Does anyone really open letters like that any more? [Title for rapper Mix-a-Lot] would have worked better for me.
- 70A: Surveyor's map (plat) - learned it from xwords. Really needed it down here in foreign car land.
- 8D: Logan's locale (Utah) - Boston?
- 33D: Doer of stand-up (comic) - aaaargh, "Doer!" It's like an icepick in my ear, that word. I was in such denial about the word that I imagined it was someone's last name. I know no stand-up comics named DOER. Here's a DOER of stand-up:
- 34D: Gardeners may work on them (knees) - there's a clue I like. Clever, switches the meaning of "work on" on you. Good stuff.
- 48D: Sparkle and wit (esprit) - never associated "wit" with ESPRIT. My sister wore a lot of ESPRIT in the 80s.
- 54D: Bangladesh's capital, old-style (Dacca) - now DHAKA. I wanted DAKAR, which is the capital of Senegal. There was a horrid-smelling cologne when I was a teenager called DAKAR Noir. I might have owned some once.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld