Like non-oyster months — WEDNESDAY, Oct. 8, 2008 - Peter A. Collins (Dempsey's 1923 opponent / Nickname for former N.F.L.'er Ed Jones)
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: SHUFFLE / THE DECK (40A: With 42-Across, prepare to play cards (and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters)) - four theme answers have letters D, E, C and K in different sequential arrangements inside of them, inside circled squares
A clever theme, nicely executed by Michigan Pete (enjoy your moniker, Peter, and just be happy you're not Caleb Madison, whom I have taken to calling "RECARVE" in honor of his putting that abomination of a word in one of his puzzles). I especially like the way that SHUFFLE / THE DECK fits so neatly across the middle of the puzzle. I also like that two of the theme answers are grid-spanners. BUICK DEALERSHIP strikes me as a fresh, original, interesting answer, which is weird, as BUICKs do not strike me as any of those adjectives. As for HARDBACK EDITION ... I'm more of a paperback man, myself. Also, I thought HARDBACKED was an adjective and spent some time trying to get a five-letter synonym for "book" to fit in the remaining spaces.
- 17A: Library copy of a book, commonly (hardbaCK EDition)
- 24A: Prepared some desserts (bakED CAkes)
- 52A: Hunting aids (duCK DEcoys) - had DUCK BLINDS here at first ... before I got the theme, obviously
- 64A: Place to get an Electra, once (BuiCK DEalership)
"Chambers, this is the greatest case I ever had in my life. I'm in it, and out of it, in less than twenty four hours, and yet I tell you I never had anything like it. Well, the Dempsey-Firpo fight lasted less than two rounds, didn't it? It's not how long it lasts. It's what you do while you're in there."No idea who FIRPO is ... and then he's right there in front of me, in a book I've read many times before. That's what I love about learning new words / names. The invisible suddenly becomes visible.
- 1A: 1980s sitcom built around the Tanner family ("A.L.F.") - never had the slightest desire to watch this. Ugliest lead in a sitcom. Ever.
- 4A: W.W. I French fighter planes (SPADS) - another "WTF?" answer: "Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés."
- 20A: Coastal raptor (osprey) - great bird name. Wanted ERN/E here. Always want ERN/E.
- 22A: Org. with an eagle in its logo (NRA) - lots o' xwordy fill, like this, and SHARI Lewis (28A: Puppeteer Lewis) and ELISA (34A: Girl in a "Paint Your Wagon" song). "Paint Your Wagon" invariably makes me think of this song:
- 56A: Book before Obadiah (Amos) - Obadiah is a book? Whoa. Must reacquaint self with Bible.
- 68A: The Sun, The Moon or The Star (Tarot) - isn't TAROT the whole deck (deck!). Isn't this like [10 of clubs] being used to clue PLAYING?
- 70A: "Little" woman of '60s music (Eva) - see also AVA (21A: Gardner of "The Barefoot Contessa"). See also this.
- 72A: Like non-oyster months (R-less) - ick. Learned it from xwords. Seems like a very Northeastern thing.
- 8D: Wozniak who co-founded Apple Computer (Steve) - I learned more than I ever needed to know about him from Kathy Griffin's "My Life on the D List" - she dated him, briefly.
- 10D: With 11-Down, preceders of "be merry" ("Eat" / "Drink") - where is the "AND"!?
- 26D: Roman who originated the phrase "While there's life, there's hope" (Cicero) - "Dum spiro, spero" - is that right?
- 43D: Coffeehouse patrons, once (hipsters) - not now, though. Buncha hicks in there now.
- 46D: Nickname for former N.F.L.'er Ed Jones ("Too Tall") - man I hated them Cowboys. Greatest nickname ever, though. So ... descriptive.
- 67D: Rock's Tommy, ex-husband of Pamela Anderson (Lee) - Motley Crüe! Just what you wanted to round off your crossword experience:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS If you haven't done it yet, please download, print out, or otherwise enjoy the Vice Presidential debate-themed puzzle that I co-constructed this past weekend with PuzzleGirl (ed. by Orange). Send it to your non-solving friends. It's easy and entertaining. And free. Thanks. I'm going to be plugging the puzzle through the weekend - many of my readers don't start reading me til Thursday (snobs!), and they need to know.