MONDAY, Nov. 3, 2008 - Susan Gelfand (Bossy's offspring / Princess who helped Jason / Cousin of the grey wolf / Bobbysoxer's hangout)
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Last name => verb - "S" added to last names of celebrities, turning their names into complete sentences, which are clued as such
Pretty straightforward. What to say? Well, I love that the puzzle takes one of the most regrettable (if often necessary) aspects of many grids - the plural name - and twists it into something big and interesting. The "S" doesn't pluralize - it verbizes.
If only this puzzle didn't go and blow it all by saying something stupid like IDAS (47A: Actress Lupino and others), it would have been scrumptious. Still, it's a fine idea, competently executed. The non-theme fill is uniformly acceptable and even provocative at points. A nice calming Monday after a sizzling Sunday.
- 17A: Etiquette expert writes messages online? (Emily posts)
- 26A: Singer speculates? (Stevie wonders)
- 42A: Artist clears the bases? (Winslow homers)
- 56A: Actress searches? (Helen hunts)
The inclusion of STEVIE WONDER(s) prompts me to include the greatest, best-produced, most amazing single of all time. It's just perfect. And even on "Sesame Street," STEVIE and his band sound unbelievable. Keep an eye out for head-bopping children / muppets. This version is nearly 7 minutes long and ends with STEVIE incorporating "Sesame Street!" into the song. Otherwise, it's not edited or dumbed-down or nothing. Just pure greatness:
What else is there?:
- 10A: Bossy's offspring (calf) - there were a handful of curious, bouncy clues today. This was one. 44D: Parkgoers with backpacks (hikers) was another. 16A: Zero-shaped (oval), another. My favorite, though, by far, was 36D: Bobbysoxer's hangout (malt shop), for the vibrancy of both clue and answer. But can you drink a MALT with a straw - that's the question (or it was someone's question a couple days back)
- 20A: Thieves' locale (den) - "And [Jesus] said unto [the moneychangers et al], It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a DEN of thieves" (Matthew 21:13). I think "DEN" was a metaphor. Thieves don't actually inhabit a "locale" called a "DEN." Maybe the clue should be qualified, [... in scripture]
- 36A: Princess who helped Jason (Medea) - later, things went south
- 40A: When repeated, a Samoan city (Pago) - not a big fan of the half-city.
- 41A: Ingrid Bergman or Bjorn Borg (Swede) - also, the nickname of Ole Andreson, the apparently doomed ex-boxer in Hemingway's excellent short story, "The Killers." More Swedes:
- 55A: Announcement for the head of a queue (next!) - pip pip, cheerio, what country is this? "Queue," indeed. I was expecting something uniquely British, like "Next, guvnah!"
- 9D: One of the six states of Australia (Tasmania) - where they likely have honest-to-god queues.
- 10D: Cousin of the gray wolf (coyote) - yay, canines! I love the whole canine family, esp. my dogs, one of whom I call "wolfy" or "wolfy wolferson" from time to time. That is possibly the *least* silly thing I call her, just to give you an idea of the conversations I have all day on the days I'm home alone with the dogs.
- 50D: Plow team (oxen) - missed opportunity for a cross-reference at 19A: Device for a plow team (yoke)
- 53D: With 41-Down, nuclear device (atom / smasher) - right up there with MALT SHOP for freshness and originality. Good job.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld