THURSDAY, Dec. 11, 2008 - Jim Hilger (1965 #1 hit by the Byrds / Inventor depicted in "The Prestige" / 1836 siege site / Emmy and Tony nominee Ryan)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Turn, Turn, Turn" - a rebus puzzle where "TURN" is crammed into seven different symmetrically arranged squares throughout the grid
My original reaction to this puzzle appears to have been one of rage. No idea why I was in such a bad mood. After yesterday's puzzle, this one seems just fine, actually, with some noteworthy exceptions. I had a harder time uncovering the rebus than I'd like to admit, and even after uncovering it, some of the "TURN" phrases just wouldn't come to me. Had big trouble with TWIST AND [TURN], as I thought the clue, 18A: Meander, as a road, referred to a person doing his meandering on a road. Further, I had no idea SA[TURN] was a god of agriculture (!?) (13D: Roman god of agriculture), and worst of all for my NE experience, I had absolutely no clue that the Korean unit of currency was the WON (11D: Korean money). Didn't help that I mysteriously forgot that BRADBURY wrote "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Oh, and then there was SKIBOB (8D: Winter vehicle). I've heard of skis, and I've heard of bobsleds, but a SKIBOB is entirely new to me. Makes me wanna shout LAWDY! (7D: "_____ Miss Clawdy" (#1 R&B hit of 1952)). Not really. Me shouting "LAWDY" would be about the silliest thing you could imagine. I'm not sure I could do it without offending someone, somewhere. I'm offending myself just thinking about it.
Continuing with the theme of my ignorance, I've never heard the phrase TO A [TURN]. I assumed, when I read the clue, that there was a horrible error in the puzzle - surely the answer was TO A T. Why wasn't the "T" a rebus in the Down clue!? Well, turns out, it was. Sucks for TO A [TURN] that TO A T is actually a better answer to the clue (60D: Perfectly). I know a country star named MERLE, but his last name is not Travis (33D: Old country-and-western star _____ Travis). I also know a country star named Travis whose last name is not MERLE.
This puzzle has a lot of boring / crossword-common lady names in it, like ILSA (6A: She'll "always have Paris") and IRENE (3D: Emmy and Tony nominee Ryan) and ELENA (17A: 2008 Olympics tennis champion Dementieva). It's also got big-mouthed Martha RAYE (67A: "The Martha _____ Show" of 1950s TV) - by far the most interesting broad in the puzzle. She's SALTY (37A: Off-color). Growing up, I knew her only from denture commercials. But she had a long comedic career before I was born. Outtakes:
- 1A: Part of a pay-as-you-go plan? (TURN pike)
- 1D: Fully equipped and ready to go (TURN key)
- 18A: Meander, as a road (twist and TURN)
- 13D: Roman god of agriculture (Sa TURN)
- 33A: Reverses course (make a U TURN) - by far my favorite of the theme answers. MAKESAUT looks fantastic in the grid. Also, when said aloud, sounds like what a German does with his girlfriend. (AUT rhymes with KRAUT, right?)
- 39A: Like some calls left on answering machines (re TURN ed)
- 45A: Petrify (TURN to stone)
- 36D: 1965 #1 hit by the Byrds ("TURN, TURN, TURN") - shouldn't "The" be capitalized in "The Byrds"?
- 61A: Crucial moment (TURN ing point)
- 61D: Eventually appear (TURN up)
- 71A: Upset (over TURN)
- 60D: Perfectly (to a TURN)
- 20A: That over there (yon) - something you might say if you lived in days of YORE (25A: Long ago)
- 26A: Hinged apparatus (jaw) - cool clue. Makes something ordinary sound kind of daunting. Sort of the opposite of 69A: Gang members (pals).
- 54A: NATO member since 1982 (Spain) - not sure what I wanted here at first, but it wasn't SPAIN. SUDAN? BENIN? I forget.
- 22D: Airport installation (radar) - something about "installation" made me trip all over this. I was thinking something Christo might do - like, wrap an airport in tissue or something.
- 24D: Where the Riksdag meets (Sweden) - if you reversed the letters and told me it was the Gadskir, I would totally believe you. That's how much I know about SWEDEN. You: "It means 'Good skiier?'" Me: "Really? Wow." See. Easy to fool.
- 32D: Calif. barrio setting (East L.A.) - I really like it best when this answer is clued via the song / movie "Born in EAST L.A." This clue is just too tepid.
- 44D: Fix, as a pool cue (retip) - oh Sure, I do that all the time. Come on! That's as bad as [Give another gratuity] or [Pour from again, as a kettle].
- 53D: Mount _____, second-highest peak in Africa (Kenya) - didn't know, but easy to get from crosses. I hope the highest peak is Kilimanjaro. That would make me feel secure that I know the bare minimum about the country of Africa (wink!)
- 57D: Company leaders: Abbr. (sgts.) - o man. I had CEOS. Then I had MGRS.
That's it - except to say that Brendan Emmett Quigley, one of the most inventive constructors around, has a new website, where he will be offering free puzzles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I just solved yesterday's, and it's really worth your time, esp. if you like quip puzzles with genuinely funny quips ... and profanity. At a minimum, his site has a super-cool banner. Makes me wanna spice up the visuals on my own site. Anyway, be sure to check out, and then bookmark, his site.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld