TUESDAY, Dec. 16, 2008 - Gail Grabowski (Mixologist's workplace / Military flotilla / Org. slogan "In Service for the Girls of the World")
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: COMPUTER COMPANY (64A: What the ends of 17-, 27- and 48-Across each represent) - theme answers are phrases that end with DELL, GATEWAY, and APPLE, respectively
Not much to say about this at all. In fact, can't remember a puzzle that moved me this little. One major thing to say: GARDEN GATE ... WAY? ABOOOOOOOOOOOO (15A: "Peek-_____!"). The phrase is GARDEN GATE. GATEWAY should have been used in the phrase GATEWAY DRUG, e.g. [Marijuana, allegedly]. Though that clue's not great, as apparently studies have debunked that idea. At any rate, GATEWAY DRUG would have been an awesome phrase (could have had a nice tie-in with ODS - 66D: Some E.R. cases), but then you'd have had to find a phrase with DELL at the beginning, and since DEL SHANNON has just the one "L," the only DELL I can think of is DELL PUBLISHING ... which doesn't exactly trip off the tongue.
- 17A: Kindergarten tune, with "The" ("Farmer in the DELL")
- 27A: Entrance to a botanical display (garden GATEWAY)
- 48A: Gift that almost killed Snow White (poisoned APPLE)
I call your attention to the following boatload of crappy, common crossword fill:
SLOE, SNERT (44D: Hagar the Horrible's hound), APER, ETO, ABODE, EWER, OGEE, AONE, SRI, ETA, ABIT *and* ATON, ASAP, RTES, OSHA, ELLS, NYSE, etc. Man, that hurts. This puzzle does have a very high number of 3- and 4-letter words, and that puts a constructor in a very difficult position, creativity-wise. But still, GG is a pro, and I expect slightly better.
- 36A: Standby passenger's salvation (no-show) - I like this phrase a lot. Also like BAD PRESS (10D: Unwanted publicity) and HE-MAN (19D: Charles Atlas, for one).
- 22A: Some motel prohibitions (pets) - was thinking something much more lurid, like "HOOKERS" ... although I guess technically they are "prohibited" in most places.
- 21A: Procter & Gamble best seller (Tide) - "best seller"? It's not a book.
- 25A: Gen. Bradley (Omar) - interesting example of a clue with an abbrev. for an answer that doesn't have one. This happens with Sen. and Gen. in particular.
- 42A: "Bye Bye Bye" boy band (NSYNC) - "Enjoy"
- 4D: Military flotilla (armada) - mmm, flotilla. I mean mmm, tortilla. Haven't had breakfast yet. Daughter home with the barfing disease today. Nice. Sorry to mix breakfast and barf there. My bad.
- 5D: Mixologist's workplace (bar) - "Mixologist" sounds more like a DJ than a bartender. I think Ned Flanders once said he had a "Master's in Mixology." Therefore, you should not call yourself a "Mixologist." You are a bartender. Being a bartender is a very good thing. No need for the faux academic-ese.
- 8D: "Oh, goody!" ("Hot dog!") - this took me several crosses, as all I could hear is "HOT DAMN!" I like that both the clue and answer are phrases nobody says anymore (except, perhaps, ironically). I think characters in Archie comics say them.
- 27D: Bouquet _____ (herb bundle) (garni) - I might have learned this from xwords. I forget.
- 29D: Didn't allow (nixed) - like this. Had the NIX- and blithely wrote in NIXON without even looking at the clue ... damned "Frost/Nixon" movie was clearly running interference in my head, and I got overconfident.
- 32D: Org. that once used slogan "In Service for the Girls of the World" (YWCA) - That would be a nice slogan for a (straight) male escort, too.
- 54D: When Hamlet dies (Act V) - so ACTI, ACTII, ACTIII, ACTIV, and ACTV are all valid crossword answers? OK. Just checking.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS - Syndicated solvers - just so you don't have to miss out entirely on the Inauguration-related puzzle festivities, here is one you might enjoy - it's too ... pointed for any major daily to want to run, but as a piece of puzzle construction, it's really great.