SUNDAY, Jan. 25, 2009 - M Torch (Fox News opinionator / Monkey, pony or alligator / Style expert Klensch and others)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Fiddle Dee Dee" - double T is changed to double D in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued
Word of the Day: REVET - To retain (an embankment, for example) with a layer of stone, concrete, or other supporting material [French revêtir, from Old French revestir, to clothe again, from Latin revestīre : re-, re- + vestīre, to clothe (from vestis, garment).] (answers.com)
Easy solve with few problems except for somewhere in the NEVada section of the grid (58A: Home of the Excelsior Mts.), where things got a little rocky and I had to double back and come back up from the south. Had -AI-E for 47D: Relinquish (waive) and, for some reason, that did not compute. My first guesses for the crosses would have turned the word into HAIBE, which I was pretty sure was wrong. I know, NEB. doesn't really have "mountains," but I didn't know NEV. had any either, except the Sierra NEVadas. Why I thought labyrinths had HALLS, I don't rightly know (47A: Labyrinth parts -> WALLS). DANCE took some thought as well (51A: Monkey, pony or alligator). As I say, this little struggle was only a hiccup. The few tough words in this puzzle were easily conquerable via crosses.
The theme - meh. The first answer I got was UDDER NONSENSE, and that is such a painful, tired groaner that I didn't have much hope for the rest of the puzzle. Thankfully, the rest of the DD-changes were not as bad. I was kind of hoping this would be a bra-themed puzzle. Too much to hope for, I guess. Is FADDY a word? FADDISH I've heard of - FADDY, not so much. I'm sure it's legal, i.e. in a dictionary somewhere, but I don't know that I've ever heard it uddered. (see, it's horrible, right?). Last question about the theme - "DEE" is in the title ... and "DEE" is in the puzzle (76A: "Zip-_____-Doo-Dah"). Not that I needed the title to get that one, but still - titles should not contain words that are in the grid. Further, should partials cross? ADEE and HADA (62D: "We _____ ball!")? I can't remember the last time I saw crossing partials like that. Perhaps there was no other fix. With two theme answers running through there, options were likely very limited.
- 22A: Dairy frivolity? (udder nonsense)
- 40A: Creamy dessert atop a cracker, informally? (puddin' on the Ritz)
- 56A: Advice for golfers? (caddy remarks)
- 61A: Measure of reaction to horror? (shudder speed)
- 80A: Guardians of a house painters' celebration? (ladder day saints) - ?
- 102A: Linens purchased through a Web site? (online bedding)
- 2D: Why the eBay user was laid up? (bidder cold) - had BITTER PILL at first :(
- 69D: Trendy lab hazards? (faddy acids)
Surprised to see ELI in the puzzle clued as some clockmaker I've never heard of (100D: Clockmaker Terry). Also surprised to see ELI because ELIHU (48A: Root of government) is already in the puzzle. Two ELI-related clues and not a single mention of Yale. That is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Never heard of RYE, NY (59A: New York town with Playland amusement park) or SLIGO county (35D: County next to Mayo) or RONZONI (9D: Pasta brand) pasta. OK, maybe I've heard of them, but I didn't remember them last night while solving. ALLELE(S) is back in the puzzle today (82D: Genotype determinants) - it's a word I now have affection for, since it can no longer do me any harm (I learned it, the hard way, from crosswords a while back). Never heard the term RENT ROLL (20A: Landlord's schedule) - maybe it's a big apt. building (i.e. a New York) thing. Thought SPEE was SNEE, and then SMEE (94A: Losing admiral in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, 1914). Other than that, all was smooth.
- 26A: "Scrubs" actor Braff (Zach) - I always feel a little guilty when pop culture gimmes like this are the first things I put in the grid. I think ZACH and D'ANGELO were one and two today (105A: Actress Beverly who played Patsy Cline in "Coal Miner's Daughter")
- 10D: Style expert Klensch and others (Elsas) - Had an ILSA/ELSA moment here. Not sure why I know this lady. She's not on "Project Runway," so the origins of my familiarity with her are uncertain.
- 74A: With 78-Across, stated desire of many a Miss America (World / Peace) - very nicely done
- 75A: Home to Ohio Northern University (Ada) - news to me. Not what Nabokov's novel "ADA" was about.
- 92A: "_____-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra!" ("Too-Ra") - OK on its own, as a Hail Mary-type answer, but with "A-DEE" already in the puzzle, it just feels silly.
- 93A: Support, as an embankment (revet) - learned it, recently, from crosswords.
- 3D: Clarified, in England (spelt out) - also a declaration from a trend-conscious grain merchant
- 27D: Fox News opinionator (Hannity) - I was surprised yesterday at the vicious and derisive comments that Palin's name provoked from several readers. Well, not surprised. It's an unfortunate habit of certain liberals to sneer at and malign any well known Republican whose name happens to come up. These are the people who talk about everyone loving each other and then wear T-shirts that say "I Hated Bush Before It Was Cool." So I know you all think HANNITY's an idiot. I can't say I disagree. But I don't need a bunch of comments about his mother or his penis size, or suggestions that his daughter is a "ho," a la yesterday. There are political blogs where such blow-hard pontificating is the comment style of choice. They aren't hard to find.
- 56D: Anglers' baskets (creels) - I have a completely inexplicable love of the word CREEL
- 96D: Rock group whose members wear red flowerpots on their heads (Devo) - always? I think they did at one period, the "Whip It" period... Mmm, sixth grade:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld