WEDNESDAY, Jan. 7, 2009 - W.F. Macreery (Pioneer Boone, familiarly / Birthplace Vice President Hannibal Hamlin / Geraint's lady)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: Foreign capitals on American soil - each theme answer is an American city that takes its name from a famous world capital
Word of the Day: DOGIE - In the language of the American West, a motherless calf is known as a dogie. [the probable etymology is too sad to relate. Read about it here]
Really liked this one. Found it very charming. A bit easy for a Wednesday, but not by much. Never heard of PARIS, MAINE, but the others are well known enough to be at least vaguely familiar to many solvers. I'm wondering why the puzzle didn't go with PARIS, TEXAS, the far better known PARIS. The "X" might have made construction a little harder, but it would have been positioned perfectly for a simple word like "EXIT" to cross it. There are likely hundreds of cities in the U.S.A. with the same names as various world capitals, so I guess that you could do many variations on this puzzle, assuming you could find a hook that was crossworthy enough. Not every foreign-named city can claim a bigwig like Hannibal Hamlin as a favorite son, though. Why don't parents name their kids "Hannibal" any more? So it rhymes with "cannibal" and makes everyone think of "Silence of the Lambs." So what? I hope it makes a comeback. Benedict and Hannibal - those will be the names of the next two kids / animals / cars I acquire.
Here are George and Tammy singing about some cities that aren't in our puzzle, but could have been (thanks to reader Twangster for the link):
- 18A: Host city of golf's Memorial Tournament (Dublin, Ohio) - had the DUBLIN and just guessed on the OHIO, as it rang a bell. It was that or IOWA, and IOWA doesn't sound very ... golfy.
- 30A: Hometown to college football's Vandals (Moscow, Idaho) - part of my family lived very near this MOSCOW, so despite not knowing the team name, I got it quickly
- 36A: Where rock's R.E.M. was formed (Athens, Georgia) - very much a gimme
- 44A: Paul Revere founded a brass and copper works here (Rome, New York) - that seems a very sad claim to fame
- 59A: Birthplace of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin (Paris, Maine) - close call, but this claim to fame is in fact sadder
I had some great missteps today, my favorite being at 21D: Fancy wrap (stole), where I had the "S" and quickly wrote in SARAN. HA ha. "Fancy." Maybe in PARIS, MAINE it is. I also had ROUT for ROMP (58D: 49-0 game, e.g.) and RPMS for REVS (44D: Tach figure, informally). But the biggest screw-up for me, in terms of creating a time-sucking puzzle snag, was writing in ISIAH for 15A: Husband of Bathsheba (Uriah). I would not have thought to do this had I a. known my Bible better and b. had OSU at 6D: Tulsa school (ORU). ORU = Oral Roberts University, and this likely threw a few people today (my wife included). I would not have changed a thing had I not noticed that DID made absolutely no sense for 5D: Turkey (dud). Let me just say that DUD is a deeply unpleasant messenger answer (i.e. the answer that tells you that you completely @#$#@'d up). Why couldn't FALANA have been the bearer of the bad news (8D: Lola of "Golden Boy")? I bet she smells a lot nicer than DUD.
- 1A: Garden bloom, informally (glad) - lots of informality today. I mean, look at how Daniel Boone spells his name when he gets SLOSHED (13D: Pie-eyed). Poor guy (16A: Pioneer Boone, familiarly => DAN'L).
- 10A: "Down with," at the Bastille (à bas!) - as in "A bas les aristocrates!"
- 20A: Stumped solver's desire (hints) - not this stumped solver. No HINTS! Patience...
- 69A: Host who said "I kid you not" (Paar) - he makes a good pair with CAHN (31D: "High Hopes" lyricist), as both of them appear in crosswords regularly and I hesitate every time I spell their names (wanting PARR and CAAN, who are real people, just not these people). Here's a PARR:
- 1D: Made of whole-wheat flour (graham) - really? The only GRAHAM I know comes in cracker form, and I had no idea what those crackers were made of (except tastiness). Oh, I also knew this South African kid named Graham. I beat him to win my 6th grade chess championship. That may have been the last time I played chess.
- 9D: 1862 battle site (Shiloh) - had the final "H" and felt all the weight of my historical ignorance ... until SHILOH shot to the front of my mind. I'm working my way through American history this year, but I'm currently back in the Revolutionary period. I should get to SHILOH around April or May.
- 32D: Herd orphan (dogie) - got it off the "D," though at first I was thinking of a wild herd, i.e. antelope. Those come in herds, right?
- 38D: Fish-eating raptor (erne) - the greatest bird of all, xword-wise. EMU, Schme-mu.
- 39D: Assayers' samples (ores) - feels like I've been digging through lots of ORE lately...
- 48D: Muralist Diego (Rivera) - enjoy
- 60D: Magazine output: Abbr. (iss.) - ouch. I wanted AMMO, then I wanted MSS.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS The 10th Annual Westport (CT) Library Crossword Puzzle Contest, with puzzles provided by Will Shortz, will take place Saturday, February 7, 2009. More info here.