FRIDAY, Feb. 13, 2009 - D Peterson (Locale of Krypton in the Superman saga / "The Wonder Years" teen who loved Winnie / Flavor of Calvados brandy)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy
Word of the Day: IDEOGRAM - A character or symbol representing an idea or a thing without expressing the pronunciation of a particular word or words for it, as in the traffic sign commonly used for “no parking” or “parking prohibited.” Also called ideograph. (answers.com)
I don't care what they say about Airborne, that !@#@ works. Rest + fluids + Airborne = cold virtually destroyed. I might be speaking too soon and jinxing the whole thing, but I feel 10 times better than I did last night. By way of example, I torched this puzzle. 9:05 on paper. That's over two minutes faster than yesterday's puzzle. Felt like I got off to a clunky start in the NW - went right to NELSON (4D: "The Simpsons" bully) and OLIO (23A: Gallimaufry), but then sort of poked and hacked around. That clue on MORN was tough (27A: Even's counterpart). But then all of a sudden the NW was done and while I blanked on the Superman clue at first, a very lucky stab at ARMOR (28A: It's hard to penetrate) gave me the "M" I needed to see ANDROMEDA. I then tentatively wrote in GALAXY, which either ALDO (39A: Ray in pictures) or AGGIE (41A: Cat's-eye alternative) confirmed. ANDROMEDA GALAXY! (8D: Locale of Krypton in the Superman saga) - very hot. Much hotter than ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (32A: Big draw of early Broadway), a grid-spanning answer I've seen fairly recently. Not that that "Z" isn't lovely.
Edgar Allan Poe, who turned 200 recently, I hear, makes a splashy appearance in the grid today with his seldom-seen poem "EL DORADO" (34D: Poe poem about a knight's lifelong quest). Like its neighbor IDEOGRAM (33D: "No smoking" symbol, e.g.), I pieced it together before I'd even glanced at the clue. BRAVO, WADER! (53A: Indication of a job well done + 58A: Crane, e.g.) I have never read said poem. I don't know if I've even heard of it before just now. I have read many ODES (37D: Expressions of praise) and many a PAEAN (10A: Expression of praise), so that helped. Other related words in the puzzle are DELL (26D: Hollow) and GLENS (31A: Out-of-the-way places). In fact, I refused to put in DELL at first because my brain said "DELL's already in the puzzle." But my brain was thinking of GLENS. I was going to put in DULL for 26D, but UDIE seemed an improbable name for a Desperate Housewife (29A: "Desperate Housewives" housewife -> EDIE).
That NE corner was the only part of the puzzle that offered any resistance. I had MUSEO at 10D: Madrid's _____ del Prado (Paseo) and never questioned it until I couldn't make the top two Acrosses up there work. Just as UDIE seemed improbable, so too did a flavor of brandy starting with "U." Turned out to be plain old APPLE (16A: Flavor of Calvados brandy). I knew that 12D: Series kickoff was "something I" (as in "Part I"), but it wasn't 'til I changed BAD to SAD (22A: Wretched) that EPISODE I came into view. I assume that's generic, because EPISODE I of "Star Wars" kicked off nothing and is best forgotten. I go about as far as the EWOKs with "Star Wars" and then I jump ship (43A: Furry sci-fi figure).
- 20A: Potential sucker (rube) - fantastic clue. I went looking for some kind of insect. I like this definition of "sucker" much more.
- 40A: Dispensary stock, for short (meds) - wife is currently on Vicodin for giant hole she has in her mouth where a tooth with rotting nerves used to be. Root canal next week. It's OK that I tell people this stuff, right honey?
- 51A: Small dabbler (teal) - I think crosswords taught me this meaning of "dabble"
- 47A: Self-starter's equipment? (bootstraps) - again, just great
- 52A: Grinder in an Italian restaurant (dente) - I assume this is Italian for "tooth"
- 61A: Merrie Melodies regular (Sylvester) - funny, I just did a puzzle with "I TAW" in it, as in "I tawt I TAW a pwutty cat!"
- 2D: Thick-skinned fruit (pomelo) - never seen one. If my grocery store carries them, I haven't noticed.
- 13D: 1955 A.L. batting champ (Al Kaline) - I was think it was somebody KLINE, but I realize the name I was trying to retrieve was a completely different Al - AL ROSEN. He was never A.L. batting champ, but he won the A.L. MVP award in 1953.
- 25D: City liberated during the Battle of Kursk (Orel) - in the puzzle recently, so no problem. I think I had the -REL before I ever saw the clue.
- 31D: _____ Worm (1980s light-up toy) (Glo) - what else was it going to be? A worm that lights up is a ... and now switch to commercial spelling, and you've got ...
- 32D: Victoria Falls forms part of its border (Zimbabwe) - I was thinking UGANDA, but that's wrong. And doesn't fit. The other country involved is Zambia.
- 56D: Person in the fourth grade: Abbr. (Cpl) - I assume that's a military grade, and that CPL = corporal.
I'm off to somewhere near the Canadian border for the weekend. I assume they have internet access there, so nothing should change, blog-wise.
Signed, Captain Rex Parker, Clone of Crossworld (that's for Ben)