SATURDAY, Feb. 14, 2009 - J Krozel (Bygone emporium / 1941 Disney film based on a Kenneth Grahame story / Cousin of a greenwing)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
THEME: none (that I can see)
Word of the Day: YURT - a circular, domed, portable tent used by nomadic peoples of centr
al Asia (answers.com)
Due to my straitened computer circumstances, today's grid is stolen from another crossword website. I hereby take an OATH (45A: It's taken in court) that I was able to finish today's puzzle unassisted (though I just had a long conversation with my professional fact-checker host about what the hell "ONEC" is).
Pardon me while I go to Amy's site to find out what the ##$ "ON EC" or "ONE-C" stands for. I have been Googling variations for minutes now, looked in one military dictionary, and can't find squat. "1C?" "ONEC?" Well, Amy has it parsed as "ONE-C" and says it's totally unfamiliar to her. I've never not been able to Google an answer in the puzzle, or even confirm the existence of an answer. Very weird. I actually considered ONYC in that space because OGRY seemed a semi-fine answer to 57A: Fee-faw-fum (ogre). "Look out, it's the horrible Fee-faw-fum!" No, that is not scary.
I really like 53A: "Tell me more ..." ("Please, go on") because it could also have been clued as ["Kindly discontinue your pummeling of me, thug"]
This puzzle was relatively easy because once you make a minor dent in a 15-letter answer, you can do a lot of damage quickly. I came down out of the NW and threw the first two 15-letter Acrosses down instantly. The third one started out as ROLL OVER ... and then GROUND became clear, so I just waited out the middle until ROLL ON THE GROUND became clear (38A: What some dogs and flaming daredevils do). Despite the "daredevil" part of the clue, I am still imagining burn victims trying to keep from dying. Unpleasant. Kind of being killed by some guy who was driving into ONCOMING TRAFFIC (37A: Bad thing to drive into). It's got a morbid middle, this puzzle.
In the end, the trickiest parts of the puzzle were, not surprisingly, the tiny nooks in the NE and SW. I was watching them out of the corner of my eye the whole time, dreading the moment I'd have to crawl in there and see what puzzle-imploding surprises were waiting for me. Despite an incorrect initial guess of SAP at 8D: Autumn arrival (nip), I did OK up there. Strangely, NO MSG (8A: Notice in a restaurant), which was probably hard for some folks to parse, was the answer that finally cleaned that corner out and got me to change SAP to NIP. Good ol' reliable SNIT was a great help as well (11D: Tizzy). Educatedly guessed the "PARIS" part of "I LOVE PARIS" (18A: "Can-Can" song). Never heard of "IRENE" (16A: 1973 musical for which George S. Irving won a Tony for Best Actor). Wanted "ANNIE." But merciful crosses took care of me.
Then there was the SW, my last stand and the only time when solving the puzzle that I truly came to a halt. I was sure that when I threw PLEASE GO ON in there, I would be done instantly. SLY came quickly (54D: Apt to trick), but then, nothing much. In retrospect, I should have nailed OATH right away, but I didn't (45A: It's taken in court). Coincidentall, NO MSG's symmetrical counterpart, DALLY, was the miracle answer down there (59A: Do nothing worthwhile). My success with DALLY illustrates the power of the Scrabbly letters, and shows why I tend to work crosses where high-value letters sit first. "Y" isn't terribly remarkable in a terminal position, but here it was enough. Higher-value letters tend to dramatically reduce answer possibilities. If I've got a bank of four-letter words to fill in, and all of their last letters are in place, and two of those are "E"s and the other is a "Z" - it's obvious what clue I'm looking at first. [/unrequested lesson]
- 1A: Unpleasant face covering (egg) - surely someone uses EGG in some facial treatment, somewhere
- 4A: "O Fortuna" composer (Orff) - I always want to make him ORFE, insofar as I want to make him anything
- 15A: Fifth-century pope called "The Great" (Leo I) - first thing in the grid. I don't know What that says about me. I almost feel sad.
- 22A: Member of a NATO land since 2004 (Lett) - this blog helps me, too, sometimes. Conversation about this word several weeks ago made this easy to uncover
- 26A: Old Mideast org. (UAR) - if it's not "old," it might be UAE
- 27A: A long one is 12% "longer" than a short one (ton) - can something you don't really know be a gimme. If so, here's an example. "Knew" it before I'd even seen how many letters the answer had.
- 28A: Emulate a woman, in "I Am Woman" (roar) - HA ha. Great clue.
- 32A: Aggressive guarding option (man-to-man defense) - glad this didn't involved "enhanced interrogation"
- 42A: Plasma alternatives, briefly (CRTs) - one of those abbrev's I always forget like LRT or LST or CTN or just tons of other crap
- 51A: Added power (soup) - mmm, soup
- 55A: Coin with twelve stars on both the front and back (euro) - as far as I'm concerned, the EURO is like Maine, in that I have never seen it and take its existence on faith.
- 61A: Surprise winner of 1948: Abbr. (HST) - one of the few things that seem like flat-out gimmes in this puzzle
- 4D: Number between scenes (olio) - NOT familiar with this definition. I was imagining someone throwing sticks of margarine at the audience - then I realized I was thinking of the wrong OLIO / OLEO.
- 5D: 1941 Disney film based on a Kenneth Grahame story, with "The" ("Reluctant Dragon") - never seen it. Grahame wrote "Wind in the Willows"
- 6D: They're sold in oversize rolls (foot-long hotdogs) - I had HOAGIES
- 7D: Bygone emporium (five-and-ten store) - I think "five-and-dime" is more familiar. Not that this answer is wrong / bad. It's lovely.
- 32D: Third baseman Melvin (Mora) - he's second-tier baseball crosswordese. First tier = ALOU
- 35D: Tiny fraction of a foot-pound (erg) - ERG and NSEC (60A: Miniscule part of a 34-Down) are in my crossword utility belt. Luckily, I don't really have to know how to define them in order to be able to use them.
- 36D: F on a physics exam (farad) - back-to-back physics answers. Daring.
- 42D: 1969 Omar Sharif title role (Che) - learned it from xwords
- 44D: Nomadic dwellings (yurts) - there was a ... cafe? hangout? man, I don't even know what it was ... called "The Yurt" at a neighboring college known for its belief that every year is 1967, man. Ironically, my sister went there, and she is the furthest thing from hippie you can imagine, short of Gordon G. Liddy. Well, way short of Liddy, to be fair to her.
- 45D: Piece of punditry (Op-Ed) - one of my four-letter nemeses. I routinely have trouble parsing it.
- 46D: Book of Mormon's longest book (Alma) - had no idea
- 47D: Cousin of a greenwing (teal) - first thing I wanted, and I know virtually nothing about birds
- 52D: Blog bit (post) - this one is over
Signed (from Plattsburgh), Rex Parker, King of Crossworld