TUESDAY, Feb. 10, 2009 - J. Underwood (Operatic movement circa 1900 / Leandro's partner in a Mancinelli opera / Outlander in Hawaii)
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: National Blank - 12 different Across answers are clued as National adjective + blank, e.g. 1A: Turkish _____, 5A: Dutch _____, etc.
Word of the Day: VERISMO - An artistic movement of the late 19th century, originating in Italy and influential especially in grand opera, marked by the use of rural characters and common, everyday themes often treated in a melodramatic manner. (answers.com)
First things first - I humbly beg whoever flagged this blog as "objectionable" to unflag it. And please, in the future, if you are genuinely offended by anything I post, let me know (email is right there, on the right), as I have no desire to offend people. This is a crossword blog that is currently being treated like a porn blog, and while my traffic might go through the roof because, you know, people like porn, I just want to make the blog as easily accessible to crossword solvers as possible. There are some solvers who are not going to understand this warning (trust me) and are not going to want to click through. Hell, I don't know that I'd click through such a warning - who knows what's waiting for you on the other side? I just want the "Objectionable Content" warning gone as soon as possible, and anyone who can help me achieve this will have my undying gratitude (that's worth something, right?). If I can't get the Flag removed in the very near future, you can expect a change of address. [I've been "unlisted" by Blogger, which means I've virtually disappeared from Google search results and even if you search [rex parker], though my site is listed first, it's titled "Objectionable Content Warning" ... grrr. I see a move to WordPress in my future.]
[UPDATE - problem seems to be fixed. No idea where credit is due yet, but I'll distribute said credit tomorrow. Sigh. Thanks to everyone who offered support of any kind]
This puzzle was hard for a Tuesday. Oh, my time...
Solving time: 5:10 (on paper)
OK, so there is not theme in the grid. That is to say, the only way you can see the theme is by looking at the clues. You could never identify the theme simply by looking at the grid. So there was not the usual assistance you might get on a Tuesday from identifying the theme. This explains some of the difficulty. Then there's the "Bush" clue in the NW, which bugged me no end, first because ... "Bush," really? And second, you or I or anyone could call up many pictures of people who today, right now, sport some version of the AFRO (14A: Bush not seen much nowadays). The other speed bumps for me today were as follows:
- Wrote in BEATS where ROUTS was supposed to go (6D: Licks soundly)
- Wrote in EROO where AROO was supposed to go (27A: Buck's tail?) - I make this mistake with AROO every time
- Blanked on TEL (47A: Hill, in Haifa) - turns out, I was looking for LOD at first. Interestingly, LOD is just 15km southeast of TEL Aviv
- Could not bring myself to write in VILIFIER (40D: Slanderer)
- Only the dimmest memories of every having seen NINON (63A: Sturdy chiffon) - had NYLON for a few seconds
- Thought 52D: Hindu wise one (swami) ended in an A and honestly considered (for a split second) LLAMA...
- IANA? IA-NO... (61A: Collector's suffix) - that one hurts
- VERISMO? VERIS-NO... (51A: Operatic movement circa 1900) - never ever ever etc. heard of it
I don't know what would have happened if some other obscurish stuff hadn't been easy for me, e.g. "THE CROW" (9D: Brandon Lee's last movie). Oh, and I wrote in ALDO very tentatively, having never been asked to think about Gucci's first name before (29D: Fashion designer Gucci). Even my buddy ERNE seemed harder than usual today (7D: White-tailed eagle). I don't have very strong feelings about the puzzle - I just strongly feel that it is tougher than your avg. Tuesday. But then Tuesday is so loopy that I don't even know what "Avg. Tuesday" means, frankly. Does everyone know HAOLE (23D: Outlander in Hawaii)? It's not freakishly odd, but it's not an everyday word, either (unless you live in Hawaii).
- 1A: Turkish _____ (bath) - wanted DELIGHT (too many Narnia books)
- 5A: Dutch _____ (treat) - is this a national slur? Like ... the Dutch are cheap, so they won't pay for your dinner?
- 20A: Russian _____ (roulette) - Reminds me of "Deer Hunter"
- 22A: Swiss _____ (cheese) - wanted MISS (as in COCOA - 34D: Apres-ski drink)
- 34A: Australian _____ (crawl) - wanted OUTBACK
- 35A: American _____ (elm) - wanted GIGOLO
- 41A: Italian _____ (ice)
- 42A: Canadian _____ (bacon)
- 55A: Danish _____ (pastry)
- 57A: Portuguese _____ (man of war) - wife and I both wanted the Irish spelling, MAN O'WAR
- 66A: French _____ (toast) - wanted BREAD, which is close
- 67A: Spanish _____ (rice) - wanted MAIN ... that's something, right?
- 19A: Superheroes battling the evil Magneto (X-Men) - starting "Watchmen" today with my Comics class. It's indescribably good. What would the world look like, realistically, if masked heroes existed? Well, for one, Nixon would apparently still be president in 1986...
- 25A: Military pooh-bahs (brass) - "pooh-bah" is one of those great words that survives almost exclusively in captivity (i.e. crossword clues). It's a word I learned from "The Flintstones," I think.
- 26A: Preceders of xis (nus) - "Preceders!" Another klassic kluing word.
- 28A: Cap with a pompom (tam) - clue looks at first and second and many other glances like [Cap with a popcorn]
- 59A: Appetite stimulant (aroma) - thought this would be a drug. Some AROMAs do Not stimulate my appetite at all.
- 65A: Ivan or Feodor (tsar) - Ivan, sure; Feodor? He's new to me.
- 8D: Takeoff and landing overseers: Abbr. (ATC) - as in Air Traffic Control, not an abbr. I can recall ever seeing in the grid.
- 11D: Locale for a pioneer family (homestead) - "Locale" - again with the klassic kluing words. Did you know HOMESTEAD anagrams to SOME DEATH? and DO THE SAME? It's true.
- 21D: Part of the Australian coat of arms (emu) - can't decided if this is sad or comical
- 33D: Convertible (sleep sofa) - I know I've made this comment before, but I always hear it as SLEEPER SOFA ...
- 43D: Tiny marcher (army ant) - this one was a prayer off the initial "AR..." Elton John did not sing about a tiny marcher, that I know of:
- 48D: Leandro's partner in a Mancinelli opera (Ero) - I knew this, but come on. That's kind of obscure, right? I mean, for a Tuesday? Ugh, the phrase "for a Tuesday" no longer has any meaning to me!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld