MONDAY, Mar. 2, 2009 - L Lempel (Poet Gelett Burgess wrote that he never saw one / Antelope with a hump and twisted horns)
Sunday, March 1, 2009
- A cautious gambler.
- A person regarded as petty or stingy. (answers.com)
This puzzle took me well over five minutes on paper, which means it's far tougher than the average Monday, or I have a massive puzzle hangover from the tournament this past weekend. Or both. Wife just called out from the other room, "Did this seem harder than usual for a Monday?" Yes. Yes it did. PURPLE COW is at the heart of the problem, literally and figuratively. I do not know the poet or poem in question. "One-Eyed One-Horned Giant Purple People Eater," I know. "Purple Rain," I know. "Black Cow," I know. Is this the poem that ends "I'd rather see than be one?" If so, I have "heard" of it. Barely. When I was 9. Maybe. This theme is ... a theme. I am ambivalent about those seven-letter answers in the NE and SW. Love the dual literariness. Don't like that they're so short, and hiding in odd places. They aren't the best known works by either author, by a longshot, so they added to the difficulty level of the puzzle.
- 17A: Inspector Clouseau movie, with "The" ("Pink Panther")
- 35A: Poet Gelett Burgess wrote that he never saw one (purple cow)
- 56A: Lewis Carroll character who's late (White Rabbit)
- 11D: Edgar Allan Poe story, with "The" ("Gold Bug") - two "With 'The'" clues in the theme answers ... ?
- 40D: John Steinbeck book, with "The" ("Red Pony") - three? That's some kind of record. I thought the ideal was to have theme answers be completely self-standing as much as possible. Not so many "With this" or "With that"s.
TRAMP, TROMP, CLOMP, STOMP, STAMP - all those damned words are roughly equivalent in my mind. Today's, TRAMP (6A: Walk with heavy steps), did not come quickly at all, as my Def. 1 of TRAMP has nothing to do with heavy walking. AIR WAR (18D: Combat with fighter-bombers) is the opposite of GROUND WAR, I guess. But do people have AIR WARs any more? Seems very WWI. See also 49D: George M. who composed "Over There" (Cohan). I blanked on BRUCE Lee (31A: Martial arts actor Lee), wanting only ANG. Even now, just now, I actually typed out [31A: Martial arts director Lee] - that's how bad I want ANG. I'm willing to change the clue to make ANG right. I also thought the "gratings" in 26D: Decorative gratings referred to the byproducts of the act of grating, e.g. grated cheese. GRILLES was not on my radar - not for a while, anyway.
- 14A: What a cowboy may use while saying "Giddyup!" (spurs) - nothing about this clue says "plural" to me, so even though I wanted SPURS (off the initial "S"), I didn't write it in at first.
- 16A: Brit. resource for wordsmiths (OED) - O, Ed! Here's a great clue from A Division final puzzle - [In the U.S. and Canada, it starts with O]. 6 letters. The way I just used "O" should probably give you a big hint. Speaking of O, on Puzzle 1 of this weekend's tournament, I briefly refused to believe that we ever had a president whose name started with O. "What president starts with 'O' ... did we have an Irish president that I missed?" That was at 1-Across on Puzzle 1! Thankfully, things mostly got better for me over the course of the weekend. More later.
- 29A: Air that makes you go [cough, cough] (smog) - [Air that makes you cough] seems perfectly adequate. I don't "go [cough, cough]." In fact, I hardly ever "go" anything with a comma in it.
- 53A: Antelope with a hump and twisted horns (eland) - one of crossworld's many antelope species. See also GNU, ORIBI, and ORYX.
- 65A: Rocker Bob with the Silver Bullet Band (Seger) - "Silver Bullet" reminds me of Coors, werewolves, and Bob SEGER, in that order. I will always conflate the spellings of Bob SEGER and Pete SEEGER. Doesn't help that they're both singers.
- 5D: Jock's channel (ESPN) - I am not a "jock" and I watch a Lot of ESPN.
- 35D: Cheapskate (piker) - best word in the grid, by a mile.
- 12D: Its brands include Frito-Lay and Tropicana (Pepsico) - also added to the difficulty level of the puzzle. The fact that all the short Acrosses in the NE there were abbrevs. didn't help.
- 37D: Ninth-inning relief pitcher (closer) - I think I actually said "Always Be Closing" out loud to my wife today. I have no idea why. I so rarely address my wife with quotes from "Glengarry Glen Ross." The more relevant quotation, for today's purposes, is "Coffee is for closers!"(warning: profanity ahead)
I'll do a tournament write-up some time tomorrow. To be brief - I had a blast, the puzzles were uniformly good and occasionally great (shout-out to BEQ and Mike Shenk in particular), the Food Network filmed an episode of "Kitchen: Impossible" around the Awards banquet (Andrea will have stories about that, as she will be featured Heavily in the episode), and the A Finals was about the most exciting non-Red Sox event I've ever attended. It was epic. Highs, lows, failures, and, finally, last-minute success! I (and hundreds of others) literally leapt to our feet and cheered when it ended. I think I actually raised both fists in the air like Rocky. Talk about closers. Congratulations, Tyler.
Oh, one more thing - despite making one comical, colossal error, I somehow managed to improve my ranking to 42. As for the error: apparently there is no such Philippine peak as MOAPO. So sad. I want to start using MOAPO as a word meaning, roughly, "the state of deep regret and shame one feels at having knowingly, consciously, and perhaps even confidently embraced an answer that is, in retrospect, manifestly wrong." Had OARS instead of TARS in the cross. Trust me, it made sense.
Signed, Rex "Moapo" Parker, King of CrossWorld