MONDAY, Mar. 23, 2009 - R Sowell (Longtime Comiskey Park team, informally / Astronaut Shepard or Bean / Psychologist/writer LeShan)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
- of little value: PALTRY, MEASLY
- concerned with trifling matters; petty, narrow, or small-minded in point of view
As a noun, PICAYUNE refers to a Spanish half real piece formerly current in Louisiana and other southern states; also, something very small or of the least value (Webster's 3rd Intl)
A very easy puzzle with a forgettable theme but some great, great fill, especially for a Monday. LOOK MA (38A: Words cried before "No hands!"), it's PICAYUNE. PICAYUNE is dazzling stuff - why can't more early-week puzzles rock crazy-looking (and yet reasonably familiar) fill like that? I mean ... this puzzle is a @#$ing pangram! On a Monday? And it was still a Monday-level puzzle in terms of difficulty (I finished in a fast-for-me 3:06). The Scrabbly stuff didn't feel forced, it just felt entertaining. I'm really, really impressed. Wish the theme did more for me, but on a Monday, I guess I really don't care. I just want the grid to shine, and this one did.
- 20A: Fix part of dinner with lettuce, carrots, peppers, etc. (toss a salad) - the phrase "tossed salad" is forever ... tainted, for me, by a Chris Rock routine wherein he explains what it means to "toss someone's salad" in prison. Lettuce is not involved.
- 10D: Participate on Election Day (cast a vote)
- 36D: Show childish anger (throw a fit)
- 58A: Prepare to camp (pitch a tent)
- 40A: Retail giant selling dog food, birdcages and such (Petco) - where we buy our pet stuff. I don't like their logo, which I have feelings about only because I found myself staring at it for a long time two days ago as the dogs and I waited in the car for my wife to get the dog food. It's mainly the dog's right ear that bothers me - half lame umbrella, half cat-brain probe. See for yourself:
- 21A: Bacon units (strips) - This clue makes me laugh. I don't eat bacon anymore, but I think you all should replace "strips" with "units." Does bacon come in "slabs?" I considered "slabs." I feel like there's another "S" word for bacon units, but I can't think of it.
- 56D: Astronaut Shepard or Bean (Alan) - Bean? I know Orson Bean and Mr. Bean, but not this astronaut. When did he do his astronauting? Hey, he walked on the moon the same month I was born. Cool.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
New blog dedicated to the LA Times puzzle starts today: "L.A. Crossword Confidential." Rotating authors (I'm one of them). Aimed particularly at novice and casual solvers. We'll see what comes of it.