SUNDAY, Mar. 29, 2009 - E Gorski ("Bertha" composer / Gunwale pin / Pester for payment / Hook-shaped parts of brains)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Architectural Drawing" - Let's see ... a rebus puzzle where the letters "ET" are crammed into nine different squares throughout the grid; those letters are the initials of EIFFEL TOWER, which the rebus squares are arranged to look like (if you connect them together with a pen/pencil after you're done); "ET" also stands for the French word "AND," which is technically a "conjunction" but is referred to here as a FRENCH CONNECTION, which is a movie that has very little to do with France, but whatever; another movie, "AN AMERICAN IN PARIS," provides the subject for the rest of the theme answers - we are supposed to imagine this hypothetical American (not the "American" of the movie proper) wandering around Paris consuming distinctly French things from the various wine, coffee, and pastry shops. There's a big MINT PATTY in the middle of all this, but I don't think that has anything to do with the theme. The end.
Word of the Day: HEGIRA -
- A flight to escape danger.
- also Hegira The flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D., marking the beginning of the Muslim era. (answers.com)
- 26A: 1951 Oscar-winning film whose title suggests a visitor to the 118-Across ("An American in Paris")
- 45A: Wine enjoyed by 26-Across, maybe (Chateau Lafite)
- 67A: 1971 Oscar-winning film whose title is hinted at nine times in this grid ("The French Connection")
- 118A: Landmark inaugurated 3/31/1889 whose shape is suggested by nine squares in this puzzle's completed grid (Eiffel Tower)
- 52D: Morning refreshment for 26-Across? (cafe au lait)
- 55D: Napoleon's place, frequented by 26-Across? (patisserie) - a "Napoleon" is a French pastry, but you knew that
In other news, HEGIRAS / GOA / AAA would have destroyed me not much earlier in my solving career. HEGIRAS sounds only vaguely like a word I've heard before (46D: Long flights), and if I hadn't learned GOA from puzzles (57A: India's smallest state), that "G" could easily have been a "J" or even some other random letter. I don't really understand the clue at 73A: Fine rating (AAA). Is "fine" an adjective? If something is "fine," it is triple-A? With two A's in place already, I figured the last letter had to be an A as well. And so I escaped (HEGIRA'd?) unharmed.
Of all the rebus squares, I love E-TickET the most (74A: Modern traveler's purchase)
- 21A: 1986 self-titled album whose cover was Andy Warhol's last work ("ArETha") - I thought this was the one with "Freeway of Love" on it, but that was "Who's Zoomin' Who?" "ARETHA" had the duet with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
- 10D: Insurance giant (AETna)
- 59A: Police dept. employees (dETs.)
- 37D: "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" director, 2007 (LumET)
- 64D: "Rhyme Pays" rapper (IcE-T)
- 65D: Work without _____ (a nET)
- 93A: Chopin's "Butterfly" or "Winter Wind" (ETude)
- 93D: Light (EThereal)
- 94A: Adjust, as a clock (resET)
- 95D: Snow globe holders (ETageres)
- 99A: Bubble over (seEThe)
- 101D: Jazzy Waters (EThel)
- 116A: Beginning (onsET)
- 117D: To be abroad (ETre)
- 121A: Some collars and jackets (ETons)
- 121D: Pins and needles' place (ETui)
- 29A: "Cinderella Man" co-star (Crowe) - I have trouble remembering this guy's name. Wanted ZELLWEGER (!?). Then I wanted GIAMATTI (!!?). I know the cast, and yet never saw the movie.
- 61A: Deuce follower (ad in) - common answer, but that didn't keep me from wanting TREY.
- 82A: How photography books are usually printed (glossily) - that is one ballsy adverb. I am trying to find an instance of its use, but Google keeps insisting that I must mean [glossy photography]. Listen, you stupid machine, I typed what I typed, give me my hits list!?
- 60D: Pester for payment (dun) - to me, "DUN" is a color. Learned this verbal meaning from xwords.
- 87A: Gunwale pin (thole) - I barely know what "gunwale" is. To me, THOLE is Thomething a Thinner might want to Thave. And yet the word was in my brain somewhere. Perhaps in the UNCI, which I didn't know I had until today (125A: Hook-shaped parts of brains).
- 107A: Geographically named S.U.V. (Tahoe) - Is "Lakeily" a word? If so, I would have preferred that to the more general "geographically"
- 113A: Philosopher Zeno of _____ (Elea) - always, always botch this. I know it's EL... something. And then ELOI and ELAL and ELON get in there and clog up the works.
- 127A: Cousins of zithers (lyres) - I have a student who is a professional zither player. Her name is Cindy. I saw her at the mall last night. And thus concludes today's "Window on My World"
- 5D: Soviet comrade (tovarich) - ?!?!?! Never seen or heard it. Thought it was someone named Tova Rich.
- 15D: "Bertha" composer (Ned Rorem) - normally a puzzle double-threat (you might see either his last or first name in your grid on any day of the week), here we get both barrels.
- 16D: Knitter's stash (skeins) - "stash" - unless you're getting high off the SKEINS, this word seems slightly inapt. [actually, knitters are telling me this is a technical term - perfectly apt]
- 31D: Small drum of India (tabla) - pretty uncommon, though I've seen it before.
- 38D: Andy Capp's wife, and others (Flos) - the only thing I love more than one FLO is multiple FLOS.
- 69D: Comment from over the shoulder, maybe (hint) - I was imagining someone saying something over his own shoulder, at someone he was leaving. If anyone tried to over-the-shoulder HINT me, I would go totally Christina Applegate on them.
- 82D: Verizon forerunner (GTE) - knew this. Don't know why.
- 102D: Fictional elephant (Horton) - nice change of pace from the more common BABAR (though, as a French elephant, BABAR is probably feeling pretty snubbed right now).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS Orange has today's LA Times (LAT) Sunday write-up over at "L.A. Crossword Confidential" - did you know the LAT Sunday puzzle (ed. Rich Norris) doesn't appear in the LAT? They have a completely different Sunday Calendar puzzle. Confusing ... but twice as much puzzle action, which can't be bad.