Part of a big 1997 merger - SUNDAY, April 19, 2009 — Will Nediger (Ungulate with a long snout / Epic that includes Teichoscopia / Filmdom's Scott)
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Relative Difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: EXTRA! EXTRA! - theme answers are common phrases where "OT" has been added somewhere to create wacky phrases, which are then clued, ?-style.
Hey, SethG here again. The Parker family's flight back from Costa Rica was really really late, so Rex is sleeping right now [I'm awake now - my comments start after Seth's, below]. Here's some quick notes, but I'm sure I missed a bunch so feel free to bring it up in the comments.
- (22A: Spoiling one's vote?) WRECKING BALL(OT). Doesn't this need an article?
- (32A: Computer monitor at the center of attention?) SP(OT)LIT SCREEN.
- (47A: Child's toy in the shape of a Shakespeare character?) (OT)HELLO DOLLY. Awesome.
- (64A: Headline about an economics conference?) JOHN MAYNARD KEYN(OT)ES. Who is John Maynard, and why is he giving speeches?
- (84A: Booster for a king?) ROYAL FLU SH(OT). Awesome, but the first one to have the OT change the number of words in the phrase.
- (97A: Dark ottoman?) BLACK FO(OT)REST.
- (109A: Put five musicians on display?) TR(OT) OUT QUINTET. Doesn't this need an article? The other one that changed the number of words. I didn't know the Trout Quintet, which made the New Mexico corner harder than it should have been.
- (18A: 2000 Santana hit) is MARIA MARIA. Enjoy!
- (16D: Bit of cuneiform) for WEDGE confused me. The first dictionary definition: "Having the shape of a wedge". Oh.
- ORGY is a (7D: Liberal party?). Well, my dictionary offers "lacking moral restraint" as a minor (and obsolete) meaning of "liberal", so I guess it's okay. For some of you, if you're not eating breakfast. Others would have had your breakfast upset by the shooting SPREE (90A: Word with shooting or shopping) or the mention of NUDITY (37D: Reason for an R rating) or the KEOGH (75: Retirement plan).
- (5D: The Aare flows into it) is LAKE BIEL. Just when I'd memorized my Swiss rivers and cantons, like URI (111D: William Tell's canton), they want me to start on the Swiss Lakes region...
- An ANNO has (19D: 52 settimane). Plus one giorno, two in a leap year.
- If one can SMIRCH (13D: Tarnish) and besmirch, may one desmirch?
- (32D: Titan's home) is a SILO when the Titan is a liquid-fueled, strategic, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
- I was unfamiliar with the SALISH (38A: Northwest Indian) Tribe. They're affiliated(?) with the Kootenai, which I had heard of, and their current home is in Northwest Montana.
- Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink ;
Water, water, every where,
NOR (63A: "... ___ any drop to drink": Coleridge)
-The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
- NYNEX, which was made up of former AT&T subsidiaries New York Telephone Company and New England Telephone, was (118A: Part of a big 1997 merger) when it was acquired by Bell Atlantic. Later, Bell Atlantic bought G, no GTE, to form Verizon Communications. More info can be found here.
Signed, SethG, Royal Vizier of CrossWorld
Buenos dias. Rex here. I am returned from Costa Rica, and I have the (very) odd patches of sunburn to prove it - left upper arm, top of left foot, and inside of right lower calf. Not sure how I pulled that off, but a boat ride to Tortuga Island and snorkeling and general lolling around the beach were all involved. On the beach, I met one of these, which I initially thought was a TAPIR (14D: Ungulate with a long snout):
It's actually a peccary - a pig-like beast native to the Americas. It was being kept as a pet (!), but there were a herd of wild ones very nearby, and the pet kept going out and making threatening noises at the wild ones, and then returning and rubbing against my legs like it was a cat. Weird/adorable. Wikipedia says peccaries cannot be domesticated. Huh ... good to know. Now. It sure acted like a house pet. Glad I still have all my fingers - that thing had some serious tusks.
As to the puzzle: Seth is right - not all liberals have orgies. Just some. Maybe the clue is referring to an ORGY of government spending (right-wing snap!). Apparently Seth finds SEGNO so common as to be beneath acknowledgment, but not me (106A: Musical repetition mark). That "S" was the last letter I filled in. STEP is a bafflingly banal answer for so daunting a clue as 106D: Algorithm part. I read just yesterday about an algorithm that was developed to better predict the likelihood that someone entering the hospital with chest pain is in fact having a heart attack - it's one of many amazing anecdotes in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink," which many of you probably read back when it first came out. "Blink" was my airport book. Despite the fact that I had one more book left to get through before getting home, I bought an airport book just ... because. I love it. I love getting a book with a clearly defined window of reading time - the flight I'm about to take. I also like that airports tend to have selections far smaller than my local Barnes & Noble. I'm an over-deliberator, so having little choice is a liberating thing for me. My last airport book was "Revolutionary Road," which is one of the greatest novels I've ever read, and "Blink" was a great pleasure as well, so I'm two for two this year. Other books I read on this trip - all of them highly recommended - were:
- "Supreme Courtship" by Christopher Buckley - my idea of beach reading: fast, fluid, funny, and smart
- "20th-Century Boys" (Vol. 1) by Naoki Urasawa - fantastic epic by one of Japan's greatest living manga artists
- "Flight" by Sherman Alexie - coming-of-age story meets time travel story meets meditation on the consequences of violence and revenge. As my wife (who also read it) said, with a "how'd he do that?" tone in her voice: "His writing deals with such weighty stuff, but it feels so light." It's true. Breezy and substantial - not an easy combo to pull off.
- "The Hot Rock" by Donald Westlake - the first of the Dortmunder caper novels. I would call it a real gem, but ... it's about an emerald, so ... that would be a horrible pun. But Westlake is very much worth reading, as I'm pretty sure I've said before.
I'm also 1/3 of the way through "Appointment in Samarra" by John O'Hara.
And back to the puzzle. I had no idea AC/DC had done anything chart-worthy of late, but today's puzzle ... I want to say enlightened me, but again ... is that a pun? AC/DC => electricity => "enlightened?" I fear it is (43A: Australian band with the 2008 #1 album "Black Ice"). Other pop culture worth knowing in this puzzle includes the reigning ELI of the moment, ELI Roth (54A: Horror film director Roth) - suck on that, Wallach! Your day in the sun's over, Manning! Then there's the reliably mortal KENNY (25A: Often -killed "South Park" character) and "Alien" director RIDLEY Scott (96A: Filmdom's Scott)
101D: Facetious suffix with most), though the only time I remember hearing the word used is in the phrase "the hostess with the mostest," and I can't at all remember what the context was. Internet tells me that phrase was used in reference to famed "party-giver" and socialite Elsa Maxwell. According to this website:
Elsa Maxwell's parties were noted both for her chic guests and for the novelties she devised to keep them amused. She ’s invented the "scavenger hunt," for example, a party game which swept to popularity in the 1930s. And she was fond of costume parties, often requiring her males and female guests to wear costumes of the opposite gender.
I have never been to STOWE, but I know of it from xwords (13A: It's near Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak). New England skiing destinations tend to be minor stumpers for a lot of solvers. Didn't OKEMO take some folks down a few weeks back?
We stayed at the RAMADA (57A: Red Roof rival) in San Jose on our last nights in Costa Rica. Nice, but clearly in a state of benign neglect and suffering massively from the depression in the tourist market, the effects of which we noticed everywhere we went. I've never seen "Nixon in China," but this clue made me think "Obama in Central America" might make a nice OPERA title. His visit was by far the biggest news item down there. No COCA where we were (9D: Chewed stimulant) - just papayas and howler monkeys.
75D: Sport with a bamboo sword). Also had no idea who this TED guy is (114D: J.F.K. aide Sorenson).
Thought the theme was just OK, though ROYAL FLU SHOT is inspired.