THURSDAY, Apr. 2, 2009 - BE Quigley (Vaudeville brother born Milton / Palate-raising response / Snake's bioweapon)
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Excited, eccentric, or crazy, especially in reaction to something: “Movies invariably get wiggy when they deal with adultery” (Ty Burr). (answers.com)
This puzzle is another crazy Scrabbly "what's the theme?" creation from BEQ. The last one we saw from him in the NYT was, I think, the "INGQ" puzzle where people had a hard time deciding if there was a theme or just repeated letter strings or what. The grid was so wonderful that the bizarre "theme" hardly mattered. Here, all theme answers go from G to X. It's got me wondering if I'm missing something frightfully clever. Maybe you don't need any more than shared first and last letters when your grid is this original. There are so many high-end letters and so many colloquial and fresh terms that I didn't miss having a conventional theme. I can even put up with nutso made-up words like ALE KEG (23D: Pub container) and HAYING (5D: Harvesting for fodder) and END MEN (49D: Minstrel show figures) and the only slightly less made-up XYLENE when the payoff is this strong throughout. Best answer of the day, and appropriate one given my dog's condition: GAG REFLEX (47A: Palate-raising response). I was trying to find my palate and raise it - I guess that *is* what happens when you gag. Can't say I ever thought of it before. [Palate-raising response] sounds almost culinary. The answer ... does not.
- 17A: Co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons (Gary Gygax)
- 30A: French auto race (Grand Prix)
- 39A: Trademarked brand of waterproof fabric (Goretex)
- 47A: Palate-raising response (gag reflex)
- 61A: Vaudeville brother born Milton (Gummo Marx)
- 11D: Levy at a BP or 69-Across station (gasoline tax)
- 24D: Thirtysomethings (Generation X)
Toughest one of these, for me, was GUMMO MARX, both because of "brother" but no last name and because I know the MARX Brothers from movies, not Vaudeville. No matter. I got it from crosses OK. Worst time was, ironically, the tiny little NW corner, where nothing was making sense - where, in fact, GARY GYGAX came as a relief after trying to make that 3x3 section work. Thought 1A: Yeshiva student (Jew) would be specific, some word I didn't know, so I left it and went for CUP and then MUG at 1D: Water holder. This gave me ME- for the Yeshiva clue, and the Down, 3D: Drug _____, did not clearly say WAR to me, though that's the only thing that made any kind of sense. Briefly thought the puzzle was a rebus and that the answer was [TS]AR or [CZ]AR or something. Left the Yeshiva answer as MEW until the very end. The "J" for JUG / JEW was the last thing to fall. The second-to-last: that "T" in GAT (61D: Bit of "hardware") and TENSE (70A: Ex-lax?). Had to do a little alphabet run-through.
- 19A: N.B.A. star point guard Kidd (Jason) - gimme. Even though BEQ puzzles often torture me, in some ways I am very much on his level. We seem to have major overlap in basic cultural knowledge. This helped with CBGB (4D: Old N.Y.C. club said to be the birthplace of punk) and WIGGY (9A: Crazy excited) and AKEEM (67A: Eddie Murphy's role in "Coming to America") and maybe some other answers I'm not seeing right now. Oh, DRE, for sure (31D: "Forgot About _____" (2000 Grammy-winning rap song)). Reprise (profanity and adult content alert):
- 53A: Snake's bioweapon (fang) - hot clue
- 37D: Michelangelo sculpture on a biblical subject (Moses) - really, not HOSEA. Damn.
- 50D: Annual event that includes motocross (X Games) - this answer appears with odd frequency. Initial "X" answers are hard to come by, I guess.
- 62D: HI-strung instrument? (uke) - saved my rear end in the SE. God bless the "K".
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld