1974 Sutherland/Gould spoof - THURSDAY, Apr. 9, 2009 - Blindauer and Orbach (English artist John whos buried at St Pauls Cathedral)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy/Medium
THEME: Adding "OZ" - 6 theme answers are familiar phrases to which "OZ" has been added, creating wacky phrases which are then clued, "?"-style. Theme tied together by 65A: Contented sighs (and a homophonic hint to this puzzle's theme) (AAHS)
Word of the Day: CAROM - n.
- A collision followed by a rebound.
- A shot in billiards in which the cue ball successively strikes two other balls. Also called billiard.
- A similar shot in a related game, such as pool.
v., -omed, -om·ing, -oms. v.intr.
- To collide and rebound; glance: The car caromed off the guardrail into the ditch.
- To make a carom, as in billiards.
To cause to carom.
[Short for carambole, a stroke at billiards, from French, a billiard ball, from Spanish carambola, a stroke at billiards, perhaps from Portuguese, carambola. See carambola.] (answers.com)Two great things about this theme - phrases are amusing and Z's are plentiful. The whole letter/sound disparity was throwing me off for a while. The homophone AAHS has nothing to do with the theme answers - that sound is found precisely nowhere in the theme answers. It's a homophone of the abbreviation for Australia (or fictional L. Frank Baum land) OZ, but it's the letters (not the sound made by) "OZ" that are added to the phrases to make the theme answers. That bouncing in and out of the realm of homophony makes the whole thing feel a bit confused, though maybe it was supposed to add difficulty. I see that you've got JUDY Garland up there in the NW (1A: Garland native to Minnesota), symmetrical with AAHS, so clearly (clearly?) the intended reference was to the "Wizard of Oz," a sweet frame of reference which is nicely undercut by the anti-Toto, CUJO (24D: 1981 Stephen King novel), and OZZY Osbourne (52D: Black Sabbath singer, to fans). Two more bonus "OZ"s can be found at A TO Z (25D: Complete), OOZE (61A: Move like molasses).
- 17A: Nickname for a dwarfish piano player? (mini Mozart) - from "mini-mart"
- 19A: Sleeping cave denizen? (dozing bat) - from "dingbat" (intersecting DITZ! 3D: Scatterbrain - perfect)
- 31A: Pickled pub quiz winner? (boozy wonder) - from "Boy Wonder" (another name for Robin)
- 40A: Ships carrying a smelly gas? (ozone liners) - from "one-liners"
- 51A: Comfy kids? (cozy young) - from Red Sox great "Cy Young"
- 57A: Pride of 12? (lion's dozen) - from "lion's den"
For some reason, when I opened the puzzle, the cursor (I solve using AcrossLite software - easily downloadable via the NYT puzzle site) was on the clue for NORAS (23A: Comic Dunn and others), which I knew instantly, and so I started the puzzle there. Went up into the NE, and once I uncovered NOVA, immediately jumped to SCOTIA at the bottom of the puzzle and started in there (9A: With 46-Down, site of Cape Breton Island). I had AAHS before I had any other theme answer (hence the sound/letter confusion I spoke of above). If any place in this puzzle is going to bite you, it's probably up top. I thought LUNA was toughly clued (6D: Counterpart of Apollo), if only because no one talks about her and Apollo's such a big deal. CRIB was craftily clued (5D: Mobile home?) - "Mobile" in a "?" clue has me thinking Alabama at first. Even the RUBE clue had potential pitfalls, as "sucker" is a clue word that can skew in a few directions (14A: Potential sucker). Next door, NAZARENE (9D: Early Christian convert) did not come quickly; until I got the "Z," that is. Then, no problem. Z's can be very clarifying.
- 21A: "First Blood" hero John (Rambo) - helped me solve my A/O dilemma at 12D: High in the Sierra Madre? (alto)
- 64A: 1974 Sutherland/Gould spoof ("Spys") - never seen it, though I love both actors. Thought briefly it might have a wacky (spoofy?) Z-spelling, i.e. "SPYZ."
- 37D: People with this don't go out for very long (insomnia) - knew I would be in the realm of unconsciousness, but for some reason went looking for a drug.
- 26D: Ashcroft's predecessor (Reno) - Was she any relation to Mike RENO of Loverboy fame? (any excuse to play an early 80s music video):
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
Donna Levin has a tacky puzzle in today's LAT. That's not an insult. Do it. You'll see. Write-up here.