Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Relative difficulty: insultingly easy.
THEME: Hidden crosswordese entries – four entries with old standby fill entries in the middle of other entries: (EDS, ADO, RYA and ZEAL).
Word of the day: ARIL – n. an exterior covering or appendage of some seeds (as of the yew) that develops after fertilization as an outgrowth from the ovule stalk
[probably from New Latin arillus]
I blew through this one fast, but once again, I did it on paper and forgot to time myself. If it wasn't for the fact I was also helping my wife out do some preliminary work on her W-2 while I was solving this, I probably would have broke the 4:30 mark. Seemed especially easy considering that many of the clues were older-than-dirt riddles that I've heard time and time again. 47A: From what animals do we get catgut? is a perfect example. Everybody and their brother knows the answer is SHEEP, duh. I mean, are they trying to be cute here? Probably a few too many of those types of clues in this puzzle, now that I'm thinking about it. Nice to see The "L.A. Crossword Confidential" uber-blogger Amy Reynaldo, a.k.a. ORANGE (3D: What color is the black box in a commercial jet?) make a cameo. And Lord knows anybody who's seen my March Madness brackets knows I know enough NCAA trivia to tell you that there's ELEVEN (49D: How many colleges are in the Big Ten?) Big Ten teams. I suspect Ed, Paula and Will were trying out some new kind of cluing, but the jury's still out on this, um, “innovation.”
- 18A: Where was the Battle of Bunker Hill fought? (breEDShill) – I have a “I fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirt
- 37A: In what country are Panama hats made? (ecuADOr) – Never been
- 41A: What is George Eliot's given name? (maRYAnn) – who?
- 59A: From what country do Chinese gooseberries come? (newZEALand) – never been there either, but speaking of China, check out this outrageous Chinese dating game show.
Broke in immediately with ALL SIZES (40D: Nobody too big or too small, on a sign). As they say, there's a fat kid in every group and if you don't know who he is, it's because it's you. Seeing as I was the fat kid, this one was a gimme. I worked my way over to the SE corner saying hi to old friends Ogden NASH (57D: He wrote “If called by a panther, / don't anther”) and EMILIO (46D: Actor Estevez). I would have preferred it to be former to be former two-time NBA MVP Steve NASH, maybe had the Suns won a title things would be different. Had SIDE B for a while instead of SIDE A (65A: Deejay's interest, typically). Most of my DJ friends wouldn't touch the A-side and would definitely prefer the eski/grime/dubstep/what-you-call-it remix that would be on the flip side. Typical to what? Wedding receptions? So that slowed me down a bit. I even did talk myself into RDBS for a while instead of RDAS (58D: Nutritional amounts). Recommended Daily Breads? Butters? Burritos?
But one section that didn't slow me down at all was the SE. Aside from the aforementioned ELEVEN, TILDE (55A: Part of Sao Paulo) offered little resistance, as I'm sure most solvers will put down the old standby TIETE river. I also didn't fall for the HIDEHI (48D: Cab Calloway phrase) trap versus the more common entry HIDEHO, but I was having a Vulcan mind meld with Ed, Paula and Will on this one. Nothing was going to stop me.
Almost everything at the top seemed pretty-much by the numbers. I AM NOT (2D: “You are so!” preceder), CHEAPO (8D: For next to nothing, in slang), and MAHOGANY (10D: Reddish brown) were all gimmes, and when you're writing down all those letters in the long entries, the rest fell quick. Even Hieronymous BOSCH (5A: “Ship of Fools” painter) didn't pose much of a challenge. Then again, I did take a Renaissance Painters art appreciation class, but I got docked a couple of grades for pronouncing Titian with the second T hard. Titty-an. Oh man. What a class. Anyway, here's World Party singing “Ship of Fools":
- 12A: Slate, e.g (emag) Great timely entry. I can't wait till I stop calling this a blog and start calling it an e-mag. Can I tweet that? Have you followed me on Twitter yet?
- 43A: Queens's ___ Stadium (ashe) Is this where the Mets are moving to?
- 6D: Bruins' retired 4 (orr) I really wanted Joe CRONIN. I had the right retired number and the right city, but mixed my Boston sports teams up.
- 9D: Brick carriers (hods) We just bought an 18” hod at Home Depot. It'll be great for when we're building the outdoors kiln this summer.
- 11D: Clay, today (ali) This one still makes me laugh, even after the millionth time of running that clue. You see, his name was Cassius Clay. Get it? I think L. L. Cool J even referenced that in “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Brilliant.
- 19D: ___ Na Na (sha) that SHA WASHO crossing was a bit on the brutal side (22A: California Indian tribe: Var.).
- 26D: “M*A*S*H” star (alda) Never heard of him or the show. Apparently his first name is Allen.
- 41D: Fraction of a tick: Abbr. (msec) Had PSEC for an m-sec (hah) then I realized my mistake. Course the "psec" is short for psectarilaneriam, which we all know is the dorsal part of the bloodsucking insect. Which is why this is a great clue. I was thinking entomology, but instead, it's about time. Anybody know what the “M” in m-sec stands for anyway?
- 36D: 1974 Mecedades hit (eres tu) There's this cool software that allows you to change MP3s into ringtones so whenever I get around to figuring that one out, this is going to be my first ringtone.
Brendan Emmett Quigley
(Oh, were you expecting Rex? He's over at my site)
P.S. Festive LA Times puzzle today - Rex's write-up here.
PPS NYT puzzle featured on "Jeopardy" tonight. Do not watch unless you want your Thursday puzzle spoiled. Maybe you can TiVo / TiFaux / DVR it