Milkman of musical fame - WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2009 — Michael Vuolo (Colorful glacial layer / Butchers discards)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Theme: Cutlery — Three phrases (one spanning three entries) include words for dining utensils.
Word of the day: Globalism — an ideology that emphasized the current trend toward international organizations and institutions. (answers.com)
Hello, internet! It's Caleb Madison a.k.a. Calmad a.k.a. Bobby Digital (not at all) here, trying desperately to fill the comedically giant footprints left by Rex. I feel like I need a cool crossword pseudonym. Any suggestions?
On to the puzzle. This puzzle, Will tells me, was the fourth puzzle in the recent Boston Crossword Tournament. Altogether, this puzzle has a lot going for it. Though the two ells framing the center of the grid aren't exactly attractive, they make for some beautiful double 9s in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast. The theme is tight, and spans 61 squares, which is pretty impressive. That's about 1/3 of the usable (as in non-black) squares. Very nice.
I was smiling from square one, when I realized that MGS was clued via Stax's Booker T. instead of the measurement. I have all of those Stax records thanks to a box set purchased by my dad a while ago. When I listen to them, I like to play "Which Rapper Sampled This?"
Nice dancing. Have fun wiping the vaseline off of your teeth!
The only beef I have with this puzzle is the overabundance of 3-letter words. 25, to be exact. That's a lot. Some are fine: KIT (61D: Hobbyist's purchase), PEN (10D: Slammer), ASS (34A: Dolt) … but a lot of them are quite the opposite: INV (27D: Accts. payable receipt), CIE (28D: French bus. firm), OEN (40D: Wine: Prefix), MCI (41A: Co. acquired by Verizon in 2006) and others. The only one of those that was a gimme was OEN, which was an educated guess. The long downs were great, all spanning two theme entries each. "BABYMAKIN'," coincidentally enough, also fits in place of SOUL MUSIC (3D: Barry White's genre). Did that trip anyone else up?
- 17A: Have surgery (GO UNDER THE KNIFE)
- 24A/37A/50A: Privileged (BORN WITH A / SILVER SPOON IN / ONE'S MOUTH) — Very cool how this phrase breaks up so evenly.
- 60A: "Gimme!" ("FORK IT OVER, BUDDY!") — Very colloquial, but is the "buddy" part necessary? I feel like the clue's "Gimme!" could be friendly, while the answer seems like it should be yelled at a timid tourist by an angry New Yorker.
- 4A: San Diego Zoo attractions (pandas) — I had _AN_AS, and since I had never seen San Diego or its zoo, I put in "MANTAS" as in Manta Rays. I changed it when I realized that titto (7D: "Likewise" (DITTO)) was horribly, horribly wrong. I can imagine what titto would mean if it were slang, and I love it / it disgusts me. In retrospect, the movie "Anchorman" should have taught me this answer.
- 26A: Colorful glacier layer (blue ice) — looking at a picture, it doesn't seem so "colorful." It's mostly just different shades of blue. This answer makes me think of "Zoolander" and his Blue Steel. Can't find the exact clip but that whole movie is pretty funny:
- 48A: Designer's starting point (concept) — I got the beginning C, and wrote in "CONTOUR." I figured it was a fashion-y thing to start with, and the first three letters fit. Also, doesn't any creative project start with a concept? Is there something that my shopophobic brain isn't grasping here?
- 56A: Geisha's accessory (fan) — Did anyone else write in "OBI"? I feel like I've been brainwashed to associate anything Japanese with obis.
- 8D: One of the 12 tribes of Israel (Asher) — A much louder, catchier Asher has recently entered the cultural spectrum. My friend Gabriel showed me Asher Roth's song "I Love College" a couple days ago. I recognize its lack of musical talent, but nevertheless, it's an earworm if I ever heard one. I would put the YouTube video up, but it won't allow me to embed it. Here's a picture of him looking hip and collegial. I assume that sweater is an "Animal House" reference. If John Belushi had a baby with Glenn Close, and the baby was reared by a Yuppie and Bart Bass, it would look something like Asher Roth.
- 19A: Fuzzy fruit (kiwi) — Finally! An excuse to post this:
"Flight of the Conchords" — along with "The Wire," "Twin Peaks," "Arrested Development," and "30 Rock" — is one of my favorite TV shows. I'm seeing them in concert, for the second time, later today!
- 23D: "Numb3rs" network (CBS) — I have a love/hate relationship with this show.
- 39D: "Vas ___ Vas" (former derivative Spanish-language game show) (O No) — Ah the lengths Will goes to disguise our girl Yoko! The host of this Telemundo "Deal Or No Deal" spinoff looks like Peter Linklage.
- 49D: Comrade of Mao (Chou) — Mao and Chou sounds like a brand of cat food. Also, the band Manu Chao:
That's it for me. Don't worry: Rex will be back soon.
[Quick Note from PuzzleGirl:]
Got an email from constructor Eric Berlin the other day and thought I would pass along the info to you.
"I wonder if you might let your readers know of an event happening this week that they might enjoy very much. You perhaps know that in addition to constructing crosswords, I write puzzle-filled mysteries for kids. My second novel, 'The Potato Chip Puzzles,' comes out this week, and to celebrate, I'm throwing an online 'puzzle party.' Starting on Thursday, there'll be a puzzle on each of seven different kidlit blogs. Solve the puzzle, submit your answer, and you can win a copy of the new book... or even the grand prize, two dozen different children's books and novels from G.P. Putnam's Sons.I gave Eric's first book to PuzzleSon for Christmas last year and he loved it. We will definitely be checking out the puzzles this week. Thanks, Eric!
Full details here: http://www.winstonbreen.com/puzzleparty.html
I hope to see you and your readers there!"