SATURDAY May 2 2009 - P Collins (Walrus-skin boats / 1847 novel involving mutiny / Family in Upton Sinclairs Oil! / Manx relative)
Friday, May 1, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: TRIPLE CROWN (23A: It comprises the 10-Down, 34-Across and a third part found elsewhere in the grid) - 10D = BELMONT, 34A = PREAKNESS, and "elsewhere in the grid" (running diagonally from the NW to the SE corner) = KENTUCKY DERBY
Bonus theme answers at 48A: One that bets are on (The Favorite) and 39D: One with a stake in 48-Across, say (breeder)
Word of the Day: CANONRY - n., pl. -ries.
- The office or dignity of a canon.
- Canons considered as a group.
This one was so much easier than yesterday's puzzle that the only reason for the discrepancy must be the fact that this puzzle was timed to come out on Derby Day. The only parts of the puzzle that caused me any hesitation were the NE and SW corners. In the NE, couldn't remember the last letter of LPN (18A: I.C.U. figure) and CANONRY (12D: Church office) is a word I've never seen. In the SW, I had FAN FAVORITE instead of THE FAVORITE, with resulting chaos. Also had TOE where EAR belonged (63A: Tarsus : foot :: incus : _____). Couldn't place the Shakespeare quotation, and had something -IO and then OTHELLO in there before OPHELIA came to mind (38D: "O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!" speaker, in Shakespeare). Not familiar with REES (53A: Roger of stage and screen), though "ANNIE" was a piece of cake (29A: Musical with the song "It's the Hard-Knock Life").
[The following rap video (Jay-Z's "Annie"-related breakout hit from 1998) features profanity, so if that kind of stuff bothers you, Don't Press Play]
Lots of literariness today - quotiness in particular. On top of the OPHELIA quote, we've got a Keats quote (21D: Withhold no atom's atom _____ die": Keats => "OR I"), and then a reference to the lyrics of a Springsteen song (4D: One of two cars besides a Cadellac named in Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac" => SUBARU) - had the terminal "U" i place when I read the clue to that last one, so even if I hadn't known the song (which I did), it was no problem. The other car? A HONDA.
The most obscure literature clue of the day was 44D: Family in Upton Sinclair's "Oil!" (Rosses) - wanted EWINGS, but that's another piece of "literature" entirely.
Things I didn't know included 57A: _____ the Stockbroker on "The Howard Stern Show" (Sal), 50D: Denver's _____ University (Regis), and 23D: The Little Flower of Jesus (Theresa). Oh, and of course the aforementioned CANONRY. RAINER I pulled out of my xword bag of tricks (28A: Best Actress winner for "The Great Ziegfeld," 1936) ... or my xword Chest of TOYS, whichever metaphor you prefer (62A: Chest contents).
- 1A: Grunt site (sty) - wrote it in immediately. Then wrote in YARN immediately (3D: Ball material). This is when I knew something was off with the puzzle. The whole NW went down in flames in about 15 seconds. Even OKRA came easily (13A: Vegetable sometimes grown as a flower).
- 14A: Walrus-skin boats (umiaks) - blew my mind when I first saw it, and now I think of it is ordinary (even though this is probably only the fourth or fifth time I've ever seen it in a grid).
- 17A: Mafia runners (bag men) - great phrase! I imagine the BAG MEN making their getaway in UMIAKS.
- 37A: Bit of autumn decoration (cob) - I really don't like this word. All -OB words are iffy, but this one puts me off the most. No idea why. Maybe it's just the shape and look of a corn COB. I love sweet corn, but if I had to look at a COB as a "decoration," I think I'd vomit. Or redecorate. That's probably easier.
- 21A: 1847 novel involving a mutiny ("OMOO") - seriously, on Saturday?
- 24D: Manx relative (Erse) - ditto
- 7D: Actress Veronica of "Hill Street Blues" (Hamel) - forgot her name, but it came back.
- 47D: Public transportation to New York's Yankee Stadium (D Train) - Oh, New York's Yankee Stadium. Thanks for clarifying. I might have confused it with New Delhi's Yankee Stadium.
- 30D: Quote the raven? (caw) - awesome. Easy, but awesome.
- 31D: River to the Volga (Oka) - where they eat much OKRA. I assume.
- 15D: Spain's Victoria Eugenia, familiarly (Ena) - more common crosswordy stuff.
- 2D: Subject of Article III Section 3 of the Constitution (treason) - I wish I could say I knew this right off.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld