Water that moves you sloganeer - SATURDAY, May 30 2009 - M Ginsberg (Shimon's predecessor / Gate-breaching bomb / Polynesian libation)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: a dozen Z's (not really a theme, just a fact)
Word of the Day: WOLD (48A: Chain of treeless rolling hills) - n.
1. an upland plain: a region without woods
2. an open hill or rolling region (Webster's 3rd Intl)
This felt way harder than it ended up being (my time was right in the medium range, maybe a little bit under). At some point I realized that the constructor was probably trying to go for some kind of Z record, and maybe that made things easier, or maybe that was just an annoying distraction - I don't know. As soon as I sense the puzzle getting gimmicky (esp. a themeless), I tend to start losing my love for it. Today's held up OK, but man there was a Ton of stuff I didn't know, and a good dozen answers that I think might send people scrambling for Google today:
- JACUZZI (16A: "Water that moves you" sloganeer) - familiar word, not a familiar slogan
- FITCH (13D: Clyde _____, "Beau Brummell" playwright, 1890) - there's a name I've never heard and will start to forget right ... now.
- YITZHAK (19A: Shimon's predecessor) - Rabin should be a familiar name to people, but how to spell that first name .... I guessed right on the first try, somehow.
- BAUM (22A: "Mother Goose in Prose" author, 1897) - a clue where seeing the date made all the difference. People know BAUM from "The Wizard of Oz" (beautiful new adaptation out from Marvel Comics, btw). Four letters, children's author, late 19c. ... first thing I guessed - and it gave me the "B" I needed to get JOJOBAS! (1D: Southwestern shrubs yielding a cosmetic oil)
- POMATUM (25D: Fragrant hair dressing) - what in the wold!? ... POMADE goes in hair. JOJOBA goes in hair (it's in some shampoos). POMATUM must be Latin for POMADE. I like it better backwards, as MUTAMOP - the mop that transforms into, let's say, a robot.
- GIRO (54D: Big name in cycling helmets) - for all I know, this is the brand of *my* helmet. The name just isn't familiar
- FOURS (29A: All _____ (card game)) - kinky
- 1A: Response to "Is anyone else here?" ("Just me!") - for some reason the first answer that came to mind was "JUST US." This helped by giving me SHELTER, which was wrong (the answer was SECLUDE - 3D: Screen), but which gave me the "L" I needed for OWL (18A: Nighttime noisemaker), which gave me UNAWARE (2D: Not with it), etc.
- 14A: Sports star who wrote the 2008 best seller "A Champion's Mind" (Sampras) - weird how quickly he's fallen out of my mind since his retirement. My mom always says he reminds her of me (I'm tall with dark hair and I used to play tennis). She's got Very rose-colored glasses when it comes to her son.
- 21A: Sucker, quickly (vac) - "quickly" for "abbr." always throws me. "Say it faster!"
- 36A: Polynesian libation (kava) - came to me out of nowhere. I know there is a plant called KAVA. Or KAVA KAVA (used as a sleep aid, perhaps).
- 61A: Ancient Roman writer of comedies (Terence) - never read one, but his name is familiar
- 5D: Tangled and interwoven (mazy) - MAZY is a mouse, as far as I'm concerned. Last night at Pizzeria UNO'S, Sahra did the maze, then every puzzle on the placemat, then insisted that we each color in our own surfboards (placemat provided many blank outlines). She's on the verge of being a puzzle person, but I do *not* want to push her (caught her watching me solve over my shoulder the other night ... then realized I was solving Crasswords - puzzles by the best constructors around, but with a twist: explicit sexual content. I was torn between wanting her to share in my passion and not wanting her to ask what the cryptic clue [Cock is inserted into pussy to make something creamy] meant - turns out the "pussy" and the "something creamy" are both very innocent; the "cock," not so much).
- 7D: Believer advocating universal brotherhood (Bahai) - always get it confused with B'NAI!
- 38D: Staple of norther Italy (polenta) - part of the super easy SW. The Z's from PIZZAZZ helped that whole quadrant go down fast.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld