Londonderry lad - SUNDAY, May 10 2009 - P Berry (Stalin named it hero city after WW II / Cacao holders / Fops tops / Unappealing trumpet sound)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "GOLFING AROUND" - golf puns aplenty
Word of the Day: DENEB - n. (81D: Brightest star in Cygnus)
The brightest star in the constellation Cygnus, approximately 1,630 light-years from Earth.
[Arabic danab, tail.]
BLAT (6A: Unappealing trumpet sound) - that is the sound that represents how I generally feel about this puzzle. Don't care about golf, and really don't care for puns. I thought that the Patrick Berryness of it all would somehow be able to overcome both of those handicaps, but in the end it was all just OK for me. I got irked early on by the MAYLE (19A: "A Year in Provence" author) / BARIC (5D: Containing element #56) crossing (could easily have been MOYLE / BORIC as far as I was concerned), and even though I guessed right (MOYLE just sounded too wrong ... wronger than BARIC, in the end), I never regained puzzle love today. If you are a pun-lover, some of these are pretty good, or at least pretty ambitious. NO HOLES BARRED is super-weak, the sandwich / SAND WEDGE pun is old hat, and THE PUTTER FLY EFFECT is just desperate, but WET TEE SHOT CONTESTS is inspired, and FAST FOUR WOOD had me wondering what the pun even was for a few moments ("fast forward") - very clever. Most of the rest of the puzzle was fine Sunday fare. Another crossing at the very end nearly killed me - the last letter I filled in was the BLANCA (89D: Bahia _____, Argentina) / LIPO (95A: Tang dynasty poet) crossing. What are those? Either of those? Why wasn't LIPO clued as a common abbreviation for the fat-sucking procedure?? Bah. Anyway, I liked this about as well as I'm ever going to like a golf pun puzzle. That is the nicest thing I can say today.
- 22A: Where golf bag handlers congregate inside the clubhouse? (caddie corner)
- 26A: Golf clubs tossed into the drink at Pebble Beach? (submarine sand wedges)
- 40A: Tendency to throw one's club after sining a short stroke? (the putter fly effect)
- 63A: Like golf courses that let you play the full 18? (no holes barred)
- 83A: Competitions to see who can drive the ball the farthest in the rain? (wet tee shot contests)
- 101A: Thoroughly undeserved under-par result? (a low down birdie shame)
- 109A: Fairway club swung quickly? (fast four wood)
- 33A: Guerra's opposite (paz) - PAX ... PAI ... PAY ... I knew it was a word for "peace," but I couldn't remember exactly which language.
- 47A: Cookie sold in a blue package (Oreo) - Double Stuf Oreos come in pinkish packages. Or at least they did.
- 53A: Louisiana city on Lake Pontchartrain (Slidell) - the only reason I know this place:
And again, this time with Bruce on guitar ...
And now, "Essence," just because I can:
- 69A: Former Magic player Smith (Otis) - perhaps the most marginal NBA player I've ever seen in a puzzle, especially given how many OTISes there are in the world. Yikes. This guy was never an All-Star, never won any major awards, played only 7 seasons ... what in the world possessed anyone to clue OTIS this way? Mind-boggling.
- 102A: "Ruby Baby" singer, 1963 (Dion) - yay, I remembered that he spelled his name this way, like a clipped version of DIONNE Warwick.
- 59A: Ding-a-ling (jerk) - these two aren't really synonymous any more. A JERK is someone who is deliberately mean, callous, selfish, or otherwise @ssholish. A "ding-a-ling," as far as I know, is just loopy, ditzy, empty-headed, etc.
- 81A: N.F.L. Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1988 (Ditka) - Da Bears were really good back then.
- 119A: _____ Rock (Aussie landmark) (Ayers) - not to be confused with William Ayres ... who has dropped completely off the public radar since Obama won election. AYERS Rock is also known as "ULURU," not to be confused with UHURA from "Star Trek"
- 16D: Stalin named it a "hero city" after WW II (Odessa) - I did not know that
- 49A: Fops' tops (fedoras) - "fop" is all wrong here. I think of a "fop" as a clothes horse, yes, but ... the FEDORA is a "men's middle-class clothing accessory" (wiki), therefore ordinary, not foppish. Gangsters and private dicks wear FEDORAs. Fop schmop.
- 57A: Publishing firm bought by Houghton Mifflin (Harcourt) - yawner of a clue. Since most people are going to have to wait for some crosses to guess this anyway, why not make it more vivid - get a book title in there. Something.
- 92A: Comparative follower (than) - interesting, potentially tricky clue. Might make people look for a word that would follow "comparative" in a familiar phrase
- 118A: Dutch Golden Age painter (Hals) - no idea how I know this guy's name, but I do. "HALS" means "neck" in Middle English (also, apparently, German).
- 7D: Jeff of the Traveling Wilburys (Lynne) - also of ... ELO!
- 5D: "Lou Grant" paper, for short (Trib) - wouldn't this need "with 'the'"? If you are going to clue it as colloquial, then don't you have to account for the answer as it's really uttered by actual human beings. I guessed correctly here. Wasn't hard.
- 65D: Londonderry lad (bucko) - don't get this at all. Is "Bucko" Irish? I had no idea (mainly because I rarely hear anyone say it except ironically / disparagingly)
- 70D: Quebec's official bird (snowy owl) - cool answer. Tintin's dog is named "SNOWY," FYI.
- 85D: Symbols seen on viola music (C clefs) - the [letter] CLEF answer gets you a nice, unlikely run of consonants at the beginning of your answer. Livens things up.
- 98D: Car with a horse collar grille (Edsel) - like OREO, EDSEL comes dressed in its best Sunday clothes (i.e. a fancy trivia clue).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld