TUESDAY, May 26 2009 - M Nothnagel (Title planet in 2001 Kevin Spacey movie / On/off surrounder / Romans preceder)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Relative difficulty: Easy/Medium
THEME: SWAP / MEET (1A: With 67-Across, an appropriate title for this puzzle?) - four theme answers all begin with words that are synonyms for "SWAP"
Word of the Day: MANSE (42A: Stately home) - n.
- A cleric's house and land, especially the residence of a Presbyterian minister.
- A large stately residence.
- Archaic. The dwellings belonging to a householder.
[Middle English manss, a manor house, from Medieval Latin mānsa, a dwelling, from Latin, feminine past participle of manēre, to dwell, remain.] (answers.com)
- 17A: Where to learn a vocation (TRADE school)
- 28A: Basis for a moneyless economy (BARTER system)
- 44A: Two dollars per pound, say (EXCHANGE rate)
- 58A: "On/off" surrounder (SWITCH plate) - I really like this answer
The long Downs in the NE and SW are both appealing - DOT MATRIX is an old-fashioned tech answer that gets you the nice terminal "X" (10D: Early printer type) and NANCY DREW is an old-fashioned hero of children's literature (35D: Character who first appeared in "The Secret of the Old Clock") who makes a nice full-name companion for the other children's entertainment figure in the puzzle, BILL NYE (9D: TV's Science Guy). I always like it when names and phrases that usually donate only parts of themselves to the puzzle show up in all their full-name finery. Lots of pop cultural names today, most of them easily gettable, I would imagine. There's some nice juxtaposition in the NE, with Tony DANZA (26A: "Who's the Boss?" co-star) starring on Broadway as Willy LOMAN (has he done that?) (22A: Fictional salesman Willy). And then there's the fabulous double juxtaposition involved in the placement of Thom YORKE. First, he's on the same line with NEW AGE (48A: Yanni's music genre), which is hilarious and deeply ironic, as his music is about as un-NEW AGE, as un-Yanni, as I can imagine (despite the fact that both share a certain penchant for electronic manipulation of sound). Then there's my favorite bit of juxtaposition, which is the placement of YORKE over DID OK (52A: Got a C, say). Thom YORKE's group, Radiohead, put out an album several years ago called "OK COMPUTER," and so, in a way, Thom YORKE DID OK. Well, it amused me, anyway. Unlike K-PAX, which, despite its great, Scrabbly letters, is somehow revolting (34D: Title planet in a 2001 Kevin Spacey movie).
- 21A: Ornery sort (cuss) - I believe I learned this word from "National Lampoon's Vacation," when Chevy Chase is trying to ham it up with the barkeep at a touristy Old West saloon. Calls barkeep an "ornery CUSS." And it degenerates from there, until eventually he's just calling him nonsense names ...
National Lampoon's Vacation Original Theatrical Trailer
Uploaded by RandySsavage - Full seasons and entire episodes online.
- 24A: "Remington _____" of 1980s TV ("Steele") - is RNC Chairman Michael too fresh?
- 1D: Spanish counterparts of mlles. (srtas.) - ugly abbrev. compounded in its ugliness by having an almost-as-ugly abbrev. in the clue. Speaking of ugly abbrevs., see also ATHS. (6D: Sports players: Abbr.).
- 43A: When some morning news programs begin (six a.m.) - odd, if true, clue. Love quirky little two-part fill in this puzzle: SIX A.M., DID OK, GOT ME (50D: "Dunno").
- 39D: Like dungeons, typically (dank) - the "typically" part made me laugh out loud. Like most people would have any idea (beyond fiction) what a "typical" dungeon was like. "Yeah, you know how dungeons are these days ..."
- 55D: Romans preceder (Acts) - I'm including this only because of my affection for "preceder" as a word. Only in crossword clues...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. And now a plug for the recent creative endeavors of occasional Rex Parker commenter (and stand-in) and overall good guy Wade Williams. He's been busy.