Computer language in Y2K news - WEDNESDAY, May 27 2009 - C Rubin (Monarch crowned in 1558 Abbr / Left Bank toppers)
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: " ... like a Brit" - familiar (American) expressions have words inside them changed to their British counterparts, creating nonsense phrases, which are then clued, "?"-style
Word of the Day: ELUTE (42A: Extract with a solvent) - tr.v., e·lut·ed, e·lut·ing, e·lutes.
To extract (one material) from another, usually by means of a solvent.
[From Latin ēluere, ēlūt-, to wash out : ē-, ex-, ex- + -luere, to wash.]A cute little Wednesday, though I have one question: Can LORRY be a verb? Or do parts of speech not matter in this little switcheroofest? Not surprisingly, both because it was first and because it was nuts, KEEP ON LORRYIN' took me the longest to get of all the theme answers. In fact, once I got out of the N/NW, it was all pretty smooth, but the start was bumpy enough to keep this at what felt like an average Wednesday level of difficulty. I could make nothing out of 1A: One-two part (jab) at first. Kept thinking of Lawrence Welk's "a-one, and a-two" and boxing never entered the equation. I also don't know my computer languages from my left elbow, and so COBOL took me a few crosses (4D: Computer language in Y2K news). To my (very minor) credit, I had at least heard of COBOL before ... probably from puzzles. I had no idea it had anything to do with Y2K. I remember the Y2K hype very well. No memories of COBOL. Isn't COBOL a planet in the "Battlestar Galactica" universe? Anyway, moving on - the Downs in the N/NW are quite lovely. Really like JACK UP (1D: Hike, as a price), and GO-ROUND (7D: Bout), MIX IT UP (10D: Have a tussle), and IN DRAG (8D: Clad like some Halloween paraders) aren't half-bad either. MUSIC BOX also has its merits - reminds me of the song "MUSIC BOX Dancer," which somehow, for reasons that are way beyond my comprehension, charted as a single in the late 70s despite being entirely instrumental and, well ... here, you listen:
Embarrassing fact for the day: I remember, at 9 years old, calling Y94 (local radio station) and requesting "Music Box Dancer" ... and then sitting around listening to the radio, waiting for them to play it. My tastes in music would ... develop.
- 20A: Words of encouragement to a Brit? ("Keep on LORRYin'!") - from "Keep on truckin'"
- 29A: Group of dancing Brits? (conga QUEUE) - from "conga line"
- 46A: British smart-alecks? (wise BLOKES) - from "wise guys"
- 56A: Sleep like a Brit? (catch some ZEDS) - from "catch some z's"
- 2D: Vulcans and Romulans (aliens) - I don't think Vulcans and Romulans are ALIENS if you are on Vulcan or Romulus. I'm just sayin'.
- 19A: Daisy type (oxeye) - I just had to look up how to spell this word. Thought it might be OX [space] EYE, or OX [dash] EYE.
- 53A: Dresden denial (nein) - part of a one-two foreign-word clue alliteration punch, with 58D: Other, in Oaxaca (otro).
- 55A: Wedding memento (video) - now that is a hard clue, in that VIDEO does not leap, or even LIMP (49A: Favor one side, perhaps), to mind. And yet it makes sense.
- 60A: When doubled, a wolf's call (hubba) - I wonder how many people puzzled over the possible sounds that actual wolves make ... OWOOOO (that's my version of a howl)
- 63A: Sacha Baron Cohen character _____ G (Ali) - beware his full name, which looks nuts in the grid: "ALIG? Who the hell calls himself ALIG?"
- 67A: iPhone display unit (pixel) - I guess so. "iPhone" part is quite arbitrary.
- 9D: Bernstein/Sondheim's "_____ Like That" ("A Boy") - no idea. None. Dang, it's from "West Side Story" - I really should see that movie.
- 33D: Leopold's partner in a sensational 1924 trial (Loeb) - do you really need anything after "partner?" What other famous partner did any guy in history named "Leopold" have?
- 45D: Monarch crowned in 1558: Abbr. (Eliz.) - easy, but weird to see her referred to without the familiar "I" after her name.
A few other items of business. One, for those of you who missed my late addition to yesterday's write-up, be sure to check out occasional Rex stand-in and commenter Wade's new song-writing venture ("Nutcraker Buck"). His recent song about Captain Sully Sullenberger is getting press.
Next, crossword-constructing whipper-snapper Natan Last gets a nice write-up in the latest issue of Brown University's Alumni Magazine. Best quote from the interview: "I really like shoving a bunch of cool words into a puzzle." No pretension. Straight to the point. Natan thinks he looks like a "[-----]face" in the accompanying photo, but I think he looks scrappy and impish, like a combination of Jo from "Facts of Life" and Alex P. Keaton from "Family Ties." Anyway, check out the article here.
And lastly, a little literary anecdote. Last night, I was reading "Fat" by Raymond Carver in a used paperback edition of "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?" that I got at a book sale a while back. Carver was my idol as a (very) young man, and I hadn't read him in ages, so I was excited to revisit his stories, especially "Fat," which stuck in my mind like few others. As I read, the pages came loose and fell neatly out of the book, but I didn't think anything of it - after all, it was a used book that I got for virtually nothing. When I finished the story, I flipped the small stack of loose pages over and noticed, for the very first time, the following inscription: "For Pat Wilcox, with my thanks for being here tonight, Ray. Carver 11/10/81" I discover that I own a signed Carver only because the book literally falls apart in my hands. It was tragic and magical all at the same time. Next to his signature, Carver has underlined the date, and just below that, he's written my favorite part of the whole inscription: "Binghamton!" What's weird - Carver would have been here (Binghamton, where I live) visiting, among others, the novelist John Gardner, who taught here for many years. Gardner would die in a motorcycle accident less than a year after Carver's visit.
Since it's already fallen out of the book, I think I'm going to frame that inscribed title page and put it right underneath the framed Ali signature from 1971 that's addressed to me and my mom.
Enjoy your day,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. Hey syndicated readers (i.e. those reading this on Wed., July 1, 2009) — just wanted to alert you to a contest going on at my other blog today through Friday morning, July 3, 2009. Grand prize = three pretty choice books from my vintage paperback collection. Contest should be amusing. I got a panel of guest judges and everything.
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