Jewish parchment scrolls put on doorposts - FRIDAY, Jun. 19 2009 — Mythical Aegean Sea dweller / What "you can't hide" per a 1975 Eagles hit
Friday, June 19, 2009
Constructor: David Levinson Wilk
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
Word of the Day: NEREUS (8D: Mythical Aegean Sea dweller) — Greek sea god. The son of Pontus (a personification of the sea) and Gaea, he was noted for his gift of prophecy and his ability to change his shape. He lived at the bottom of the sea with his daughters, the Nereids. Heracles wrestled with him in a variety of shapes in order to gain his advice about recovering the golden apples of the Hesperides. (Brit. Concise Encyc.)
A toughish puzzle with mostly beautiful corners and only a few icky smallish answers. I ended up with an error (ZOO! - 18A: Where the wild things are? - I mean BOO!): had CPD and PINETA, figuring CPD was just some military abbrev. I'd never heard of (not uncommon). I got former secretary of transportation Norman MINETA (46D: 2001-06 secretary of transportation) confused with former Clinton Chief of Staff and current C.I.A. director Leon PANETTA, partly because of their shared Clinton lineage and partly because, come on, MINETAPANETTAMINETAPANETTA. They sound a lot alike. Glad to know now how to spell PANETTA's name.
I bumbled around the puzzle at first — right off the bat I went for ADIOS AMIGOS at 1A: South-of-the-border sign-off (hasta mañana). That didn't work. "Babette's Feast" is a movie to me, so I had no idea who the author was (and when I found out who it was, the spelling, ugh — I hate few authorial names more than I do that of misspelled ISAK weak-voweled DINESEN, 15A: "Babette's Feast" author, 1950). Finally got ZOO and then, tentatively, MEZUZAHS (12D: Jewish parchment scrolls put on doorposts), but I don't trust my spelling (clearly) or my knowledge of things Jewish very much, so I was very tentative there, and it didn't help me at all. Put in AIR / TAXI with no help, which is odd since I'd never heard the term until I saw it in a crossword (56A: With 41-Across, it makes short hops). The real puzzle-opener came, finally, at 24D: What "you can't hide" per a 1975 Eagles hit ("Lyin' Eyes"). Along with Neil Diamond, Bread, and America, the Eagles were one of the musical groups on heaviest rotation in my childhood home. That Eagles Greatest Hits album got Worn Out.
Gotta wrap things up quickly this a.m. — besides the MINETA / PINETA debacle, I didn't get eaten up by my own ignorance too much today. Never heard of SANTEE (3D: South Carolina river to the Atlantic); is that a famous river? When I googled it, some place in CA came up. Then I added [river] to the search. ECASH is never ever welcome (52A: Direct deposits, e.g.). Just hate it. I knew about the NEREIDS, but don't remember ever learning about their dad, NEREUS. I knew ANDREAS without having any idea how (7D: Two-time Greek P.M. Papandreou). I've heard of Hedy LAMARR (44D: Strange woman player in "The Strange Woman," 1946), but not that movie. Biggest groan of the day was for the clue on ERR (16A: Cause an interception, e.g.). Only a total non-sports fan could imagine that that is OK. If I cause an interception, I am a defensive lineman playing very well. I tipped the ball or hit the quarter back as he was throwing, and I am happy because I am on the team that "intercepted" the ball. Is this clue referring to the quarterback? You throw an interception; you don't "cause" an interception by throwing the ball to the wrong guy. Bah. Narthex!
- 25A: Speaks about gravely? (eulogizes) — loved it. Also loved 35A: Present day demand? ("OPEN IT!") and 40D: Shout to someone in danger of getting stuck ("OLE!"). Never thought I would love OLE in a puzzle.
- 28A: "Miss Pym Disposes" mystery novelist (Tey) — mystery novelist in three letters, esp. with a prissy title like that, clearly TEY.
- 42A: Horse-pulled vehicle (dray) — makes me think more of donkeys, for some reason.
- 43A: First name of two first ladies (Ellen) — can you name them? I can't. ELLEN Wilson and ELLEN Arthur (as in Chester A!).
- 48A: Actor who said "Only the gentle are ever really strong" (James Dean) — so EMO. Didn't know he said this, but by the time I saw the clue the answer was obvious.
- 53A: Earthy deposit (marl) — I have a strange affection for this word.
- 57A: 1950 movie on which the musical "Applause" is based ("All About Eve") — ah musicals, I know nothing about you. Love this movie, though. PROTEGEE! (13D: She has a personal trainer).
- 61A: Verdi's "_____ giardin del bello" ("nei") — had DEI, but then remembered Italian's odd (to me) for of "in the"
- 62A: Setting of many New Yorker cartoons (Pearly Gates) — I believe this is what they call "red meat."
- 9D: Civil-rights leader _____ Philip Randolph (Asa) — no idea.
- 22D: Contents of a cylindrical case (lipstick) — great. Threw me for way too long, even with "TI-K" in place.
- 49D: Straighten (up) (shape) — had SHORE, ugh.
Follow me on Twitter ... and look for a Father's Day last-minute gift idea update later in the day.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS My write-up of today's LA Times puzzle is here.