FRIDAY, Jun 5 2009 — 1912 headline name / Billy the Kid used one for his nickname / Part of backwoods mix-up
Friday, June 5, 2009
A beginning or introductory part, especially of a speech or treatise.
[Latin, from exōrdīrī, to begin : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex– + ōrdīrī, to begin.] (answers.com)
What's most impressive here is not impressive at all — that is, the fill is astonishingly smooth, with hardly any clunkers in the lot. Real words and phrases, actual, identifiable people (yes, for today, I'm willing to extend that concept even to whoever CRISS Angel is — 45A: Street magician _____ Angel) [correction: after further review, it has been decided that EDA Reiss Merin (34D: _____ Reiss Merin, babysitter player in "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead") does not, in fact, qualify as an actual, identifiable person. The movie's star, crossword puzzle fan Christina Applegate, would have qualified]. MISTUNE is an apt word today, as it's the only answer in the grid that sounds bad to me (40D: Make a B instead of an A?). And I don't think it's so bad. I realized when I woke up this morning that the grid-spanning fifteens look a bit like crossing railroad tracks, which kind of adds life and interest to the central Across answer RAIL HEADS (35A: Termini). And the NORTH in NORTHEAST points due north (21D: One between two cardinals?). And there are two head doctors (FRASIER and Erich FROMM — 23A: Psychoanalyst Fromm). And ASCETIC (36D: Like some monks) and MINSTER (1A: Important church) are related in that MINSTERS were historically often monasteries, i.e. homes to monks. And ... and "ONE LOVE" (15A: Bob Marley classic) is a great, feel-good song:
- 26A: It may be worn on a sneaker (tread) — I only just this second got the sense of "worn" here. I was going to complain that no one thinks "hey, I think I'll wear a TREAD on my sneaker this morning." But "worn" here of course means "worn down from frequent use."
- 28A: Phnom Penh cash (riel) - wanted BAHT, but that's THAI.
- 31A: Works in the Uffizi (arte) - Italian for ART. Nice (somewhat) ambiguous use of "works" here.
- 32A: Poorhouse bedding (straw mattresses) - the first long answer I got, though STRAW came well before MATTRESSES, I think.
- 50A: It may begin with an exordium (oration) - in retrospect, I don't know why this was hard for me to see, but it was. For --ATION, all I could think of was K-RATION. Seemed unlikely that a K-RATION would contain an "exordium."
- 59A: Pole position or pool position (lane one) - clever clue
- 1D: They deliver (mothers) - not, as you might have suspected, DOMINO'S.
- 9D: Jane Rochester's maiden name (Eyre) - a very useful gimme in the NE. Helped me get EYEHOLE very quickly (16A: It lets you see who's calling).
- 27D: Part of a backwoods mix-up (rassler) - love it. Maybe my favorite clue/answer pairing of the day.
- 37D: Subway rider during rush hour, metaphorically (sardine) - only phrase I could come up with at first was STRAP-HANGER.
- 52D: North African harbor site (Oran) - a place I know of only from crosswords
- 55D: Bad _____, Mich, (seat of Huron County) - lived in Mich. for eight years and couldn't come up with this. Considered ASS.
My write-up of today's LAT puzzle is here.