Curved high-back bench - SUNDAY, Jun. 14 2009— One-named Brazilian soccer star / Suspected spy celebrated 1949 trial / Sexual Honesty compiler
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "D-Plus" — "D" sound is added to familiar two-word phrases, resulting in wacky new phrases (all of which require significant respelling, in addition to the added "D"). New phrases are clued "?"-style.
Word of the Day: MAOTAI (11D: Strong Chinese liquor) —n.
A clear, very strong Chinese liquor distilled from sorghum.
[After Mao-Tai, a town of Guizhou province, China.] (answers.com)
- 23A: Make necklace baubles? (DO PENDANTS) - from "do penance"
- 25A: Hip lineages? (COOL BREEDS) - from "cool breeze"
- 39A: Tonto's pep? (SIDEKICK ENERGY) - from "psychic energy"
- 50A: Gave Grey Poupon to the head of the table? (PASSED MUSTARD) - from "passed muster"
- 66A: Greediest person on Long Island? (AMITYVILLE HOARDER) - from "Amityville Horror" (great marquee answer)
- 85A: Spotted feline's home? (LEOPARD COLONY) - from "leper colony" (don't see leprosy in the puzzle much ...)
- 94A: Like residential mail? (HOUSE-ADDRESSED) - from "house arrest"
- 114A: Certain Colorado headgear? (BOULDER HAT) - from "bowler hat"
- 116A: Bamboozle Eisenhower? (SNOW DWIGHT) - from "Snow White"
My favorite non-theme answers of the day were (in no particular order):
- ALGER HISS (79D: Suspected spy in a celebrated 1949 trial)
- PAPER LOSS (3D: Unrealized hit taken on an investment)
- TOO FAR (60D: How cringe-making humor might go)
Aside from the NARA / MAOTAI crossing, only two other places in the grid offered a threat of breakdown. I had to surround the DOTH/OTTO crossing completely before I got it. I live just an hour from Syracuse and somehow still didn't know that damned orange was named OTTO (64A: _____ the Orange (Syracuse University mascot)), and the clue on DOTH fooled me completely, as I had no idea what was meant by "auxiliary" (53D: Obsolete auxiliary). I was thinking of "Ladies Auxiliary," whatever that is, and considered the possibility that DOTH was an acronym. You know ... D.O.T.H. = Daughters of the Huns? They're "obsolete," right? Turns out DOTH is a simple, obsolete auxiliary verb. Bah! NARTHEX! Speaking of nutty "X"-containing words, EXEDRA (96D: Curved high-back bench)!? Wow. That "X" was the last letter I entered into the grid. Don't know how often an "X" is the last letter entered, but I doubt very often. Thank god the crossing EXP made some kind of sense to me (101A: Food pkg. abbr.).
- 1A: 1982 best seller subtitled "And Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality," with "The" (G-Spot) — Very Quigley. Goes nicely with HITE (111A: "Sexual Honesty" compiler).
- 20A: Repetitive cry while waving a hand ("Me, me!") — I wonder if this originally had a different clue. MEME is a pretty common internet-related term now.
- 22A: Japanese import since 1986 (Acura) — had HONDA at first and thought "... that can't be right."
- 79A: Three-time A.L. M.V.P., informally (A-Rod) — He has helped the Yankees to compile an 0-8 record against the Red Sox so far this year.
- 103A: Atlantic Division cagers (Raptors) — ah, "cagers." Where have you been? I feel like I haven't seen you since 1992. Good times.
- 9D: 1987 Costner role (Ness) — played Elliot NESS in "The Untouchables"
- 17D: One of the Planeten (Erde) — this made no sense to me at first. Then I remembered that ERDE is one of six or so German words I know. Means "Earth."
- 34D: Infomercial cutter (Ginsu) — ads for these were a staple of my childhood.
- 63D: Hangar 18 contents, supposedly (ETs) — a hangar at Wright-Patterson AFB that allegedly holds evidence from the Roswell UFO incident.
- 70D: Dad's rival (A and W) — ampersandwich. Last time the NYT used this clue, I think the answer was BARQ'S.
- 86D: O. Henry-winning author Tillie (Olsen) — one of many authors on my mother's bookshelves whose names I know but whom I never read.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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