Even more certain: Lat. — TUESDAY, Jul. 21 2009 — Anglo-Saxon laborer / Diacritical squiggle / Old-time Norwegian skating sensation
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
For a still stronger reason; all the more.
[Latin : ā, ab, from + fortiōrī, ablative of fortior, stronger.]-----
This one feels a day late and a dollar short — moon landing anniversary was yesterday, and L.A. Times ran its own somewhat more elaborate tribute puzzle yesterday — but I guess it's not terribly surprising to see the NYT engaging in a bit of self-love, building the puzzle around its own headline rather than the event itself. What's odd is that the first two theme answers relate to the Times coverage, but the third and fourth (the message left on the moon) don't. But since today is the anniverary of the day the astronauts left the moon, I guess the left-behind message ties in that way. It's a very straight tribute; no tricks or bells or whistles. It's well constructed enough, but pretty blah for an NYT puzzle.
I would have rated this straight-up EASY, but A FORTIORI is so not-Tuesday that I figured many people would wrestle with it at least a tiny bit, and so I jacked up the difficult rating a notch. No real trouble in this puzzle except not knowing the moon message straight away. Needed several crosses to start in on it, and then I wrote WE COME IN PEACE. Knew EDINO was not a word, so I worked it out. Also had MENKIND at first because I opted for the STELE spelling of the inscribed pillar (39D). Valid, but (in this case) wrong.
Moon message should have read: WE GOT HERE FIRST. SUCK IT, RUSSIA.
- 20A: New York Times headline of 7/21/69 ("Men Walk On Moon")
- 28A: Subject of a photo beneath 20-Across (Neil Armstrong)
- 45A: With 55-Across, message left by 28-Across for future explorers ("We Came in Peace / For All Mankind")
The spice in this puzzle was the long Downs. TALK BACK has the lovely pair of "K"s, and DOPAMINE adds to the pleasures of the lower half (38D: Pleasure-associated neurotransmitter). Those pleasures include ORGY (56D: Bacchanalian revelry) and Jim ROCKFORD (36D: 1970s James Garner title role). I have been engaged in many a ROCKFORD ORGY, as I enjoy putting on my Season 1 DVDs and watching old eps two and three at a time. He's my TV detective hero. The SE corner gave me less pleasure, not because there's anything wrong with it, but because I couldn't round the corner off of TAINTED very easily. Wanted to run through the T-, E-, and D- Acrosses, 1-2-3, but couldn't come up with anything for T---- at 61A: Diacritical mark (tilde) or D---- at 67A: Opportunities, metaphorically (doors). Went to the Down crosses and worked it out. These little hesitations (and horrendous typing) are what separate me from the real speed solvers.
- 1A: Almost half of U.S. immigrants in 1840 (Irish) — what do you call it when you look at a clue, think "I don't know that," move on to next clue, and in the middle of reading, the answer to the previous clue suddenly comes to you. Well, that happened here.
- 5D: Whom Hamlet calls "A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards / Hast ta'en with equal thanks" (Horatio) — Nothing sadder than an elided "K."
- 16A: Console used with the game Halo (XBOX) — You can play on PCs/Macs as well. Halo is a massively popular first-person shooter game, a trilogy that has sold around 25 million copies and spawned spin-off games, comics, novels, etc. Really, it's huge. I feel like Halo (and gaming in general) also might mark the very dark cultural dividing line between me (Gen X) and the generations behind me. I have no purchase on modern gaming. At all. By the time it became big business, I was already an adult who had learned to waste his free time on other things. I know enough about playing video games as a kid to know that they are a rabbit hole from which I would Never, Ever emerge. A time evaporator of the highest order. I don't think I can touch the stuff, because I'm pretty sure I would never get anything done or see my family ever again. Part of me is curious ... but part of me is curious about heroin, too.
- 22A: Letters that please angels (SRO) — "angels" back shows with $$$. Thus, they like seeing Standing Room Only signs, bec. they equal success. I learned this meaning of "angels" from xwords.
- 33D: Old-time Norwegian skating sensation (Henie) — lots of vowels make her very common.
- 10D: _____ 67 (onetime Montreal event) (Expo) — I went to EXPO '86 in Vancouver. I bought a commemorative Swatch watch there. That was the week Andrew and Fergie got married. Both the watch and that marriage are no more.
- 13D: Stores for G.I.'s (PXs) — I like this. Can't remember seeing it in a puzzle before.
- 58D: D.E.A. seizure, maybe (kilo) — DEA is what I entered first at 25A: 1988 Dennis Quaid/Meg Ryan movie ("D.O.A.").
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]