Title before Sidious or Maul — WEDNESDAY, Jul. 22 2009 — Roger who played same role seven times / Neighbor of Slough
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: SLOPPY JOES (64A: School cafeteria fare ... and a hint to this puzzle's theme) — theme answers are all guys named JOE, but in each case the JOE is rendered "sloppily" (i.e. with the letters in improper order)
Word of the Day: ANUBIS (61A: Egyptian god with the head of a jackal) —
(West Asian mythology)The jackal-headed funerary god of Egypt. Before the rise of Osiris, the other great god of the dead, Anubis was considered the chief deity to whom mortuary prayers were to be made. He acted as the patron of embalming and guardian of the tomb. (answers.com)
A clever Wednesday puzzle that was tough for about the first minute, then got quite easy. Here, catching the theme seems important, if not absolutely necessary. I wonder how long that period between starting and "aha" was for people. I started by throwing down ALEPH (1D: Jewish leader?) and MOORE (2D: Roger who played the same role seven times), but then saw the EO- beginning on 17A and without even looking at the clue, I knew it had to be wrong. I ended up taking everything out of that corner. Tried VITAL at 3D: Paramount. Nothing. Took it out. Tried LOLL at 14A: Just watch TV, say. Nothing. Moved over to next quadrant where I found two juicy gimmes: OXIDE (7D: Nitrous) and ROZ (6D: Cartoonist Chast) — ROZ is, or was at one point, a crossword enthusiast, so it's cool to see her name in the grid, which I don't think happens often (enough). Anyway, all that "X" and "Z" action opened things up, and made JOE FRAZIER the clear answer at 17A: Olympic boxing gold medalist of 1964. As the letter went in around JOE part, I finally realized what was going on. HAD to be ALEPH, so it HAD to be EOJ, so ... JOE is mixed up. Gotcha. Rest of puzzle was a breeze and I still somehow managed to finish in 5 flat.
- 17A: Olympic boxing gold medalist of 1964 (EOJ Frazier)
- 25A: Hero of Super Bowl III (JEO Namath) — my wife claims not to know who this is. Even though she's from NZ and not into sports, I have a really hard time believing her. Me: "But ... he was on the 'Brady Bunch' and everything ..." OK, I didn't say that, but I thought it.
- 30A: 47th U.S. vice president (OJE Biden)
- 45A: Oscar winner of 1990 (OEJ Pesci)
- 51A: Singer on day three of 1969's Woodstock (EJO Cocker) — since when did we start qualifying Woodstock as "1969's Woodstock?" I know there have been other so-called Woodstocks since then, but come on.
Loveliest thing about the theme is its use of every possible anagram of JOE, with no repeats.
I finished the puzzle with the most ridiculous error of inattention. Well, probably not the most ridiculous, but considering I eat one of the answers on a regular basis, at least kind of ridiculous. I had FIJIS and ANIBIS instead of the correct FUJIS (55D: Some apples) and ANUBIS (61A: Egyptian god with the head of a jackal). Since FIJI and FUJI are both legitimate geographical names, I can never ever ever keep the apple name straight. I don't get the actual island of FIJI confused with Mt. FUJI, but somehow, when it comes to the apple, it always feels 6-of-1, half-dozen of the other.
- 1A: It's found in chambers (ammo) — befuddling. Thought of hearts and judges before I ever got close to this one.
- 38A: Abrasive soap brand (Lava) — does it have real bits of hardened LAVA in it? I've never used it.
- 70A: Winter Palace figures (tsars) — about the prettiest clue that TSAR/CZAR/TZAR gets.
- 2D: Roger who played the same role seven times (Moore) — forgot to mention it above: the role is BOND. James BOND.
- 13D: Title before Sidious or Maul (Darth) — wife also didn't know this. Not that surprising. I don't think she's ever seen the "Star Wars" prequels, and (unlike our nephew) our daughter is not into Star Wars. She's more an Archie or Veronica girl (see 69A). [Update: just as I was formatting this for publication, wife walks into office and says: "Of course as soon as I get up and take one look at the puzzle, I get it." Me: "Get what?" Her: "DARTH." Me: "But you don't know who Joe Namath is." Her: "No." Silence...]
- 22A: Steve Martin's birthplace (Waco) — so much nicer than other clues one might have used for WACO.
- 34D: Three-time Keanu Reeves character (Neo) — from the "Matrix" trilogy.
- 44D: Neighbor of Slough (Eton) — Guessed it off the "E," but have no idea what Slough is besides a place of stagnancy and despair (see John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" and its "Slough of Despond").
- 52D: Half of Brangelina (Jolie) — the other half is on the cover of "Wired" this month. That issue is right beside my desk. The issue's title is "New Rules for Digital Gentlemen and Highly Evolved Humans"; the best rule is on the cover. The picture of Brad Pitt features him wearing one of those little phone earpiece headset dealies. Next to that picture, the caption: "Rule No. 52: Ditch the headset. He can barely pull it off — and you are not him."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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