Final words of Numbers 5:22 — THURSDAY, Aug. 20 2009 — Old comic strip "* an' Slats" / Dickens creep / PDQ Bach's Sanka Cantata
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (Medium for me, but rebuses are notorious time-killers and always befuddle a significant chunk of the audience, so I'm shifting the rating up a notch)
THEME: PARALLELOGRAM (36A: What's revealed by connecting the special squares in this puzzle in order) — a rebus puzzle where numbers 1-5 (respectively) appear in five squares throughout the puzzle. Connect 'em -> PARALLELOGRAM
Word of the Day: ASTERISM (12D: Constellation) — n.
- Printing. Three asterisks in a triangular formation used to call attention to a following passage.
- Astronomy. A cluster of stars smaller than a constellation. [ed. so ... NOT a [Constellation] ...]
- Mineralogy. A six-rayed starlike figure optically produced in some crystal structures by reflected or transmitted light.
Favorite Clue of the Day: 14A: The fool in "A fool and his money are soon parted" (antecedent) — complete and utter WIN. Stymied me for a while. When I got it, I actually said "wow" out loud.
Nothing like the avant-garde work of Liz Gorski to breathe some life and excitement back into the week. If the geometric metaphor weren't inapt, I'd call this puzzle "loopy." This is a hey-look-what-I-can-do puzzle that is actually entertaining. For some reason it reminds me of the part in the movie "Airplane" where a staff member with air traffic control (Johnny) is handed a paper and asked "what do you make of this?" and he starts folding it up and saying "Well I can make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl ..." Or a PARALLELOGRAM. Why not?
There were scads of weird ("loopy," I say) answers that I'd never seen before that all still seemed to work somehow, e.g. BE ORIGINAL and I DON'T DRIVE and [FOUR]-DAY (51A: Nice kind of work week? Nice? I was looking for something French). My wife is currently held up by the oddly-clued if totally gettable AMEN AMEN (37D: Final words of Numbers 5:22). She currently has the puzzle down to a few blank squares, but she's totally in the woods on this answer. Understandably doesn't know that damned sprinter, IRENA (41A: _____ Szewinska, Olympic sprinting gold medalist of 1964, 1968 and 1976) and has misspelled Uriah HEEP as HEAP (61A: Dickens creep). Further, she clearly hasn't worked out [FOUR]DAY yet, but she knows there's a rebus involved. This is all to say that what she really wants for 37D is "AM I NOT A MAN?" (where somehow "OTA" is rebused into one square?). Sounds more 1960's Selma, AL than biblical to me. Maybe the crosswordesey (and biblical) "IS IT I?" is running interference in her brain.
- 15D: Be an utter bore? (dr ONE) — first thought: something with a cow. Then I realized that "utter" wasn't, in fact, spelled "udder."
- 20A: Toddler's attire (ONE sie) — clue that first tipped me to the theme.
- 13D: Best Director of 1992 and 2004 (Eas TWO od) — easily the best rebus answer of the day. If I have any complaint today, it's that too many of the numbers are used *as numbers* in their answers.
- 21A: Time for potty training, maybe (age TWO) — my least favorite rebus answer.
- 53A: G.M., Ford and Chrysler (Big THREE)
- 55D: School basics (3 R's)
- 51A: Nice kind of work week (FOUR-day)
- 41D: How mini-pizzas are usually cut (in FOUR ths)
- 22A: Rests (takes FIVE)
- 24D: Like the symmetry of a starfish (FIVE fold) — makes me think of the band Ben Folds Five. I really want to play a Ben Folds cover of a Dr. Dre song right here, because it's beautiful, but the song is so profane that even the title would annoy some of you, so I'll just direct you here. Again, profane as a mother@#$#er, so Do Not Click Through if that's not your scene.
Gotta wrap this up, as I got up late (power outage screwed with all the clocks and I failed to reset them properly).
- 7A: Easter flower, in Is-sur-Tille (lis) — as in "fleur-de-"
- 18A: Humanoid trees in Tolkien (ents) — big old gimme
- 25A: Chorus line opener (tra) — man, I wanted "ONE" so bad. I could see that "Chorus Line" was not in quotation marks, so the clue was not about the broadway musical, and yet "ONE" was hard for me to shake. Yeah, I know, it's the finale, not the "opener."
- 27A: Handel cantata "_____ e Leandro" (Ero) — "Hero and Leander" is a familiar poem to me; otherwise this answer might have crushed me.
- 23D: Beer from upstate New York (Saranac)! Wow. Do people know this? I live upstate, so SARANAC's all over the place, but I have no idea what kind of reach it has outside the region.
- 33D: _____ cloud (region of comets far beyond Pluto) (Oort) — learned it from xwords. A great word/name.
- 36D: P.D.Q. Bach's "Sanka Cantata" and such (parodies) — never listen to him, but I know what he does, so PARODIES was a cinch. Got it off the "P."
- 38D: Albanian coin (lek) — this came easily. Not sure why I know this, when I can't keep my int'l monetary units straight to save my life. You say RIAL, I say BHAT, etc.
- 44D: 1958 #1 song with the lyric "Let's fly way up to the clouds" ("Volare") — more easy. Got it off the "V." VOLARE means "to fly."
- 48D: Old comic strip "_____ an' Slats" ("Abbie") — like OORT, learned it from xwords. Was able to get it off the "A," though I was pretty tentative about the answer til the crosses came.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]