FRIDAY, Oct. 2 2009 — Bygone radio friend / Boyhood nickname in Phantom Menace / Shrek's voicer / Petal-like poinsettia part
Friday, October 2, 2009
- A rock-boring tool used in mining for sinking shafts.
- Medicine. A trephine. [no idea what a "trephine" is — I'll look it up when I see it in a puzzle]
Nice, easy, name-heavy Friday puzzle. The corners are pretty fun, the rest just so-so, but perfectly adequate. I was surprised, actually, at how many damn names are in this puzzle. I love names — they can make the grid interesting and colorful and contemporary. But SEVENTEEN NAMES? And that's not including MARIA ELENA (28D: 1941 Jimmy Dorsey chart-topper). Even to a name-lover like me, that seems like overkill.
- SID (12A: Luckman of Chicago Bears fame) — had a brief moment of Natick panic as I had No idea who Luckman was and No idea who 12D: Actress Katherine Ross's actor-husband was. Even when I had -AM ELLIO-. I started running letters of the alphabet through my head and then the "S" — and SAM ELLIOTT's face — popped right into my head.
- SAM ELLIOTT — see above
- ANI (16A: Boyhood nickname in "The Phantom Menace") — this combines two things I don't like — the answer ANI and the movie "The Phantom Menace." More "Star Wars" action at ...
- OOLA (51A: "Return of the Jedi" dancing girl) — weirdly, she has become a species of crosswordese.
- WYLER (26A: Recipient of a record 12 Best Director nominations) — all between '37 and '66. He won three times, the last time for "Ben-Hur" (1959).
- MYERS (21D: Shrek's voicer) — I remembered Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz before I remembered MYERS.
- LIANE (25D: NPR host Hansen)
- CAPP (1D: Sadie Hawkins Day creator) — I learned this when I put HAWKINS in a puzzle once ...
- AUEL (2D: "The Valley of Horses" novelist)
- AVA (7D: "Nip/Tuck" character Moore) — I see that you're going for tough/obscure clue for Monday answer here, but there's such a thing as going too far. See also the clue on TSE (42A: Japanese market inits.).
- UTNE (3D: Magazine founder Eric)
- J.M. BARRIE (27A: Best-selling children's author who became a baronet) — thought a "baronet" was a type of horn. Upon reflection, I was thinking of a "cornet."
- IRMA (24D: Bygone radio "friend") — no idea. Just none. Another Monday answer turned insane.
- ELIAN (40A: First name in 2000 headlines)
- ODIE (52D: Tongue-lolling comics character)
- ORY (57D: Kid _____ (old bandleader)) — there's lots of "old" in this puzzle. ORY, like OOLA, is another unfortunate bit of name-crosswordese.
- ELLERBEE (49A: Multiple Emmy winner for "Nick News") — Linda.
See. A lot. TREPAN and BRACT (23D: Petal-like poinsettia part) were my "know it 'cause I saw it in a crossword once but can't remember it" answers for the day. I already mentioned I didn't know who IRMA was supposed to be. Further, I still, right now, have no idea why SONATA is the right answer for (4D: "Tempest," for one). Well, I should have guessed it was one of Beethoven's. Just not one I happen to own:
Had CAT SCAN for MRI SCAN (35A: Diagnosis facilitator) 'til BLIND ALLEY (29D: It leads nowhere) took care of that. Love BLIND ALLEY, btw. Also JUMP THE GUN (27D: Be too hasty). I only just now got how HEAVE is a 46A: Cry made with great effort. Is the HEAVEr always the "HEAVE" crier?
- 15A: Tape deck convenience (auto-reverse) — more "old." Fine answer.
- 17A: Its clock was featured in the 1945 film "The Clock" (Penn Station) — more "old." Also fine.
- 18A: Perps' preferences (MOs) — If I ever have occasion to put MOS in a puzzle, I will always clue it via this guy:
- 61A: Dress style that appears to lengthen the body (empire waist) — another nice answer. Sadly, when I was retyping it into the grid just now, I spelled it EMPIRE WASTE. "Your puzzle is incorrect." Really?
- 63A: Modern retelling of the Faust legend ("Damn Yankees") — I have a feeling I will be exclaiming "DAMN YANKEES" a lot this month.
- 10D: A couple of words after the race (is on) — probably my favorite clue of the day. Made me forget this was just a stupid partial. That's some good cluing.
- 11D: People may ask you to do this (renew) — The old "start your clue with a magazine title" trick.
- 45D: Preventer of northern exposure (anorak) — cool (!) word that somehow manages to be in TWO puzzles I solved back-to-back last night.
- 50D: Bart Starr's alma mater, briefly ('Bama) — as in "Ala"
- 59D: Be undefeated against, in sports lingo (own) — yay for contemporary cluing. Good counterbalance to the WWII era stuff that's dominating much of the rest of the grid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. Two new cool crossword projects to announce / support this morning.
1. Patrick Blindauer has just launched his 2009 Holiday Puzzlefest. He's going to make a suite of 10-12 Holiday-themed puzzles, which will be tied to a contest, the grand prize of which will be either your registration fee for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament or the equivalent in cash ($290). Patrick is one of the very best constructors in the country, and you can get in on this Puzzlefest for a mere $5. You must do this. Ridiculously cheap for what will undoubtedly be superior, thoughtful, entertaining puzzle craftsmanship. Go here now to sign up. Right now. Seriously.
2. Matt Gaffney wrote me this morning with the following message:
October is "Hell Month" at MGWCC [Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest] -- five spooky Fridays with haunted themes that get progressively tougher as the days get shorter. And unlike other months, *every* Hell Month entrant who sends in the correct contest answer to all five October puzzles will receive a MGWCC pen, pencil and notepad set.As always, MGWCC can be found here. One of the great independent puzzle sites out there.
Naturally the crosswords and metapuzzles will be cruel and unusual in difficulty...