Thursday, October 29, 2009
"I wish to acknowledge your choice of my novel Arrowsmith for the Pulitzer Prize. That prize I must refuse, and my refusal would be meaningless unless I explained the reasons.
All prizes, like all titles, are dangerous. The seekers for prizes tend to labor not for inherent excellence but for alien rewards; they tend to write this, or timorously to avoid writing that, in order to tickle the prejudices of a haphazard committee. And the Pulitzer Prize for Novels is peculiarly objectionable because the terms of it have been constantly and grievously misrepresented.
- 18A: Sinclair Lewis novel (ARROW smith)
- 26A: Series of sorties (AIRO ffensive)
- 46A: Gateway Arch designer (EERO Saarinen)
- 57A: Bomb (AEROsol can) — by far the hardest for me to get (an example of difficulty achieved through terse/vague cluing). Had Walk-INS and couldn't accept that ODD LOT was really the answer at 47D: It doesn't end in 00. There must be some technical, very specific meaning of ODD LOT that I don't know about that deals with quantities by hundreds. Unforgivably, I couldn't come up with TALENTS for what felt like a long time (43D: Biblical money units). They have a parable and everything!
- 15A: First word of the Lord's Prayer in French (notre) — i.e. "Our..."
- 30A: Tricolor pooch (beagle) — went looking for a specific, famous pooch. Snoopy has only two colors.
- 49A: Made a switch in a game (castled) — given trickiness of cluing, though "switch" might be a thin stick or branch ... not sure what game you'd play with that ... !
- 62A: "Doctor Who" villainess, with "the" (Rani) — Chess ... Doctor Who ... you really only want to inflict your particular nerddom on your audience so much.
- 59A: Funny Wilson (Owen) — I went with the funnier Wilson (no offense, OWEN) — FLIP!
- 12D: Not natural, in a way, after "in" (vitro) — tone deaf clue. Saying that something's not "natural" has disparaging connotations.
- 26D: Goddess of breezes (Aura) — first guess, though I don't think I knew AURA was a goddess of anything. AURORA I know.
- 37D: Actor Sim who played Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair) — gave me trouble earlier in my solving career. Not today.
- 21D: Coin "swallower" (sofa) — went with natural answer SLOT here.
- 10A: Maintain (have) — if you say so.
- 27D: Charles and others (Noras) — I'm guessing this is the fictional NORA Charles of "The Thin Man" and not some guy named Charles NORA.
- 32D: What's barely done in movies? (love scene) — if answer had been NUDE SCENE, I'd have called this clue brilliant. There were LOVE SCENES in movies well before "bare"ness was tolerated.
- 2D: Refinery products (gasolines) — now there's a word that needed pluralizing.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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