Like Nash's lama — TUESDAY, Oct. 13 2009 — Cramped spot slangily / Woad and anil for two / Prince Charles beginning in 1952
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Constructor: Sharon Delorme
Relative difficulty: Medium THEME: words for "toilet" show up on the tail end of four theme answers; theme-revealing answer is ROYAL FLUSH (58A: Poker player's dream ... and a hint to the tends of 17-, 25-, 35- and 50-Across)
Word of the Day: DIDOS (51D: Pranks) — n., pl., -dos, or -does.
A mischievous prank or antic; a caper.
Not a fan of cutesy toilet humor, or toilet humor generally, so this was more "ick" than "ha ha" for me. Further, it was my understanding that "what do the last/first words of the theme answers have in common?" puzzles were too ordinary / common / passé for the NYT these days. I guess not. Not if they are about toilets. The theme is tight and it's executed just fine. Still didn't care for it much. Some days are like that.
- 17A: Member of Sherwood Forest's "merry band" (Little JOHN)
- 25A: Company stationery (letterHEAD) — "LETTERHEAD" is one word, so this answer kind of sucks, in that HEAD is not freestanding, as the other "toilet" synonyms are.
- 35A: Prince Charles, beginning in 1952 (heir to the THRONE)
- 50A: Cramped spot, slangily (sardine CAN)
The opposite of everything is NOTHING. Further, NOT A BIT (28D: Opposite of everything) feels more adverbial ("Are you angry?" "NOT A BIT") in colloquial speech than it does nominal. EVERYTHING has the THING in it. NOT A BIT has me wondering NOT A BIT of what? Don't like ASHY (23A: Pale as a ghost) crossing ASCH (23D: "The Apostle" author Sholem). 36D: Just for _____ is a weird, not very Tuesday clue for OPENERS.
DIDOS (51D: Pranks) is a Saturday word. It is not a Tuesday word. Not even close. In fact, last time it appeared, it was in a Saturday puzzle, as a clue. Here's what I said then:
- 31D: Dido (escapade) - whoa. What? I think she meant more to Aeneas than that.
I was being facetious, as I knew (the real, capital-D) Dido was not intended. But raise your hand if you use, or know someone who uses, DIDO to mean "antic." "You kids and your crazy DIDOS." You are one letter away from serious sexual hilarity (which is way better than toilet hilarity, by the way). In fact, if you Google [dido prank], the second hit is titled "Dildo prank." I'm afraid to click on that particular link.
- 20A: First pro team to play on artificial turf (Astros) — didn't see this clue at all. The Astrodome was an iconic stadium of my baseball-loving youth.
- 21A: Calif. barrio area (East L.A.) — I wonder if this answer would be thought to have any crossword currency at all if it weren't for the Cheech & Chong "hit" "Born in EAST L.A."?
- 42A: Heavenly hunter (Orion) — I know an ORION. He lives down the street a ways. He's 6.
- 43A: One signatory to NAFTA (USA) — "American" and "America" ... NAFTA and USA basically share an "A"
- 65A: Woad and anil, for two (dyes) — knew it because of anil, which is crosswordese. Did not know "woad" was a DYE. Actually, not really sure what "woad" is at all.
- 9D: Cattail's locale (marsh) — I was thinking "whip" or "lash," then realized I was thinking "Cat o' nine tails."
- 38D: Auto dashboard indicator (oil gauge) — had OIL LIGHT.
- 47D: One who sings to the cops (canary) — really like this clue/answer combo.
- 48D: Like Nash's lama (one L) — when you tire of the Scott Turow title, there's always Nash to help you out.
- 67A: Snacks often eaten inside out (Oreos) — good clue on common answer.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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