TUESDAY, Dec. 1 2009 — 1980s soap opera set at a winery / Repetitively named Philippine province / Six-time baseball All-Star Sandy
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Constructors: Jonah Kagan and Victor Fleming
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: BREAKFAST (56A: Part of a morning routine ... or a literal hint to 18-, 22-, 35- and 49-Across) — theme answers begin with FA- and end with -ST. Buncha letters in between thus, technically, literally, BREAK FAST in two.
Word of the Day: "FALCON CREST" (22A: 1980s soap opera set at a winery) — Falcon Crest is an American primetime television soap opera which aired on the CBS network for nine seasons, from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990. A total of 227 episodes were produced. // The series centers around the feuding factions of the wealthy Gioberti/Channing family in the Californian wine industry. Jane Wyman stars as Angela Channing, the tyrannical matriarch of the Falcon Crest Winery, alongside of Robert Foxworth as Chase Gioberti, Angela's nephew who returns to Falcon Crest following the death of his father, and Lorenzo Lamas as Lance Cumson, Angela's playboy grandson. The series was set in the fictitious Tuscany Valley (modeled after the Napa Valley) just north of San Francisco.
Quick write-up this morning, as I have to work today. Nice long break coupled with birthday and Thanksgiving makes it feel like "work" was another lifetime ago. And today shows "December" on the Calendar. All in all, kind of a slap-in-the-face morning. This puzzle was fine. I thought I'd seen the theme before, but I can't verify that. Pretty loose as themes go, but it's got the BREAKFAST revealer (only two instances of BREAKFAST in the cruciverb.com database??), and the theme answers are mostly entertaining. FALL HARVEST is a dud, but the others are cool. Maybe would have been nice not to have two TV shows (spread the FA-ST love around to other media), but "FATHER KNOWS BEST" fits so nicely across the grid, and "FALCON CREST" is campy fun, so why not?
- 18A: Magical powder (FAiry duST)
- 22A: 1980s soap opera set at a winery ("FAlcon CreST)
- 35A: 1950s-'60s sitcom that ran on all three networks ("FAther Knows BeST")
- 49A: Occasion for pumpkin picking (FAll harveST)
All of my difficulty (or nearly all of it) came right off the bat, in the NW, where I made the sucker's move of putting in KOUFAX for ALOMAR (2D: Six-time baseball All-Star Sandy). If I'd just put in CAIRO at 1A: City near the Great Sphinx I probably wouldn't have fallen into that trap, but CAIRO didn't occur to me — or, rather, seemed too obvious, so I bypassed it, and then KOUFAX went in, and that section got bogged down. ILOILO (3D: Repetitively named Philippine province) is a horrible bit of fill that I've seen a handful of times now. No problems today, but thank god I'd seen it before, or I don't know how long it would have taken me to rectify the NW. I didn't know ILOILO was pronounced as repetitions of the same sound (i.e. ILO ILO). My brain always pronounced it "IL OILO." Other sticking points included ESCORT (46D: Front car in a motorcade) — sounds vaguely familiar, but did not spring to mind at all as I was solving — and RBI (57D: A sac fly earns one) — I had RUN.
- 21A: Peeved (in a pet) — crosswords are the only place that people are IN A PET any more. Not a favorite bit of fill, but better this complete form than the (oft seen) partial, APET.
- 8D: Net mag (e-zine) — another dud I'd rather never see again, or certainly not in the same grid with IN A PET and ILOILO. I will say, though, that E-ZINE beats E-MAG, if only because of the "Z."
- 38D: Duped (had) — interesting clue. The "D" here was my last letter in the grid. I am (for some reason) vaguely curious about last letters. I wonder what a scatter plot (is that the right term?) of the placement of my last letters would look like. I feel like I had a strong pull to the west — generally direction tends to be clockwise-ish starting in the NW and coming around and ending in the far W. I may start keeping track of this last-letter stat, just for fun.
OK, see you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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P.S. if you haven't already, why not sample the array of extra puzzles I've published over the past week. Two are available from links in upper sidebar, and a third (released yesterday) is available right here: "Aces!"