Actress Webb Sevigny — SUNDAY, Jan. 3 2010 — Sea's partner commercially / White-bearded Kenyan / Benedict IV's successor
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Constructor: Jeremy Newton
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Antique Finish" — words ending in -ET are turned into words ending with the archaic verb ending -ETH in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are "?"-clued
Word of the Day: PILAR (69D: Pertaining to hair) — adj.
Of, relating to, or covered with hair.
[New Latin pilāris, from Latin pilus, hair.]
Cute spin on the add-a-letter theme, with a very cute (and apt) title to boot. Not sure I'll remember any of these theme answers except ROCKETH SCIENTISTS, but no matter. This is a fine Sunday effort, with (small detail of the type I notice) 4 Downs that traverse 3 theme answers and a central Down that traverses 4 (rare and nearly unheard of, respectively). Tough to get Downs to work out when so many different letters are locked in from the get-go. Those Downs would (likely) have been the first entries into the grid after the theme answers. I always think of those multiple-theme-crossers like bolts, holding the frame of the puzzle in place. The rest is decoration — you can write and rewrite it all you want, but you're probably not gonna touch the bolts unless you're up for a complete tear-down.
- 23A: Wins a bridge hand? (trumpeth players)
- 33A: Fame fades? (celebrity dieth)
- 51A: Stuns experts after new findings? (rocketh scientists)
- 64A: Newborn puppies enjoy the sun? (litter basketh)
- 74A: Recruits people to sell stolen goods? (picketh fences)
- 86A: A lace starts to come undone? (shoestring budgeth)
- 101A: Words escape President Karzai? (Afghan blanketh)
- 117A: Rebels against military forces? (bucketh brigades)
Had a STRANGE amount of trouble in the NW, specifically on the second halves of the two long Downs up there. ARMY ... submarine captains?? Failed to remember that TANKS have periscopes too (4D: Periscope users). And I wanted, oh, I don't know, MONSIGNOR or something like it for 3D: What to call an archbishop (Your Grace). Even after I had YOUR G- I couldn't piece it together w/o many subsequent crosses. Wanted SNEEZES AT for 11D: Pooh-poohs (sneers at), but it wouldn't fit. Took some work to get AMISH (17D: People without power, often) (nice clue). Didn't know J. CREW was based in Greenwich Village but (to my crossword credit) I nailed UTAHN (50D: Many a Mormon) without blinking. To my ear, "THAT'S HUGE!" and "Wow, congrats!" are in somewhat different registers. Guess it all depends on how you say "Wow, congrats!" Figured KEELS need "over" to be correct, but I guess not (105D: Topples). Took me a ridiculously long time to get the very basic ALBUMS (98D: Photo groups on Facebook). Last letter into the grid: "E" in BEBE (104D: Tiny addition to la familia) / E-MAIL.
- 1A: Singer with the compilation "A Box of Dreams" (Enya) — I think that everyone who puts her in a puzzle should try to come up with more and more outlandish clues for her. That's the only way she'll remain intere... well, something other than utterly unwelcome.
- 26A: iPod sound (long "I") — haven't seen a good "letteral" clue in a while. This one fooled me.
- 29A: Object of many 1950s jokes (Edsel) — subject of many 21st-century crossword clues.
- 42A: Modern home of ancient Persepolis (Iran) — Any reader of "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi knows this.
- 62A: "S.N.L." veteran Gasteyer (Ana) — haven't heard from her since.
- 91A: Real downer, for short? (tranq) — whoa. Spelled this TRANK, as I'd seen it spelled in crosswords of yore (last year). This made 86D: Black-and-white (squad car) start out as SKUA-. Me: "SKUA BIRD? ... is a SKUA black and white?"
- 112A: His twin duped him (Esau) — in the middle of reading R. Crumb's "Genesis," and I can't recommend it highly enough. Gorgeous.
- 128A: "As rust corrupts iron, so ___ corrupts man": Antisthenes ("envy") — easy — I had the "EN-" in place before I ever saw clue. But ... I don't know who Antisthenes is. I'm guessing he was someone who did not like sthenes (he was a disciple of Socrates, for the record).
- 13D: Stake a claim (call dibs) — great, colloquial phrase (of my youth).
- 14D: Tic-tac-toe line (OXO) — perhaps my least favorite clue cop-out of all time.
- 36D: U2's Bono, since 2007 (Sir) — I tend to think of Bono as a self-righteous windbag, but, but, but ... I forgot there was a time when he wasn't. When he mainly just made music. That time was the '80s. Through the early '90s. Anyway, here is a video I recently saw while browsing the internets, and it's pretty fantastic. U2, live, in Dublin, Dec. 31, 1989 (so ... just after the fall of the Berlin wall ...). According to the website where I found this, the concert was "broadcast live across Eastern Europe as the Iron Curtain slowly collapsed." Anyway, I found it all oddly moving. Plus the song involved is just great.
- 53D: Actress Webb or Sevigny (Chloe) — a gimme, though ... not sure I could pick either woman out of a line-up.
- 71D: Sea's partner, commercially (Ski) — took much brain-jarring to get this answer loose.
- 75D: Bizarro, to Superman (foe) — kind of wanted "friend" or "ally" here.
- 87D: Pound escapee, maybe (stray cat) — That CAT was a DOG for a while.
- 92D: Ridiculous degree (nth) — thought maybe "B.A. in English." Self-zing!
- 97D: White-bearded Kenyan (gnu) — only because "Obama's grandfather" wouldn't fit.
- 108D: When repeated, a luster's cry (hubba) — love the expression "HUBBA HUBBA," but "luster" ... must be lost. I believe he's looking for yesterday's puzzle, where his -ER kin were having some kind of big reunion.
- 114D: Benedict IV's successor (Leo V) – ending in "V," what else could it be?
And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
- brianhraymond I'm totally freaked out listening to my 11yo on messenger with her friends today. Fuck I wish I could get her to do a crossword...lol
- hmstrjam workin the crossword puzzle and watching live from lincoln center after egg nog bust!
- limonov my horoscope for today said to do a crossword on a treadmill, which i take to mean "drink 6 millers in a dumpster full of dead rats"
- ELthundercat My horoscope just told me 2 do a crossword puzzel while on a treadmill..hmm very tempting but I think ill put that on my dnt attempt list.
- utterdismay No horoscope, I am not in the mood to do a crossword on a treadmill. The two stress me out enough on their own... but together??
- jimbojones1 You know your fat when your horoscope tells you to do a crossword puzzle on a treadmill.....
- rachaelward i feel sorry for my mum. im dancing along to the radio with friends while shes in the corner with a crossword.
- John Farmer has several movie-themed puzzles available at his new movie website, "Minute a Day about Movies"
- Andrew Ries, author of "Minnesota Crosswords," has a puzzle that's sure please fans of "The Office" over at Orange's Crossword Forum.
See you tomorrow,
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]