West Side Story shout during Dance Gym / TUE 1-12-10 / Bird known for making baskets / Tokyo-based synthesizer maker / Influential moneybags
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Constructor: Patrick Blindauer and Rebecca Young
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: Find Your Moos — Diphthong "yoo" is changed to "oo" in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: Satchel PAIGE (53A: Pitcher Satchel) —
Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (July 7, 1906 – June 8, 1982) was an American baseball player whose pitching in the Negro leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, the first player to be inducted from the Negro leagues. // Paige was a right-handed pitcher and was the oldest rookie to play Major League Baseball at the age of 42. He played with the St. Louis Browns until age 47 and represented them in the Major League All-Star Game in both 1952 and 1953. His professional playing career lasted from 1926 until 1966.
My time was slightly slower than usual today, in a way that is fairly typical when the theme answers are "wacky" this early in the week. Also, this grid has some pretty wide-open NE and SW corners, which take longer to navigate than more typical 3x4 or 4x4 corners. I didn't notice the theme til I was finished. Knew wackiness was involved, but couldn't quite tell what kind (obviously if I'd stopped to think about it for a second or two, I'd have seen it, but I don't ... "stop," really, on Tuesdays — head down, plowing ahead). Started out very frustrated, as I could not accept that CUTIE PIE (the base phrase for COOTIE PIE) was a [German dessert]. "That is bull&*$^, I've never heard of that," said the back of my mind as I raced forward into the rest of the puzzle. It was not til I was finished and reviewing the puzzle that I saw how badly (yet understandably) I had misread that clue.
- 17A: Germy dessert, to a five-year-old? (COOTIE pie)
- 30A: Grub consumed around the dinner table? (family FOOD) — "grub," following on the heels of "COOTIE," made me think some kind of insect or larva was going to be involved in the theme.
- 46A: One who's daft about archaeology? (fossil FOOL)
- 64A: X, to a pirate? (BOOTY mark) — I would have gone with [Ass tattoo?], but that's just me. As it is, this clue/answer is still the best of the lot by far.
- "MAMBO!" (31D: "West Side Story" shout during "The Dance at the Gym") — never seen it all the way through, and am only vaguely familiar with the music. The "MAMBO" song I know is "MAMBO Italiano," sung by Rosemary Clooney (Dean Martin also did a well known rendition). And then there's this:
- APE (5D: Monkey's uncle?) — ... I'm not sure I'm following this, evolutionarily.
- RFK (25D: ___ Bridge, connecting Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx) — don't live there, don't know. Had MLK at first, which left me with a bird called the LARMY at 24A: Bird known for making baskets. Eventually I worked it out — LARRY Bird was one of my boyhood idols.
- AH-CHOO (52A: Sound before a blessing) — actually, this was a gimme, but this spelling always looks really suspect. Even after I wrote it into the grid, I thought "eh ... I don't know ..."
- ALA. (45D: One of the eight states bordering Tenn) — pretty easy, but I never see this abbrev. I'm familiar only with AL. ALA is a perfectly good French phrase, when clued properly.
- 9A: Restaurant chain whose logo features a western hat (Arby's) — I know I've said this before, but the thought of ARBY'S logo always makes me laugh because my friend Steve once said that he didn't know that the giant neon hat that was the ARBY'S sign was, in fact, a giant hat. He thought it was "two otters kissing." He wasn't high or anything.
- 16A: Long-legged fisher (heron) — got EGRET stuck in my head. Not a condition I recommend.
- 33A: Sasha and Malia's father (Barack) — This is cute, as Obama-clues go.
- 45A: October blooms (asters) — yet another reason autumn is by far the best season around here.
- 69A: Good name for a lingerie salesman? (teddy) — again, cute.
- 3D: Young chickens suitable for dinner (broilers) — why would you have a chicken over for dinner? That's just asking for trouble.
- 34D: Tokyo-based synthesizer maker (Casio) — I think of them as making the earliest, most basic electronic keyboard. I feel like we had a small one in our house in the '80s.
- 46D: Influential moneybags (fat cat) — the name of my comic book store. Shout out.
- 57D: Pop group whose name is coincidentally a rhyme scheme (ABBA) — It would be a "coincidence" if one of their songs *had* this rhyme scheme. I can't think of one.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]