1934 novel Maw'id / SUN 1-2-11 / German photographer Bing / 1968 hit song Nazad / 1985 hit song Neung Keun / 2003 film Érase una Vez
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Constructor: David Levinson Wilk
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Works in Translation" — Easy to understand, but hard to describe. The theme answers are titles with the pattern "Something in Somewhere." The "Something" is translated into the language spoken in "Somewhere" to create the clues. Got it?
Word of the Day: AVEDA (79D: Skin care brand ) —
Aveda (pronounced ah-vay-da) was founded by Horst Rechelbacher in 1978. In 1970, Rechelbacher, on a trip to India, was introduced to the healing properties of Ayurveda (the Hindu science of longevity) and the vision for his company (and the name Aveda) was born. Horst had formulated the first product, a clove shampoo, in his kitchen sink. Today Aveda is part of Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. According to the company's website, "Aveda" is Sanskrit for "all knowledge," but in fact means "no knowledge." (Wikipedia)
Greetings, Rexites. This is Doug Peterson, in the house with PuzzleGirl, and ready to do some semi-serious crossword blogging. We're filling in for Rex today, but I can assure you that he is not drunk. However, there was a rumor going around that he's been hopped up on goofballs all weekend.
I'm very glad to be talking to you today. You wouldn't believe the hoops I had to jump through to become an official Rex Parker contributor. There was a background check, blood test, retinal scan, and … a couple other things I don't want to talk about right now. But it looks like I've been approved and am good to go. If the RP security goons drag me out of here before we're done, PuzzleGirl can finish up by herself.
The reason we're doing team blogging today is that we usually solve the Sunday puzzle together. Personally, I just got tired of Sunday puzzles several months ago. They're just too big! For some reason I really feel like I'm just slogging my way through a 21x21. So Doug suggested we solve together on the New York Times “Solve with a Friend!” applet and we've done it that way ever since. To make it interesting, one of us solves only the acrosses and the other does only the downs. We try to stay in the same general area as we're making our way around the grid, but sometimes that doesn't work too well. If you look at the grid we posted, you'll see that some of the letters are green (those are the ones I entered) and some are blue (those are Doug's). Sometimes when we're all done, the whole grid is pretty much Doug's color and that's embarrassing. When that happens, I usually come up with some lame excuse about how my kids were bugging me or the smoke alarm went off or something. I'm pretty sure Doug knows I'm lying when I do that, but he's too nice to say anything.
- 27A: 1934 novel "Maw'id" (APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA).
- 38A: 1968 hit song "Nazad" (BACK IN THE USSR).
- 47A: 1985 hit song "Neung Keun" (ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK).
- 68A: 2003 film "Érase una Vez" (ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO).
- 90A: 1951 film "Une Personne des États-Unis" (AN AMERICAN IN PARIS).
- 99A: 1912 novella "Morte" (DEATH IN VENICE).
- 114A: 1943 novel "Whaddya Tink? A Sapling Stays a Sapling Fuhevah?" (A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN).
If you're wondering who came up with that wonderfully lame theme explanation up top, it was me, Doug. Some of you may still be confused, so let's look at an example, say, 99 Across. "Morte" is the Italian word for "death," so the word "Morte" is literally "Death in Italian" or specifically "Death in Venice." The rest of them follow the same pattern. "Maw'id" is Arabic for "appointment," "Nazad" is Russian for "back," etc. Very clever! And the last one, written in Brooklynese, is the most awesome of all. I love when the constructor saves a killer punchline for the last theme entry. Well done!
- 31A: Harold's car in "Harold and Maude" (HEARSE). Herman's car in "The Munsters" would have been an easier reference for me. [Claire's car on "Six Feet Under" for me.]
- 64A: Electrophorus electricus, for one (EEL). Really? This reminds me of the pseudo-Latin names they used at the beginnings of Road Runner cartoons. Road Runner would be classified as "Acceleratii incredibus" or "Velocitus delectiblus" and Wile E. Coyote as "Famishus vulgarus" or "Apetitus giganticus."
- 76A: Constellation next to Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (DRACO).
- 85A: Brilliant display (RIOT). Tricky clue. I've heard the phrase a "riot of color," so it works.
- 113A: 90% off? (SENILE). My least favorite clue of the day. I don't need to see a "funny" clue for SENILE. People affected by senility are 90% off? That's just cruel.
- 123A: German photographer ___ Bing (ILSE). Ah, the great Ilse Bing! If you look at the grid, you'll see that this answer, even though it's an Across, is all in green. That means that PuzzleGirl filled in every letter for me.
- 127A: Classic brand of hair remover (NEET). I learned recently (from Orange's blog) that Neet is now known as Veet. Remember the ads for the hair removal product called Nads? Seriously, Nads? If I weren't so mature, I'd find that name hilarious. I could find out more, but there's no way I'm typing www.nads.com into my browser.
- 1D: Bike brand (YAMAHA). I wanted SCHWINN. Totally different kind of bike.
- 4D: It's often visited during a trip (MOTOR INN). Oh yeah ….
- 5D: Failure to communicate? (PHONE TAG). This is an awesome clue. PHONE TAG is one of those terms that used to be totally hilarious and now it's just like a normal thing to say. Isn't that funny how that happens?
- 8D: Daily or weekly (ADVERB). This one stumped me for quite a while. I thought it would have something to do with magazines or newspapers or some other type of publication.
- 11D: Author Steinhauer with the 2009 best seller "The Tourist" (OLEN). No idea. [We already have Robert Olen Butler for our OLEN clues, and that should be sufficient. Now we need to remember another author no one's ever heard of?]
- 41D: "And who ___?" (ISN'T). One of two relatively snippy colloquial phrases in this puzzle. See also, 81D: "Any day now" ("I'M WAITING").
- 52D: Area crossed by Marco Polo (GOBI). Wait, Marco Polo didn't travel across a body of water calling out to his crew members to guide him because he was, I don't know, blind-folded or something? I've really had that wrong all these years.
- 94D: Comic who said "A short summary of every Jewish holiday: They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat" (ALAN KING). Okay, that's funny.
- 101D: Gourd (NOGGIN). Here in the PuzzleHouse we prefer "melon," as in "Can you get this shirt over your big melon or is it time to send it to Goodwill?" (That's me talking to PuzzleSon. The first thing I said when he was born — and I'm not making this up — was "Oh my God, it's huge." The boy has a big head, is what I'm saying.)
- 104D: The Supreme Court, e.g. (ENNEAD). "ENNEA-" means "nine." There are nine Supreme Court justices. Quick — name them! No cheating!
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter] [or PuzzleGirl] [or DougP]