Egypt's last ruling Ptolemy familiarly / MON 2-15-10 / Collegiate digs / Bit of Dobbin's dinner / Blossom supporter
Monday, February 15, 2010
Constructor: Lynn Lempel
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: "blank IN THE blank" — idiomatic phrases that follow that pattern, where first "blank" is a body part ... mostly.
Word of the Day: NORAH Jones (28D: Singer Jones whose father is Ravi Shankar) —
Norah Jones (born March 30, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, keyboardist, guitarist, and actress. She is the daughter of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and the half-sister of Anoushka Shankar. Her career began with her 2002 debut album Come Away with Me, an adult contemporary vocal jazz album with a soul/folk/country tinge, that received five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. This was followed by her second album, Feels like Home, released in 2004. In 2007, she released her third album, Not Too Late. Jones released her fourth album, The Fall, on November 17, 2009. She has sold more than 17 million albums in the US and over 40 million records worldwide; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist during the 2000s. (wikipedia)
I believe RAVI Shankar and NORAH Jones to be the only father/daughter crosswordese team in existence. I don't think OBAMA and MALIA count. Yet.
A supremely easy puzzle marred by someone's writing me to complain about one of the clues *before I'd even done the puzzle* (at 7pm on a Sunday, come on!). Note: until you see my blog post up, assume I *haven't* done the puzzle. Now there's a giant asterisk next to my time for this one (fastest of 2010 by a couple seconds). Complaint was about 24D: Lacking a stopover, as a flight (direct). Complainer was irate because "direct" flights, by definition, make at least one stop. But of course the clue doesn't stay "stop." It's says "stopover." [Cough]
I didn't like the theme too much. MIND and HEAD are too much the same thing, and really, to be solid, the body parts involved should have read from top to bottom — start with HEAD (or MIND) and work down to FOOT. Why are we going back up to HEAD there at the end? The grid is very expertly filled. Ms. Lempel is always reliable on this account. Nothing sloppy or lazy from her. Ever. I could have done without TESTEE (54A: Exam taker), but other than that, lovely.
Speaking of TESTEE ... wife and I rescued a beagle yesterday who was trapped in the yard of an abandoned little school house at the entrance to the IBM Glen where we walk every day. We saw him sitting behind the chain link fence and thought someone must be in there with him, but no. He would *not* come to either of us, but then I took our dogs up the hill and he turned into a sweetheart. Had only a rabies tag. It's Sunday, so no one answered at the vet's. Wife carried him (!) up the hill (it's probably a mile, uphill, in the snow). We took him home. Shockingly, the Town of Union returned our call and told us that the beagle owners had been looking for him. For three days (!!). So there was a happy ending as his owners drove to our house to get him. Oh, and why did this paragraph start "Speaking of TESTEE"? Well, this particular dog was Not Fixed. I felt bad for him. First, he seemed to walk ... funny. Second, this dog was ... out of control around our (female, spayed) dogs. Just ... sexually abusive in the worst ways. I mean, he was too small, and they pretty much kicked his ass (he was not TOP DOG — 44D: Honcho), but man, he was relentless. Oh, and it clearly pained him that I would not let him *kill* our cat. He wanted to hunt the cat so bad he barked hysterically and was crying. Take away our animals — sweetest dog ever. Adorable. Thus concludes my story of the rescued dog with giant balls.
P.S. the dog's name was SKEETER.
- 17A: What a dirty person has (MIND IN THE GUTTER)
- 27A: What an embezzler has (HAND IN THE TILL)
- 43A: What a well-connected applicant has (FOOT IN THE DOOR)
- 58A: What a dreamer has (HEAD IN THE CLOUDS)
- 1A: Collegiate digs (dorm) — first thought: archaeology. Then I got it.
- 39A: Machines on cotton plantations (gins) — Eli Whitney! Thus concludes the portion of the program wherein I tell you everything I know about the cotton GIN.
- 51A: Bit of Dobbin's dinner (oat) — can we kill Dobbin? Please. His time has come and gone.
- 62A: Tartar sauce ingredient (mayo) — I demand an abbrev. cue here.
- 65A: Blossom supporter (stem) — never cared for that show.
- 5D: Gazillionaire Trump (Donald) — Just call him a billionaire. That's what he is, right?
- 9D: Australia's unofficial national bird (emu) — how in the world do you verify something like this. If it were verifiable, then it would in some way be official ... wouldn't it? Yes. I declare that the cassowary is Australia's "unofficial" national bird.
- 29D: Spot for eating curds and whey (tuffet) — well you don't see that word every day.
- 34D: Egypt's last ruling Ptolemy, familiarly (Cleo) — gave me more trouble than any clue including MEDICARE. Nothing indicating a female ruler ... no asps ... no Nile ... no Antony ... no Liz Taylor ...
- 42D: Low-tech hair dryer (towel) — that is a great clue. Easy, but no less great for being easy. It's creative. Imaginative. Interesting. Hurray.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]