Host of a self-titled 1990s talk show / FRI 2-19-10 / "The Broken Tower" poet / Oregon Shakespeare Festival locale
Friday, February 19, 2010
Constructor: Victor Fleming
Relative difficulty: Challenging for Wade
Word of the Day: "Edessa (ancient Macedonian capital) —
Edessa (Greek: Έδεσσα, Édessa, IPA: [ˈe̞ðe̞sa]) is the capital of the Pella Prefecture of Macedonia, Greece. Administratively, it belongs to the Central Macedonia periphery and is also the capital of the defunct province of the same name. With a long history stretching back to antiquity, Edessa is home to the Marketing and Administration Departments of the University of Macedonia."
--Wikipedia (of course)
(Gotta love that last sentence. From super-global to micro-parochial non sequitir in 1.2 seconds.)
• • •
Hmm. I can already tell Puzzlegirl's been working on this blog formatting. She's got it programmed so that it won't let me do two spaces between sentences the way God intended. It just jumps back to one space. That drives me nuts.
I'll take that up with her later. On to the puzzle.
Our constructor today, in addition to directing two classics of American cinema (man, I bet he gets sick of that), is a star of Wordplay and an Arkansas district court judge. It is therefore fitting that he get his comeuppance by being found guilty of the charge of ASSAULT (21D: Blitzkrieg) based on the brutality displayed in this puzzle.
This was supposed to be an easy day, wasn't it? All the hotshot teachers' pets are off in Brooklyn strutting around, probably trying to act all cool when Shortz walks by but just aching for a chance to speak to him ("Hey, nice pen you got there. Bic?" "Shut up, kid, don't bother me. And bring me more whiskey."), and we stoner losers who didn't make the cut were supposed to get to order pizza and watch a movie. Instead we got . . . this.
It's a fine puzzle, unassailable really. Just hard. I'm guessing it wasn't that hard for you. You probably saw 34A (Metaphor for a middle-class American) and "Joe the Plumber" probably came to you immediately.
Know what came to me immediately? Joe Six-Pack. That didn't fit. I got a few down clues in the end, saw _UMBER emerging, and any vestige of a Joe popped out of my head just as good ol' Bob Seger's "Feel Like a Number" popped into my head.
And. Would. Not. Leave.
My first pass through the puzzle yielded not much more than AGATES (33A: Cat's-eye relatives), the first E in ELIEL (16A: The senior Saarinen) because, like LBJ, all those Saarinens had a thing about having identical monograms among their family members (LBJ even named his dog so that he'd have the LBJ monogram: "Little Beagle Johnson") and ONE-A (8D: First to be called up).
That's fine, I've worked with less and still emerged victorious, and I knew there were a few that would come to me as the moment ripened. I could see in my mind 22A Sportscaster Collingsworth, the stretched-out guy who looks like Bob Saget (no relation to Bob Seger. Or Pete Seeger) after somebody's used him for tug-of-war, but just couldn't place his name (CRIS); I knew it would come to me.
The NE fell. The SE fell. I struggled in the NW (my favorite part of this puzzle), but finally broke through. That left the "Crayola color in a 64-crayon box" (30D: sepia), which I tried to make "siena," and all the SW, which was anchored by my intransigently wrong answer for 34A: "Another number."
At 46:11 I turned off the timer. Hours passed. I'll spare you the rest, but the main point is I failed. I googled the crayon, which gave me the P for plumber, and that got it done.
- 1A: Male gopher (office boy) — Shouldn't that be "gofer"? I was trying to get "prairie dog" to fit. Crosswords make you stupid.
- 10A: People travel only one way on them (T-bars) -- Nice clue for an old standby.
- 15A: "The Broken Tower" poet (Hart Crane) — I was real proud of getting that one off the N. I see that Judge Fleming has taught "Law and Literature." I took a class by that name at UT Law School, taught by Getman. I'll tell you about it sometime off line.
- 19A: Orlando's ____ Arena (Amway) — There's an Amway Arena? Before you go, do you have to meet at Denny's to hear a spiel about "an exciting business opportunity"? (I wasn't going to use my time here for self-promotion, but if they're going to tee it up for me. . . .
- 52A: Weapon for Wonder Woman (tiara) — I had LASSO here for a long time. What did the tiara do? Probably something goofy as hell. The lasso made you tell the truth. I guess that's useful in some situations. But that invisible airplane was ridiculous, because you could still see her. It's not like the bad guys would have been afraid of an airplane. It's Wonder Woman herself who needed to be invisible, not her mode of transportation. "Oh, look, there's Wonder Woman zooming across the sky toward us in a seated position." "Well, at least she doesn't have an airplane, so we should be safe."
- 37A: Host of a self-titled 1990s talk show (Rupaul) — Freakishly, I somehow knew that. I can't remember what Rupaul was all about. I'm picturing Rick James and Lady Gaga at the same time. The problem at "Another number" kept me from sealing the deal, though.
- 46A: New range rover? (foal) — Since you asked, no.
- 54A: When women may get in for less (ladies day) — If this were football, I'd use one of my challenges on this one. Ladies' night, sure. Ladies' day? Jiffy Lube gives women half off their oil changes on Wednesdays, I think, but I've never heard it called "ladies' day." One of you internet people out there can google it and give me the statistics. I'd do it myself except I'm working on this Fisher Price toy Mac computer and not a real machine and can't toggle quickly to another page without watching the Mac do all its little swirly dance moves just getting something off a screen. Using a Mac is like living in Austin. Sometimes you just want the fascinating waiter to bring you your damn coffee.
- 11D: They have chocolate relatives (black labs) — I like that one. Probably because I got it off the last "a" and it made me feel smart.
- 32D: Encouraging statement start (be assured) — Did not like that one. It got me singing "Home on the Range" while trying to think of something to do with bank statements.
- 34D: Kind of appointment (judicial) — Nice. And apropos. (Except I think our constructor was elected. Probably by promising to be "toughoncrime." That's what it takes down here. It's not enough to be "tough on crime." It has to be one word.)
- 43D: Offer? (slayer) — Bravo!
Rex and/or crew should be dropping in here or in the comments to let us know what's going down in Brooklyn. Until then,
Your faithful servant, Wade
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