Electrical pioneer Thomson / THU 3-25-10 / Nile valley region / Carrier to Tokyo / Jimmy Stewart syllables / ABC daytime staple since 1997
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Constructor: Dan Naddor
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Odd signs ... — three 15-letter theme answers that imagine retail signs w/ unintended secondary meanings
Word of the Day: The WYE Accord (65A: ___ Accord (1998 Mideast peace agreement)) —
Officially called the Wye River Memorandum, the accord outlined a limited and interim land-for-peace settlement between Israel and Palestine. It was signed October 23, 1998, by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (1949-) and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) at a summit held at Wye Mills, on the banks of Maryland's Wye River. The meeting was the follow-up to the 1993 Middle East Summit in Oslo, Norway. There, after months of talks, both sides agreed to an interim framework of Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Wye meeting was the opportunity for both sides to make good on the promises made in Oslo. // The Wye Accord was brokered after a 21-hour bargaining session mediated by U.S. president Bill Clinton (1946-). The points of the agreement included developing a security plan to crackdown on terrorism; the withdrawal of Israeli troops from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank (along with a commitment for future additional withdrawals); a transfer of roughly 14 percent of the West Bank from joint Israeli-Palestinian control to Palestinian control; Palestinian agreement that anti-Israeli clauses in its national charter would be removed; Israel's guarantee that it would provide two corridors of safe passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank; Israeli release of 750 Palestinian prisoners; and the opening of a Palestinian airport in Gaza. (answers.com)
Very quick write-up today. Big day of midterms ahead. Plus, I woke up to a message from a friend who is in poor health, and I'm not in much of a mood to gambol through the puzzle (in my usual light-hearted, cheery way ...). Today's puzzle is a posthumous offering from the very prolific and much-admired Dan Naddor. It's an unusual Thursday — no crazy gimmick, just some clever plays on words. Lack of a demanding theme allows the grid to open way up, resulting in low word-count puzzle (for a Thursday). This means relatively wide open spaces, and, for me, a slightly slower-than-usual time despite the fact that the puzzle didn't feel particularly tough at all. I just had a hardish time picking up some of the answers, particularly in the NW, where I both started and finished (last letter, "F" in FETE — 20A: Roast, e.g.). I got LAL and AGA up there, and then AGLEAM, but the LAB FEE (1D: Physical expense) and LAO-TSE (3D: Who wrote "He who does not trust enough will not be trusted") just wouldn't come off their respective LA-s. This meant the BLOW in BLOW-OUT TIRE SALE was not visible, which meant that I had no idea what the theme was for the longest time — I had most of the grid filled in before I got a *single* theme answer, and even when I got my first (LINGERIE HALF-OFF), I didn't know what I was supposed to see in the others. By the end, I wondered why anyone would advertise "ALL SUITS SLOSHED," then realized that Jimmy Stewart was probably not in as much pain as I'd imagined (59D: Jimmy Stewart syllables — AWS).
- 17A: Odd sign at a Michelin dealership? (BLOW-OUT TIRE SALE)
- 36A: Odd sign at Victoria's Secret? (LINGERIE HALF OFF)
- 56A: Odd sign at Men's Wearhouse? (ALL SUITS SLASHED)
- 14A: Near east honorific (AGA) — also spellable with an "H"
- 15A: Like boot camp vis-a-vis day camp (HARSHER) — given that those things are completely unrelated, this clue may as well have read [Like torture vis-a-vis a back rub]
- 61A: ABC daytime staple since 1997 ("THE VIEW") — has it been that long? Yeesh. I once (twice, actually) lost a fingernail when my finger got slammed in a door. . . make your own analogy here.
- 6D: "The A-Team" muscleman (MR. T) — "The A-Team," like everything from my childhood and adolescence, is being made into a movie now (see also the upcoming "Clash of the Titans")
- 18D: Symbol of limpness (WET RAG) — "Symbol" seems rather high-falutin' a word.
- 19D: Car whose name is an acronym (SAAB) — Swedes Are Amazingly Burly
- 25D: Nile Valley region (NUBIA) — I've heard rappers refer to black people as NUBIANs, but I never really considered NUBIA as a specific place. Until today.
- 50D: Electrical pioneer Thomson (ELIHU) — O boy, another ELIHU. Had never even seen such a name until I stumbled on it in a puzzle one day, clued via ELIHU Yale (founder of the eponymous University).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
APRIL 29, 2010 UPDATE:
P.S. this is my final plug for this weekend's "Crosswords L.A." charity crossword tournament at Loyola-Marymount University (5/1/10). Looks like I'm on the judging/scoring team with constructors Tyler Hinman, Doug Peterson, Todd McClary, and Alex Boisvert. Tyler and Andrea Carla Michaels are doing color commentary for the finals. It's cheap, it's fun, you can solve in teams if you want ... more info here. For those of you who are wondering if you are "good enough" to compete — you are. These tournaments are only stressful for the hyper-competitive. For the rest of us, they're just a chance to geek out about puzzles in a low-key, friendly environment. Hope to see L.A.-area folks there.