Japanese tourist city on Kyushu / SAT 4-10 / Acid jazz band with the 1996 hit "Virtual Insanity" / Major Joppolo's town
Saturday, April 10, 2010
“Learning to skoal is easy, and it is well worth learning—it adds considerable charm to dining in the Scandinavian manner and assures that an evening will be a success by bringing the guests into visual and verbal contact with each other right off. The ritual varies somewhat in the different parts of Scandinavia. In Sweden, for example, it is a bit more formal, because Swedes follow the custom established by military officers who began the toast by holding their glasses at precisely the level of the third uniform button—but basically it proceeds along simple lines. All that is required is a drink in the hand and a cooperative partner. The proposer of the toast engages the eye of the person being toasted, and “skoal” is said. A slight bow of the head, and a twinkle of the eye—and the aquavit is drained in one gulp (if the drink is wine, a sip is taken). Just before the glass is put back on the table, the eyes meet again and there is another friendly nod.” [Dale Brown, The Cooking of Scandinavia, Foods of the World Series, Time Life Books, 1968, pages 130-131.] [link]
• • •
Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here hanging with you while Rex is gallavanting around New York City for a couple days with the fam. While I'm always glad to fill in, I have to say that today it feels just a tad bit demoralizing. Today's puzzle is my third day in a row of DNF. Ugh! I got pretty close on Thursday, but it was one of those where I just didn't know the words so I was doomed. Then yesterday? I don't even want to talk about yesterday. It was enough for me to consider hanging up my Pentel Easy-Click Pencil (with the 0.7 lead). And yet … here I am to admit publicly my utter failure. Why? Because I promised Rex I would talk to you all about the puzzle and you mean enough to me that I wouldn't jeopardize our relationship by lying to you about my (lack of) success. So here we are.
I almost just wrote that I really liked about five-sixths of the puzzle, but the fact is I even liked the part I couldn't finish. I mean, PAT SAJAK (1A: Big wheel's overseer)? How cool does he look in the grid?? And JAMIROQUAI (6D: Acid jazz band with the 1996 hit "Virtual Insanity")? Have any of you heard of this band before? Well, if you haven't, guess what I've got for you ...
It's funky, right? Good stuff!
Lots of good misdirection in the clues today. These are my favorites:
- 32A: Bridge builder's grp. (ADA). The American Dental Association. I don't know … do dentists actually build the bridges? No matter, it's a great clue anyway.
- 64A: Safari sights (WEB PAGES). Safari is the name of Apple's web browser.
- 4D: Fox's relative (SAC). Indians, not animals.
- 60D: Org. concerned with touchdowns (FAA). Airplane landings, not football.
- 16A: Homes on the range? (AERIES). I thought the question mark meant the answer would have something to do with a stovetop. But I really hate to think about what kind of creatures might make a home there. Turns out we were just supposed to think about a mountain range instead of the Kansas plains.
- 18A: Harsh critic (FLAYER). Raise your hand if you had FLAMER and didn't realize it was wrong until just now.
- 24A: Suitor's surprise (ROSE). I thought this would be something that the suitor would find surprising. Me: "A slap in the face? An enthusiastic yes?"
- 36A: "That's more like it!" (NOW YOU'RE TALKING). Awesome, fresh colloquial phrase. It's turned up in the NYT puzzle before, but not since five years ago.
- 42A: Reptilian toy in "Toy Story" (REX). Shout-out number one. See also, 55A: Lee of Hollywood (ANG) (shout-out number two). Hi, Kevin!
- 50A: Prince in Baum's "Rinkitink in Oz" (INGA). Back, like, a hundred years ago I worked at a bookstore and one day a bunch of us that worked there decided to put fake names on our name tags. Mine was INGA. Did you ever see that movie "Something Wild"? In that movie, Jeff Daniels's character has this little quirky thing he does where every time he's being helped by someone wearing a name tag, he makes sure to call that person by their name. Well, there are a lot of people out there who do that. So, basically, we were just messing with those people. They thought they were being so nice by acknowledging us by our names and we were laughing at them behind their backs. Oh yes, it was very mature.
- 63A: 1957 Oscar nominee for "A Farewell to Arms" (DESICA). I do not know who this is.
- 5D: Hurting (ACHY). This reminds me of an old song. An old, terrible song. You know the one I'm talking about, right? With the mullet ...? and the dancing ...? I'm not going to include the video. You're welcome.
- 8D: Boy toy surnamed Carson (KEN). Who knew the Ken doll had a last name?
- 29D: "___ Juvante" (Monaco's motto) (DEO). Literally, "With the Help of God."
- 31D: Classic caper film, with "The" (ITALIAN JOB). A somewhat depressing moment for me. When I see a film described as "classic" I think it has to star, I don't know, Cary Grant or somebody. It should be a movie I've heard of and know a little about but haven't actually seen. Or, if it starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford, then okay, I've seen it. But it's still before my time and that's why it's called "classic." But "The Italian Job"? That's Marky Mark for God's sake. (For the record, I love "The Italian Job." I have nothing against the movie or Mark Wahlberg. I just don't like feeling old is what I'm saying.)
- 43D: High-school class, informally (HOME EC). I thought I was so cool when I chose to take shop class instead of home ec. And now I'm a stay-at-home mom who sucks at grocery shopping.
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]