Feldshuh of "Yentl" / FRI 5-14-10 / Hippodrome competitor / Currency that replaced pounds in 1964 / Olajuwon of the N.B.A.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Scree, also called talus, is a term given to an accumulation of broken rock fragments at the base of crags, mountain cliffs, or valley shoulders. Landforms associated with these materials are sometimes called scree slopes or talus piles. These deposits typically have a concave upwards form, while the maximum inclination of such deposits corresponds to the angle of repose of the mean debris size. The term scree comes from the Old Norse term for landslide, skriða. The term talus is a French word meaning slope. The terms scree and talus are often used interchangeably, though scree commonly refers to smaller material like mixed gravel and loose dirt (e.g. anything smaller than a human fist), while talus can refer to rocks larger than scree. Talus is usually the preferred term in scientific writing. (Wikipedia)
NOTICE: Anybody who trots out that “smooth as Silk” line gets banned during my tenure as Emperor of the Blog.
[And if this post looks coherent, it's because PuzzleGirl came in and fixed the formatting and stuff sometime after I posted it. The Blogger formatting stuff confounds me. And if there are fewer than two spaces after any of my periods, that's another sign she's been here.]
Wade here for Rex while he’s off in Idaho trying to set the new world record for how many Mormons he can jump over on his Kawasaki before plunging into the Snake River Canyon. (You had to be there. And you had to be eight.)
25:49 on AcrossLite counts as a medium Friday in my world. I’m fine with this puzzle. The word “workmanlike” springs to mind, and that’s not a bad word to me. Things I noticed about the puzzle are (i) not much short fill, (ii) not much pop culture, and what there is is G-rated and a thousand years old (BEAVER and [speaking of Mormons] OSMONDS),
(iii) a whole mess of T’s, seems like, and (iv) not many entirely unfamiliar words. Nothing wrong with any of that. Got a few beefs, a few highlights, and several fascinating stories about my solving experience, starting with:
- 1A: Its workers aren’t behind closed doors (CUBE FARM) – Have I heard this phrase? It smells recent and recently dead, one of those buzz phrases that was out of date by the time I heard it (and a pretty good measurement of when a phrase is out of date is, if I’ve heard it, it’s out of date.) This one I don’t think I ever heard. I had the ARM, then the FARM, and nothing until I got the downs.
- 19A: Liberal types (SHARERS) – Ha! Yeah, they share my stuff! (Sorry, my dad snuck onto my computer while I was out buying the world a Coke.)
- 20A: Overly optimistic (ROSEATE) – Crossword-only word as far as I’m aware. I’m sure that Shakespeare guy will pipe up with something from Pericles or something, though.
- 21A: Feldshuh of “Yentl” (TOVAH) – I don’t know what any of that means. Just a bunch of letters to me, man. Feldshuh reminds me of Agent 99 in Get Smart. I don’t think that was her name. Sort of knowing things is more fun than knowing things most of the time.
- 34A: It occupies 25 pages in the Oxford English Dictionary (SET) – Great clue, and I knew the answer (that is, I knew that “set” is the word with the greatest number of meanings,) yet I put THE at first. How the hell you gonna define “the” without using “the”?
- 44A: Common hotel bathroom feature (HEAT LAMP) – Again, entirely foreign to me. Concept give me caveman frown. So is it a . . . lamp? But not for lighting things up? Will you scare the crap out of me and make me worship you as a god by successfully predicting an eclipse?
- 49A: Hippodrome competitor (TROTTER) – I really ought to do some research and look some stuff up, help you folks out who don’t know how to Yahoo!, but that would destroy the virgin purity of my whole schtick. I kind of know what a hippodrome is, now—something about horses, maybe running inside a big rolling barrel—but before the answer got revealed the things that were swirling around in my mind were “Rollerball” and the Hindenberg.
- 54A: Learning environments (ACADEMES) – Sounds goofy as a plural. Sounds goofy as a singular, too, as far as that goes.
- 55A: _____ Evans, a k a Chubby Checker (ERNEST) – His name is a pun on Fats Domino. It’s kind of lazily inconsistent. “Fats” and “Chubby” are synonyms, but “Domino” and “Checkers” are just items that could be grouped in the category of “games.” Maybe I’m overthinking it. When I was a kid I was fascinated by the fact that there were singers named Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck and Johnny Dollar. I took it as evidence that the world made sense in some mysterious way. I still cling to that belief.
- 56A: Places to store barrels? (HOLSTERS) – Good one, Barry. I gotta remember to tell that one to my son. He’ll like it. He’s seven.
- 5D: Often red item of apparel (FIREHAT) – There’s no such thing as a firehat. You just made that up, Barry.
- 11D: Olajuwon of the N.B.A. (HAKEEM) – Embarrassed to say I didn’t get this one right away. I knew the name started with an H, knew he played in Houston, knew he was a great player, a great humanitarian, a beloved figure in a city whose success in professional sports is pretty much limited to the Rockets, but even all that cannot dislodge me from my apathy when it comes to freaking basketball. . . . I once worked for a week at the Jiffy Lube on 38th and Guadalupe in Austin—I was the tire ‘n vac man—and it was the worst job I ever had, but I did get to do Earl Campbell’s car, and he gave the crew a huge ice chest full of sausage. That was in 1991, the guy wasn’t even forty years old, and he could barely walk. The punishment he took in the ten years or so that he played with the Oilers is sad and legendary. I grew up a Cowboys fan—the Oilers were like those poor cousins downstate who never visit because Uncle Jimmy drinks—but I get misty-eyed thinking about the great Earl Campbell.
- 24D: 1969 hit for the Doors (TOUCH ME) – There’s no band I hate worse than the Doors, and nobody hates the Doors more than I do. They're the most overrated band in the history of the world. That anybody takes them seriously at all just chaps my hide. Yet some people do.
- 30D: Something you don’t get credit for (CASH SALE) – My favorite entry of the puzzle. I don’t know if it was intentional—it doesn’t matter whether it was—but the misdirection and close proximity to “Pass Fail” is brilliant. Entering PASS FAIL slowed me down considerably. [And Seth just rained on my and Barry's parade by emailing me that the clue doesn't really make any sense because it's the buyer, not the merchant, who's getting credit.]
- 38D: Underground branch (ROOTLET) – Putting “let” randomly on the end of words . . . . I’m against that.
- 43A: Bubblegummer (TEENER) – Another made-up word! Two actually! Put it all together and you have the makings of Cat Stevens album: Teener and the Firehat.
Signed, Wade, for Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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