Parting words from von Trapps / MON 5-17-10 / Mount where Noah landed / Fully focused attentive / Suffix with labyrinth
Monday, May 17, 2010
Constructor: Jay Kaskel
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Parting words... — theme answers are famous "Parting words" (which are the first words of every theme clue)
Word of the Day: SAXE-Coburg-Gotha (31A: ___-Coburg-Gotha, former British royal house) —
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (German: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) served as the name of two duchies, Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, in Germany. They were located in what today are the states, Bavaria and Thuringia, respectively, and the two were in personal union between 1826 and 1918. The Duchy came to an end in 1918 with the other German monarchies, and the Free State of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was merged into the new state of Thuringia two years later. // The name, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, also may refer to the family of the ruling House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This family played many and varied roles in nineteenth-century European dynastic and political history. (wikipedia)
Oh, one last thing — perhaps my favorite moment of the weekend was seeing my grandma at her 90th birthday. I crossed the room to say 'hi' and 'happy birthday' and give her a hug, and I didn't even make it within hugging distance before she exclaimed, "Take that cap off! I don't allow that." Thus, caught somewhere between embarrassment and laughter, I said "OK" and walked penitently to the outer hall, where I hung the offending item of apparel with my coat, thinking "man, grandma does not &*$% around." No wonder her whole family (excluding me, apparently) turned out so incredibly kind and polite and generous and well-behaved. Decorum will be observed! Seriously, my grandma is a force of nature, and a tough broad, and I have incredible respect and love for her.
As for the puzzle — didn't much care for it. I think the theme is a really cute idea, but it's also really inconsistent. Some of them are real "parting words" ("HIYO SILVER AWAY!" / "I'LL BE BACK"), one is part of a longer parting ... song ("SO LONG, FAREWELL..."), one is involves a metaphorical parting of an abstract concept ("BYE BYE, LOVE") and the last has nothing to do with the speaker's parting. Trump is firing *you* — he's not going anywhere ("YOU'RE FIRED!"). Bigger problem was the fill, which was really subpar. Lots and lots of tiresome short stuff. The gangly crosswordese of ECARTE (28A: Card game for two) over SAXE was the epicenter of bad, but the bad spread all over, especially strongly from the OER/AER crossing down to the far SW corner and the plural of the word no one likes in the singular: ADES. I would list all the bad short stuff, but I haven't got it in me right now. Trust me, it's there. All over. Look in every corner. Search every cranny. Climb every mountain. Etc.
- 17A: Parting words from the Everly Brothers ("BYE BYE LOVE")
- 23A: Parting words from the Lone Ranger ("HIYO SILVER AWAY!")
- 34A: Parting words from the Terminator ("I'LL BE BACK")
- 49A: Parting words from the von Trapps ("SO LONG, FAREWELL...")
- 57A: Parting words from Donald Trump ("YOU'RE FIRED!")
- 62A: Claudia ___ Taylor (Lady Bird Johnson) (ALTA) — I'm sure I've seen this clue before, but I completely forgot the answer. I know ALTA better as Sp. for "high" or (related) a ski area in Utah.
- 11D: Homer Simpson type (SCREW-UP) — I've been watching the show for 20+ years and still needed most of the crosses to get this. It's apt enough, but it's not a word the show uses. Plus, while he's a SCREW-UP, he's also remarkably successful (he has a beautiful house and family ... and a Grammy ... and he's been to outer space with Buzz Aldrin ... etc.)
- 40D: Fully focused and attentive (ALL HERE) — huh. I don't like this. ALL THERE, sure. ALL HERE ... lost a "T." But then again I've only had 4 hours of sleep and am currently jet-lagged, so perhaps I'm not ALL HERE myself.
- 47D: Mount where Noah landed (ARARAT) — this makes me laugh, as it makes it sound as if Noah landed on a horse (see "not ALL HERE," above).
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