French city in 1944 fighting / TUE 6-29-10 / Island near Java / Potential enamorada / Heroine of Verdi's Il Trovatore / 99 Red Balloons singer 1984
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: BLACK / AND / WHITE — 39A: With 41- and 43-Across, cop cruiser ... or a description of the five animals named in this puzzle
- SNOW LEOPARD (20A: Asian cat)
- ZEBRA (13D: Equus quagga)
- PANDA (30D: One of the 2008 Olympic mascots)
- SKUNK (53D: Polecat)
- KILLER WHALE (60A: Shamu, for one)
Word of the Day: TOCSIN (35A: Alarm bell) —
- An alarm sounded on a bell.
- A bell used to sound an alarm.
- A warning; an omen.
[French, alteration of toquassen, from Old French touque-sain, from Old Provençal tocasenh : tocar, to strike (from Vulgar Latin *toccāre) + senh, bell (from Late Latin signum , from Latin, signal; see sign).]
- 1A: AARP or the National Rifle Association (LOBBY) — bad start. Wanted an abbr. because of "AARP" in clue. Spelled-out "NRA" should've clued me in.
- 6D: Potential enamorada (SEÑORITA) — again, not a Tuesday clue. A fine clue, but more Thursday.
- 8D: Like some exercises (NAVAL) — more vague/tough cluing.
- 38D: "99 Red Balloons" singer, 1984 (NENA) — weird coincidence: just caught about five minutes of an old "Family Guy" episode, in which there is a very strange "99 Red Balloons" joke. And then I walked directly upstairs and did this puzzle. That was my second weird coincidence of the day. The first was watching "Spectacle" (fantastic Elvis Costello-hosted show about music) this morning, and learning from Costello's interview with Clinton (sax player) that Robert Byrd was an accomplished fiddler. Got in my car afterward, turned on NPR, and learned that Byrd had died—NPR not only mentioned his fiddling, they also played a snippet from his fiddle album of the late '70s!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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