Octopussy setting / THU 6-10-10 / Title first used Simeon I of Bulgaria / Question asked in foggy state / Bill with picture of Ben
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Constructor: Mike Nothnagel
Relative difficulty: Easy
THEME: POINT BLANK CHECK POINT — Theme answers are phrased as equations,
one answer in grid + another answer in grid, such that clues end up being, in order: [POINT BLANK] (20A: EXTREMELY CLOSE), [BLANK CHECK] (36A: UNLIMITED BUDGET), and [CHECK POINT] (49A: INSPECTION SPOT)
Word of the Day: "I SPY" (8D: Best-selling children's book series by Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo) —
I Spy is a children's book series with texts written by Jean Marzollo based on photographs by Walter Wick published by Scholastic Press. The books are named after the I spy guessing game. // The typical I Spy book contains photographs of an array of items, either in massive clutter, or set up to portray a scene, such as a haunted house. Below each picture is a riddle that asks the reader to search for specific items or words spelled out within the photo. (wikipedia)
I blew through the grid at first. AFEW to FLAX to ABLE to BLAH to LASE to EAST BERLIN (3D: "Octopussy" setting) in no time flat. Trouble getting REACT, for some reason (25A: Not be deadpan). I was thinking of the person delivering the jokes, not watching them. Needed a nudge or two to get "I SPY" (just typoed "I SPAY" ... now there's an add-a-letter theme waiting to happen ...). Nothing else presented much of a problem. Hardest part was probably just getting to POINT, which has a weeeird clue (61A: "Don't ___!"). I mean, that could've been anything, and even with P--NT, I wasn't sure. DON'T PRINT!? DON'T PAINT!?
- 20A: 61-Across + 9-Across (EXTREMELY CLOSE)
- 36A: 9-Across + 26-Down (UNLIMITED BUDGET)
- 49A: 26-Down + 61-Across (INSPECTION SPOT)
- 5A: Auckland native, informally (KIWI) — I married one. A Dunedin native, technically.
- 24A: Rock grp. once promoted as "the English guys with the big fiddles" (ELO) — there's an ELO clue I've never seen before.
- 35A: Sch. whose Board of Visitors once included presidents Madison and Monroe (UVA) — wanted EVENT, and used this to confirm the "V"
- 55A: Bill with a picture of Ben (C-NOTE) — More "letter-word" slang (see B-BALL). Nice.
- 51D: Title first used by Simeon I of Bulgaria (CZAR) — dang, it's trivia day down on the old crossword farm. ELO, UVA, and now CZAR get tricked out "Did you know...?"-type clues.
- 32D: Amazing Stories, e.g. (PULP) — Yay! Got this instantly, as I have a thing for PULPS. I teach stories from PULPs in my crime fiction class. I'm giving a keynote address in October about PULP fiction (and the sensational mass-market paperbacks that followed). Right up / down my alley.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]