Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Constructor: Paula Gamache
THEME: Attendees at '70's key parties, or Things that Swing. But you knew that, because you got 56A, which made my typing it out yet again kind of pointless. Just look up an inch or two on your screen, and there it is.
Word of the Day: Moon pie (51A: Chocolate coated marshmallow sandwich)
The MoonPie brand moon pie or MoonPie is a pastry which consists of two round graham cracker cookies, with marshmallow filling in the center, dipped in chocolate or other flavors. The traditional pie is about the diameter of a hockey puck.
I listened to a six year old tell me of the glory that is a mallomar [1:30AM edit: S'Mores you idiot, the kid was talking about S'mores] just this past Sunday, made by hand from the three basic food groups (Graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate), then melted over an open camp fire with his father. Apparently, some things in life are perfect. I'm suspecting a Moon Pie is less so, as I studiously try to avoid pastries which contain the phrase "hockey puck" in their description. We all make our own life choices, that's one of mine.
Zeke here, filling in for a vacationing Rex.
Words fail to express how much I really wanted a seriously subpar puzzle today. See, my schtick is sardonic humor, bordering on snottiness. I'm good at it, I revel in it. I worried so much about doing this since Rex gave me the invite that I prepackaged rants which would have made Bierce proud, but I get this puzzle to talk about. One of these rants had an extended treatise on how Ted Williams' head, disembodied and languishing in a cryogenic state with tuna cans frozen to his forehead serves as a metaphor for one of my least favorite categories of fill. I have this in my back pocket, and I have this puzzle to talk about? That when I was draft eligible I was in fact ONEA, but that there was no way was I "Ready to Serve". Snap, take that Paula! Yup, that will keep each of you rolling in the aisles this morning. For your own sake, try to keep it down if you're reading this at the office.
I've no objective criteria by which to judge difficulty, I just go by the feel of how consistent the puzzle is, does it flow. There were a few hiccups along the way, as PT BOAT kind of felt like "Please go away" on the welcome mat that is, or should be, 1A/1D, but when that's the extent of your complaints, you have no complaints.
- 17A: They're Up (BASEBALL BATTERS)
- 31A: Some Wall Street Journal Charts (STOCK PRICES)
- 35A: They're waiting to be persuaded (UNDECIDED VOTERS)
- 43A: Western Entrances (SALOON DOORS)
- 56A: Category for 17-, 31-, 35-,and 43- Accross (what, you're expecting me to type it in again? You already typed it in, I typed it in above, and you want it again? THINGS THAT SWING)
- 16A: YSL Fragrance (OPIUM) Will, yesterday you stepped up to the plate by cluing ASS simply as idiot. No biblical imagery of riding an ASS or smiting with the jawbone of an Ass, just ASS, pure and simple, as we all use it. Why back off with OPIUM? YSL was talking about OPIUM, pure and simple. It's OPIUM, one of the scourges of mankind, but call it what it is for what it is.
- 34A: Begone! (SCAT) You all know I'm going to embed Ella somewhere in here, no? The whole puzzle is about things that swing, among which Ella is at the top of the list. So why not clue SCAT via Ella? You trying to take that away from me too Paula, hoping I would miss it? Man, if I used the "B" word in public I'd be all upside your head with it.
- 36D/50A (NEAL crossing ALYSSUM) [2AM edit] Kind of Naticky here, though I've gotten NEAL wrong often enough that he's part of the family. My family consists mainly of things I've gotten wrong. First, NINA is my go to NPR person. I solved this 90%+ downs only, had the N___ saw NPR, entered NINA. Quickly erased NINA, what with her last name being Totenberg, not Conan, though Nina will return to the story line here. If I ever knew of Sweet ALYSSUM, which I doubt, I would have to guess I misread it as Sweet Asylum. Which takes me back to OPIUM.
This song has been playing nonstop in my head for the past 6 months. Seriously, it's playing in the background of my mind all day long. Yes, I take meds for this, but they don't work. As to the song, it is absolutely perfect, if you can get past the apocalyptic imagery and just focus on its pure statement of hopelessness. I spent most of Saturday trying to get this song out of my head. I finally thought I had done so, replace him with some Keb' Mo', when I went to check out the Expo who was the MVP in the All Star Game, Tim Raines. Wait, I know him, "Rock" Raines. He played for the Yankees. Rock, I ran to the Rock, Rock won't help me. Damn, Nina's back again. I figured that the one person who could force Nina from my mind was Ella, so I went out looking for some new Ella, and found a CD which contained a song I've been looking for for years. Just this evening, I ripped it to my Zune (yes, I'm the one who has one, you can all tell your friends that you actually know one), and listened to it. I've been looking for that song for years, and it is probably her worst recording ever. Ever, and she never had a bad recording.
So, you want one of the best THINGS THAT SWING? Gotcha covered (volume at max absolutely required, screw the at/not at work thing).
Wait, no Ella? Damned right no Ella, the bitch let me down today. Oops, I guess I do use the "B" word in public. Paula, you got off easy.
Signed, Zeke, for Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS: Sorry, but I can't remove all the gratituous boldness in the typefaces.
PPS: Thanks PuzzleGirl for making the above PS irrelevant, and the blog look less chimp-written.
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]