Minnesota city where part of "Fargo" was filmed / THU 8-5-10 / "The Palindrome Symphony" composer / "Rich Man, Poor Man" Emmy winner
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Constructor: Gary J. Whitehead
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: The Midwest — Circled two-letter postal abbreviations make a map of the American MIDWEST (66a: What the circled parts of this puzzle comprise) with the MISSISSIPPI (18d: It runs through the middle of 66-Across) running down the center.
Word of the Day: AUREOLE (65a: Halo) —
au·re·ole also au·re·o·la n.
- A circle of light or radiance surrounding the head or body of a representation of a deity or holy person; a halo.
- Astronomy See corona.
• • •
This is the kind of theme I would expect to see with YESTERDAY'S byline. Pretty lofty concept, and the theme is very accurate and well-executed. I just held up the grid like this:
and was surprised how geographically accurate it really was. So the theme I like. The fill however ... had some not so nice stuff in it. NTHS (3d: Unspecified degrees), ERI (5d: Verdi's "___ tu"), NOT A (7d: "___ chance!"), TISHA (9d: ___ b'av, Jewish day of fasting), AURI- (13d: Hearing: Prefix), STELLAS (8a: Painters Frank and Joseph), OR I (52a: "Either you ___ ..."), IN SO (60d: "___ doing ..."), OP'NIN' (52d:"Another ___, Another Show" ("Kiss Me Kate" song)), and A RUN (54d: Make ___ for it) are all cringey for me. Maybe that's just my pet peeve: fill in the blanks. Lot of stuff to like, but lots of ... other stuff too.
- (1a: Denounce) CONDEMN
- (16a: Nasty Fall) WIPEOUT
- (21a: Year of the swine flu epidemic) MMIX — At first I really hated this, because I thought only older, more classical dates should ever be in Roman numerals, but then I realized that this clue actually was a Roman numeral clue that I could GET! Does that make it better than a Year in Pope John Paul George Ringo XVII's reign? I think so.
- (26a: Botch) MISDO
- (30a: Canon competitor) RICOH
- (37a: Kind of code) BINARY
- (39a: Noxious) MIASMAL — My favorite state-containing answer. MIASMA is a great word in itself, but making in at adjective? I put in MIASMIC originally... which I like better.
- (42a: Temper, as metal) ANNEAL — My least favorite state-container. And I've been known to temper some metal when I'm feeling up to it, or need a harpoon.
- (44a: Place for a pot) SILL
- (53a: Bergdorf competitor) SAKS
- (56a: Finish cleaning, say) MOP UP
- (66a: What the circled parts of this puzzle comprise) MIDWEST
- (18d: It runs through the middle of 66-Across) MISSISSIPPI
- 12d: Hang over (LOOM) — I guess this is the follow-up to yesterday's "wham bam thank you ma'am." It also gives me an excuse to post this:
and on the subject of Zach Galifianakis (one of the funniest comedians out there):
I wish I could post more. His parody-talk show "Between Two Ferns" is hilarious.
- 14d: Milton called it "The flood of deadly hate" (STYX) — I tried NATAN LAST but it didn't fit. I actually sat staring at STY_, trying to convince myself that Milton was never an optometrist, and E wasn't a Roman numeral. Great use of the Styx (the band) song "Come Sail Away" here:
- 28d: One of the Corleones (SONNY) — FREDO would have fit too. I love this clue because it makes me think of this scene ... which I can't find on Youtube. The one where Marlon Brando says "Look how they massacred my boy!" So you'll have to settle for this:
- 43d: "Rich Man, Poor Man" Emmy winner (ED ASNER) — This would be another excuse to post clip from "Up"... but that might get redundant. The more crosswords I do, the more I learn about Ed Asner (although I think I knew this).
- 63d: G (SOL) — OK, I think I'm going to call foul on this answer. I'm pretty sure what the clue is going for is SOL (on the solfege scale) is the note G ... but that's only when you're on a C Major scale. I'm pretty sure sol is still sol no matter what scale you use; it represents the fifth of the scale, not G specifically. Am I being too nitpicky?
- 41a: Slapstick prop (PIE) — There could be a lot of really good answers for this clue. Like "GIANT FRUIT"
- 22a: Last name in ice cream (EDY) — Pretty much the only option. Ice cream. Three letters. Unless Ben and/or Jerry have short last names. Or Häagen-Dasz is a dude.
- 58a: Branch of Islam (SHIA) — Has this even been clue via Shia LaBeouf? Not in the Times. Twice in the WSJ. He's in the new "Wall Street" movie, or "34a: Wall St. happening (IPO)" which doesn't look bad. I could watch Michael Douglas do just about anything. Did anyone see that movie "Solitary Man"?
Finally, for all you following the Natan-Caleb feud ... just take a look at THIS uncanny resemblance:
Signed, Caleb Madison, Serf of CrossWorld
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