Italian sculptor Nicola / SUN 9-5-10 / Wielder of sword Tizona / Short-billed rail / Starting material coal formation / Kazakh land feature
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Constructor: Will Nediger
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "TURNING BACK" — second word in familiar two-word phrases is "turned back," i.e. reversed, creating a wacky phrase, clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: EXOCET (10D: Antiship missile used in the Falklands War) —
The Exocet is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Hundreds were fired in combat during the 1980s. (wikipedia) [I inferred this answer from AVOCET, which I thought was also a missile but which, it turns out, is a bird, as is CRAKE (29A: Short-billed rail), which intersects EXOCET, and which I know only from the Margaret Atwood title "Oryx and CRAKE"]
- 23A: Taking the dimensions of busybodies? (MEASURING SNOOPS)
- 42A: Done swimming? (OUT OF THE POOL)
- 45A: Giving an award to the wrong person? (PRIZE SLIP-UP)
- 70A: Slandering a Thanksgiving side dish? (TURKEY TORT) — this is my favorite wacky phrase, by far
- 74A: Othello, before Act V, Scene II? (LIVING MOOR)
- 99A: Comment in a woman's mag? (COSMO REMARK) — one of two "Seinfeld" references today. Huzzah... (see also 4D: Surname of TV's George, Frank and Estelle=>COSTANZA)
- 101A: Summary of "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? (INDIANA RECAP) — uh, ARKS is in the grid (89D: Torah holders). No biggie.
- 123A: Pious spouse's ultimatum? ("LOVE ME, LOVE MY GOD") — honestly, this doesn't sound wacky at all. I'm not sure if I could have told you before this puzzle which one ("god" version or "dog" version) was the common phrase. I can totally imagine some religious ... let's say "stalwart" ... saying this very thing.
[I have no reason for playing this except I love the song —by John Prine— and this is the best version I could find]
Here's some stuff I didn't know. ST. OLGA — she's new to me. Had the ST. part and exclaimed "Aw Come On! That's no help!" Figured ANNE was most likely, given her common letters, but no (36A: Her feast day is Jul. 11). Have certainly heard of EL CID, but had no idea that he was the 67A: Wielder of the sword of Tizona). I don't know anything about "La Vie en Rose," so ... oh, wait, I do. It's about EDITH Piaf, right!? Sure, *now* I get it. Ugh (121A: Marion's "La Vie en Rose" character). Wait, who's Marion? Ah, Marion Cotillard, who somehow won the Best Actress Academy Award while I wasn't paying attention. Ymir is only vaguely familiar, so I had to wait out some crosses before I got NORSE and OGRE (131A: Like Ymir + 132A: Ymir, for one). I wrote in PUPATE on faith—faith in my ability to make up plausible words from parts of other words (35D: Metamorphose, as a larva). I didn't know the picture of Jordan jumping was called a "Jumpman," so 40D: Sneaker with a Jumpman logo (AIR JORDAN) confused me for a bit. Else, smooth sailing.
- 9A: Its slogan begins "15 minutes could save you..." (GEICO) — if you don't know this, then you watch precisely Zero television. Ubiquitous.
- 20A: Ship written about by Apollonius of Rhodes (ARGO) — right over the plate for me. Mentioned voyage of the ARGO in class just this past Thursday. Other fat gimmes include "STAN" (38A: Eminem song that samples Dido's "Thank You"), which is a pretty great song, and CRISTAL (6D: Champagne often mentioned in hip-hop songs), which made me feel like years of enduring rap cliches had finally paid off. Here's a song with a CRISTAL reference:
- 31A: Starting material in coal formation (PEAT) — didn't know. Due to misspelling of POMELO ("O" for "E"), nearly left misspelled as "POAT."
- 56A: Indian guy in National Lampoon's "Van Wilder" movies (TAJ) — yes, there are "Van Wilder" movies, plural, for some reason
- 63A: Follower of White or Red (SOX) — this eluded me til I got the "X."
- 81A: Many Maurice Sendak characters (BEASTS) — true enough, esp. in "Where the Wild Things Are"
- 129A: Drink in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (OUZO) — Greek drink, four letters, not tough (never saw the movie)
- 12D: Cloak, in Córdoba (CAPA) — tried CAPO at first. Many other, better clues for that.
- 15D: Wearer of a famous ring (THE POPE) — "The Precious!"
- 44D: Hit 1989 biographical play ("TRU") — crosswordese. See also "TABU" (70D: Brand advertised as "the forbidden fragrance")
- 53D: Dish with greens and ground beef (TACO SALAD) — are the greens something other than lettuce? Because "greens" threw me. Was trying to think of something much fancier.
- 78D: Cuckold's purchase, perhaps (SPYCAM) — ooh, drama.
- 96D: Sweetheart's telephone comment ("I MISS YOU") — aw, sweet.
- @psyence53 I really should stop doing crosswords and go to sleep. I shall get changed, and do crosswords in bed, then. Addicted much? Oh dear.
- @kristine_lang Pleased to announce that this morning, in under 30 minutes, I, Kristine Lang, completed the NY Times crossword.
- @Nerdandahalf1 So absorbed in my crossword, I got on the wrong train... And I actually was going to make it on time
- @DangerChicken Stop calling me old. I'm only doing crossword puzzles, not dancing the Charleston. Although.....
- @ladonnaDOLCE Look at queena being collegiate with her crossword puzzle http://tweetphoto.com/42867509
- @TommyHB Enjoying a latte and crossword outside Edinburgh castle. Would it be rude to tell the bagpiper to shut the eff up?!
- @Edwin6Biscuits There's this old white lady who works in Rollins and all she does is READ her crossword puzzle and stare at us... Can I have ur job?!? Lol
- @iLoveTaraBriona Ima have my mom do this crossword puzzle this is bullshit! Ugh I give up!
- @ryangrammatico This guy next to me in this waiting room has his eyes open, doing a crossword puzzle but he sounds like he is sleeping #heavymouthbreather
- @TheRules Rule No. 771: Finishing the New York Times crossword is at least 900% more impressive than finishing the USA Today crossword.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]