Luther opponent Johann / 9-10-10 / Hayseed's greeting / Big name in retail jewelry / Much-maligned mascot / Fiji rival
Friday, September 10, 2010
n., pl., -quies.
A funeral rite or ceremony. Often used in the plural. (answers.com)
• • •
Started out lightning fast on this one (reverse of my normal puzzle pattern of late), tearing up the NW and then moving steadily, if somewhat less quickly, down the west coast. Then there was stalling, first in the NE, where REDRAW for REZONE—16A: Change the boundaries of—really &%*$d me up, and unknowns OSMIC (30A: ___ acid (microscopic staining compound)) and ECK (34A: Luther opponent Johann) didn't help much either; then, especially, in the south. Let's start with BIG POPPA (41A: 1995 platinum rap hit that starts "To all the ladies in the place with style and grace"), which I assumed was BIG POPPY, clearly conflating my rap stars and my Red Sox stars. Since I knew the "Y" was wrong, I figured the whole shebang was wrong, so took it out. Then there's G'DAY (42D: Victorian's greeting)—didn't know Australia had a "Victoria"— and BARS (couldn't see it, despite briefly considering prison as a context) (53A: Structures near cell walls) and "OY VEY" (which would be cute if this were an ultra-regional puzzle, which it's not) (56A: "Leaving Brooklyn: ___!" (Williamsburg Bridge sign)), and then OBSEQUY (a word I recognize but could not have defined). That's a lot of ??? to piece together in one little place. Still managed to get through this in a pretty normal time, though once again, for probably the 6th week in a row, Fridays are trending way harder than they were (for me) in the first part of the year.
It's a pretty unambitious grid as Fridays go—maximum word count (72), and not a lot of really open space. It's a pangram, which doesn't interest me at all, but it's something. What is with the spelling on "HOW D'YE DO?" I had "HOWDY DOO!" which somehow seemed cleaner and better, if less, uh, grammatical (31A: Hayseed's greeting). Though the [Big name in retail jewelry] should be ZALE'S, since that's the store's name. ZALE is the eponym, I guess. Misspelling HAYEK (48A: Salma of the screen) as HAYAK kept EMINEM hidden from me for a bit. I completely forgot that he'd release anything lately, let alone that that anything won a Grammy (50D: 2009 Grammy winner for "Relapse"). I really wanted AMYWINEHOUSE to fit in that slot.
I gotta get back to the season-opening NFL game now, so ... let's see what's left:
- 15A: NyQuil ingredient? (CAPITAL Q) — that "?" made the gist of this clue transparent. Note that the answer is not CAPITAL KEW (see yesterday's puzzle)
- 40A: Havana greeting ('ALO) — I've seen 'ALLO, but not 'ALO before. Seems sketchy.
- 9D: Roadrunner feature (CREST) — had the "ST" and still had to think a bit, mainly because I wasn't sure if the clue wanted the bird or the Time Warner ISP.
- 10D: Code for Latin America's busiest airport (MEX) — ... ico City? Yes.
- 11D: San Diego State team (AZTECS) — conjuring this up from my California childhood helped me fix the REDRAW issue in the NE.
- 12D: Much-maligned mascot (JOE CAMEL) — wanted CHIEF WAHOO.
- 32D: Boom Blox console (WII) — "console" in three letters tells you a lot.
- 37D: Nerd-rejecting high-school group (COOL KIDS) — got this remarkably quickly—very nice, in-the-language phrase.
- 51D: Orange dwarfs (K-STARS) — had the "K" and just wrote in STARS, despite knowing almost nothing about astronomy. I know enough to know that "dwarf" is an astronomical term. I think there was a movie or scifi novel called "Red Dwarf" that taught me this. Hmmm, it appears to be the name of a British comedy I've never seen in my life. How odd:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
P.S. there is an open house this weekend for Caleb Madison's JASA crossword construction class: Sunday, Sep. 12, noon, at the John Jay building (10th Ave. between 58th and 59th). Here's a link to JASA's fall catalog: http://jasa.org/Fall%202010.pdf. Course goal is to construct a puzzle suitable for submission to Will Shortz at the NYT (he has published two such puzzles so far). JASA = Jewish Association for Services for the Aged—you must be 55 to enroll in the course. Caleb is smart, charismatic, and enthusiastic. I would take this course (if I lived in then NYC area and were 15 years older). Highly recommended.