Sir Anthony formerly of 10 Downing Street / TUE 9-7-10 / When doubled breath freshener / Driver's nonverbal hello / Lily of Africa
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Constructor: MaryEllen Uthlaut
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: IN-"LET" — "LET" is added to familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, clued "?"-style
Word of the Day: Sir Anthony EDEN (37A: Sir Anthony formerly of 10 Downing Street) —
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 – 14 January 1977) was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957. He was also Foreign Secretary for three periods between 1935 and 1955, including during the Second World War. // Eden's worldwide reputation as an opponent of appeasement, a 'Man of Peace', and a skilled diplomat was overshadowed in the second year of his premiership by his handling of the Suez Crisis of 1956, which critics across party lines regarded as an historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East. [...] He is generally ranked among the least successful British Prime Ministers of the twentieth century, although two broadly sympathetic biographies (in 1986 and 2003) have gone some way to redressing the balance of opinion.
Without a good theme-revealer, this one feels a little limp. Also, I got really distracted by PUPPET SHOW (17A: Entertainment you might have a hand in?), because it's got the "?"-cluing, length, and (I initially thought) placement of a theme answer. So I'm flying along, and I'm thinking "... PUPPET ... CUTLET ... ??? ..." Wasn't until I got to RAINSTORMS (58A: Nor'easters, often) that I was certain PUPPET had nothing to do with the theme. Until then, I thought maybe there was some letter string in there that had been added, and that I just needed to try harder to see the base phrase. Finished up the puzzle in the east, which was by far the hardest section for me to get into. Just couldn't see AGREE (35D: Share an opinion) or WAGE (40A: Carry on) or SHIRE (43A: English county) with the sparse crosses I had in there at first. Misread meaning of each clue (took "Share" to mean simply "give," took "Carry on" to mean "rant," and went looking for a specific "English county"). Oh, and STRETTO? Not coming easily either. But RINGLET TONES settled things down nicely in there. The musical sub-theme was almost too aggressive. We get it. You like classical music. PPP and RONDO let us know that ... but then STRETTO and ATONAL (64A: Keyless) come along to drive the point home.
- 20A: Meat slice on the highest shelf? (A CUTLET ABOVE)
- 27A: Advertising sheet blowing in the wind? (LOOSE LEAFLET)
- 44A: Curly lock tints? (RINGLET TONES)
- 52A: Dribble from an icicle? (EAVE'S DROPLET)
Here's a rubber stamp I bought yesterday for ... what I hope are obvious reasons (sadly, I did not buy it at the "Irony Store"):
I've got relatives from NZ in town, so just a few bullets and then I'm done.
- 8D: Lily of Africa (ALOE) — First instinct: Lily is a person. Second instinct: SEGO (would have been a good guess if "Africa" had been "Utah").
- 28D: When doubled, a breath freshener (SEN) — good example of a former "Word Of the Day" (SEN-SEN) that stuck, and hard. I remember very clearly the Patrick Blindauer puzzle responsible for my learning about this bygone (it's bygone, right?) freshener.
- 56D: Driver's nonverbal "hello" (TOOT) — still not sure about the tone of "hello" here. Is it "hey, what's up, how's it going?" or "HellO! Get back in your own lane, you #&$^!"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]