Don Marquis's six-legged poet / SUN 10-10-10 / Wearers of jeweled turbans / Queen of double entendres / Winged celestial being / Hold em bullet
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Constructor: Patrick Merrell
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Drivers' Translations" — theme answers = what a (cynical asshole) driver thinks when he/she sees various road signs
Word of the Day: ARCHY (35D: Don Marquis's six-legged poet) —
Archy and Mehitabel (styled as archy and mehitabel) is the title of a series of newspaper columns written by Don Marquis beginning in 1916. Written as fictional social commentary and intended as a space-filler to allow Marquis to meet the challenge of writing a daily newspaper column six days a week, archy and mehitabel is Marquis' most famous work. Collections of these stories are still sold in print today. The published editions of these stories were originally illustrated by George Herriman, the creator and illustrator of Krazy Kat. // In 1916, Marquis introduced a fictional cockroach named "Archy" into his daily newspaper column at The New York Evening Sun. Archy (whose name was always written in lower case in the book titles, but was upper case when Marquis would write about him in narrative form) was a cockroach who had been a free-verse poet in a previous life, and took to writing stories and poems on an old typewriter at the newspaper office when everyone in the building had left. Archy would climb up onto the typewriter and hurl himself at the keys, laboriously typing out stories of the daily challenges and travails of a cockroach. Archy's best friend was an alley cat named "Mehitabel," and the two of them shared a series of day-to-day adventures that made satiric commentary on daily life in the city during the 1910s and 1920s. (wikipedia)
Really disliked the theme. Who are these "drivers"? Are these the same assholes who tailgate, run reds, talk / text and drive ... ? Who looks at construction work and thinks "PORK BARREL PROJECT?!" I *wish* workers would come and fix my damned pot-holed street. I have friends (pedestrians) who were hit by drivers that thought it was cool to COAST ON THROUGH. IGNORE THIS SIGN? Hell, just ignore them all, you seem not give a f&$% about anyone but yourself. . . as you can see, I don't have much sympathy with whatever this allegedly generic "driver" is thinking. I'm no driving angel, but it's hard for me to laugh about behavior that not only could but does result in tens of thousands of deaths and serious injuries every year. Why not [SCHOOL ZONE ...] => CHILDRENAREOVERRATED? Where's the funny drunk-driving puzzle?
- 23A: YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK ... (PORK BARREL PROJECT)
- 33A: MERGING TRAFFIC ... (PREPARE TO BE CUT OFF)
- 45A: STOP ... (COAST ON THROUGH)
- 61A: CONGESTION NEXT 10 MILES ... (ROAD RAGE ZONE)
- 72A: NO THRU TRAFFIC ... (GOOD SHORT CUT)
- 88A: STAY IN LANE ... (IGNORE THIS SIGN)
- 103A: NO STOPPING OR STANDING ... (LEAVE IF YOU SEE A COP)
- 112A: SPEED LIMIT 65 M.P.H. (KEEP IT UNDER EIGHTY)
- 31A: Hold 'em bullet (ACE) — Rangers had the Rays down last night but couldn't hold 'em. They may have to rely on their ACE Cliff Lee, though they seem to be holding him for a potential game 5 (or the ALCS, whichever comes first).
- 55A: Suffix with hatch (-ERY) — yucky.
- 71A: Neurotransmitter associated with sleep (SEROTONIN) — Big question for me here: SERO- or SERA-?
- 84A: Winged celestial being (SERAPH) — Acc. to wikipedia: "[Seraphim] occupy the fifth of ten ranks of the hierarchy of angels in medieval and modern Judaism, and the highest rank in the Christian angelic hierarchy."
- 93A: Setting for the biggest movie of 1939 movie (TARA) — first thought: "OZ"
- 68D: Betty, Bobbie and Billie followers on "Petticoat Junction" (JOS) — Well, if you have to put JOS in your puzzle, that's a pretty good clue. Didn't see the plural when I first glanced at the clue and wrote in MAE.
- 73A: "The Situation Room" airer (CNN) — Blitzer!
- 97D: Jean-Paul who wrote "Words are loaded pistols" (SARTRE) — pretty sure he didn't write that. He wrote in French. Trying to find original quote ... failing.
- 101D: It may wind up at the side of the house (HOSE) — this clue is great.
- 105D: Sideshow worker (CARNY) — From pop star to sideshow worker ... so sad.
And now your Tweets of the Week, puzzle chatter from the Twitterverse:
- @joevkul Saturday NYTimes #crossword success foiled by intersection of Crores (ten million rupees) and (Banda) Aceh. C'mon, Shortz, don't be an ass.
- @jimenez_j Lady on the subway having an emotional rollercoaster ride reading a CROSSWORD puzzle in the paper! Genius/crazy person? Ps. she has no pen!?
- @jirahcox Listening to a retelling outside my cube of an epic conquering of a crossword puzzle. It truly is the stuff of legend.
- @marneleigh Dear LA Times Crossword, Your clue of "&" should have the answer of "ampersand" not "andsign" ..Make people smarter, not dumber
- @WildKnitter OK...I've officially given up on civilization. The Boston Globe Crossword puzzle actually used "baby-daddy" as a clue...
- @Chris__Richards At airport with my crossword-puzzled mother. "How do you spell Ludacris the rapper?" Realized I had forgotten how to spell the actual word.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]