Guitar accessory that adds vibrato / MON 10-25-10 / Angsty music genre / Silents star Normand / Comeuppance for evil actions
Monday, October 25, 2010
Constructor: Jonah Kagan
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: STARTS WITH A BANG (39A: Has an exciting opening number, say ... or what the answer to each starred clue does?) — theme answers start with BOOM, WHAM, BAM, and POW, respectively
Word of the Day: WHAMMY BAR (11D: *Guitar accessory that adds vibrato) —
A whammy bar, tremolo arm/bar, or vibrato arm/bar is a component of a guitar, used to add vibrato to the sound by changing the tension of the strings, typically at the bridge or tailpiece. The whammy bar enables the player to quickly vary the tension and sometimes the length of the strings temporarily, changing the pitch to create a vibrato, portamento or pitch bend effect. (wikipedia)
This was both more interesting and slightly tougher than most Monday puzzles. Still easy, of course, but strange enough in cluing (16A: Like some on-the-spot wireless networks for AD HOC?), and filled with enough mildly odd proper nouns (LETO, MABEL (38A: Silents star Normand)) to keep things from being over toooo quickly. I'd never heard of a WHAMMY BAR, so that right there was enough to set me back to something closer to Tuesday time. The duller short stuff is hardly noticeable given the lovely mid-range stuff like MARTIANS (5D: Invaders in an H.G. Wells story) and BAD KARMA (9D: Comeuppance for evil actions, supposedly) and HOT TODDY (42D: Warm bedtime beverage). All in all, an exemplary Tuesday-ish puzzle. Here's a STRANGE coincidence (53A: Bizarre), given the theme of the puzzle—the name of the conference at which I gave a keynote address this past weekend was entitled "KAPOW!"
Thanks to my guest writers for covering for me this weekend. I'm off again this coming weekend, but I think I'll be able to maintain the blog myself for that stretch. I'll be in D.C. visiting PuzzleGirl and attending the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally/march with my family. Should be a great time — assuming I can figure out why I'm having such stupid trouble breathing through my stupid nose for the past few months (and esp. the past week). I'm turning into some kind of troglodyte mouth-breather for no apparent reason, esp. at night (horrible!!!). It's making me a bit murderous. But that's really neither here nor there where you're concerned.
I like that BAD KARMA intersects DEATH SPASM. It also intersects PRAY TO BOWIE, thus suggesting a way *out* of BAD KARMA as well as a possible consequence of it. Speaking of SPASMs, I capped off my weekend away from home by seeing comedian Louis CK last night in Ithaca. I have literally never seen a stand-up comedy show live, but I like Mr. CK, and his F/X TV show, so much, that I decided to give it a shot (actually, my thoughtful wife noticed he was playing, bought the tickets, picked me up from the bus station, provided me with snacks for the car, and drove me straight to Ithaca to see him, god bless her). Anyway, I have never laughed so hard in my life. Well, I have, but only with my very best friends about ridiculous things. So technically I should say that I've never laughed so hard at a stranger. Before the show started, the guy sitting behind us was Such a douchey idiot that I was sure he was going to annoy us during the performance, but he didn't get a chance because even he was laughing so hard he couldn't breathe well enough to say any more douchey things. Louis CK is a (very profane) artist. Recommended ++. I'd play you a clip, but I'd probably get angry, offended letters. Oh, wait, here's one that played on network TV; that should be OK.
- 17A: *Toy that's thrown (BOOMERANG)
- 11D: *Guitar accessory that adds vibrato (WHAMMY BAR)
- 35D: *Hoodwink (BAMBOOZLE)
- 64A: *Situation set to explode (POWDER KEG)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]