Yankee manager who wore #37 / THU 10-28-10 / Poison of life per Bronte's Rochester / Barnard's locale Great Expectations / Greene Godfather gangster
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Constructor: David J. Kahn
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: A Halloween riddle...
Q: WHAT IS A / GHOST'S FAVORITE / DESSERT? (17A: With 27- and 35-Across, a Halloween riddle)
A: BOOBERRY PIE AND / I SCREAM (43A: With 60-Across, answer to the riddle)
Word of the Day: Picaroon (43A: Picaroon=>BANDIT) —
- A pirate.
- A pirate ship.
Pretty easy, though a barrage of annoying, gnat-like little proper nouns kept me from flying through this thing as fast as I thought I should have. I didn't care too much for this Halloween-week offering. Too cutesy. Pulled straight from a joke book for third-graders. Much preferred yesterday's simple, smooth, clever spookfest. This tired groaner isn't fit to hold center stage in a NYT puzzle. As for the gnats:
- 15A: ___ Greene, "The Godfather" gangster (MOE) — seen the movie, of course, but the name just didn't come. I wanted ABE (likely bec. of Vigoda)
- 51A: Italian TV channel (TRE) — I still can't really believe this clue is serious. How in the world should I know an Italian TV channel? Or is the idea that it's just a number ... channel three? Weird.
- 3D: Elaine ___, George W. Bush's only labor secretary (CHAO) — I'm sure I've seen her and been flummoxed by her before. The only CHAO I know readily is Knives CHAO, a major character in the "Scott Pilgrim" comics (and, I assume, the movie, though I haven't seen it). Although her name's spelled CHAU, so nevermind.
- 39D: Barnard's ___, locale in "Great Expectations" (INN) — ??? I see a theme developing. Minor character in a movie, obscure foreign TV channel, minor figure in a pres. admin., some place in a book ... clearly the cluer is trying really hard to throw down little speed bumps, likely anticipating that the hackneyed joke will be far too easy for Thursday solvers to get...
- 42D: Debbie who won three swimming gold medals at the 1968 Olympics (MEYER) — I have some vague memory of having encountered her in crosswords past.
Gotta go finish grading exams so I can get out of town this weekend without too much work hanging over my head. Also, I want to get back downstairs to catch the end of the Giants/Rangers game. So ... Let's see ... what's left to say. Only real trouble spot of any size was the NE, where I had the tail ends of all the 7-letter Acrosses, but couldn't bring any of them down! Unh! Of those three answers, I'm most embarrassed by not getting BRIDGES much, much sooner (7A: George Washington and others). The only answer my brain really wanted was GEORGES, which, as you can see, is ridiculous. Never read "Jane Eyre" (that I can recall), but that awesome Rochester quote kind of makes me want to (16A: "The poison of life," per Brontë's Rochester). My first thought upon reading that clue: ABSINTHE. I had an absinthe cocktail this past weekend in New York. Surprisingly delicious. My friend and host (who paid, god bless her) just kept ordering interesting-sounding cocktails, then not liking them and passing them down to me and our mutual friend, who liked them quite well, thank you very much. My original order was a whisky drink with cracked-pepper-infused Sazerac rye and some kind of ginger liqueur and possibly something else in an old-fashioned glass, on the rocks. It was bleeping brilliant. Loved seeing YAKIMA in the grid (45D: Washington city, river or tribe)—I know it well because a. my father grew up in the state of Washington and we went there every summer for years, b. Raymond Carver (one of my favorite writers) grew up in YAKIMA, c. my friend Robert used to call games for the YAKIMA Bears.
And so to bed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]