1970s first mother / SAT 12-25-10 / Twentieth century producer / Perfection under fire product / Corrosion-resistant plating
Saturday, December 25, 2010
- 19A: Santa ___ (CATALINA ISLAND) — never heard anyone call it anything except CATALINA ISLAND ...
- 36A: Santa ___ (MONICA MOUNTAINS) — ... whereas I've never heard anyone call these MONICA MOUNTAINS, and furthermore I never think about SANTA MONICA as anything but the city (where Best Friend 1 lives), or maybe the BOULEVARD (it fits!) so ... weird and weird so far.
- 48A: Santa ___ (ANITA RACETRACK) — And weirder, as this one is not (like the others) a geographical feature ...
Lillian Gordy Carter (August 15, 1898 – October 30, 1983) was the mother of former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. She is also known for contribution to nursing in her home state of Georgia and as a Peace Corps volunteer in India as well as writing two books during the Carter presidency. (wikipedia)
• • •
Kind of an odd fake Christmas puzzle. Theme answers don't produce much joy. Fill is fine but unremarkable. Cluing is interestingly much more like Stan Newman's "Newsday" cluing than it is like the typical NYT puzzle. That is, it relies more on short (often one-word) and vague cluing for its toughness than the typical Shortzian creation. I'm thinking of [Point] and [Point] and [Tap] and [Zip] and [Spring] and such. [Go around] isn't ORBIT, it's AVOID. [Stir up] isn't AGITATE (as it should be), it's ANIMATE and the cross, [Imply], isn't GET AT (as it should be), it's AIM AT. That said, it wasn't all that hard, and there's hardly an obscurity in sight, so what toughness there was was welcome. [Put away] — is that about eating, or stowing, or ... nope. It's killing (DO IN). In the end, I liked this puzzle fine, though the theme left me cold.
Some interesting moments:
We've got STENO (7D: Old office worker) and STERNO (44D: "Perfection under fire" product), so lucky us.
I invented two words today: MAZING for 23A: Stunning (DAZING) and ADORATES for 37D: Fawns over (ADULATES).
I could remember the villain himself from 2009's "Star Trek," but not the actor who played the villain in 2009's "Star Trek" (xword-friendly Eric BANA).
Other wrong answers:
- ORDINAL for 8A: Point (DECIMAL)
- SPICE for 30D: Oomph (JUICE)
- ASTI for 34A: Sight from the top of the Leaning Tower (ARNO)
- 1A: "The Twentieth Century" producer (CBS NEWS) — probably the hardest answer of all for me, as I don't know what "The Twentieth Century" is and I was looking for a person, not a news organization. This was especially weird when I thought the actor who played Nero in "Star Trek" was Billy ZANE. "CZ-NE-S?!?! Who is that?"
- 44A: Happy cohort? (SNEEZY) — transparent, but I still liked the clue. That's the playfulness I like / expect in my late-weekers. (and it's a "Snow White" reference, in case somehow that's not yet abundantly clear)
- 45A: Company with an I.P.O. in both 1992 and 2009 (AOL) — 1992. Wow. Seems early, but I guess I got my first email address in 1991, so maybe not so early after all.
- 14D: Wiseman who directed "Live Free or Die Hard" (LEN) — wanted LES, which was good enough to get the ball rolling up there. No idea how I (2/3) know the name. Interesting fact: the first "Die Hard" was a Christmas movie. This "Die Hard" ... I don't know.
- 38D: Corrosion-resistant plating (TIN) — "Tin roof! Rusted!"
Merry Christmas to all relevant parties. If you frequently read the comments section, you might enjoy this blog-based holiday puzzle by my friend Dave Eckert (whose dad is the eponym of a local theater here where I live, but that's another story...). Get it here. Enjoy.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]