Creepy 1981 Lauren Bacall film / TUE 1-25-11 / Jazz saxophonist Coltrane / 60 Minutes correspondent Logan / MGM mogul Marcus
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Constructor: Randall J. Hartman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: City palindromes — four 15-letter palindromic nonsense phrases (actually, three complete sentences, one phrase) that start with city names
Word of the Day: RAVI Coltrane (11D: Jazz saxophonist Coltrane) —
Ravi Coltrane (b. August 6, 1965 in Long Island, New York) is an American post-bop jazz saxophonist. Co-owner of the record label RKM Music, he has produced artists such as pianist Luis Perdomo, guitarist David Gilmore and trumpeter Ralph Alessi. // Ravi Coltrane is the son of the legendary tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and jazz pianist Alice Coltrane. He is also cousin to experimental music producer Steven Ellison aka Flying Lotus. He was raised in Los Angeles, California, and was named after sitar player Ravi Shankar. (wikipedia)
Good morning. Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be tight from now through May, as the reality of my existence has come crashing back upon me, i.e. the new semester has started. Today, in fact. In under three hours, in fact. Somehow I ended up teaching at 8:30am this term. What the ...? I'm a morning person, but by "morning person" I mean someone who gets up early and putters around the house A Lot and is normally still in pajamas and watching DVR'd late-night TV at 8:30am and doesn't really get cracking until 10 or so. Those days are gone. Or at least they're gone Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyway, I'll have to get to sleep pretty early and squeeze in a puzzle write-up first thing in the morning on those days. Just so you know.
I enjoyed today's puzzle. Felt very easy, but I ended up with a pretty normal time because my brain can process palindromes only so quickly (which is to say, "Slowly"). So I'd type the front end fast and then peck ... at ... the ... keyboard to get the rest. WARSAW NUN WAS RAW was the hardest because I had WARSAW and its mirror in place but no hint to the middle but "sister" and what the hell is "THE FAN?" I thought that was a Wesley Snipes movie? Robert DeNiro? Anyone? I missed the 1981 "THE FAN" (6D: Creepy 1981 Lauren Bacall film). Had "THE FA-" written in and didn't dare fill in that last letter on a guess. Thankfully, UMIAK was familiar to me (29D: Eskimo boat), and so NUN leapt forth. Everything else very easy, except RAVI, whom I can't remember ever seeing before. His parents and his namesake are, of course, very famous.
- 17A: Spanish moray still exists (SEVILLE EEL LIVES)
- 26A: Polish sister showed her inexperience (WARSAW NUN WAS RAW)
- 43A: Silver State boogie band autopsy expert (RENO ROCK CORONER) — that clue makes no sense, and since this one's a phrase and not a sentence, it is By Far the weakest of the bunch. Further, "boogie band?" What year is it?
- 56A: Red Sox fans mourned tearlessly (BOSTON DID NOT SOB)
- 16A: "60 Minutes" correspondent Logan (LARA) — she's part of a rising crossword class. Get to know her.
- 36A: W.W. II pinup features (GAMS) — one of the all-time great slang words.
- 41A: "Pet" that's a plant (CHIA) — apparently CHIA is not just a brand name but a real plant. My mom says she eats CHIA seeds on her oatmeal every morning. They're supposed to be high in Omega-3s.
- 5D: Teen loiterer (MALLRAT) — I haven't heard this term since Kevin Smith's mid-90s movie "MALLRATS" starring Shannen Doherty, but I still got it quickly.
- 37A: Fleet members (SHIPS) — I initially had SNIT for 24D: Sassy sort (SNIP), so my first answer here was ... puzzling.
- 49D: Sacred bird of Egypt (IBIS) — "Sacred bird" or "bird" + "Egypt" in four letters is IBIS as sure as virtually any rapper in four letters on a Tuesday is ICE-T (2D: "Rhyme Pays" rapper).
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