1937 Cole Porter tune / SUN 3-6-11 / Constant Gardener heroine / Portrayer in 2003's Elf / Hungarian city known for its thermal baths
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Constructor: David Levinson Wilk
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "For Your Edification" — theme answers are phrases beginning with a past participle ending in "-ED"; those phrases are reimagined (in the clues) as verb phrases involving guys named "ED"
Word of the Day: EGER (65A: Hungarian city known for its thermal baths) —
Eger (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈɛɡɛr]; German: Erlau; Turkish: Eğri ) is a city in northern Hungary, the county seat of Heves, east of the Mátra Mountains. Eger is best known for its castle, thermal baths, historic buildings (including the northernmost Turkish minaret), and red and white wines.
I finished up top because my first pass at that section was a total failure. In fact, I solved this in a highly unorthodox fashion (for me). Ran into 3D: 109-Down portrayer in 2003's "Elf" and knew (five letters) immediately that the answer was ASNER and that 109-Down must be SANTA. This sent me down to the opposite corner of the grid ... and I just decided to stay there, building off SANTA and working my way up (instead of my usual down). The fill down there, and a few other places, gets a bit xwordy. I'm not sure words like ETAPE and ENNA should be anywhere near each other, let alone crossing. But mostly the fill is decent and the clues are often entertaining and contemporary. Many will scoff at THA, for instance, but I loved it. I once wondered aloud to someone (probably Brendan E. Quigley), if THACARTERIII would make an acceptable themeless entry. Pretty sure the answer was something like "On my site, yes, in the NYT, no." But that might not be true. Lil Wayne (I can't believe his name's not even in the clue!) is a superstar, and that album sold in the gajillions (around 3.5 million, actually). It also won the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2009.
Also loved the clues on TAN (35D: Noted John Boehner feature) and RED (94D: Buttons on the big screen).
- 23A: Be willing to apprehend Mr. Bradley at any cost? (WANT ED DEAD OR ALIVE)
- 31A: Punish Mr. Harris in a medieval way? (BURN ED AT THE STAKE) — speaking of Mr. Harris in a medieval way ...
- 43A: Get Mr. Koch addicted to a modern reading method? (HOOK ED ON PHONICS)
- 66A: Preside over Mr. O'Neill's baptism? (BLESS ED EVENT)
- 75A: Do Mr. Sullivan's stand-up material? (CRACK ED JOKES)
- 93A: Prohibit Mr. McMahon from ever socializing again? (GROUND ED FOR LIFE)
- 103A: Perform brain surgery on Mr. Begley? (TOUCH ED IN THE HEAD)
- 116A: Put Mr. Meese in an Armani suit? (DRESS ED TO THE NINES) — first theme answer I got, which seems fitting, as Mr. Meese is the crosswordiest ED of all.
- 42A: Epitome of thinness (REED) — wanted RAIL, another such epitome
- 74A: Letters on Ozzie Smith's cap (STL) — Hall-of-Famer, and probably the most famous shortstop of my youth ('80s!)
- 129A: Brand name that used to be spelled out in commercials (NESTLE'S) — this ad is unintentionally hilarious for Several reasons, not least of which is the guy spells out NESTLE'S while repeatedly showing that the brand's actual name is the S-less NESTLE.
- 14D: Noted Cosell interviewee (ALI) — A gimme. A great sports relationship.
- 31D: Apiphobiac's fear (BEE) — APES = Latin for "BEES"
- 33D: Auto last made in 1936 (REO) — You could ride around in your REO listening to "ROSALIE," I guess, though cars back then probably didn't have stereos...
- 34A: "99 Luftballons" singer, 1984 (NENA) — You could hear German and English versions of this song on the radio in the mid-80s. A huge hit.
- 49D: "Mogambo" threat (TSETSE) — That movie's about malaria? (I'm told I mean "sleeping sickness")
- 56A: Retailer with a cat and dog in its logo (PETCO) — this is our pet store. I have a little PETCO card on my keychain. Recently earned my first free bag of dog food. Exciting, I know.
- 92D: Household pets that need ultraviolet light in their cages (IGUANAS) — speaking of pets ... I'm not sure if PETCO carries these. As far as I'm concerned, there are two legitimate pets: cats and dogs. Everything else should be wild or eaten.
- 110D: 1994 action flick with the tagline "Get ready for rush hour" ("SPEED") — This was a very good action movie. Also, I think it introduced the world to Sandra Bullock.
- 111D: "The Constant Gardener" heroine (TESSA) — didn't read it, but loved the movie. Had no recollection of the character name, however.
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