Prince's partner / THU 7-28-11 / Greek island where Zeus said to be raised / Baltic Sea feeder / Anatomical dividers / Villainous monk Da Vinci Code
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Constructor: Alan Arbesfeld
Relative difficulty: Challenging
THEME: UP — an "UP" rebus wherein all the Down answers that contain an "UP" square must be read from the bottom UP to be understood
Word of the Day: Wade BOGGS (1D: Five-time A.L. batting champ) —
Wade Anthony Boggs (born June 15, 1958) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman. He spent his 18-year baseball career primarily with the Boston Red Sox, but also played for the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. His hitting in the 1980s and 1990s made him a perennial contender for American League batting titles, in much the same way as his National League contemporary Tony Gwynn. Boggs was elected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. With 12 straight All-Star appearances, Boggs is third only to Brooks Robinson and George Brett in number of consecutive appearances as a third baseman. His finest season was 1987, when he set career highs in home runs (24), RBI (89), and slugging percentage (.588). He also batted .363 and had a .461 on-base percentage that year, leading the league in both statistics. In 1999, he ranked number 95 on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. (wikipedia)
I grew up idolizing Wade BOGGS, so this puzzle got off on the right foot with me. Actually, that's not true. It took me a little while to get BOGGS, as BRETT and CAREW were my first guesses (both former A.L. batting champs—Carew 7 times, Brett 3). At first I floated through the grid, in and around what would turn out to be the rebus squares. SEPTA to NEAT to LTR to RA I to AS TO ... SHALT to TSE TSE to TOIL to OUTER to ECOLE to SATIRIC and DOLOR. Finally saw MEASURED [one square] and new "UP" was the key. Took me at least another minute before I figured out why 27D: Union requirement, maybe? and, a little later, 3D: Prince's partner weren't working. --UP-- = PAUPER ... but then SEPTA becomes SERTA, which made me wonder if there was some bygone mattress commercial with a prince that I was forgetting. Once I realized PAUPER just wasn't going to work, I put "P" back in SEPTA and the upside-downness of the answer became clear. Needless to say, after that bottom half of the grid was somewhat easier than the top half (but still tough). I enjoyed this ambitious and legitimately tricky puzzle, even though I finished with an error. At 19A: Refill when you don't really need to (TOP UP), I wrote in TOPE. Seemed very, very right. Sadly, NOE (the resulting cross) makes no sense at all for 13D: Over (NOPU, i.e. UPON). Crosschecking your answers = always a good idea, esp. in a minefield of a puzzle like this one.
Three tenacious wrong answers: IN AWE for [Taken] (IN USE), WINDOWS for [They may be cleared with a spray] (SINUSES), and (funniest of all) WEES for [Pygymy couple?] (WYES)
- GO UP IN SMOKE / REPUAP
- TOP UP / NOPU
- MEASURED UP / PUNERP
- SIT UP FOR / TPUS
- STANDS UP TO / STESPU
- UP-DOS / PUHW
- COME UP SHORT / SPOUS
- 15A: Villainous monk in "The Da Vinci Code" (SILAS) — once again, forgot his name. I think I just really resent this clue, which expects me to read Dan Brown or see some horrible-looking movie. Would be nice to see some love for Paul SILAS now and again, if you really don't want to use a George Eliot clue.
- 41A: Actor Johnson of "Plan 9 From Outer Space"(TOR) — ugh, as if this puzzle weren't hard enough. Also, OUTER is in the grid. Whoops.
- 48A: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" shower (HBO) — I think I prefer "airer" to "shower."
- 68A: Greek island where Zeus was said to be raised (NAXOS) — also, a fine discount Classical CD label. I have a lot of NAXOS music.
- 5D: Indication of deflation (SSSS) — easily the worst answer in the grid. A puzzle this ambitious and interesting can get away with an answer or two like this (and assorted detritus like ODER (14A: Baltic sea feeder), AHSO, RAREE, LAK, OLA, etc.)
- 11D: It may be the only thing in a bar (WHOLE NOTE) — probably my favorite clue/answer pair in the whole puzzle.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. If you cannot attend the Lollapuzzoola 4 crossword tournament (coming up next Saturday, Aug. 6—details here), the tournament creators are giving you an opportunity to Solve At Home! From the tournament website:
"NEW -- Solve at home! Can't attend the tournament, but still want to play? No problem! For the low low price of $10, the complete set of puzzles from this year's tournament will be hand-delivered to an email address of your choosing. We'll ship the puzzles (in PDF format) on August 7, the day after the tournament in New York. This offer is only available through Sunday, August 14, so if you want to participate in the fun and games from afar, act quickly!"