Nobelist Bloch or Lorenz / SAT 7-14-12 / Pet kept by Wilson, Harding and Coolidge / War with little or no active warfare / "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" writer
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Constructor: Brad Wilber & Doug Peterson
Relative difficulty: Easy (because I finished it)
Excuse me if I'm a little choked up, but this is kind of a big day for me. It's actually the four-year anniversary of the very first time I ever blogged here at Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle. He was in New Zealand back then too and he left Wade, SethG and me with the keys. During the following weeks, we talked a lot about puzzles (obviously), you learned a lot about the three of us and, although you probably don't remember it, I wrote what I still consider one of my best blog posts. This time around I'm only slated for today and you'll see Wade sometime next week but Seth is off in, I don't know, Japan? or somewhere, getting engaged and all sorts of shenanigans. So that was a fun trip down memory lane. But what's going on today?
As some of you probably know, I get nervous subbing for Rex on late-week puzzles because there is really no guarantee that I will Finish the late-week puzzles. I can finish them much more frequently than I could when I first became addi...obses...um, interested in crossword puzzles, but it's definitely not a given. I did — luckily — manage to knock this bad boy out in short order, so let's get to it.
GORP (Backpacker's bagful). Checking the cross, though, I saw the clue 6D: Red River city and I thought, "Oh crap. I must be wrong. Because every time I see 'Red River city' I want it to be FARGO (my hometown) and it never is, it's always HANOI. Waaait a minute ...." Unfortunately, that didn't give me Anything else up there, so I enjoyed my shout-out for one more second and then moved on. I actually finished the bottom half first, with a little hopping around but it mostly felt smooth. Lots of tricky cluing. My favorites:
- 62A: Expedite some union business? (ELOPE) — On Saturdays you really have to look at each word separately and think about what it might mean. I caught on to "union" meaning "marriage" instead of "labor union" pretty quickly.
- 2D: Massive chargers (RHINOS) — Not quite so lucky here. I knew this wasn't about batteries, and when RAMS didn't work (because that's not enough letters and becuase it would be weird to describe them as massive) I thought I must be wrong about the clue referring to an animal. Took me a while to get back there.
- 3D: Goldilocks and others (ASTERS) — Wanted BLONDS, but already had the A in place.
- 11D: Stops lying (RISES) — I really like this clue.
- 35D: One may supply boaters (HATMAKER) — Again, "boaters" here is a type of hat and not a person who boats. The more puzzles you do, the easier it is to make this kind of shift in your thinking.
- 15A: Forty-niners' song (OH SUSANNA) — Thanks for the earworm, guys!
- 21A: Pirate's shoulder, stereotypically (PERCH) — PuzzleDaughter recently acquired two parakeets who have just started sitting on her shoulder. She's already thinking "pirate costume" for Halloween.
- 30A: Carrier whose theme is "Rhapsody in Blue": Abbr. (UAL) — I have flown on United a couple times recently, so this was a gimme.
- 42A: "How I Met Your Mother" guy (TED) — Woo-hoo! Another three-letter gimme for me! So very very helpful on a Saturday.
- 60A: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" author (ERIC CARLE) — I knew his first name was ERIC, and I knew his last name was a name that didn't really need an E at the end but had one anyway. Yes, this is really how my brain works.
- 13D: Revival meeting? (CPR CLASS) — Love this clue. At first, I thought this might be about a SEANCE, but they don't actually REVIVE people at seances, right? Do people still have seances?
- 24D: Bit of old European money (DUCAT) — I'm going "Franc, mark, lire, peso ...," thinking the "old" in the clue meant "pre-Euro" but, in fact, it meant, well, "old."
- 29D: Rice served after him (POWELL) — Raise your hand if your first thought upon reading this clue was "What does that even MEAN?!"
- 38D: Obsolescent music option (TAPE DECK) — Ah, the good old days. Remember when mix tapes were actually difficult and time-consuming to create? Because the songs all had to be in the right order and the right length. You didn't want a big gap at the end of Side A, but you didn't want to throw any old song on the end just because it fit. Yep. Back then mix tapes really meant something.
[Once again, a quick reminder about the 5th annual Lollapuzzoola crossword puzzle tournament, which is right around the corner on August 4 (that's a Saturday in August). This is a really fun one-day tournament brought to you by Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer. If you can't make it to New York for the tournament, please consider the "compete at home" division. Either way, you will be treated to puzzles by some of the best constructors in the business and I'm totally not exaggerating. All the details are at the Lollapuzzoola 5 website, so check it out!]