Washington who was called “Queen of the Blues” / TUE 7-17-12 / Karate school / Musical instruments listed very late alphabetically / Business where the customers call the shots? / Japanese port
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Constructor: Peter A. Collins
Relative difficulty: Medium-Easy
Word of the Day: DIADEM (5-down: Crown) —
Origin: Middle English: from Old French diademe, via Latin from Greek diadēma 'the regal headband of the Persian kings', from diadein 'bind around'
- a jeweled crown or headband worn as a symbol of sovereignty.
- (the diadem) archaic the authority or dignity symbolized by a diadem: the princely diadem
• • •Greetings Crossworld,
Having enjoyed watching our substitute colleagues cover for Rex these last two weeks, we are both gratified and shocked that he allowed us to take over for a day given that he has neither any clue who we are nor do we hold any published ranking or weight in the realm of crosswords. We’re just a transcontinental family of fans (two in Colorado, one in South Carolina) who sent Rex an e-mail. The inmates have truly taken over the asylum.
A single clap for everyone who knew that July 21 (1899) was Ernest Hemingway’s birthday, except for residents of Key West – who have Hemingway Days and polydactyl cats over the rest of us. Peter A. Collins has constructed an enjoyable Tuesday puzzle that not only commemorates Hemingway by putting his name smack dab in the center, but also his staccato style by including the theme answer THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, a novel titled by a series of three letter words. You may notice that there is no FISH in the puzzle at all, that’s because it (spoilers) got eaten by sharks (/spoilers). An alternative explanation for the puzzle’s date, albeit one that is entirely coincidental, is that the titular OLD MAN’s favorite baseball player was Joe DiMaggio, whose 56 game hitting streak ended on July 16 (the date as we write this) in 1941. More on him later…
DiMaggio? Coincidence? Maybe?
- 19A Dope fiend [poTHEad]
- 21A Burn without a flame [smOLDer]
- 28A Land where the Danube flows [roMANia]
- 45A With lack of distinctiveness [blANDly]
- 52A Musical instruments listed very late alphabetically [ziTHErs]
- 56A Trouser measurements [inSEAms]
- 37A Author of the book whose title is circled in the grid [ERNEST HEMINGWAY]
Beyond a little bit of easy-to-spot crosswordese (otaru, ova, oso, asp…) and the fact that the NE and SW corners are dangling by a single letter (a detail disliked by some sticklers, or so we’ve heard), there was fun hiding throughout the puzzle, particularly the inclusion of a series of names. Let us gaze upon the puzzle’s own "axis of evil":
- 8D Iranian Revolution Leader [KHOMEINI]
- 30D Camp David Accords party [ANWAR SADAT]
- 63A China's __ En-lai [CHOU]
- 14D __ Malfoy (Harry Potter villain) [DRACO]
We can debate whether [36A] Anna Nicole Smith should be included. As die hard Red Sox fans, we would definitely include DiMaggio (as referenced above).
Words we like because they were cheeky and/or allow us to post videos:
- 15A "Voulez-vous coucher __ moi ce soir?" [AVEC] — in a power-house 2002 rendition of Lady Marmalade
- 19A Dope fiend [POTHEAD] — come join us in Colorado where the (medical) MJ is as plentiful as the snow
- 52A Musical instruments listed very late alphabetically [ZITHERS] — coincidentally, Nicole Kidman chooses a poor zither player over a maharajah in Moulin Rouge (see video above), soon to be rereleased in theaters retitled The Great Gatsby.
- 64A Keister [TUSHY] — see also derriere, posterior, backside, fanny, rump, seat, bum
- 65A Groucho or Chico [MARX] — because who can resist inserting some comedy into this post. Also, here's the FISH!
Wow, that took a lot more time than we expected; this process has left us with the greatest respect for Rex for knocking this out daily.
Signed, Two Men and a Woman of the Sea of Crossworld,
Mim, Ben, and Charles
A very cold Atlantic Ocean plunge on Jan 1, 2012