Astronaut Cooper informally / TUE 8-7-12 / Saturn's second-largest moon / Plotter against Cassio in "Othello" / Staple of IHOP booths
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Constructor: Mike Buckley
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: punny quip —>
- 20A: With 38-Across, a complaint (DOC, I'M ADDICTED TO / TWITTER)
- 40A: With 57-Across, response to the complaint (SORRY, I'M NOT FOLLOWING YOU)
[this is "funny" because of the play on the word "FOLLOWING," which is what one does to other people (or companies, or other entities) on Twitter if you want to receive their "tweets"]
Word of the Day: LYDIA (8D: Neighbor of ancient Phrygia) —
Lydia (Assyrian: Luddu; Greek: Λυδία) was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minorlocated generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern Turkish provinces of Manisa and inland İzmir. Its population spoke an Anatolian language known as Lydian.At its greatest extent, the Kingdom of Lydia covered all of western Anatolia. Lydia (known as Sparda by the Achaemenids) was a satrapy (province) of the Achaemenid Empire, withSardis as its capital. Tabalus, appointed by Cyrus the Great, was the first satrap (governor). (See: Lydia (satrapy)).
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Greetings from Gold Beach, OR, where my family (15 of us) are enjoying a weeklong vacation in a gigantic home overlooking the Pacific. The home belongs to a TV actor of some note, and his less famous actress wife. They were on TV shows in the '70s-'80s. One of those shows was "CHiPs." If this all sounds a little surreal, you are correct. Oh, and I just found out that my artist friend, Emily Jo Cureton, lives very near here, so I'm hoping to see her tomorrow. She did a series of drawings based on NYT crossword puzzles a few years back. They are legendary. Check them out if you haven't already.
As for the puzzle: Groaner. If you are someone who actually calls your physician "Doc," I'm guessing you liked this. As punny quips go, this is ... one. It's fine. Trying to make any kind of sense out of DOCIMADD wasn't too fun, but the play on "Following" is solid, if not particularly scintillating. Cluing and fill felt tough for a Tuesday, and quote puzzles generally play slower-than-average—hence the difficulty rating. I just asked my dad, a retired physician, if any patient ever called him "Doc":
Not really. Maybe a few times. Usually 'Doctor' or 'Doctor Sharp.' Calling your doctor 'doc' is more a military thing. You'd say that to your doctor in the military. Soldiers respect you as a doctor, and respect what you know, but they also see you as more of a peer and are less hung up or worried about rank around you, so that's why you have the informal 'Doc.' But in private practice, no, patients are generally more formal.
My dad is a smart, no-nonsense man. Now, he also told us, on our way to the store, that my sister *didn't* need more store-bought pie dough when she had, in fact, explicitly told him she *did* need more store-bought pie dough, so ... he does make mistakes. My sister and I agree, this is very much a dad thing, not an age thing. He's human. He's wrong sometimes. But I trust him on this 'doc' thing. Mainly because the whole "calling your doctor 'doc'" thing sounds so unlikely/olde-tyme jokey to me. A joke convention. Something someone who likes to tell jokes and thinks he's good at telling them would say. Doc.
I honestly don't know who Gordon Cooper is, so I sure as hell don't know GORDO (1D: Astronaut Cooper, informally). That made the NW toughish, esp. as I also had SLOTH for SNAIL (4D: Symbol of slowness). I was just thinking, earlier today (and I swear this is true), that one often sees AGIN but rarely sees FER in the grid. And now here's AGIN. Again. Had trouble seeing how a STAB was a [Wound] (31D: Wound for Cassio). If I had a knife wound, I doubt I would ask people to tend to my STAB. (I would probably be shouting all manner of profanity, truth be told. I do like the idea of my calmly stating: "Pardon me, could someone please tend to my STAB? I appear to be bleeding quite profusely"—but I think adrenalin would wreck havoc with my genteel fantasy persona). Also: I had BUOY for QUAY and decided to spell BROOCH as BROCHE for some reason. Also: Saturn's second-largest moon (RHEA)? WTF, Tuesday? Clues on IAGO (37A: Plotter against Cassio in "Othello") and DREAM (50A: Subject of a painting by Picasso or Rousseau) were no help, the first because of name confusion (Cassius for Cassio, which made me think "Julius Caesar" instead of "Othello," even though the clue Clearly states "Othello"...), the second because nothing about either of those artists says "DREAM" to me. At all. But I managed to remember Dean RUSK, so that's something (considering I was alive for only one month of the 1960s, and that month is, consequently, kind of hazy) (66A: 1960s secretary of state Dean).
Once more from Oregon tomorrow, then a couple of travel days during which Puzzlegirl will do the write-ups (uh, hey ... Puzzlegirl ... I have something to ask you ...), and then it's back to Normal on Saturday.
One last thing—the Alzheimer's Foundation of America is holding a crossword-puzzle contest, with puzzle(s) created by the legendary Merle Reagle. You should get in on it, fer sure. Contest begins Sep. 30 at 3 pm Eastern.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld