Title on certain language videos / THU 8-23-12 / Effrontery / Cafe alternative / Some World of Warcraft figures / It spent 5519 days in orbit / Locale of some Mayan ruins / Villain player Rocky III
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Constructor: Mark Feldman
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: LEARNING YIDDISH (40A: Title on certain language videos ... with a hint to entering six answers in this puzzle) — apparently there are such a thing as "LEARNING YIDDISH" videos (???); Yiddish, like Hebrew, is written right to left, so this grid has English words borrowed from Yiddish written out "backwards"
- HAPZTUHC (17A: Effrontery)
- PELHCS (20A: Lug)
- ATNEY (33A: Gossip)
- ZTULK (46A: Butterfingers)
- ZTIBIK (56A: Offer unwanted advice)
- EZOOMHCS (66A: Shoot the breeze)
Word of the Day: ROADEO (45A: Competition for truckers) —
n. a competition, usually held annually, for professional truckdrivers testing driving skill.
• • •
LEARNING YIDDISH and its clue ("certain language videos"?) meant nothing to me. Don't know what these videos are. Presumably they are videos to help one learn Yiddish. I had to infer that the backwardsness of the answers had something to do with Yiddish's being written (like Hebrew) right-to-left. Turns out, I was right. That's the rationale. So what we have here, essentially are English words that everyone knows (no LEARNING YIDDISH actually required) written backwards. Alright then. And for some reason this was worth breaking the upper limit on word-count (this is an 80-worder—max is 78; I've seen that limit broken on a 15x15 only once to my recollection).
This just wasn't for me.
ENCL (7D: Abbr. on a business letter). So I had HAPZTUHR and thought "Why won't this be CHUTZPAH ... it's got most of the letters ... what the?). I was happy with MENI at 4A: Biblical word on a wall (MENE)—sounded close, in my head. So I fumbled a bit before figuring it all out. Then it was pretty smooth, fast sailing until, ironically, I got to 68A: Genre for Q-Tip (HIP-HOP). Q-Tip rapped for A Tribe Called Quest, a group that made what is probably my favorite album of the '90s: "The Low End Theory." So ... I know who he is. This did not keep me from imagining that the answer was some invented hybrid "genre" POP RAP or RAP POP. I think of HIP-HOP as a bigger cultural phenomenon (encompassing dance, fashion, politics, music, etc.) and "rap" as a musical genre within it, but I think HIP-HOP is valid as a "genre." I just dropped the ball.
The end. Yo!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld