Sunday, June 30, 2013
Constructors: Alex Vratsanos and Jeff Chen
Relative difficulty: EASY
THEME: Matching Wits — Two-word answers starting with M & W, as well as an M and a W composed of black spaces at the center top and bottom. Also, since there are two constructors, it works as a nice description of their working relationship, perhaps. And, it also may reference a resource (Merriam-Webster) that some might have consulted in completing the puzzle.
Word of the Day: MUKLUK (91A: Eskimo boot) —
Mukluks are a soft boot traditionally made of reindeer skin or sealskin and were originally worn by Arctic aboriginal people, including the Inuit and Yupik. The term mukluk is often used for any soft boot designed for cold weather and modern designs are often similar to high-top athletic shoes. The word "mukluk" is of Yupik origin, from maklak, the bearded seal. [Wikipedia].
• • •
Hello, all, this is Cuban Pete, sole surviving member of the Desi Arnaz Fan Club, coming to you from the Nation's Capital, where the fireworks started early this year. This is my first time guest blogging, for Rex or anyone else, and I kind of feel like that first time I went to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show, scared and excited and hoping no one would hurt me.
How in awe am I of Rex now? I am in awe TO THE MAX (47A).
To do this day in and day out makes him a Rex Star, a Rex Symbol, a Rex of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He has zoomed to the top of my list of Rexes:
1. Rex Parker
2. Rex Smith
4. Rex Harrison
5. Simon Rex (maybe I shouldn't go there)
I hope Rex is enjoying a nice in-flight cocktail served by Connie Sellecca at this very moment, although one of his recent Tweets leaves me fearful that the showing of his own Oregon Trail may have landed him in the local jail.
- MUDDY WATERS (2D: "Hoochie Coochie Man" singer) Ranked No. 17 in Rolling Stones' 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, right between Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye.
- MODERN WARFARE (6D: West Point subject) Make love, not war.
- MONEYS WORTH (17D: Bang for one's buck) Oops, just saw this themed answer, right when I thought I was done with the post. Perhaps I guzzled too much of the ANDRÉ, especially after that bottle of Carlo ROSSI.
- MIRACLE WORKER (30D: 1962 movie for which Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Oscars, with "The") Here's something I didn't know until very recently -- Anne Bancroft's son wrote World War Z. That's almost as impressive as the fact that Patty Duke's son was on Facts of Life.
- MAKING WHOOPEE (52D: Euphemism used often on "The Newlywed Game") I did not like The Fabulous Baker Boys.
- MINIMUM WAGE (58D: Money raised by members of Congress?) Fellows, you know that is not going to happen any time soon, right?
- MALT WHISKEY (68D: Dewar's product) Perhaps Rex will follow his in-flight Sidecar with a whiskey? [I don't really drink all that much, so I don't know if drinking whiskey after a Sidecar is even allowed.]
- MINUTE WALTZ (64A: Piece longer than its name suggests) Will gave us a Waltz-y weekend, providing the music to Friday's BOX STEP.
I didn't get the theme until I finished the puzzle and tried to figure out the theme. I did notice that there was something going on with the two big figures in black spaces, but I wasn't sure whether they were 3s or Es or just a big coincidence.
- [10A: _______ Franklin, Grammy-nominated gospel/R&B singer] ERMA — I initially put in KIRK and was so sure of it, which made that little area the last part I completed. Shout out to Erma Franklin, sister of Aretha and original interpreter of "Piece of My Heart." Also, ERMA started off the E names in this puzzle, to be joined by ERIC, EZRA, ENOS (what, no Dukes of Hazzard clue?), and ETHAN.
- [83A: Seat of Dallas County, Ala.] SELMA — Funny how these things work. All those E names had me thinking of a friend's son, Elijah, who is about to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at a historic synagogue in Selma, Alabama. (Okay, I also thought of Selma Diamond from Night Court.)
- [103A: Disobeyed orders, say] WENT ROGUE — I don't know if I will ever be able to look at the word ROGUE again without thinking of Alaska.
- [106A: Dewy] MOIST — Why do people hate this word so much? To me, it conjures up thoughts of Duncan Hines cakes.
- [4D: They may be shot at basketball games] TEE SHIRTS — I have to admit my first thought was the woeful WASHINGTON WIZARDS, but, of course, it didn't fit. You know what they shot at a Wizards games I attended? Chipotle burritos. I didn't catch one, but I've always wondered if there was really a burrito in that foil missile that was aimed at the 10 or so fans in attendance.
- [38D: Still dripping?] BOOZE — This was one of my favorites, because it was simple but clever, and it was the second Dukes of Hazzard-themed feature.
- [48D: Peruvian volcano El ________] MISTI — I love geography, and I had never seen this answer in a crossword, so I was glad to add it to my knowledge.
- [86D: Some baby sitters] AUNTIES — This was a tricky one for me. First, I thought NANNIES. Then, I remembered Britney Spears and tried MANNIES. on the correct answer.
- [100D: Bimetallic Canadian coin] TOONIE — Our neighbors to the North got two clues (EHS). I'd never heard of a TOONIE, but the word itself evokes Canadianness, somehow (is there a term for such a word, sort of like onomatopoeia gone country?).
So, thank you, Alex (go, Fightin' Blue Hens) and Jeff for taking me on this adventure with you.
And, Rex, thanks for your generosity and (perhaps misplaced) blind faith in me. Babalu.
Signed, Cuban Pete, Asylum Seeker in CrossWorld
UPDATE: Bonus, tennis-themed puzzle in the Sports section. Second serving of fun.