Showing posts with label Civil war locale 1991. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil war locale 1991. Show all posts

Jails British slang / SUN 2-20-11 / Astrologer to rich famous / Band 1998 song One Week / Three-stringed instruments / Spartan walkway

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: "Wunderbar!" — Each rectangular "bar" formed by three contiguous black squares represents the letter string "BAR" and thus forms part of the answer adjacent to and in line with it, e.g. [three black squares]ELY = [BAR]ELY

Word of the Day: QUODs (39D: Jails, in British slang) —

noun, dated

Prison; often in phr. in quod, in prison. (1700 —) .
Listener Now, one of this chap's maternal uncles...has got to pay a 50 quid debt or go to quod (1968). verb trans.

To put in prison. (1812 — 1930).

[Of unknown origin.] (
• • •

A lovely, clever, original puzzle. Unusual theme, interesting execution — just cool all around. Even outside the theme material, the puzzle was exciting — several big, open spaces filled (mostly) beautifully, esp. in the N and NE (OCTOMOM SASHIMI is on the menu in hell, I believe) (21A: Noted parent in tabloids + 25A: Food often dipped in soy sauce). MAKE HAY, DOG HANDLER, OH DEAR ME, and BALALAIKAS (100A: Three-stringed instruments) all really liven up the joint, as does SADISTIC (which is how some might describe the highly ambiguous clue, 12D: Really mean). Once I picked up the theme, I found the rest of the theme answers very easy to get (spot me three consecutive letters to any answer, and I'm pretty confident I'll take it down fast). But the non-theme stuff was varied and tricky enough to keep the puzzle right at a typical Sunday difficulty level for me. I picked up the theme fairly early on with ***ENAKED LADIES and had no trouble with any of the theme answers that followed. There are some slightly rough patches—the center, perhaps because of the theme density in that region, has some unlovely stuff like NGOR and QUODS and EBEN and GOL, but it was all short and gettable (though QUODS / QTY gave me a bit of a fright). Not a huge fan of RESOLDER and (esp.) ISOLATORS, but these are minor infelicities in an otherwise delightful grid. Grade: A.

Theme answers:
  • 26A: Band whose 1998 song "One Week" was #1 for one week (***ENAKED LADIES) — To understand how I feel about the ***ENAKED LADIES, please watch this highly informative video from a recent episode of "Community" (Jeff Winger says it all):

  • 46A: Pear variety (***TLETT)
  • 48A: Milky Way, for one (CHOCOLATE ***)
  • 66A: Onetime head of the Medellin drug cartel (PABLO ESCO***)
  • 69A: Mattel announced their breakup in 2004 (***BIE AND KEN)
  • 84A: Classic western slugfest (***ROOM BRAWL)
  • 87A: It's just below a B (SPACE***)
  • 109A: Plan on ordering a drink, say (BELLY UP TO THE ***)
  • 27D: Sharply reprimanded (***KED AT)
  • 28D: Just (***ELY)
  • 99D: Cravat holder (TIE ***)
  • 88D: Lounge in a many a hotel (PIANO ***) — a few point off here for essentially replicating the "BAR" meaning from 109-Across
I know of Fibber McGee and Molly (20A: Hometown of old radio's Fibber McGee and Molly=>PEORIA) only from the sitcom "Newsradio," where Andy Dick's character gets a set of Fibber McGee and Molly audio tapes as a gift from his boss, while the rest of the staff gets new sports cars. I can't embed the clip, so I'll just embed a different clip from that show featuring the late, more-than-great Phil Hartman:

I have no idea how I know Sidney OMARR (30A: Astrologer to the rich and famous)—possibly because I own some old paperback by him. "My Bed Has Eyes" ... is that right? No, here it is: "My Bed Has Echoes." Even better. Talk about obscure (the book, not the astrologer himself). I have a BETTIE Page mug on my desk, right here (40A: 1950s pinup queen ___ Page). If you put a hot beverage in it, her bikini top disappears. In huge letters on the bottom of the mug it reads: "NOT MICROWAVE OR DISHWASHER SAFE," so I don't drink out of it. It's more a paperweight / decorative item. Yesterday, people wanted STOA instead of ODEA. Now, here's STOA (42A: Spartan walkway). Yesterday, people wanted OMNI instead of EVER. Today, here's OMNI (49D: Present opener?). Weird. Haven't seen Tea LEONI in a long time (in crosswords or otherwise) (80A: Sandler's "Spanglish" co-star). I thought the "Simpsons" had invented Dolores DEL RIO (114A: Actress Dolores of the silent era) as a fictional costar of Troy McClure (voiced by the aforementioned more-than-great Phil Hartman) who appeared in such films as "Calling All Quakers" and "Preacher With a Shovel." But that was Dolores Montenegro, it turns out. Took me a while to fully read the second half of the clue at 18D: Civil war locale beginning in 1991, so SOMALIA stayed hidden for a bit as my mind scoured mid-19th-century America. Speaking of, apparently "Fourscore" is one word. I did not know that, which caused me to wonder why the answer to 32D: Fifth word of the Gettysburg Address (AGO) wasn't YEARS. Of course I also tried to solve 83D: Part of the next-to-last line of the Lord's Prayer (DELIVER US) by reciting what turned out to be not the Lord's Prayer but whatever you call the prayer that starts "Now I lay me down to sleep..."

  • 6D: "Star Wars" guru (YODA) — I have a wee YODA figurine on the shelf in my bedroom. I think I found it in the gutter one day. Or else I got it for nothing at some garage sale.
  • 14D: Pioneer in quadraphonic records (RCA) — got an angry email from someone who insisted the correct answer was CBS. Refrained from yelling at said someone for talking about the puzzle before I'd even solved it. (Please don't write me about the Sunday puzzle until after 7pm Saturday evening, thanks).
  • 100D: Recurring Matt Damon title role (BOURNE) — not RIPLEY. He should do another RIPLEY, though. I'd like that. Malkovich did a great RIPLEY in "Ripley's Game," btw.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


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