Showing posts with label Eggnog sprinkling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eggnog sprinkling. Show all posts

1/60 fluid dram / TUE 1-4-11 / Simpsons voice man Hank / Black-bordered news item / Comic who quipped Weather forecast for tonight dark

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Constructor: David Hanson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: PALINDROMIC WORD (37A: What every answer on the perimeter of this puzzle is) — pretty self-explanatory


Word of the Day: Henry James PYE (46A: English poet laureate Henry James ___) —

Henry James Pye (20 February 1745 – 11 August 1813) was an English poet. Pye was Poet Laureate from 1790 until his death. He was the first poet laureate to receive a fixed salary of £27 instead of the historic tierce of Canary wine (though it was still a fairly nominal payment; then as now the Poet Laureate had to look to extra sales generated by the prestige of the office to make significant money from the Laureateship). [that is possibly the weakest, least revealing opening wikipedia paragraph any Poet Laureate ever got ... then again, when your big hit is "Poems on Various Subjects," maybe there's not a lot to say ... oh, wait; it goes on ...] The appointment [to Poet Laureate] was looked on as ridiculous, and [Pye's] birthday odes were a continual source of contempt. The 20th century British historian Lord Blake called Pye "the worst Poet Laureate in English history with the possible exception of Alfred Austin." (wikipedia)
• • •

Felt toughish in places, but then got super-easy in others, and ended up pretty much right over the plate for a Tuesday. Theme seems a little thin ... like something I've seen before (I've definitely seen the "words on the perimeter have something in common" idea before). There's no unity to the theme answers or the ways they are clued. Just palindromes. OK. Still, the fill is smooth and at least a couple words (CAUTERIZE; 32A: Burn, as a wound) ("I'M TELLING!"; 43A: Schoolyard snitch's words) are top-notch, so it seems a perfectly acceptable Tuesday offering.

Had a very open feeling for a 78-worder, due mostly to the east, center, and west sections, all of which have sixes and sevens pressed against each other in largish blocks. It seems I had no idea that "PIP PIP!" meant "Goodbye!," though I should've guessed, since the only time I've seen it in print is in a Lynda Barry cartoon where Britspeak is being parodied and the phrase immediately precedes "Cheerio!," which I do recognize as a valediction. What gave me more trouble than coming up with the answer (actually not that hard) was typing the damn thing. My right hand really does Not want to make the finger motions necessary to put that phrase into play. It was a P and I bloodbath over there until I set about entering the letters very deliberately. Only other hold-up I had was at CACHE POT (39D: Decorative plant holder), a word I know only from crosswords, and then only once. Needed nearly every cross.

PALINDROMIC WORDs:
  • 1A: The old man (DAD)
  • 4A: Like a pool table, ideally (LEVEL)
  • 9A: Flights like Lindy's (SOLOS)
  • 13D: One in the family, informally (SIS)
  • 28D: More visibly ashamed (REDDER)
  • 53D: Barfly's binge (TOOT)
  • 65A: Repeated machine gun sound (TAT)
  • 64A: Guiding principle (TENET)
  • 63A: 1/60 fluid dram (MINIM)
  • 54D: Partner of baseball and apple pie (MOM)
  • 29D: Brit's "Goodbye!" ("PIP, PIP!")
  • 1D: Something good for a Boy Scout? (DEED)
Weird assortment of words, containing an entire family, and the seeds of a short story about an apothecary's embarrassing drinking habit and the plucky British girl who saved his home from foerclosure by winning a series of singing contests. Speaking of singing ...

[25A: Eggnog sprinkling]
Bullets:
  • 24D: Margaret Mead interviewees (SAMOANS) — apparently some of her interviewees may have provided false information, which she swallowed uncritically ... read that somewhere, and now that's all I can think about when I see Mead's name.
  • 26D: Rock climbers' spikes (PITONS) — like CACHE POT, a word I learned from crosswords.
  • 27D: "The Simpsons" voice man Hank (AZARIA) — The voice of crossword stalwarts APU and MOE and many, many others.


  • 32D: Comic who quipped "Weather forecast for tonight: dark" (CARLIN) — not a very CARLINy quote, but I guess you couldn't really go with "Religion is the greatest bullshit story ever told," could you?


[Profanity ahead—do not play if you're easily offended]

Just got word that the Crosswords L.A. Tournament this year will feature custom-made puzzles by a bunch of well-known and accomplished constructors, including Tyler Hinman, Andrea Carla Michaels, Patrick Blindauer, Liz Gorski, and Karen Tracey (who has been strangely silent for the past year or so—I miss your work, Karen. Make more puzzles!). The tournament (run by the lovely and astonishingly well-organized Elissa Grossman) will be held Sunday, May 1, 2011 on the campus of Loyola-Marymount University—a beautiful setting, on a hill overlooking the ocean. I will be a scorer again this year (my college reunion is the same weekend, so I get a Southern California twofer!). It's a great time, for a great cause (all proceeds benefit "Reading to Kids"). For more information, visit the tournament website.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

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