THURSDAY, Oct. 5, 2006 - Joe DiPietro

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Solving time: 10:39

THEME: Clues are written in alphabetic(al) order

This was a fabulous puzzle, though strangely the theme had Nothing to do with the content of the grid. Sometime early in my solving I noticed three clues in a row started with "X," and I thought, "how clever." Then I actually bothered to read 7D: Puzzler's alert: the clues in this crossword are all in this - I had already solved it (alphabetic order) without ever noticing exactly what it referred to! When the clock is running, there's only so much my brain can do. So, at any rate, this puzzle looks great on paper, with the clues ascending from "A" (1A: A Bing Crosby/Bob Hope film locale (Bali) - which I guess is a better clue than A bomb went off here or A bra maker but probably not as good as Australian tourist destination since usually indefinite article "a" doesn't count in alphabetizing ... does it? - but "Australian" would force a rewriting of the two subsequent clues ... house of cards!) ... where was I? Oh, right, ascending from "A" at 1A to "Z" at 65D: Zoo animal (ass) (really? ass? pretty sad zoo: "sorry, kids, no giraffes ... or lions ... but hey, how 'bout some ass? Who wants to see the ass? Race ya!" - and by the way, you don't wanna know what kind of images I got from a Google search of "ass"; let's just say I had to get through three pages of them before I found anything that remotely resembled a donkey). Onward!

14A: Baseball's Rodriguez (Alex)
58D: Yankee's wear (mitt)

Ugh. You know, you could have clued today's puzzle with zero New York Yankees references, but no. I guess I shouldn't be surprised; this is the New York Times. Still, the answer to 14A should have been "Ivan" and the answer to 58D ... uh, "vest" (see THIS guy, Please!) or "sack coat" or "forage cap" or something.

[late addendum: 14A struck out three times today in the Yankees' loss to the Tigers. Woo hoo! Puzzle jinx!]

35A: Filmdom's Merkel (Una)

I have had Ms. Merkel as an answer innumerable times, and yet I can Never remember her name. I had "Ida" (Filmdom's Lupino), which slowed me down over there is the Far Western portion of the puzzle (now called "San Francisco"). Who is Una Merkel? Imdb say:

She mostly played supporting roles as the heroine's no-nonsense friend, but with her broad Southern accent and her peroxide blond hair, she gave one of the best performances of a wise-cracking but not-so-bright chorus girl in "42nd Street."

Imdb also say that she was 1.63 meters tall. Good to know. Lastly, Una Merkel is not to be confused with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany:
38A: Giant role for Peter Fonda, 1997 (Ulee)

And I thought he played a beekeeper in this. Live and learn.

50A: James Brown hit "_____ Machine" (Sex)
About the greatest way you could possibly clue "Sex." Ow!

8D: Quarters costing dollars? (motel)

A genius clue (considering the puzzle theme) for one of my favorite things. Here, for your enjoyment, is a motel postcard from my collection - check out the TV, which looks like it's conspiring with the chair to stage a bloody coup once the humans fall asleep.
9D: Quid _____ quo (pro)

Where my puzzle-solving experience began. Always start with the blanks. The answer is too common a word to be Pantheon material, I think, but it's pleasingly crosswordian nonetheless. Add this to the "phrases in Latin you know" (see also "e pluribus unum," "veni vidi vici," and "ad infinitum")

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:07 PM  

Rex Parker puts down Norah Jones' music, and then admits to liking Merle Haggard. 'Nuff said.

Rex Parker 10:25 AM  

Thanks for reading, "anonymous!" Different strokes. Puzzle on! Hey, I'll listen to any Norah Jones song you recommend if you'll listen to "Seeing Eye Dog" by Merle. Maybe I was too hard on Ms. Jones, and she did cut a song with Outkast, and that's kinda cool ... but if you give Merle a chance, I firmly believe you will be incapable of dissing him. He's got a song about how his mama became a prostitute in order to feed her 14 (FOURTEEN!) hungry kids. How can you hate on that?

Anonymous 1:03 AM  

you are awesome. my girlfriend thinks i am a genius because of you.

Rex Parker 7:53 AM  

Hey "genius,"

Why are you commenting on a six-month-old puzzle!? Come into the future. I mean the present (3/20/07).

I'm happy to help you perpetrate fraud on your girlfriend. Happy puzzling.


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