Thursday, September 28, 2006
Solving time: 10:55
THEME: Great Danes (both dogs and people)
Solving this puzzle was not a pleasant experience (for which I can't really blame its constructor, Mr. Chisholm). The puzzle itself is actually pretty clever, yet somehow solving it felt like slogging through mud. Lots of foreign words or names and odd spellings - I never have any idea what vowels are involved in the spelling of "Isak Dinesen" (45A: "Babette's Feast" writer) nor how many "s"s or "n"s are supposed to be in there. And then throw "Niels Bohr" and "Victor Borge" in there for good measure ... this puzzle left me on shaky footing, bouncing all over the place trying to get intersecting words. Maybe if I stopped timing myself I'd enjoy the puzzle more.
5A: Some term life insurance offers (spam)
See, I had "scam" written there for much of the puzzle. I think I was thinking "whole life"...
9A: Monroe's co-star in "The Seven Year Itch" (Ewell)
I wanted to write "Gable" here until I realized that I was thinking of a completely different movie. I have no idea who this "Ewell" guy is. I did know a Ewell once. A Troy Ewell. I went to high school with him. He was wealthy. I don't remember much else about him.
23A: Real mess (mare's nest)
My first thought: mares don't make nests. Indeed. Here are the definitions for "mare's nest" from my spiritual leader, the OED:
1. Originally in to have found (also spied) a mare's nest: to imagine that one has discovered something wonderful, which in fact does not exist. Hence: an illusory discovery, esp. one that is much vaunted and betrays foolish credulity.
2. An untidy or confused mess; a muddle; a misconception.
39A: "The Pilgrim's Progress" author (Bunyan)
42A: Milton subject (Paradise)
Back-to-back canonical English Literature clues! Somebody knows what I like...
61A: _____ Hunter a k a Ed McBain (Evan)
I love any opportunity to talk about great crime fiction writers, especially those who got their starts in the Golden Age of the American Paperback. I have a massive paperback collection, nearly all of which dates from 1945-1965. Here is a beautiful 1957 Paperback Original (PBO) of McBain's Killer's Choice, with cover art by the legendary Robert Schulz:
12D: Bloody Mary's daughter in "South Pacific" (Liat) (I'm sure; like that's a name. Come on!)
22D: Actor Fröbe of "Goldfinger" (Gert) (seriously, you're killing me)
25D: Small African antelope (oribi)
These are all good examples of how you don't actually have to know all the answers to complete the puzzle. Here, for your enjoyment is a (so-called) oribi:
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld