Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Solving time: 4:45
THEME: Breakfast - four theme entries (two horizontal and two vertical, nice) contain breakfast foods in non-breakfast contexts, e.g. 63A: Czar's treasure (Fabergé Egg)
Loved the theme, though I never saw it during the solving experience itself because I torched this puzzle. Super-solvers can scoff at that statement, but this is my first sub-five-minute Tuesday ever. I'm pretty sure I exclaimed "woo hoo!" upon hitting "Done!" and getting the "Thank you for playing" message, despite the fact that it was after 10pm and my wife was just starting to fall asleep in the next room. Did about 10 puzzles yesterday, 5 of them while "watching" my wife's karate practice last night, so I was well warmed up when I tackled this puzzle at just after 10pm.
All the theme answers are great. In addition to FABERGÉ EGG, you've got:
- 17A: Booze (happy juice) - never heard this expression, but I do like it. Is ZIMA (6A: Fruity alcoholic brand) a form of HAPPY JUICE?
- 11D: "Apollo 13" co-star (Kevin Bacon) - first theme answer I got, and I thought the puzzle was going to have some "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" theme. Alas, no
- 27D: Comment to a goner ("You're toast") - that's the hottest one of all: colloquialicious
15A: Land of Esau's descendants (Edom) - oh am I terrible at things Biblical / Hebraic; even when I know them, I cannot spell them
25A: Hopalong Cassidy player William (Boyd) - One for the old folks; I would have gotten [Ellroy anti-hero Kemper]. HA ha, it turns out that the first "William Boyd" that Google recognizes is not this Hopalong guy, but a British author ... born in ACCRA, Ghana. There's a capital I won't soon forget (see last Tuesday's puzzle, Pllllleaaze; a memorable one, that)
24A: Chemistry Nobelist Otto (Hahn) - I know one Hahn, and her name is Hilary.
Then there's the dueling Winnebago clues (when's the last time you saw that in a grid?)
29D: Offshoot of the Winnebagos (Iowas)
35A: Offshoot of the Winnebago tribe (Otoe)
I really wish one of these Winnebago clues had had an answer related to RV-ing.
So much computer-related fill here, what with ASCII (1A: Computer character set, for short) and SPAMS (14A: Bombards with bogus offers) and IMAC (12D: Colorful computer) and of course NERDS (70A: Uncool sorts). There also appears to be a sublimated religious theme here, with ACOLYTE (55A: Church candle lighter) and TEXT (69A: Preacher's reading) and MONKS (13D: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" figure - speaking of NERDS!), and O GOD (60D: Prayer start) and the Pope's TIARA (37A: Princess' accessory) and, last but not least, ZEUS (6D: Chief Olympian) and his HEIR (59D: Crown prince, e.g.), ARES (44A: Mars' Greek counterpart).
I only had one false entry in this grid: JEANS for JEEPS (18D: Wranglers, e.g.), and that is a total set-up if I ever saw one, because those are both great "J"-answers that fit perfectly. But the awesome "Q"-containing word PIQUED (28A: Sparked, as curiosity) took care of the problem, giving me the "P" I needed to turn JEANS to JEEPS. Other colorful fill includes GAUCHOS (58A: Some cowboys), SCHTICK (21A: Comic's gimmick - so many consonants in SCHTICK!) and AMECHE (9D: Mustachioed Don of classic films). Mustachioed! Why isn't that in the grid?! If I ever construct a puzzle, it will contain MUSTACHIOED, which will be clued [Don Ameche, e.g.]. Hey, WAS (41A: Isn't anymore, cute) not only sits right atop the ARE in ARES, but it's also echoed by the full answer ARE in the western ("S.F.") portion of the grid, 47A: "_____ you kidding?" Innnnnnteresting. You've also got a CAPT (3D: Skipper: Abbr.) and SGTS (61D: Some NCO's) connection. I should stop now, as I'm getting dizzy. I would like to give a final shout-out to AGUE (55D: Malarial symptom) a crossword staple who (I feel) has been unfairly overshadowed lately by his smarmy Italian cousin A DUE. Not to mention TIARA - didn't we call a TIARA moratorium a month or so ago? I don't think I'm ready to lift that particular injunction.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld