SUNDAY, Nov. 2, 2008 - Elizabeth C. Gorski (Geraint's beloved / Pumpkin bomb-throwing enemy of 115-Across / They're hidden in a Hirschfeld sketch)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Web Master" - It's all about "THE AMAZING [[[[=]]]] MAN" [that's my visual representation of a "SPIDER," btw]
[please note that the last square in 25-Down should contain the word "SPIDER" in its entirety - my Across Lite program can't / won't display all the letters ... wait, here's an update:]
Well, the cluing on the theme-revealing answer today has been reclued since the first version I saw, and I like this version MUCH much better. Here, I am told that the picture of a spider descending from his web will, in fact, be a "visual presentation" (25D: Visual presentation of what gave 115-Across special powers). I did not have that information in the original draft, and so I was left to wonder what the "I"s were ... does a spider have a certain number of "eyes" ... what is "THE AMAZING I MAN?" ... etc. Never occurred to me that the "I"'s were supposed to form a (presumably unbroken) strand from which a spider dangled. So bravo to the recluing, which makes the premise much clearer (without, I imagine, giving too much away...?).
- 24A: Where you might see 115-Across (comic book cover)
- 38A: Pumpkin bomb-throwing enemy of 115-Across, with "the" (Green Goblin)
- 100A: Film star who played 38-Across (Willem Dafoe)
- 12D: 115-Across's day job (photographer)
- 26D: Tentacled enemy of 115-Across (Otto Octavius)
- 47D: Film star who played 26-Down (Alfred Molina)
- 64D: Film star who played 115-Across (Tobey Maguire)
This puzzle has its share of common stuff you should know, like ENID (79A: Geraint's beloved) and AGRA (33D: Indian fort locale). It also has stuff that threw me for a loop, like EUCHRE (104D: Swindle). I don't know what to say. I thought EUCHRE was an antiquated card game of some kind. That, or the host of "The Newlywed Game." Wait, no, I'm thinking of Bob Eubanks. Bob UECKER was the dad on "Mr. Belvedere" ... ANYway, EUCHRE? Wow, it's a verb, meaning "to cheat." Huh. Interesting. Also never heard of NAYA (113D: Water brand), which appears to be related in some way to NAIADs, the water nymphs. Maybe? SNUGLI (83A: Baby carrier brand) had only a GLIMMER (95D: Dim perception) of familiarity to me. IRMA is bad enough on her own, but in a plural (50A: Food writer Rombauer and others)? - really, do you think you'll ever see more than one IRMA, outside of an IRMA convention? No. I didn't know DAWN could be a "setting" (87D: Setting of the painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware"). Didn't know that GALLOWAY was a 40A: Scottish cattle breed. Didn't know BLUING (2D: Laundry whitener - talk about counterintuitive). Didn't know a 69A: Taliban leader is called an OMAR. Or is it one guy, OMAR? Is he really famous enough to go by one name, and if so, why haven't I heard of him? Yesterday I learned that Venus is hotter than Mercury (!?) and today I learn that it is also called HESPERUS (108A: The planet Venus), which I wanted to be VESPERUS, but that left me with BEE VONEY, which, while only slightly weirder than BEE HONEY (89D: Natural sweetener), was clearly wrong (BEE HONEY? what other kind of HONEY is there? Why am I so full of questions today?). Thanks to frequent puzzle solving, I was not stumped by former stumpers NINAS (27A: They're hidden in a Hirschfeld sketch) and BETAS (44A: Prominent stars in a constellation), the latter of which occurs in my favorite little corner of the puzzle, where EXILES (56A: Royals abroad, maybe) and CATFIGHT (62A: Scratch cause) are crossed by the Shakespearian TITANIA (46D: Largest moon of Uranus). I think CATFIGHT is my favorite answer in the puzzle.
Today's "Who the !@#@ are you?" Award goes to some guy named RENNER (3D: Actor Jeremy of "North Country") - and today's "What the !@#@ is that?" Award goes to ... "North Country"
- 7A: Amplifier jack letters (mic) - "letters" seems too clever. It's an abbrev., right?
- 29A: Tie followers, briefly (OTs) - overtimes. Sports.
- 31A: Coffee order (one sugar) - I admire this answer. I initially wrote in ONE CREAM.
- 61A: Bandleader Puente (Tito) - I've played his raucous number from "The Simpsons" - what else? Well, here he is with SHEILA E (not a Latin plural):
- 71A: French goose (oie) - this seems awfully hard. I had 7 years of French and would not have known this were it not for the Ravel ballet "Ma Mère l'Oie" ("Mother Goose").
- 97A: Handel opera based on Greek myth (Atalanta) - on Friday a clue, on Sunday an answer. Cool. Here's Kiwi and sometime xword fill Kiri Te Kanawa singing "Care Selve" from the opera in question:
- 8D: Immunity _____ on "Survivor" (Idol) - o my wife will be happy to see this. Finally, her years of watching this show pays off.
- 9D: Monet painting also known as "The Woman in the Green Dress" ("Camille") - no idea. This painting is not familiar to me at all:
- 39D: Drawers in a laundry room (BVDs) - very clever. Do they even make BVDs any more?
- 102D: Girl's name meaning "happy" (Felice) - not a common name in this country at All. Wanted Felicia (as in Rashad, who sadly for me spells her name "Phylicia!"), but couldn't make it fit.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld