SUNDAY, Nov. 9, 2008 - Paula Gamache (18th-century Venetian fresco painter / Automotive comeback of 1998 / Fancy shooting marbles)
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: "Sounds Like It's Cold In Here" - B-sounds changed to BR- sounds (or BRRRR- sounds, I guess) in familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are "?"-clued
I ugh-ed my way through this. I'm a huge Paula Gamache fan, but this one got me down. Some of my downness stemmed from barely knowing the phrase "Banned in Boston" and not thinking the town of "Medicine Bow" is strong enough to form the basis of a theme answer. Some of it stemmed from SHENZI (57D: "The Lion King" character voiced by Whoopi Goldberg), which is a random accumulation of letters as far as I'm concerned. I don't like the use of "butt" in the clue 97D: Butt abutters (seat). For someone who swears all the time, I'm oddly put off by it. Seems crass. As I told Will, BIENNIA just isn't accurate as clued - 67D: Periods between Winter and Summer Olympics. Real length of time involved is months off (either high or low depending on the particular interval). My largest harrumph came at the far far NW corner, where I honestly couldn't decided between D and T. TIEPOLO is absolutely unknown to me (1A: 18th-century Venetian fresco painter); meanwhile, I knew that both DAWs and TAWs (1D: Fancy shooting marbles) were words, but I forgot which was the marble and which the bird. Turns out DAW is the bird, as I was reminded yesterday while preparing to go teach Othello in prison:
In following him, I follow but myself.
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end,
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In complement extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For DAWS to peck at. I am not what I am.
- 23A: Question to a paralegal? (where's the bRief?)
- 38A: Red Sox franchise? (bRand in Boston)
- 45A: Warning sign outside of Br'er Rabbit's home? (bRier beware!) - "Br'er" and "BRIER" are a little close to each other ... and is this sign supposed to have a comma in it? Is the "BRIER" supposed to beware? Of what? Seems like it should read "Beware of Brier" if it's going to make any sense as a sign. [I know that it's a play on "buyer beware," so no comments/emails please, thanks]
- 63A: Useful advice for a ring referee? (keep your eye on the bRawl)
- 80A: Clinician in the 'hood? (medicine bRo')
- 87A: Silicone implant companies? (bReast sellers)
- 108A: Matzo mover? (flat bRead truck)
- 21A: Site of two ecumenical councils (Nicaea) - was Not aware of that first "A"; held things up a bit
- 30A: "Sugar Lips" trumpeter (Hirt) - trumpeter in four letters = HIRT, w/o fail
- 33A: Figure in an Edmund Spenser poem (Faerie) - as in "The FAERIE Queene," a very, very long poem (planned for 12 books, reached 6+). This one, and the related ALBION (35A: Ancient name for Great Britain) were gimmes, as for the second day in a row I find works I've taught in the grid. Oh, THISBE is a teaching-related gimme as well (106A: Beloved of Pyramus). Chaucer and Ovid both wrote versions of their story.
- 41A: Three-time Masters winner Nick (Faldo) - British. Familiar from my youth (not that I've ever followed golf)
- 70A: _____ Davis, first African-American to win a Heisman (Ernie) - I think there was recently a (Dennis Quaid) movie about him. Yes, "The Express"
- 74A: CB radios, once (craze) - you can see them in "Smoky and the Bandit" (see clip, above)
- 86A: Ancient Egyptian kingdom (Nubia) - goes nicely with ASPS (72D: Egyptian symbols of royalty)
- 6D: Boxer nicknamed "The Bear" (Liston) - also the nickname of Norman Schwarzkopf, it turns out
- 8D: Uncommon blood type, informally (A neg) - had the NEG, had to wait for the appropriate letter
- 16D: Overdoes the accolades (gushes) - You can "gush" without overdoing it. Some things / moments / people warrant gushing.
- 32D: Hero of New Orleans (poor boy) - never seen it spelled any way but PO' BOY (incl. in the NYT puzzle)
- 35D: Jet locales: Abbr. (AFBs) - befuddling, for no good reason
- 37D: Sound on classic Pong (blip) - this I like, though I think of a BLIP as primarily visual, not auditory, e.g. "a blip on the screen..."
- 51D: _____ Bing! (go-go bar on "The Sopranos") (Bada) - too easy. So easy I didn't write it in at first, thinking I must be mistaken
- 65D: Die Zeit article (eine) - EINE and DER being the most common German "articles" in puzzledom
- 87D: Automotive comeback of 1998 (Beetle) - honestly wavered over whether to spell this BEETLE or BEATLE ...
- 88D: Cardinal topper (red hat) - well *this* is a coincidence. Wife and I were just (perversely) watching QVC, which is like ... watching Animal Planet, for us. Crazy behavior / customs / appearances. So we were watching some Heinous fashion program with ... sweaters with candy canes and santas on them, sweaters that (literally) light up, appliqué jeans, etc., and the older, portly, oddly head-banded host (me: "Olivia Newton-John has really let herself go...") mentioned something about her clothes appealing to "red hatters" ... which are, I think, sassy older ladies who like to wear RED HATs because of some poem about how when you are old you can wear @#$# that doesn't match. Looking it up ... OK, here's the official site, but I still don't get it. OMG, I forgot there was a "Simpsons" episode about this: "Last of the Red Hat Mamas."
Watch more IFILM videos on AOL Video
- 91D: French engineer Gustave (Eiffel) - he of the Tower (or Tour, I guess)
- 103D: Singing partner of Brooks (Dunn) - More geographical / cultural affirmative action (à la LANIER). I am guessing that the Venn Diagram of NYT puzzle solvers and Brooks and DUNN fans would look very much like two circles abutting one another
- 105D: Old theaters once owned by Howard Hughes (RKOs) - didn't know these were theaters. Know RKO only as a studio.
- 109D: Festoons with Charmin, informally (TPs) - OK, *that* is a great clue
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS Happy Birthday Ben Tausig (editor of "The Onion" crossword puzzle)