WEDNESDAY, Nov. 5, 2008 - Doug Peterson (Truman declaration of 9/2/45 / Pink-legged wader / Dickens moniker)
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: LONG DIVISION (55A: Arithmetic exercise ... or what literally occurs in 20-, 33- and 40-Across) - the word LONG is "divided" by intervening letters, resulting in three different phrases
I was up late watching this Awesome fight, so I don't have much gas in the tank this morning. I like that LONG is "divided" three different ways in the three theme answers (with the split after the N, the O, and the L, respectively). I'm not that fond of the answers themselves, as LONE STAR FLAG (20A: Sight at the Texas capital) feels like a poor substitute for LONE STAR STATE, and LOBSTER FISHING (33A: It's done in Maine waters) is more commonly known as LOBSTERING, if my daughter's picture books are to be believed (their reliability is sketchy, I'll admit):
LANCE ARMSTRONG (40A: Athlete with four ESPY awards) is a fine answer, but not exactly scintillating.
I confess to a massive crush on Peggy NOONAN (31A: Political columnist Peggy) and therefore must object to this puzzle's smashing her in the head with the word VIRAGOS (9D: Shrewish sorts). She's a lot of things, but a VIRAGO isn't one of them (not sure about LONI - 22D: Anderson of "WKRP in Cincinnati"). There were just two iffy parts for me in this puzzle. the first was the West, where LHASA - better known to me in its APSO form - remained elusive for a bit (33D: Captial with the Potala Palace), and ASKANT ... well, the "old-style" part of the clue does mitigate the blow a bit, but not much. The word looks and sounds fantastic, but so does SKARDANT ... if you follow (if you don't follow, SKARDANT is not a word). The next iffy part (iffier) was the far SW, where I had to burrow hard to get into that little crevice, where rat-like BOZ (58D: Dickens moniker) was hiding with his pal IPO (59D: N.Y.S.E. event). The only real breeze among those 5-letter Acrosses was OP ART (63A: Dizzying hangings), which was a breeze Only because I am a trained professional and therefore adept at spotting this oddly common answer. BIJOU (58A: Delicate ornament) tricked me because I didn't know being "delicate" was part of the job, and ZOWIE (66A: "Awesome!") ... well, it could have been WOWIE the first time I saw it.
- 15A: Dose deliverer (hypo) - "deliverer" is almost, but not quite, as bad as APER (7D: Simon Says player). "Player" is free to go.
- 9A: Truman declaration of 9/2/45 (VJ Day) - an answer I like for its consonant pile-up. See also the weird consonant combo at the end of P AND G (26D: Consumer products giant, briefly). That's one of your less common ampersandwiches.
- 2D: It can create quite a buzz (kazoo) - always an attractive word in the puzzle. Always an annoying instrument in real life. Here is the "song" that immediately comes to mind when I see KAZOO, or even think of the sound a KAZOO makes. God bless/curse Sid & Marty Croft:
- 1D: Pink-legged wader (stilt) - man, there are a lot of waders. Yesterday AVOCET, today STILT. These are slightly higher-end waders. Normally it's all EGRETs and IBISeseses.
- 5D: Event with a 16-pound ball (shot put) - good clue/answer. And BOWLING fits, dammit.
- 13D: Couturier's monogram (YSL) - among the recently deceased crossword icons. See also YMA SUMAC.
- 29D: Prime minister after Eshkol (Meir) - had the ME-, so no problem. Actually, just seeing that the answer was four letters long would probably have gotten me the right answer. I think I've actually seen ESHKOL in a puzzle before. That's just mean.
- 43D: Morning TV staple since 1997 ("The View") - one of the most merciful things about the end of this campaign season is that I no longer have to suffer the major news networks treating ignorant shouting matches on "The View" as if they are news. "The View" - Bad for Women, Bad for America. Why can't Sarah Vowell, Samantha Bee, Wanda Sykes, and Betty White have a morning show? Come on, Barack. You have magic powers, right? Let's see some Real change.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
PS "Safety Dance" finished yesterday's Video-as-President voting just two votes ahead of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (out of 202 votes cast). Since neither video got anywhere near 50% of the vote, there will be an early January run-off, which, one can only hope, I will forget all about.