WEDNESDAY, Apr. 8, 2009 - J Weissbrot (Tailless Old World mammal / Venetian who explored for England 15th century / Rebelling Turner)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Any of several small, slow-moving, nocturnal prosimian primates of the genera Loris and Nycticebus of tropical Asia, having dense woolly fur, large eyes, and a vestigial tail.If you managed to make it out of the NW corner unscathed (or at all, I guess), this puzzle was very easy, especially when compared to most Wednesdays. Without really trying, I had this thing done in 4:17, which is at least a minute faster than my typical Wednesday time. After I escaped from Mean John CABOT (1A: Venetian who explored for England in the 15th century) and the ferocious LORIS (17A: Tailless Old World mammal), I never encountered another bit of resistance in this puzzle. CABOT only barely rings a bell, and LORIS is utterly new to me. Scary. I found myself wondering if I was sure how to spell ORIGAMI (4D: Art form that commonly depicts a swan). "OR*I*GAMI? ... OR*A*GAMI? ..." LORIS looks (both word-wise and picture-wise) like something Dr. Seuss would have written about.
As for the theme - I never saw it. I never even saw the clue that tipped it at 69A. I did the whole SW via Downs. Threw ZERO across there (66A: It turns a hundred into a thousand), and then UZI (61D: Gun produced by Israel Military Industries), MER (62D: La Méditerranée), PRO (63D: Whiz) went down 1-2-3. When I was done, I didn't even know there was a theme-revealing clue, so I just stared dumbly at the long answers wondering what was going on. Then the IRON clue caught my eye and all became clear.
- 20A: An Olympic swimmer needs a big one (LUNG capacity)
- 31A: It may be over a window (CURTAIN rod)
- 47A: Sound practical judgment (HORSE sense) - this was near the very end of my solving experience (which terminated in the far W), and I botched it at first when I tried to put in NONONSENSE but it came out NONSESENSE. Three "SE" pairs in this one makes the whole answer look weird to me.
- 54A: Fateful event for the Titanic (MAIDEN voyage) - way to skew the happy-sounding answer toward disaster... goes nicely with the clue for CASH (10A: Mattress filler during a recession, maybe). Why not just clue KABOOM [This is the way the world ends, perhaps]?
- 15A: Palindromic magazine name (Elle) - one of many, many common answers commonly clued in this puzzle.
- 35A: Tricks (magic) - appropriately tricky, what with the plural clue not yielding a plural answer.
- 40A: Akihito's wife, e.g. (Empress) - Akihito is the current Emperor of Japan. I'd completely forgotten they still had one.
- 42A: Rebelling Turner (Nat) - I may have said this before, but I highly recommend Kyle Baker's graphic novel about NAT Turner. It's graphic alright, but beautiful, and almost silent except for the text of documents that Baker reproduces.
- 43A: _____ pooped to pop (too) - What year is it, and do I even want to know the implications of this alleged expression?
- 52A: Modern way to put out an album (on CD) - note: this "way" is no longer "modern." Many kids think CDs are hilariously old-fashioned. Like 8-tracks.
- 61A: Diamond group (umps) - good clue, esp. for the beginning of baseball season. I wanted NINE.
- 6D: Group with the 1968 hit "Hush" (Deep Purple) - you may know it from its recent use in some commercial trying to sell cars to baby boomers. It's pretty catchy (the song, not the commercial):
- 10D: Echo location (canyon) - had the "Y" first and could think only of ABYSS
- 12D: "Harlem Nocturne" instrument (sax) - more music?
- 25D: Astronomical discovery of 1781 (Uranus) - wife took daughter to local observatory last week for some educational thingie, where they got to look through the big telescope. Being able to see Saturn and its rings blew my daughter's mind. No URANUS, though, as far as I know.
- 33D: Spying against one's own country, say (treasonous) - had a noun/adj. problem here. Thought the clue would be a noun, since the clue was a noun phrase (gerund). Couldn't get TREASON or TREACHERY to stretch that far.
- 48D: Biblical strongman (Samson) - true enough. Kinda makes him sound like a carnival sideshow attraction.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
Clever Patrick Jordan puzzle today in the LAT. Write-up here.