Brand written about by Hawthorne / FRI 10-22-10 / Host of the 1974 Asian Games / “La Legende des Siecles” poet / “Avalon” band
Friday, October 22, 2010
Constructor: Scott Atkinson
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
• • •
Hi! Andrea Carla Michaels here, sitting in for Rex as part of my week-long birthday celebration (and yes, I’m still accepting well wishes!) So, you know what that means, NO pulp fiction references, nor baseball (nor even college wrestling) (till tomorrow!) Can’t live without that? There is a train leaving for Hofstra in about 20 minutes and I’m sure Rex would appreciate front-row attendance!
So today we have a lovely offering from constructor Scott Atkinson, all Scrabbly, just the way I like my Fridays…Not only a complete pangram with the requisite X, J and Q, but he gives us two Zs and three Ks! (Why do all the great double ZZ words start with P? PALAZZI, PIZZAZZ, PUZZLE, PIZZARELLI?)
Usually I like to start at 1A. “What a wink often means”. Hmmmm. I toyed with a sharp stick in your eye (I wear contacts and that’s what makes me wink), complicity…even lasciviousness (which I have no idea how to spell…and still don’t). So I looked to 1D: “ ___ Sharp, founder of Four Seasons Hotel”, zero help there…TO my shock, it turns out 1D is a shout out to our very own Rex Parker, aka Professor Michael Sharp, as ISADORE is his father! (IMKIDDING)
2D “Let go” (MANUMIT) was even harder, even tho it appeared recently by one of the young boy constructors, I think. But it means to “set free, as slaves” which sounds more serious to me, than a simple “let go”.
So the NW remained initially blank. Thank goodness for 10A “Words that prevent firing” (the peppy “IQUIT!”) and I was off and running. That Q led easily to QUIRKY, which helped me realize that MIKADO refers to a person
(25A “Old Asian title”) not a place, and the IV then gave me IVANHOE (26D “Literary classic featuring the jester Wamba”).
Actually, the puzzle took my usual time (less than half an episode of “The Office”) but I have to admit, I got all the literary references without having read or seen any of them, I’m semi-embarrassed to say. That includes the aforementioned MIKADO, ETHAN (31A “Brand written about by Hawthorne), IVANHOE, and any work by JKROWLING, or the novelist Dominick DUNNE. I should have my library card revoked…or, I guess, better yet, reissued.
Here’s what I do know about, however: Anything potentially involving a gratuitous mention of italiani ragazzi. Ecce, 39D “Grand Canal sights” (PALAZZI). I’m guessing some of you debated whether the plural of GONDOLA was GONDOLAS or GONDOLE or GONDOLI. My initial musings on “Grand Canal sights” included Arcangelo, Alessandro and Valerio!
Ah, Venice! This, of course, leads me to 41A “Hot partner?” I had the H from IVANHOE, so I tried HEAVY, but HEAVYSET was already in the grid (29A “Thick”), so in went HUNKY, which I will count as a mini-malapop for DORY (54D “Small fishing vessel”).
Monday gal that I am, I am always looking for a theme, and this one seemed political:
Begin and SADAT, LeninGRAD, Bella ABZUG, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da SILVA, and GORE. Poor Al GORE… being ignominiously clued as 32D “Stick” (with an extra dig of WAXEN right below!) (I mean, how many masseuses does the man have to chase around Portland hotel rooms before he loses his image of being a WAXEN “stick”???!!!)
Even the musical references were a bit political; from “folkies” RICHIE HAVEN, and retro-hipsters’ ROXYMUSIC to John Lennon fans’ IMAGINE.
Even tho I consider myself a major Beatles’ fan, 43D “1970s peace anthem” was my biggest bugaboo. I went from the terribly wrong KUMBAYA to getting so far as to have IM- - INE, and then confidently writing in “I, ME, MINE”!
Perhaps it was because “__ Mine” had just been in an earlier week puzzle (by the way, those of you who skip early week puzzles and only do Thursday thru Sunday are missing some fabulous crosswords these past few weeks! Especially the Thursday puzzles that are being passed off as Wednesdays and the Friday ones that mysteriously appear on Tuesdays!).
Another of my more egregious first stabs involved 28D “Once-in-a-lifetime trip, for some” (HAJ). I dropped in LSD. (Then I turned on and tuned in…)
And finally, I had DEteCTS for 44D “Concentrates, in a way.” (DECOCTS). DECOCTS?! Seriously? That reminds me… I have a bris this Sunday.
Oh! Is it too late to mention the sort of cool SIN crossing SINKSIN? I mean look at it: SIN, SINkSIN! Triple SINS! That’s a lot of 24A“Letting one’s god down?” How many “Hail Marys” for that, my non-Jewish pals?
Drat, time to stop writing and I haven’t even gotten to my “I am the real ANASTASIA” stories!
Till next time! With love (and lots of technical assistance from SethG), -ACME
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