Former Disney head Michael / MON 12-17-12 / Pakistani tongue / James Bond film involving Fabergé egg / Wedge fractions in Trivial Pursuit / Cleveland b-ball team /
Monday, December 17, 2012
Constructor: Elizabeth A. Long
Relative difficulty: Medium
THEME: Feline follies — feline names in non-feline answers
- KITTYHAWK (17A: Wright flight site)
- TIGERLILY (11D: Perennial whose flowers are typically orange with black dots)
- CAT SCAN (40A: Hospital diagnostic)
- "OCTOPUSSY" (64A: James Bond film involving Fabergé egg)
- DANDELION (35D: Source of some fluff)
Word of the Day: MUKLUK (8D: Eskimo boot) —
- A soft boot made of reindeer skin or sealskin and worn by Eskimos.
- A slipper with a soft sole resembling this boot.[Yupik maklak, bearded seal.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/mukluk#ixzz2FGOY8JXf
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As far as the overall quality of the grid is concerned, I'd give this a thumbs-up. I mean, MUKLUK, come on. That's great stuff. Really up your typical easy-Monday puzzle. Even the gross words like EXTRUDE and GRISTLE add some welcome color and interest, and I wouldn't mind if every puzzle had "OCTOPUSSY" in it. RECUE made me double-over and dry-heave a bit (52D: Feed the same line), but everything else was solid-to-good. As for the theme, I don't think it works very well. Far, far too loose. You've got two big cats and then ... three generic names for a house cat. The group coheres only at a very broad taxomonic level. Isn't "COUGAR TOWN" still on the air? We really need some more big cats up in here.
Spent the afternoon watching "Full Metal Jacket" and the making-of documentary that accompanies it on the Blu-Ray version. You'd think I'd be too raw from all the child-killing, but somehow I needed to turn *into* the horror, and I needed to do it through art. It's a truly beautiful movie. Unbearably grisly and horrifying in many parts, it's true, but the human cost of war, for both the dead and the living, has rarely been better illustrated.
[Here be profanity]
As for the rest of this puzzle, my two little hiccups in this puzzle both came at the beginning and both involved geography. Took one look at 1A: There is Nothin' Like a ___" ("South Pacific" song) ("DAME") and thought answer was probably GIRL (no musical lover, I), so then tried to confirm it at 1D: Senegal's capital (DAKAR) and realized I couldn't remember what Senegal's capital was. The "G" in GIRL made me think GABON, but of course that's a country, not a capital. Of course this confusion was fixed quickly, but it still felt frustrating. I also had no idea what to do with 6D: It's bordered by three countries with "-stan" in their names (IRAN). If I'd really thought about it, I would've seen that the answer had four letters and there are really only so many four-letter country name options in that part of the world: IRAN, IRAQ ... I'm gonna say that's it. Well, there's OMAN, but that's on the Arabian peninsula. But I was going at Monday speed and so ended up having to build IRAN via crosses. Everything else was highly gettable. I had to read the Trivial Pursuit clue a couple times to figure out what was being asked, but in the end, my time was quite normal for a Monday.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld