1992 David Mamet play / SUN 9-15-13 / Band with 1985 UK #1 album titled Meat Is Murder / Island where Homer is buried by tradition / Baby singer's nickname / Charles Nelson old game show staple
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Constructor: Joe DiPietro
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
- 23A: Confiscate a chef's appetizer? (SEIZE HER SALAD)
- 37A: Conk a coach's team member? (SOCK HER PLAYER)
- 55A: Close a VW Beetle owner's car door? (SHUT HER BUG)
- 66A: Put a spice mix on a cook's piece of poultry? (RUB HER CHICKEN)
- 77A: Keep a bad comedian on stage? (LET HER BOMB)
- 98A: Find out what a baby's milk tastes like? (LICK HER BOTTLE)
- 114A: Hop over an electrician's wires? (JUMP HER CABLES)
- 15D: Ensure a surfer's safety? (CHECK HER BOARD)
- 52D: Take a mechanic's inventory? (COUNT HER PARTS)
Word of the Day: Charles Nelson REILLY (27A: Charles Nelson ___, old game show staple) —
Charles Nelson Reilly (January 13, 1931 – May 25, 2007) was an American actor, comedian, director, and drama teacher known for his comedic roles in stages, films, children's television, cartoons, and game showpanelist. [...] Reilly was perhaps best known as a fixture of game shows, primarily due to his appearances as a regular panelist on the television game show Match Game. Reilly was one of the longest-running guests, and often engaged in petty, hilarious arguments with fellow regular Brett Somers (the two generally sat next to each other on the show, Somers in the upper middle seat and Reilly in the upper right-hand seat). Reilly typically offered sardonic commentary and peppered his answers with homosexually themed double entendres that pushed the boundaries of 1970s television standards. (wikipedia)
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COUNT HER PARTS took me a bit of thinking, but the rest sort of filled themselves in. All of these answers sound like ham-fisted euphemisms (COUNT HER PARTS most of all), but mostly their problem is they're just repetitive. One-trick puzzle. There is some great fill in here, though. Love the symmetrical pillars of THE SMITHS and SLUSH PILE (32D: Group of unsolicited manuscripts). Almost but does not quite make up for EATABLE, which is among the worst longish answers I've ever seen in a puzzle. HOLLER AT and "I'M THERE" and The BIEB (91A: "Baby" singer's nickname, with "the") also give this grid some much-needed sass. So there are bits of joy to be found here and there. But mostly what we have is [Off-white shade]—an OPAL's bland color, but none of its preciousness or luster.
If "RADIX" just means "root" in Latin (which it does), then why not just use "root" when talking about [10, for the base 10 number system]? Is it 'cause "root" is already taken by other concepts? Anyhoo, Had to fight for that "X"; I think of APEXES (or "apices") in terms of height, not end-pointedness (or [Tips]). Just got through telling students on Thursday that no one knows much of anything factual about Homer's life (esp. as compared to Virgil's), and today's puzzle highlights this issue with 73A: Island where Homer is buried, by tradition (IOS). Homer was also blind, by tradition, and he could shoot lasers out of his eyes, by my imagination. I thought most fish was FLAKY (not SCALY), so I got hung up a bit in the west, but AL GREEN came to the rescue, as he so often does (47D: "Love and Happiness" singer, 1972). "OLEANNA" is one of the crosswordesier 7-letter answers out there, so if you don't know it yet, it's worth socking away (2D: 1992 David Mamet play). Speaking of crosswordese: IRED. That "word" makes me laugh (ironically?). It is used by precisely no one except desperate crossword constructors.
ROBE, but there was already a ROBE in the puzzle, so I flailed around there slightly until HOOD came into view. It's a nice HOOD clue. I just clued a puzzle today. Sometimes, it can get boring, and you gotta go to some weird places just to keep yourself from nodding off. I watched "Plan 9 From Outer Space" the other night (highly recommended), and I don't know if the word EARTHMEN is in that movie, but that answer *sure* came easily, so I feel there must be some connection. The EARTHMEN in that movie were uniformly stupid and implausible as sentient human beings. Still, as I say, Highly Recommended.