9.14.2009

MONDAY, September 14, 2009—Lila Cherry




THEME: Tit for Tat and then some ... — theme answers start with T-vowel-T sequence, beginning with "A" as the vowel and proceeding in order through "U"

An odd puzzle. Supremely weak in the theme, but quite lovely in the non-theme answers. Love the big, relatively wide-open corners: 3x7s all around, with phrases like CATNAPS (1D: Short snoozes) and AIRKISS (46D: Smooch that even misses the cheek) adding a lively, colloquial quality to the grid (that clue on 46D is Horrible, though, if only for the misplaced "even"). The vowel progression thing is old, and in this case not terribly difficult to pull off. Only TUT- would prove severely limiting on answer possibilities. The rest ... just a bunch of phrases. And TETON COUNTY is not exactly sizzling. Still fun to solve, though. CT SCAN! (32D: Radiologist's procedure, briefly) Really great mid-range fill all over.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: London art museum, as it was formerly known (TATE GALLERY)
  • 25A: Its seat is Jackson, Wyoming (TETON COUNTY)
  • 35A: It shows a book's name, author, publisher, etc. (TITLE PAGE)
  • 52A: Photographic memory (TOTAL RECALL)
  • 59A: Multi-flavored ice cream (TUTTI FRUTTI)

Crosswordese 101: "TRU" (61D: One-man show about Capote) — Robert Morse won a Tony for this 1989 production based on the life and works of Truman Capote. It is the most famous three-letter crossword drama, beating even the heavyweight "R.U.R." ("Rossum's Universal Robots," by Karel Capek, 1923), which is famous for having introduced and popularized the term "robot." TRUman Capote was an amazing author ("In Cold Blood" is one of my Top Ten Books of the 20th Century), but the play "TRU" apparently (I haven't seen it) showcases the personal, witty, catty, late-stage Capote who was a socialite and notorious bitch with serious drug and alcohol problems.

What else?

  • 22A: Tibet's capital (LHASA) — someday I will learn to spell this. Went LLASA again.
  • 47A: Norse mariner Leif (ERICSON) — somehow thought there was another "S" in there somewhere.
  • 65A: "_____ the loneliest number": old song lyric ("ONE IS") — this is what we call a "partial" (and a particularly bad one, at that).
  • 10D: "Fire and Rain" singer/songwriter James (TAYLOR) — weird double coincidence. This song came on my iPod last night while I was making chickpea/kale soup. I hadn't Really listened to it in a long time. It's remarkable, lyrically and rhythmically, and has moments where I could easily see its being changed into a rap song. A good one. Second coincidence: did anyone watch the VMAs (MTV Video Music Awards) last night? I'm trying to find video right now ... hang on ... nope, there isn't any that I can find (OK, you can see it here — thanks, Barbara). Anyway, there was this whole incident where Kanye West came on stage when TAYLOR Swift was accepting her award and grabbed her mike and started ranting about how Beyone's video was the best ... comically insane bad manners. So this morning Kanye's the new Michael Vick: Most Reviled Man of the Moment. Some of the anti-Kanye rants have been pretty hilarious. On Twitter, Pink wrote "Kanye west is the biggest piece of shit on earth. Quote me." My favorite response came from Kelly Clarkson. I love her for many reasons, and here is one more:

"Dear Kanye, What happened to you as a child?? Did you not get hugged enough?? Something must have happened to make you this way and I think we’re all just curious as to what would make a grown man go on national television and make a talented artist, let alone teenager, feel like s—. I mean, I’ve seen you do some pretty s—ty things, but you just keep amazing me with your tactless, asshole ways. It’s absolutely fascinating how much I don’t like you. I like everyone. I even like my asshole ex that cheated on me over you…which is pretty odd since I don’t even personally know you. The best part of this evening is that you weren’t even up for THIS award and yet you still have a problem with the outcome. Is winning a moon man that much of a life goal?? You can have mine if it will shut you up. Is it that important, really??"

  • 40D: State cop (trooper)



See you Friday.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Places for chickens (COOPS); 6A: Teapot feature (SPOUT); 11A: Roman 901 (CMI); 14A: Comics orphan (ANNIE); 15A: Skier's jacket (PARKA); 16A: Youthful fellow (LAD); 17A: London art museum, as it was formerly known (TATE GALLERY); 19A: Some MIT grads (EES); 20A: Extreme degrees (NTHS); 21A: LPGA teen phenom Michelle (WIE); 22A: Tibet's capital (LHASA); 24A: "__ you ready for this?" (ARE); 25A: Its seat is Jackson, Wyoming (TETON COUNTY); 28A: Oinker (PIG); 29A: Proofs of age, briefly (IDS); 30A: Ones making money (EARNERS); 31A: Pointy-eared "Star Trek" guy (SPOCK); 33A: Cookie holder (JAR); 34A: Small jazz combo (TRIO); 35A: It shows a book's name, author, publisher, etc. (TITLE PAGE); 39A: Parts of the Rockies: Abbr. (MTNS.); 42A: Boiling (HOT); 43A: Kitchen allure (AROMA); 47A: Norse mariner Leif (ERICSON); 49A: AT&T competitor (MCI); 51A: King, in France (ROI); 52A: Photographic memory (TOTAL RECALL); 54A: Prickly chestnut case (BUR); 55A: Blackmore's "__ Doone" (LORNA); 56A: Paul Bunyan's tool (AXE); 57A: Piece of sausage (LINK); 58A: Stock mkt. debut (IPO); 59A: Multi-flavored ice cream (TUTTI FRUTTI); 63A: Fire, to the French (FEU); 64A: Actor Zimbalist Jr. (EFREM); 65A: "__ the loneliest number": old song lyric (ONE IS); 66A: Ambulance destinations, for short (ERS); 67A: Goes bad, as milk (SOURS); 68A: Strolls in shallow water (WADES); 1D: Short snoozes (CATNAPS); 2D: Traveling away from home (ON A TRIP); 3D: Very busy (ON THE GO); 4D: Pumpkin desserts (PIES); 5D: Part of a line: Abbr. (SEG.); 6D: Bowler's challenges (SPLITS); 7D: Opposite of neo- (PALEO-); 8D: Source of iron (ORE); 9D: Kiev is its cap. (UKR.); 10D: "Fire and Rain" singer/songwriter James (TAYLOR); 11D: Vacuum __ (CLEANER); 12D: Orchestra conductors, formally (MAESTRI); 13D: "Sounds about right to me" ("I'D SAY SO"); 18D: Dumbfounded (AWED); 23D: Big game tracker (HUNTER); 25D: __ torch: patio light (TIKI); 26D: Twice-monthly tide (NEAP); 27D: Irene of "Fame" (CARA); 32D: Radiologist's procedure, briefly (CT SCAN); 33D: Fast plane (JET); 36D: Norse thunder god (THOR); 37D: "The __ Ranger" (LONE); 38D: "Passages" author Sheehy (GAIL); 39D: Insurance company with Snoopy on its blimp (METLIFE); 40D: State cop (TROOPER); 41D: __ oxide: laughing gas (NITROUS); 44D: Circled the earth (ORBITED); 45D: Canadian cop (MOUNTIE); 46D: Smooch that even misses the cheek (AIR KISS); 48D: Political candidate lineups (SLATES); 49D: Adages (MAXIMS); 50D: First symbol on a musical staff (CLEF); 53D: Supply party food for (CATER); 57D: Pale-green moth (LUNA); 60D: ET's vehicle (UFO); 61D: One-man show about Capote (TRU); 62D: Use oars (ROW).

19 comments:

chefbea said...

very easy Monday puzzle.

I think we really need Rex's soup recipe

shrub5 said...

This was a fairly easy puzzle but I thought there were many fresh, inventive clues and answers.

I had the bowler challenged by SPARES before the crosses showed me it was SPLITS. I entered MAESTRO, only slightly concerned that it was not plural since maestros would not fit anyway. The "I" in TRIO corrected that error -- I dIdn't know the word MAESTRI existed! I knew fire in French was FEU from the French beef stew pot-au-feu (pot on the fire.) Yum.

I liked TROOPER and MOUNTIE in similar spots on the grid. Figured out the theme after I finished. I know that a few months ago, I would have thought (without much thought!) that this was a themeless puzzle. But thanks to the efforts of Rex, Orange and PuzzleGirl, my theme-seeking antennae have emerged.

@Rex: I'd love to see the rest of your Top Ten Books of the 20th Century list.

jazz said...

Monday id Funday!

I liked it. Easy, but nearly all the clues/fills were nice (no cheap abbrevs, letter sequences, etc.)

I liked the ONATRIP/ONTHEGO duo...haven't seen MAESTRI before (kinda remember MAESTROS being used, but could be wrong on that)

AIRKISS?

Also liked TROOPER/MOUNTIE in the same puzzle.

Good Monday job, Lila Cherry!

*David* said...

A bit more difficult then a usual Monday but still easy. ALso enjoyed much of the fill which was better then a standard easy puzzle day.

Bith 2 & 3D start with ON which was interesting to see next to each other. I was just in Jackson Wyoming and couln't figure out that theme fill right away.

The term people are using for Kanye besides rude is simply a bully who thinks he can do and say as he wishes. Boorish behavior was the theme for the weekend with Serena's outburst as well and her embarrassing interview afterwards, answering questions with questions.

mac said...

Very nice, fresh puzzle! I also liked the trooper-mountie pairing, plus on a trip/on the go right next to each other.

Kale and chickpea soup..... Sautee the onions until sweet, then add some dried hot peppers. Delicious!

Rex Parker said...

Just don't forget Joe Wilson in your rant against bad behavior. Irks me when people react more strongly to bad behavior in black people than they do to same behavior in white people. Kanye was rude and deserves the censure, but some folks are already calling him "monkey" and "racist" (?!) and what not in internet comments sections, so ... I worry the country loves having a reason to hate a black man a little too much.

rp

Orange said...

Rex, I saw a craiglist posting (selling nothing) in which Kanye West was called the N-word multiple times. Throw in Serena Williams being called a "thug" and you get still more racial name-calling. Joe Wilson gets to be criticized for his behavior, as an individual and not a representative of an ethnic group, but with West and Williams, criticism quickly tilts to veiled code words or bared racism. It's sad.

The theme is a little tighter than you give it credit, Rex—the theme answers progress through the long vowel sounds only. Constructors! Make some good Monday puzzles and send them to Rich Norris so he doesn't have to publish his own puzzles (using pseudonyms—this one is "really Rich" anagrammed) two Mondays in a row.

john farmer said...

I didn't see the VMA show but when I saw this, I thought Kanye may have gone just a bit too far.

Alex said...

Can somebody send Rich a Monday puzzle? He's told me he doesn't have many of them, and now this makes two weeks in a row he's written one.

It's not a bad thing for solvers; I really like his puzzles. But let's help the guy out here!

Burner10 said...

MetLife blimp and nitrous and orbited and airkiss kind of hang together in a (de)lightful way. Thanks for exposing the anagram - I'm wondering if anagram vision is something that can be improved with exercise - or if I'll always be clueless...

Joon said...

burner, "lila cherry" is one of the already-known editor pseudonyms. samantha wine is a newer one. sometimes you can sniff them out, though: it's a combination of an unusually well-crafted puzzle with a byline you've never heard of, and an implausible-looking name. of course, sometimes an implausible-looking name is just an implausible-looking name.

Charles Bogle said...

Agree w mac, jazz, RP-what I liked best: this puzzle is almost toally devoid of the kind of over-used, trifling fill seen on most Mon Tues Liked MOUNTIE/TROOPER, CATNAP. Thought Neopolitan (van/choc/strawb) at first for multi-flavor ice cream!

shrub5 said...

Here's an interesting article from our local newspaper about anonymity (or lack thereof) on blogs.

JIMMIE said...

@oarnge
Yep, the second letter vowel theme answers are aeiou. Neato.

Bohica said...

Loved the non-theme answers, especially in the corners and the way Mountie and Trooper mirror each other. But this was too easy, even for a Monday!

Joon said...

bohica: there's no such thing as too easy for a monday.

Sfingi said...

6D 21A - sports clues crossing. Unfair.

11A CMI 49A MCI
I'm not too wild over initials.

Otherwise, I agree with everybody, if that's possible.

choiwriter said...

lol @john farmer's Obama/Kanye clip -- too funny. I wasn't thrilled with this puzzle, but didn't think it was as easy as many of you did. Still, I got through it without resorting to outside help, so Go Me!

ddbmc said...

Late to the game here, but the puzzle worked for me. Wasn't sure on the theme, but kind of figured it out.

Re: Kanye, Serena, Joe Wilson or any one else giving inappropriate "shout downs", Yo! Stop it! You're just not that important!

The problem with "realitizing tv, radio, Tweets," etc. is, we've lost any sense of civility! The insensitive bloggers eager to pin the blame on race, religion, region, etc., need to learn some manners! Aretha sang it so long ago: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.... @Rex, thanks for the manners smack down on top of the puzzle talk. The way these people spout, sours my mood! I'd say so!