Sorry for the posting delay today. As readers of my other blog and my Twitter followers know, wife brought home two strays yesterday, and they spent the night, and dealing with them and my other dogs and my daughter (home from school on holiday) ... took all my attention. I had to get up at 5 just to write the NYT blog before anyone in the house woke up. Dogs have been picked up by the woman who found them, and they're in good hands. Really really hoping they are just lost pets whose owners are looking for them (both purebreds, both sweet), but they might have been abandoned. Some people are just assholes. At any rate, the dogs will get good homes one way or the other. I couldn't let anything else happen to them.
Puzzle. It was fine. Typical. Add some letters, wackiness ensues. I was happy to see that the puzzle (specifically the cluing) had some more teeth to it today than on past weekends. This one took me well over 4 minutes. When it's back to taking me well over 8 minutes, honestly, I will be thrilled beyond belief. Til then, I'll just be happy with the mini-trend toward difficulty.
- 16A: Tropical fruit that grows underground? (CAVE MANGO)
- 21A: Church game played with cans and bottles? (RECYCLE BINGO)
- 37A: Italian cheese from the Florida Keys? (SOUTHEAST ASIAGO) — most difficult, as "Florida Keys" does nothing to signify "SOUTHEAST" to me, though it's clearly in the SOUTHEAST of the U.S., I can't argue with that :(
- 44A: Fled what was once Zaire? (ESCAPED CONGO)
- 57A: Jargon of ancient Yucatán (MAYA LINGO) — MAYA LIN is the one who designed the Vietnam War Memorial in D.C.
Crosswordese 101: TACET (15A: Be silent, in music) — learned this from xwords, though having had a couple years of Latin helped out a lot. CrossWorld is littered with terms from musical scores, musical terms, forms of music, etc. (e.g. LENTO, LARGO, ARIOSO, ORATORIO, etc.). TACET is high-end as musical crosswordese goes, but you'll see it again, without a doubt — fairly common letters in a five-letter string ensures usefulness.
- 30D: Library volumes? (WHISPERS) — part of me thinks this is clever, part of me hates the alleged equation between (pl.) volumes and (pl.) WHISPERS.
- 40A: Fictional author of "The World According to Bensenhaver" (T.S. GARP) — yikes. I know the character of GARP, but the "T.S." part I didn't remember at all.
- 20D: Witnessed visiting (SEEN AT) — honestly, I had no idea what the clue was supposed to mean. None. Had to wait for most of the crosses.
- 42D: "When I'm Ready" (NOT YET) — I had NOT NOW, unsurprisingly.
Done and done.
See you Monday,
[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]
Everything Else — 1A: Heartless (COLD); 5A: Run in a traffic jam? (IDLE); 9A: "__ fan tutte": Mozart opera (COSI); 13A: Hodgepodge (OLIO); 14A: Aquarium clapper (SEAL); 15A: Be silent, in music (TACET); 16A: Tropical fruit that grows underground? (CAVE MANGO); 18A: Autobahn autos (OPELS); 19A: Exceeded, as a budget (OVERRAN); 20A: Ankle-swelling cause (SPRAIN); 21A: Church game played with cans and bottles? (RECYCLE BINGO); 24A: Workout unit (REP); 27A: More cunning (SLIER); 28A: Not away (IN TOWN); 32A: Michigan college town (ANN ARBOR); 37A: Italian cheese from the Florida Keys? (SOUTHEAST ASIAGO); 39A: Snobs (ELITISTS); 40A: Fictional author of "The World According to Bensenhaver" (T.S. GARP); 41A: Spot to get off (STAIN); 43A: Grant opponent (LEE); 44A: Fled what was once Zaire? (ESCAPED CONGO); 51A: Body shop offering (LOANER); 52A: SWAT team supply (TEAR GAS); 56A: Jet trail (VAPOR); 57A: Jargon of ancient Yucat·n? (MAYA LINGO); 59A: Nanos and minis (IPODS); 60A: Drive the getaway car for, say (ABET); 61A: Prefix with dollar (EURO-); 62A: Last word sung with champagne in hand (SYNE); 63A: Presidential power (VETO); 64A: Future J.D.'s hurdle (LSAT); 1D: Designer Chanel (COCO); 2D: Patron saint of Norway (OLAV); 3D: Like glowing coals (LIVE); 4D: Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby (DOERR); 5D: Stern with a bow (ISAAC); 6D: Chain that serves the Grand Slam breakfast (DENNY'S); 7D: Fall behind (LAG); 8D: "Strange Magic" band (ELO); 9D: Bay of Naples isle (CAPRI); 10D: Continental divide? (OCEAN); 11D: Baseball commissioner since the '90s (SELIG); 12D: "__ big deal" (IT'S NO); 15D: Military higher-ups (TOP BRASS); 17D: G.I. ration (MRE); 20D: Witnessed visiting (SEEN AT); 22D: Enduring opus (CLASSIC); 23D: Navel buildup (LINT); 24D: Bailiff's request (RISE); 25D: Compound containing a hydroxl group (ENOL); 26D: Spitting sound (PTUI); 29D: Giant great who wore #4 (OTT); 30D: Library volumes? (WHISPERS); 31D: Avian homemaker (NESTER); 33D: Hook (up) (RIG); 34D: False god (BAAL); 35D: Brute (OGRE); 36D: Weapon in Clue (ROPE); 38D: Hardly at all (A TAD); 42D: "When I'm ready" (NOT YET); 44D: The King (ELVIS); 45D: Lathered up (SOAPY); 46D: Food fowl (CAPON); 47D: Battery terminal (ANODE); 48D: "Peachy keen!" ("NEATO!"); 49D: "For Me and My __" (GAL); 50D: Bay window (ORIEL); 53D: Wildebeests (GNUS); 54D: Indian mausoleum city (AGRA); 55D: Flue coat (SOOT); 57D: Dallas cager, briefly (MAV); 58D: He's next to Teddy on Mount Rushmore (ABE).