Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson
Wow. Tough puzzle today. I'm not going to whine about it being too easy, that's for sure. I did end up finishing it on my own with no mistakes, but I sure did have a lot of missteps along the way. The hardest one to figure out was probably when I had JOINER where MOONIE was supposed to go (7D: Unificationist). For some reason my brain only saw "unify" and not "Unification." With that J in place, I figured 7-Across must be JURORS. They reflect … on the … evidence … right? what? No, it doesn't really make any sense, but it did at the time! MOONIE eventually came to me, except I misspelled it MOONEY at first so that also caused a few problems. I'm not going to beat myself up too much about that section though because … um, MUSERS? That's a pretty bad entry (7A: They reflect). I do love DON VITO CORLEONE and EDWARD G. ROBINSON stacked up like that though (13A: Role for which its actor refused an Oscar / 16A: Actor who said "Some people have youth, some have beautyóI have menace"). So maybe MUSERS was worth it? I don't know. What do you think?
The southeast was the last section to fall for me. I had THE GEICO in place and could only come up with the gecko -- I couldn't remember what that other ad campaign was all about. Oh yeah, the CAVEMEN (45A: Offended parties in a long-running series of [TV ADS]). I don't recall too much about those CAVEMEN (I mean, really! do people watch commercials any more??), but here's a caveman I kinda like:
HAVE AN AHA MOMENT (48A: Experience sudden inspiration) took a while to show itself too. I was pretty sure [33D: Seder bread] was MATZOH and I thought [31D: Mrs. Norris in the "Harry Potter" books, e.g.] might be a HOUSE-ELF instead of a HOUSE CAT, so I was looking at HAVEANAHL for quite a while. And even when the correct phrase finally became clear I have to say I don't really think of an AHA MOMENT as inspiration so much as clarification. But maybe that's just me.
Other missteps for included ERA for EON (19A: Proterozoic, for one), THX for PLS (36A: Brief memo nicety), LOBE for TIRE (4D: Spot for studs), ETA for ETD (5D: Terminal abbr.), and THO for E'EN (10D: Yet, to Yeats).
Other than the long acrosses, highlights of the grid for me included:
- 6D: Reward for rolling over (DOG TREAT). Although I kinda wanted it to be "doggie treat," right?
- 12D: Less likely to mix (SNOOTIER). This word always makes me think of the Sneetches.
- 15D: Near-decades (ENNEADS). ENNEA- is a prefix meaning nine.
- 28A: Gardener's soil hauler (TIP CART). I don't believe I've ever heard of this.
- 32A: Albéniz piano work (IBERIA). Whatever you say!
- 35A: Court official's call (FAULT). Tennis court.
- 42A: Top 10 hit from U2's "Achtung Baby" album (ONE).
- 21D: Messing with a script? (DEBRA). She played Grace on "Will & Grace." She was also in an early "Seinfeld" episode. I want to say she was "Mulva" but I think that was the actress on "Frasier." Messing was the one who … did something else. (It's getting late, folks.)
- 30D: Political blog feature, often (PET PEEVE). I don't understand this clue at all. Maybe it's because I like political blogs and think they're awesome. Do other (normal?) people think they're just a place for people to rant about their PET PEEVES?
- 35D: Donnybrook (FRACAS). I sometimes confuse "donnybrook" with "boondoggle." Both awesome words, by the way. As is FRACAS.
Everything Else — 1A: Bumpy, in a way (RUTTED); 17A: General at Cold Harbor (MEADE); 18A: Latish alarm setting (TEN A.M.); 20A: Family title word (OURS); 21A: Pool feature (DRAIN); 22A: Have no use for, and then some (HATE); 23A: Use a tap, perhaps (SPY).