MONDAY, Dec. 1, 2008 - Eric J. Platt (Connected on only one side, as a town house / Chemistry Nobelist Otto / Order at the Pig and Whistle)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: TURN ON A DIME (57A: Change abruptly, or what the insides of 17-, 27- and 43-Across do?) - letter string "DIME" appears backward ("EMID") in each of the three theme answers
Cute idea, but turning a DIME is not the same as turning ON a DIME, so the concept feels a bit forced. The buried and backward word is kind of mid-to-late week trick, but it's welcome here, as the answers were odd enough to slow me down considerably (For A Monday). IDEATES is up there among my least favorite words (41D: Has thoughts), but most of the rest of the fill seems just fine. Nothing scintillating, but entirely adequate.
- 17A: The Divine Miss M (Bett EMID ler)
- 27A: Birth mother's helper (nurs EMID wife)
- 43A: Connected on only one side, as a town house (s EMID etached)
DIME breaks across two words in every case. All the theme answers are unusual and lively and interesting. All in all, not bad work. You RARELY (22A: Hardly ever) see HAHN (46D: Chemistry Nobelist Otto) this early in the week. As wife said, "I know he's crossworde(a)se, but isn't it a little early in the week for HAHN?" Yes, but that's OK.
Do people use CLERGIES in the plural very often? (9D: Religious groups)
The NW is teeming with actresses, with AGNES Moorehead and MELANIE Griffith (both horribly boringly clued) joining Ms. Midler for a rather odd triad. Wait, I guess we can add ADELE Astaire to the mix too (15A: One of the dancing Astaires), as she appears to have developed her vaudeville act with her brother into a successful Broadway career. Speaking of Broadway, KERN (39A: Jerome who composed "The Last Time I Saw Paris") is one of a gaggle of Broadway composer whose names I've had to learn (though I remain largely to completely ignorant of their work).
- 20A: John Cougar Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the _____" ("U.S.A.") - long, semi-cheesy way to go for that answer.
- 55A: Order at the Pig and Whistle (ale) - is this place famous? Um ... it seems that yes, if you are Canadian, it is:
The Pig and Whistle was a Canadian musical television series aired on the CTV television network from 1967 to 1977. Filmed in Toronto, Ontario but set in a fictional English pub, the show featured an assortment of Canadian, British and Irish performers
- 1D: The Beatles' "Revolver" or "Help!" (album) - I very stupidly and rashly wrote in A SIDE (neglecting the fact that "Revolver" is no such thing)
- 11D: Not reduced, as some illustrations (life-sized) - I like this answer.
- 28D: "Maria _____," 1941 #1 hit ("Elena") - the only song I know with this title is by The Smithereens. Can't find a youtube version, so here's "A Girl Like You" (from the same album, "11"):
- 31D: _____ Club (discount store) (Sam's) - Normally I don't share the anti-corporate sentiments of many solvers, but on this one, SAM'S could have so easily been changed that I kind of resent having to look at it.
- 58D: Mouse's big cousin (rat) - Watched "Venus" last night (recent movie starring Peter O'Toole) and one of the previews playing in the background while I solved this puzzle was "RATatouille." Great movie.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld