Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Monday Sun
I can see that I have much to learn about crossword blogging. Just when I was about to make the pronouncement that Thursday and Friday puzzles are much easier to blog about as they have longer, more interesting entries than lend themselves better to illustration, along comes this Monday puzzle with opportunities aplenty to illustrate.
And to get in trouble.
The name of this puzzle by Mark Feldman is Spa Treatments for Miss World, and the theme entries all concern health or cosmetic treatments associated with a particular country. 67 per cent of these I have no problem blogging about.
I mean I can show you Spa Treatment #1 (3D) FRENCHMANICURE. Nothing controversial there for even the most fervent Francophobe.
I can explain that Spa treatment #3 (17D) SWEDISHMASSAGE refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. And that the best masseuse I ever knew was very dismissive of Swedish massage, preferring the deep tissue massage technique, which I can testify (in the words of John Mellencamp) hurts so good.
But what am I supposed to do with Spa treatment #2 (16D) BRAZILIANWAX. I don't want to alienate my audience, who Will Shortz has taught me is always at the breakfast table enjoying a wholesome repast with their family. Nor do I particularly want to explain to my wife what all those pictures of balding Brazilian babes are doing in my browser's history.
Maybe I can get the point across with this caveman cartoon. After all, thanks to Geico, everybody loves cavemen, right?
On second thought, no, that's not quite right either. How about if I let Scott Spiezio, the third baseman of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals show us all what a Brazilian wax is all about. Scott doesn't have a "bikini area" so he wears his Brazilian on his face.
Whew, that's better. But I'm still not out of the woods yet. What am I supposed to do with 59A: Chat room activity for some (CYBERSEX) especially as it's directly beneath 55A: Like some illnesses (NEARFATAL), I know good and well near-fatal cyber sex is not a suitable topic for breakfast table conversation. And even looking for images to accompany something as seemingly innocent as 63A: Musical instruments with pipes (ORGANS) can show you more than you bargained for, as can 1D: Down Under girl (SHEILA).
And I'd strongly advice you to have safe search on if you want an image to accompany 9A: Staff (ROD) or you might get something even more startling than this shot of Rod the Mod Stewart.
6D: Bib moistener (DROOL) is unpleasant to contemplate. And now even 7D: Finishes (ENDS) looks like something it shouldn't.
And from sex the puzzle turns to violence. 16A: Throw to the canvas (BODYSLAM) is a legitimate wrestling move, but directly above 19A: Transversely (CROSSWAYS). If you bodyslam someone crossways, you could break their spine.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Let's look at some of the other entries.
12A: In the saddle (AHORSE) is somewhat unusual but not controversial -- unless, they mean horse as a nickname for heroin. And look right under there, 15A: Night Flight (REDEYE) we all know red eyes is something that happens when you smoke marijuana.
Sex, violence and drugs, oh my!
And isn't DRIP (34D: Tiresome person) a slang term for gonorrhea? How do we know that X in GRANDPRIX (38A: Endurance car race) is really silent? Every TIKI (41A: Carved Polynesian pendant) I've ever seen was naked.
Oh my, I feel faint. Thank goodness for 18A: Eeyore's creator (MILNE) and 49D: Magic word of comic books (SHAZAM). If you'll excuse me I'm going to go curl up with my stuffed Winnie the Pooh and a stack of Captain Marvel comics.