Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cruel Joke

Robert, am I supposed to post a spoiler alert here? Why would anyone read your blog who had not already finished the puzzle or did not otherwise want it "spoiled?" Whatever. Hear ye, hear ye, I'm givin' away answers, so get lost if that kind of thing bugs you.

I should probably say that your normal (sort of) host, Green Genius, is gone to ARUBA (66A: It's east of Colombia's northernmost point) or Jamaica or possibly South Carolina, and so I, Rex Parker, am taking over for today. And it's a perfect day for me to take over (he said, ironically) because of my great love of puns! Today's puzzle title:


So basically the puzzle is telling me it hates me from the get go.

So here's the set-up.

47A: With 23-Down, movie with a song about a great swami in delicate health who has toughened feet and chronic bad breath? (See 1-, 6-, 18-, 24-, 57-, and 65-Across)

The only thing I dislike more than elaborate puns is a puzzle that sends me all over hell and gone ("See this, see that") in order to make sense of the puzzle. I would call solving this puzzle a DANTEAN (40D: Like hell?) experience, only the adjective is DANTESQUE, damn it.

So I figured out right away that HALITOSIS would have to be part of the answer, but the only way I could get HALITOSIS to be a pun for anything movie-related was as part of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and that couldn't be right...

But of course it was right. Perhaps in my deep internal resistance to the very idea of this puzzle's conceit, I semi-misread the clue and thought the pun was on the title of the movie, not the movie song. So I floundered a bit, but it all came out alright in the end. The movie is of course MARY / POPPINS, and that pun?


First, I would have spelled CALLUSED with an "O" (as in CALLOUSED), so I learned something. Second, HEXED BY???? VEXED BY, maybe. HEXED BY is, in deed, "atrocious" (gotta give credit to the puzzle's title, though, as it ties in nicely, and subtly, with the theme answer)

Other stuff:

3D: Love of Thisbe (Pyramus) - they fall in love through a crack in the wall separating their properties. They try to run away together but things end very, very badly. Romeo and Juliet badly.

14A: Linguistic roots (etyma) - I have bad memories of this answer from the Stamford tournament. It HEXED / VEXED me on an early puzzle, as I recall.

60A: Mother's whistler? (tea kettle) - cute, but oddly gender-specific. Men drink tea (or otherwise heat water). I drank tea this morning.

2D: IUD part (uterine) - Hey, I'm eatin' breakfast here!

12D: Wax remover (ear pick) - Ugh, DITTO! (though nice doubling up of "wax" here and at 19D: Wax, so to speak (LPS))

1D: Helotry (serfdom) - weird experience - I knew that I knew what "helot" meant, but it wasn't coming to me, so I had to be patient. At first I think I was confusing it with "harlot," then "hoyden." Luckily, I was able to get the -DOM suffix, and then a cross or two later, the answer was obvious.

15A: Two-time achievement for the Chicago Bulls (three-peat) - I love this super-modern, in-the-language stuff. The Sun will go this route a lot more readily than the Times will. It's risky, but sometimes it pays off.

For Green Genius, I'm Rex Parker. Thanks for reading.


Linda G said...

I am so VERY glad that I didn't have to do and blog this one. It was meant for you, Rex.

BTW, there's a new comment in yesterday's post asking about some things that I don't get...can someone answer A.Y.'s questions?

Howard B said...

I think I had read that pun in a joke book somewhere, at some point in my de-formative years. Not enough to know it by heart, but enough for a helpful glint of recognition. Kind of in the same realm as the guru who denied himself Novocain because he wished to 'transcend dental medication'. I think that one's been fit into puzzles before, as well.

If I could only clean this stuff out of my head and replace it with some more useful stuff (auto repair skills, extended relatives' birthdays, where I left that receipt I need for a rebate, etc), I'd be much better off.

Matt M. said...

I, for one, couldn't wait for you (RP) to handle this puzzle. I thought you dealt with it very democratically given your love of all things punny!

For [National services] I had RE_TA___S and confidently put in RESTAREAS. Oops!

Oh, and I was the second anon. from yesterday. It's just easier to click that circle sometimes.