Good morning to everybody out there in Crossword World, this is your friendly neighborhood Green Genius Robert Loy, reporting for my penultimate stint behind the wheel at "Madness. . . " Please forgive my bedraggled appearance. We were up late last night cheering the Red Sox on to victory and booing and hissing the Yankees on to defeat.
After taking a thorough spanking on the Friday puzzle, I was wary of the Saturday, especially when I saw it was from Brendan Emmett Quigley and David Quarfoot, two constructors that I like a lot but have been known to give me trouble. I was afraid the Killer Q's were going to make me walk the plank, but it turned out to be more like a warm, refreshing cup of cocoa.
(Yeah, I know that's a crappy metaphor, I just wanted an excuse to run this picture from one of my favorite photo blogs Bent Objects.)
On to the puzzle, which was AWASH IN (24D: Totally covered by) the kind of unusual answers that require some mental flexibility to solve, stuff like
8A: Material for drainage lines (PVC PIPE)
39D: "Who'da thunk it?!" (IS THAT SO?) Which seems a tad more formal than the colloquial "thunk" clue. "Izzat so?" might be a closer synonym.
38D: Rallying slogans (WAR CRIES)
40D: Paper that calls itself "America's Finest News Source" (THE ONION) 20A: Bond type whose first purchaser was F.D.R. (SERIES E)
31A: May day events, perhaps (FINALS)
Not to mention the kind of clues that, while playing perfectly fair, do delightfully mislead. I confess I had DAFFY at 51D: Friend of Porky instead of DARLA, having turned at Looney Tunes instead of Little Rascals. And I had WALKS at 30A: Pitch problems right up until I had the entire crossing word 30D: Black, say filled in as WURNT and it occurred to my baseball-besotted brain that would make more sense as BURNT, which would makes WALKS BALKS, another kind of "pitch" problem. (Although, it should be noted that WURNT seems to fit the clue for 42D: Dialectal contraction better than the correct YILL. What is "yi'll" anyway? I must be missing something here.)
I forget who said it, but 50A: Reunion gatherers was proof again that your first impression is usually right on Monday, wrong on Saturday. I had ALUM instead of CLAN. But I've done so many crosswords that my thoughts on hearing a "foot" clue like 21D immediately go to the poetic rather the podiatric, so IAMB didn't slow me down a bit.
I was taken just a bit aback by 37A: "Oh, I give up!" cuz I just didn't think SCREW IT would pass the breakfast table test. My favorite entry is probbaly 13D: It's far from a metropolis just because PODUNK is so much fun to say.
Looking back over this puzzle, the only entries in the grid I'm not familiar with are the two musical entries. I've never heard either ESO BESO (63A: 1962 hit with the lyric "Like the samba sound, my heart begins to pound") or "The East IS RED" (6D: . . .1960's Chinese anthem.) But since the latter sounds catchier than the former, here are the lyrics to that golden oldie "The East is Red":
- The east is red, the sun is rising.
- China has brought forth a Mao Zedong.
- He amasses fortune for the people,
- Hurrah, he is the people's great savior.
- Chairman Mao loves the people,
- He is our guide,
- To build a new China,
- Hurrah, he leads us forward!
- The Communist Party is like the sun,
- Wherever it shines, it is bright.
- Wherever there is a Communist Party,
- Hurrah, there the people are liberated!