Author: Kelsey Blakley
Theme: Every entry in the puzzle alternates vowels and consonants. As such, there are no special "theme" entries, per se. But the long, marquee fills are as follows:
- 17a: Oscar-nominated song from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (A LOVE BEFORE TIME).
- 40a: 2001 Wimbledon champ (GORAN IVANISEVIC).
- 63a: Too fanciful (OVERIMAGINATIVE).
- 68a: What every other letter of every answer in this puzzle is (VOWEL).
This theme is a two-edged sword. On the plus side, every entry in the puzzle is a theme entry. On the minus side, it's only mildly interesting and not at all exciting or amusing. But, even a dull theme can be saved by sparkling fill, so let's see what we've got here.
- 44a: Sound of a mosquito meeting its Maker? (ZAP). Love the word; love the clue; love the fact that Maker is capitalized.
- 45a: Pia of "Butterfly" (ZADORA). This gets props on two fronts. Firstly, it's usually the other way around - Zadora as a clue for PIA. Secondly, I just this weekend watched the MST3K version of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", which featured Pia as a young Martian girl. Coincidence? You decide.
- 53a: "The Slim Shady LP" rapper (EMINEM).
- 18d: Small enough to be eaten whole (BITE-SIZE). There are a lot things I consider bite-size that probably aren't intended to be.
- 32d: Barry Goldwater, e.g. (ARIZONAN). I'm going to pretend this is a printed correction from yesterday's puzzle.
- 34d: Hot chilies (HABANEROS). Habaneros are hot hot hot! For a killer sauce, try Dave's Insanity or Spontaneous Combustion.
- 47d: Rainy season waterway (WADI). Wadi is a cool word, no question.
- 60d: New Zealander, informally (KIWI). So's Kiwi. Gotta love the natural words that end in I.
First, let's get the boring brand names out of the way:
- 1a: MDX car make (ACURA).
- 50a: Brand of microwave (AMANA).
- 52d: Final Oldsmobile ever made (ALERO).
Let's face it, we see these enough exactly because of their vowel pattern. Their inclusion doesn't help spice things up. Let's check out the rest.
- 14a: Drug addict (DOPER). Hmm. I would say that drug addicts are dopers, but not all dopers are necessarily drug addicts. A "perhaps" would ease this discrepancy.
- 21a: Yaphet's role in "Raid on Entebbe" (IDI Amin). Deducible, even if you've never seen it. I personally prefer Forest Whitaker's portrayal to Yaphet Kotto's.
- 22a: Region of Spain (ARAGON). Well, I know Catherine of Aragon, so I'm guessing this must be the place.
- 23a: Statue of Liberty film (PATINA). Never heard of it, but it makes sense.
- 26a: #1 Heart hit of 1987 (ALONE). Good song. Here's another cool version by American Idol contestant Ramiele Malubay.
- 30a: Nickelodeon title character (REN). Of "Ren and Stimpy" fame.
- 33a: Popular potatoes (IDAHOS).
- 35a: Boolean logic gate (NOR). As mathy clues go, this one wasn't that exciting.
- 36a: Showy (GALA). Cool to see this as an adjective for a change, as in a gala affair.
- 46a: Flabbergasts (AWES). Awes is kind of boring; flabbergasts is a cool word.
- 49a: Pile of dead presidents (WAD). This is one of the most distasteful euphemisms for money I can think of.
- 56a: Seat of Ohio's Lucas County (TOLEDO). That's a yawner. "Holy place?" would be much cooler.
- 66a: Peter Ustinov's role in "Quo Vadis" (NERO). Didn't know it, but not hard to figure.
- 67a: Put down (ALIT). Nice use of put down to mean land.
- 69a: The libido, in psychiatry (EROS).
- 2d: Destroyer attacked on October 12, 2000 (COLE).
- 3d: "Once ___ a Mattress" (UPON). I think my high school performed this back in the 70s. Go ahead, do the math.
- 4d: Enliven (REV UP).
- 5d: Is for more than one? (ARE).
- 6d: Immobilized by a winter storm, perhaps (ICED IN). There's something ironic about this when it's 95 degrees and stiflingly humid.
- 9d: Medicinal fluids (SERA). It's medicinal fluids that's a God's name backwards.
- 10d: Listed (CATALOGED). I tend to spell it with a U, but they're both acceptable.
- 12d: Slot machine symbol (LEMON).
- 24d: Boy's name that's a girl's name backward (ARON).
- 25d: In a trice (ANON). Soon.
- 27d: Prefix meaning "billion" (GIGA). In these days of computers, you should know this one right off.
- 48d: Countable (FINITE). There's actually such a thing as "countable infinity", but we'll leave that discussion for another time.
- 51d: People ___ (airport conveyance) (MOVER).
- 54d: Amway Arena team (MAGIC). The Orlando Magic, of the NBA.
- 55d: Take to the road (MOTOR).
- 64d: "Da ___ G Show" (ALI). I've suffered through this one in puzzles before.
Suns of Bitches:
- 6a: Daughter of Nut (ISIS). I'm not that up on my Egyptian mythology; I figured it has to be IRIS or ISIS, and I guessed correctly.
- 10a: City on the Cauca River (CALI). Not a clue. Was only vaguely confident that I had a real city name when I completed the crossings.
- 1d: "___ Bede" (George Eliot novel) (ADAM). I know "Middlemarch" and "Silas Marner"; not this one.
- 7d: 2005 Australian Open winner Marat (SAFIN). C'mon, you've already included GORAN IVANISEVIC. That's enough tennis names for one puzzle.
- 13d: One of the Horae (IRENE).
- 19d: Martin of the Nashville Predators (ERAT). The Nashville who? You're joking, right?
- 29d: ___ King (character on "The Avengers") (TARA). I at least feel like I should know this one, but I didn't.
- 65d: Former capital of Burma (AVA). It was the capital from 1364 - 1841, according to Wikipedia. Nice Friday clue. Oh wait, it's Tuesday.
So, what's the final verdict? Well, there were a few cool clues and entries, but much more that I found dry and lifeless. Overvall, I give this one a whole-hearted "eh".
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.