Author: David Quarfoot
I smiled when I saw that today's puzzle was by David Quarfoot, because I knew it would be filled with tough and interesting words and phrases. And it was. In fact, I really struggled in spots, especially the NW. Let's get right to it.
- 1a: Certain pet's refrain (CH-CH-CH-CHIA). Wow. This is the kind of entry that a lot of people are going to either love or hate. I'm torn -- I love the audacity of it, but I can't say I enjoyed trying to figure it out. It's genius. It's nasty. It's geniasty!
- 11a: Hunting field (MATH). Is this a reference to "Good Will Hunting", or is there another Hunting we should know about?
- 15a: Song in a 1953 movie musical (HI LILI HI LO). From the movie "Lili", which I've never seen.
- 17a: Spinner in the wind (ANEMOMETER). The third, and possibly easiest, brick in the NW wall. Speaking of bricks and walls, I just got back from the Australian Pink Floyd performance of The Wall. We had third row seats, and it was awesome. I think the kick drum was wired to my ribcage -- amazing subwoofer action on there. They encored with "Shine On (You Crazy Diamond)", "The Great Gig in the Sky", "Wish You Were Here", "On the Run", and "Brain Damage/Eclipse". If you're a Pink Floyd fan at all, you owe it to yourself to see these guys. Trust me.
- 19a: Broadway closing? (ITE). Broadwayite? That's a word? Learn something new every day.
- 20a: Masters piece (POEM). Edgar Lee Masters. This is one of several name-disguise clues. 53a: Price piece (ARIA) and 55a: Stern article (EINE) are others.
- 21a: Litters (BROODS). Excellent.
- 23a: He bought Vogue in 1909 (NAST). There's a building named after him, you know.
- 25a: Neigh sayer of '60s TV? (MR ED). Thank God for the gimmes.
- 30a: Leagues, e.g. (UNITS). As in 20,000 leagues under the sea.
- 33a: Byrd Stadium athlete (TERP). Somehow I sensed this answer. Maybe I knew it subconsciously. Anyway, it refers to the University of Maryland Terrapins, or Terps for short. A terrapin is a turtle, if you didn't know.
- 35a: '00s CBS sitcom (YES, DEAR).
- 37a: Gordon of "Oklahoma!" (MACRAE). Not my sweet spot.
- 40a: Hang out (AIR DRY). Very nice.
- 41a: Lies (CANARDS). Great word.
- 43a: The Three Blind Mice were his henchmen (DR NO). Great twist on this common James Bond villain.
- 44a: Mendes of "Ghost Rider" (EVA).
- 45a: Word game similar to Mastermind (JOTTO). I went with LINGO first, which didn't help me any.
- 51a: One-fifth of trentacinque (SETTE). I figured trentecinque was 35, so I knew the answer was seven, but that didn't help me much.
- 61a: Fast partner (HARD). The funny thing is, I went with EASY here first.
- 62a: Words by an arrow (YOU ARE HERE). Nice clue and fill anchoring a great SE section, though this answer was my first instinct.
- 66a: Gollum line from "The Two Towers" that was the only 21st-century quote on AFI's 2005 list of 100 movie quotes from 100 years (MY PRECIOUS). Beautiful, but super easy.
- 68a: Diagnosis from a polysomnogram (SLEEP APNEA). It's not hard to see why this section fell quickly.
- 2d: Intimate (HINT AT). The verb, not the adjective or the noun.
- 3d: Screenwriter of "A Fish Called Wanda" (John CLEESE).
- 4d: "It Must Be ___" (1967 hit) (HIM). I guessed YOU first.
- 5d: Racetrack sound (CLOP). Yeah, okay.
- 6d: Waver's phrase (HI MOM).
- 7d: Buoy (CHEER UP).
- 8d: Their job is icing (HITMEN).
- 10d: Choice letters (A OR B). Another gimme.
- 11d: Surveyor Charles (MASON). Of the Mason-Dixon line.
- 12d: Waylaid (ACCOSTED).
- 13d: Possible result of economic sanctions (TRADE WAR).
- 14d: What a philogynist might study (HERSTORY). Cute.
- 22d: Italian composer born on leap day in 1792 (ROSSINI). The trivia didn't help much, but as Italian composers go, he's one of the biggies.
- 24d: Bright school member (TETRA). Tropical fish.
- 26d: Crafty initialism (DIY). Do it yourself.
- 29d: Star's transport, perhaps (LEAR JET). Pink Floyd tie-in: "I'm in the high-fidelity first class travelling set and I think I need a Lear Jet". From "Money".
- 37d: Subject of an art museum in The Hague (M.C. ESCHER).
- 38d: Valedictorian's pride (A AVERAGE).
- 39d: Accidental in the key of D (C NATURAL). Tricky clue, but accurate. The key of D has a C-sharp and an F-sharp, so in order to play a C or F natural, you have to include the "natural" symbol. These symbols on notes, sharps, flats, and naturals, are called accidentals.
- 42d: Levi's ___-Prest pants (STA).
- 43d: Question a chicken might answer "no" to (DO I DARE). Do chickens ask themselves questions a lot?
- 48d: Commit a football infraction (PILE ON). I don't recall seeing this infraction since I was a kid. Does it still happen?
- 50d: Democrat nominee wife after Tipper (TERESA Hines Kerry).
- 52d: Last story in J.D. Salinger's "Nine Stories" (TEDDY). No idea. Maybe it's a story about lingerie.
- 54d: Spot market figure? (AD REP). Advertising spot.
- 57d: Jazz singer Sylvia (SYMS).
- 59d: Laguna ___ (California raceway) (SECA). Never heard of it.
- 63d: "Thimble Theatre" surname (OYL). This is the comic in which Popeye first appeared. Tough trivia.
This was a true Weekend Warrior for me. Actually, the SE fell quickly, and the NE wasn't far behind. Then things came to a grinding halt as I slowly chipped away at the remaining sections. But that's what I expect from a WW, and especially one by DQ. I think I liked it, but I'm glad it's over.
Speaking of over, the Red Sox overcame a 7-0 deficit in the 7th inning to win 8-7 and avoid elimination. They make me smile, even as they torture my soul.
Kind of like a Quarfoot puzzle. :)
Thanks for listening. I'm going to bed.
- Pete M.