04.25.08 -- Fossil

Friday, April 25, 2008
Puzzle by Mike Nothnagel, edited by Will Shortz
Get out your Rosetta Stone, it's going to be a bumpy solve!
PENNYWISEAND (30A. With 36-Across, shortsighted); POUNDFOOLISH (36A. See 30-Across); along with THEBORNLOSER (7D. Long-running Art and Chip Sansom comic strip); and MAXWELLSMART (21D. Fictional secret agent) are the longer entries in this Friday fossil -- a tedious exercise in etymological archaeology.
OOLONGS (37D. Gunpowder alternatives) is the star relic in this dig -- I was thinking ammunition. ICEDTEAS (12D. Some are sweetened) has all the potential for being "deals". RACEME (18A. Simple inflorescence, as in a lily of the valley) could have been more simply clued, perhaps something to do with the Indianapolis 500? MATZO (25A. Food described in Exodus) really should be MANNA. ETTA (38A. Editorial cartoonist Hulme) is usually "James".
Other than “penny-wise and pound-foolish”, “The Born Loser” and the secret agent named “Smart”, the author of the puzzle has a fondness here for even more gradations of intelligence, e.g., EASYA (43A. Piece of cake in school); HIPTO (50A. In on); ONTARGET (17A. Accurate); APES (49D. Goons); SOTOSAY (8D. In a manner of speaking).
I am sure it’s my lack of total-knowledge-of-everything-in-the-universe that kept me from instantly recognizing such rarely-seen artifacts as KARA Sea (arm of the Arctic Ocean) (5D); ALEPH number (set theory concept) (26D.); LORAX (28A. Dr. Seuss book, with “The”); or the preposterously overdressed clue for LEOI (29A. He was succeeded by his archdeacon Hilarius), not hilarious at all! ZMED? I can honestly say I have never heard of, nor have I any idea how to pronounce this man's name, nor have I seen the referenced "T. J. Hooker" of the clue, where to access same, nor any idea what subject matter is involved! HERE!
CAROM (48A. Two strikes?) is but one of many clues so far-fetched that a question mark is required after the clue. Others are ESS (27A. Start to salivate?); GRIDIRON (56A. Rushing home?); ECG (6D. Thing that keeps track of the beat?: Abbr.); OUTSCORE (34D. Come home more often than?). Other clues that could use a question mark are those for GOTAFTER (33D. Urged persistently); BMOVIE (1D. No Oscar contender) or should that be BOMBS (20A. Zero-star movies); and half-a-dozen others -- take your pick!
Bones sticking up through the hardened lava at the outset of the solution are SONOF (24D. Sequel title starter), SOSA (24A. Future star athlete who debuted with the Rangers in 1989) and SASE (32D. Response facilitator: Abbr.) -- of course, each solver will have their own bone to pick with this puzzle. Did METEOR (41A Streaker with a tail) flash to mind for you? Or did you instantly recognize UMPIRE (40D. Masked official)? MUCHACHO (15A. Hombre-to-be) doesn’t help much either with the SOLVE (39A. Work out).
The remaining fragments strewn across the puzzle are clued as 1. Tournament organizer’s concern; 9. Cheerleaders’ doings; 16. Brings out; 19. Outlook; 22. “DER Kommissar” (1983 pop hit); 23. Much often follows it; 33. Disappear, in a way; 35. Run out; 40. She played Fantine in ‘”Les Misérables,” 1998; 45. Programming command; 46. "T. J. Hooker" actor Adrian; 47. Its logo is a goateed man in an apron; 51. Plug; 53. Landmark on the Chicago shoreline; 55. Fill up with gas; 58. Its dome was designed by Michelangelo.
Ruins running down are RUNINS (2. Encounters); 3. Is temporarily; 4. Raps; 9. Dinar earner; 10. Tissue material; 11. Need to get hitched: Abbr.; 13. Mountain, e.g.; 14. Inflammation reducer; 28. Dirty; 30. Iloilo’s island; 31. Helen Keller’s “The World ILIVE In”; 36. Views through a keyhole; 42. Trims; 44. It’s never right; 50. 1996-2001 House Judiciary Committee chairman; 52. Irene’s Roman counterpart; 54. Kind of lounge.
In this puzzle pit, TREXES (57A. Some natural history museum attractions) are afoot! ...and with that I'll ZIPIT (“Shut your pie hole!”)?!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

too harrrrrrd...