Apparently, Maltby Jr. and cohort have heard our cries.
This one took some time to crack! We were distracted by our web series BLOGJOB (tagline: "Giving blogjobs is a terrible way to make a living") (coming Fall 2012 to YourTube!). We were distracted by the business of life. No more distractions.
This was an excellent, straightforward offering, and maddeningly clean. Still, we review. Yes still.
Variety this month! Six unclued entries that yielded sweet homophones mostly inferred from the fill. Loved every single one:
- a) Queen Elizabeth's staff? = palace aids = PALISADES
- b) Subsidies in the Corn Belt? = farm assists = PHARMICISTS
- c) Waterway, home of killer whales? = orca's straight = ORCHESTRATE
Tried a couple SEA WORLD and SHAMU variants, but wrote down ORCA early. First thought (best thought).
- d) Hold auditions for emcees? = seek hosts = SEACOASTS
Reminded me of Sam Amidon's character "Ryan Seek Rest."
- e) Setting for play about Milk? = drama dairy = DROMEDARY
Dromedary! In contrast to Bactrian.
- f) What Octomom must do with child seats? = fasten eight = FASCINATE
Referencing "Octomom" ... a little tacky? A little? Maybe? Hm. Maybe we did too many Maleska NYTimes puzzles at the start of our puzzling career.
- 15A) Isopropyl? Hmm! That's odd. Must be appearing in different forms (12)
(ISOPROPYL + HMM) * anagram = POLYMORPHISM
So pretty. So so pretty.
- 37A) Not that Olympic skater! (4)
(Not that = OH NO) = OHNO
As in Apollo Anton. More modern references! Tried to force HENI for several rounds (as in Sonja). (Googles ... ) Ok it's actually HENIE. Moving on!
- 2D) Bit of hickory or round piece of any kind of wood English used to make clock (8)
(Bit of hickory = H) + OR + (round = O) + (piece of any kind of wood = LOG) + (English = E) = HOROLOGE
The instructions called out this clue as particularly obscure. But it was so paint-by-numbers that it was one of the first ones we nailed.
- 8) Something irrational a right-winger sent around—is this what shaped Bush? (7)
(Something irrational = PI) + A + (right-winger = TORY) * sent around = TOPIARY
Topiary! First learned about this from, we wanna say, either Highlights or Ranger Rick. Or maybe one of the Boxcar Children books. Classic.
- 17D) Computer geek's term for anything not quite enough for sustenance (3)
(sustenance = FOOD) * (not quite enough) = FOO
Foo! Wouldn't know about foo (and fiz and faz) but for our long collusion with masters of the deep computer arts. Surprised to see it here.
- 21D) Good luck adding docks—creates backwater area (4)
BOON + DOCKS = BOONDOCKS = backwater area. Thus: BOON
Shout out to Boondocks and Aaron McGruder. And shout out to my all time favorite Boondocks comic below:
- 32D) Remove half of what you're wearing? It contributes to bad blood (4)
(what you're wearing = CLOTHING) - half = CLOT
Lovely. Also, as the whispered voice says in Aladdin when Rajah jumps on Aladdin at Jasmine's balcony, take off your clothes!
- 35D) Female running wild gets money for speaking (3)
((money) * (for speaking = homophone) = dough) = DOE
Related: Bambi's Aunt Ena is a frequent cameo in the NYTimes crossword. Pro-tip for crossover readers.
- 11A) They are charged for decapitating animals (4)
(animals = LIONS) + decapitating = IONS
We hate the guessagrams. That's what we're calling them now. Too lossy. We want an injective map directly from clue to fill: one-to-one correspondance. animals ⊃ lions but animals ≠ lions.
16D) Briar patch, initially providing lining for cobbler (4)
(patch initially = P) + (cobbler = PIE) * (lining = anagram) = PIPE
A "Briar" is a kind of pipe? Never heard of it. And we read a lot of Sherlock Holmes growing up. A lot.
31D) Old people from northern California love to support mop-up (4)
[(love = O) + (MOP)] * up = POMO
The Pomo are a tribe from northern California. We're calling this a lowlight for missing the opportunity to say anything interesting about post-modernism.
That's all for now this month, readers! Hopefully next month will be a tacky return to form, and we can tee 'em high and let fly.