We're gonna pull a real Fourth Wave feminist move this month, Dear Readers, and present our February 2013 cryptic review with a trigger warning.
S'right. So it's come to this.
That said, loved (LOVED!!) the theme: sentences. Each answer was a single word that could be broken up into a sentence unto itself, clued with a clever re-definition of the sentence. So like,
- a) Say bad things about toilets = DIS COMMODES
- b) This one is la trigger warning, so we'll save it for the end.
- c) Give Kelly a sensible funeral = INTER GENE RATIONAL
- d) Bump into a pop singer = HIT CHER
- e) Proscribe what's protecting the heads of Scotland = BAN TAMS
- f) Play this score in only one key = READ JUST IN G
- g) Put wealthy consumers in an office = ELECT RICH EATERS
- 6A) Bridge players last month, in two hands, are south (9)
(last month = DEC) + (two hands = L + R) + ARE + (south = S) = DECLARERS
"two hands" is "L" and "R" for "left" and "right"? Eugh! And we're sick of bridge in the puzzles. No more bridge in the puzzles. We don't like bridge. End of story.
- 17A) In Assembly, bloats produce division in Russia (6)
BLOATS * anagram = OBLAST
- 19A) Edited out Liberal leader? Indeed! (5)
(Liberal leader = L) * (in "deed") = DELED
- 28A) Hustles to make movie with reversal in the middle before big hits fail (9)
((movie = FILM) * reversal in the middle = FLIM) + (fail = F) * before + (big hits = LAMS) = FLIMFLAMS
- 1D) So terribly tired, exhausted initially, in bed with drunk (8)
SO + ((terribly tired, exhausted) * initially = T T E) + BED = BESOTTED
Surprisingly to us, temptation doesn't come at, say, parties, or New Year's Eve. Temptation comes in the daytime doldrums. And the devil on our shoulder isn't saying the expected lies, like, "it'd only be one widdle glass of wine ... " No, the devil has switched to the novel and more compelling tactic of telling truths, such as, "people get drunk all the time. All the time. Lots of people." You're right, devil!
Don't worry about us, though. We're holding rock steady :)
- 2D) Something that can be heard in three-part harmony! (6)
(three part harmony = A CHORD) * (heard = homophone) = ACCORD
- 11D) One liberal member, not quite total criminal (7)
(One = I) + (liberal = L) + (member = LEG) + (not quite total = AL) = ILLEGAL
By the way, Maltby, a reminder that any time you're looking for clues that poke ("poke") fun at male anatomy, we are here for you.
- 13D) One seabird biting the head off another! (3)
(One seabird = TERN) + (biting the head off = (-T)) = ERN
- 34A) Disease sorely needs curing with injection of a bit of penicillin (7)
(SORELY + (bit of penicillin = P)) * anagram = LEPROSY
- 39A) Tribe about to take clothes off outside made loud noises (9)
(Tribe = CREE) + (about = C) + ((take clothes off = SHED) * outside) = SCREECHED
- 4D) Category including a Lance Armstrong's leaders (4)
Category including a lance = ARMSTRONGS * leaders =ARMS
- 6D) Washington's packaging is showing some spine (4)
(Washington's = DC) packaging IS = DISC
- 7D) French sure to appear in the French TV comedy show (5)
(French sure = OUI) + (the French = LE) = LOUIE
"I know, it gets better."
"It doesn't get better—you get better."
And favorite favorite all time line: "His name is Sam, and he is a person." Boom kaboom, JR!
Also favorite: David Lynch as the old school producer helping Louie prepare for late night auditions. At first the joke is that DL is such a fuddy duddy (monologue shtick about Reagan, etc). But then it becomes clear that Louie is resisting very important lessons. He's stuck. He needs to humble himself to the advice of others.
Louie's all, "I gotta be true to myself! I gotta wear a shlubby black t-shirt on camera!" but that's just a mask. A mask for the fear.
Always, explore that which you resist, which is really that which you're afraid of. Living in the light? We invite you to look into the darkness. Born into the darkness? Maybe you gotta look into the light.
- 10D) Displayed in the old style, cut in two directions (5)
(cut = HEW) + (two directions = S[outh] + N[orth]) = SHEWN
- 16D) Upchucking cereal—that's the way (3)
(cereal = OAT) * anagram = TAO
We put down the book. We moved on with our lives. These are lessons we learned from Eyes Wide Shut. We don't care that you hated Eyes Wide Shut. That's just more Eyes Wide Shut for us.
- 20D) Fancy man, one prone to be more like some teens (8)
(Fancy man = PIMP) + (one prone = LIER) = PIMPLIER
- 28D) Whimsical comedienne (3)
- 35D) A writer like Church (4)
(like = AS) + (Church = CH) = ASCH
Yes! Bruce Campbell is this month's gratuitous Nerd Hot Guy! Last month was Sam Rockwell. Sam Rockwell Sam Rockwell. Yes, we watched Moon. Yes it was awesome. Yes you were right.
And, lastmost, this month's Tacky:
- b) Send a message to sexual predators = RADIO THE RAPISTS
Ok, but so looking at this clue, why radio the rapists? Why are they all together? What kind of message are they getting over the radio? It's weird, right?
And why does this clue rankle us, when we love the same joke in Arrested Development? Why does David Cross make it all better? Whence David Cross's powers, and how far will he take them?
This clue isn't really tacky. The pimp clue is maybe tackier, and it's not tacky. It's not as though this clue expresses, like, positive feelings about rapists.
Is it the case that any mention of rape amplifies rape culture? That's kinda what we're implying here on this blog. Yah, dunno.
Wait but no srsly, can we have a puzzle without racial slurs, uncomfortable sex puns, reference to nonconsensual sex, etc? There's a whole magical taboo world out there that's far less alienating than the same old taboos hammered away at month after month in this puzzle. Poverty. Mental illness. Obesity. Impending environmental collapse, economic stratification, and the average Harper's reader's passive complicity in perpetuating both. These are all kinda downer topics, yah, but so are rape and racism! So!
There are also pees and poos: totally taboo, totally juvenile, totally universal. Totally fit the bill! We invite Maltby to go there. G'head, Maltby. We're here waiting for you, dancing back and forth from one foot to the other. Doing the dance.
For those keeping up with the weird sweet smell in our apartment, we did a good thorough swab of the radiators with soap and bleach, and two rounds of "maximum strength" Drano in the kitchen sink washed down with a full bucket of hot soapy water.
Currently, the weird smell is kept at bay. This may be strictly correlative. More science may be needed.
We really love our current apartment. We love the location, we love the rent, we love the trike painted on the wall. We love it all. We tried getting the super up to smell it, but like Warner Brothers' Michigan J Frog, the smell was in absentia when he finally got here. And, like the bald guy in the cartoon, we can choose to accept the smell as our private nemesis and the battle as ours and ours alone, or we can choose madness.
We choose to stay and fight.