It's only been a couple of weeks since Natan Last's amazing trigonometry puzzle appeared in the New York Times. Today he serves up a themeless puzzle that's chock full of one of my favorite things.
20A: Convict (bring to justice). If you put the accent on the first syllable, as I initially did, you probably had a tough time coming up with a plausible answer.
32A: Has as a foundation (rests on).
50A: "She's gonna blow!" (run for it).
6D: Snapped (lost one's cool).
7D: Ecstatic (on top of the world).
11D: A jiffy (no time).
21D: Quality that's hard to express (je ne sais quoi). It's one of my favorite French expressions...right up there with "joi de vivre."
33D: 1979 film with sequels II to VI (Star Trek).
36D: Popular dish in an Asian cuisine (Pad Thai).
Some very clever cluing, as well...8A: Tree (corner), 14A: Spinners, for short (DJs)...not LPs or CDs, 22A: Meter readers? (poets), 31A: Italian mine (mio), 46A: Seemingly silent types (ventriloquists), 8D: Option for wings (Cajun), 13D: Least spotted (rarest) and 22D: Event for a king and queen (prom).
I thought this might be a pangram. Unless I'm missing something, though,there's no X or Y. But there are plenty of Scrabbly letters.
The best word in the grid...hands down.. is 2D: Neighbor of Somalia (Djibouti). The combination of letters can't be beat. I was sure I had something wrong when I ended up with DJ as the first two letters...before I'd read the clue.
Other great answers:
17A: Having the most pizazz (zippiest), sharing its Z with 1D: Hoelike cutting tool (adz)...a crossword staple. It will behoove you to remember it.
19A: Cap and bells wearer (jester).
36A: Easter-related (Paschal).
38A: Norm of "This Old House" (Abram).
41A: Coup d' __ (survey made with a glance) (oeil).
3D: Brewed drink (espresso). Not my favorite, but I'm a sucker for lattes. I get them with vanilla soy milk and a sprinkling of raw sugar...delicious. Don and I could probably retire now if it weren't for my expensive coffee habit. I don't even want to know how much we paid to coffee shops last year.
26D: Father of Harmonia (Ares).
34D: Prophet of Thebes, struck blind by Athena when he accidentally saw her bathing (Tiresias).
39D: Zyzzyva, e.g. (beetle). Okay, so the clue is the better word...and I'm pretty sure it appeared in a puzzle in the last year or so. Maybe fellow blogger Jim will check it out and let us know. For those of you who have long wondered, here's what a zyzzyva looks like. For those of you who forgot (again!) what a zyzzyva was, you probably weren't alone.
40D: Malignity (rancor). Again, the clue is a crossword-worthy word. Not to say that the answer isn't.
42D: Protein-rich paste (miso). I used it in a soup several years ago...a very simple soup with some greens and tofu. Delicious.
Things I didn't know and got from crosses:
4A: Hershey brand (Rolo). I know the name but didn't know they were a Hershey candy. My favorite Hershey candy is Special Dark anything.
15A: Southern university whose campus is a botanical garden (Elon). I think I've seen this before but didn't remember it.
33A: "Rugrats" dad (Stu). My girls weren't Rugrats fans...and that was just fine. There were plenty of movies that were watched ad nauseum for a long, long time.
52A: Ferris Bueller's girlfriend (Sloane). Too long ago. I'm happy to remember his name.
54A: Where the utricle is (ear). It was either that or eye...not hard to figure out which.
57A: The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. (KSU). I've gotten better with the names of professional teams, but I can't keep up with all of the college teams. If everyone had only one sport...maybe. But with basketball, football, baseball and hockey...it's too much to expect. I now know they're basketball...just Googled them.
5D: Two-time figure-skating Olympic gold medalist Protopopov (Oleg). I only had the E and thought it might be Alex or Alec.
18D: British P.M. when the U.S. Constitution was signed (Pitt). Very Saturday cluing.
27D: Former Giant Robb __ (Nen). If they hadn't put the blank in the clue, I wouldn't have known if it was Robb Nen or Nen Robb.
47D: Oscar-winning French film director __ Clément (René). That's what I had guessed, and it panned out.
51D: Robert Morse Tony-winning role (Tru).
It's time to wrap this up. We're gathering at church in a couple hours to make twelve pans of lasagne to put in the freezer. If someone needs a meal because of illness or death in the family and no one can do it on short notice, we'll be ready. The bad news is I don't get to stay home all day. Because it's only a mile and a half, I can get there and back without driving. So it will still be a no-drive day...and I'll get in some much-needed exercise.
Enjoy your day. Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.