crossword 5-6 mins
meta a few minutes
Hi folks, Dave/evaD here filling in for a computer-less joon for your week 2 of 5’s Matt Gaffney’s weekly crossword contest. This week the puzzle is called “We’re An American Band” and we are asked for an article of clothing.
So, a pretty clear set of five theme entries: they’re your longest entries and all have some US geographic reference in their clues:
- [Lithuanian delicacy (Sullivan (!), Orange, and Ulster Counties, New York)] was COLD BORSCHT – isn’t all borscht cold? No immediate connection between the counties and the entry for me on this one.
- [Summer solstice phenomenon, above the Arctic Circle (California to North Carolina)] was MIDNIGHT SUN – Finland seems to claim sole ownership of the Land of the Midnight Sun moniker, but I guess it applies to any country with land above the Arctic Circle. Speaking of which, I just finished reading Hampton Sides’ excellent In the Kingdom of Ice–a must-read for those interested in late 19th century polar explorations. Back to the puzzle, again I didn’t see an immediate connection between this entry and the large swath of land encompassed between California and NC.
- [Barbara Kingsolver’s most famous novel, with “The” (Texas to Virginia)] was POISONWOOD BIBLE – “most famous” is a hard claim to defend–I think her earlier work (The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven) was more widely read and brought her her initial popularity. I read her most recent book, Flight Behavior, about the plight of Monarch butterflies and was disappointed. TPB, though, does feature a young girl who reads things backwards, so it has that gniog rof ti. This was the first entry that gave me a glimmer of hope on the meta, connecting the end of this entry (BIBLE) with the southern US, traditionally known as the “bible belt.” (In fact, our friends in Raleigh, NC, are said to live in the “buckle of the bible belt.”)
- [Orville Redenbacher’s product (eastern Nebraska to western Ohio)] was POPPING CORN – hmmm, it’s just popcorn without the -ping here.
- [German 18-year-old who landed a Cessna in Red Square, 5/28/1987 (northern Illinois to central New York)] was MATHIAS RUST – no recollection of this event, but he seems rather young to be flying internationally. Hope he didn’t pass over Ukraine on the way there.
So, by now, I had made the connection between the ends of these entries as words that can all precede BELT, although the Borscht Belt was new to me. Other quick items of note–I tried to fit POMPOMS in at 1-across, thinking golf caps featured them more often than VISORS, but of course that was long ago. Just saw a local production of “INTO the Woods” last night and was aware a movie version is due out–Johnny Depp is the wolf, I hear. Nice shout-out to Tony ORBACH of crossword fame, whose father is an acclaimed B’way and TV actor. Finally, I was surprised to see BALDS as a verb, is it also what happens to a tennis ball after playing with it for a long time?