It's been a really great week for the NYT crossword puzzle, in my opinion. I've had a blast solving and blogging on them. Today's is no exception.
There are five grid-spanning 15-letter answers, and each of them works beautifully. We start with the ludicrous ICOULDEATAHORSE. I seem to recall on a trip to some town in England, my older brother announcing that he was so hungry he could eat an Anglican cathedral.
The next one, THEMUDVILLENINE is so evocative. I still remember the last lines of the poem:
Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.
I always loved this poem as a kid, especially with the shocker that he doesn't come through for the home team. As a Red Sox fan, this seemed all too familiar, and also support for the inevitable heartbreak that came at the end of every season up until 2004.
34A: Like popping bubble wrap, for many (ODDLYSATISFYING) is exactly that: an incredibly satisfying answer. I don't think I've ever seen it in the puzzle before. [Checks xwordinfo.com] - Nope, it's never been in the NYT crossword before, and I'm happy to see it here.
The last two are not quite at the same level, but still quite good. CARETOELABORATE is very much part of the vernacular, and DRIVEWAYMOMENTS applies more to me when I'm listening to, say, a piece by Ravel (Maurice, French-Basque composer, 1875-1937), such as his remarkable Le Tombeau de Couperin, a suite of pieces dedicated to friends who died in World War I. Just listen to the toccata (only in the piano version) - so brilliant.
Fun week. Tomorrow, Horace takes back over. I expect the discourse about Ravel to continue until Huygens gives in. 11:49.