Yes, I know, I know, you're a Mac, I'm a PC, but seeing VISTA BOMBS across the fourth row just isn't funny, ok? Mike Nothnagel strikes again with yet another Friday puzzle (answers) and as usual, it's a good one but since he's dissing my SYS I'm going to nitpick.
First of all, Mr. Smart, a B MOVIE may well contend for an Oscar and sometimes even win. In the so-called studio era when stars were under contract to a specific production company, there were always a few movies that would get most of the resources. The rest of the schedule was filled with cheaper, quickly-made films and those were called B Movies. Casablanca was a B Movie and it won a best picture Oscar for the Brothers Warner. You may have heard of it.
Let's see what else I can whine about, muchacho. Unfortunately, not much. It's a good puzzle. Damn.
"Masked official" is a great clue for UMPIRE and it's right next to "streaker with a tail" for METEOR. ALEPH number is a rather sophisticated concept for a crossword. I used to, as a party trick, prove on the back of a napkin that there were different cardinalities of infinity. This is a true story. It also explains why I never get invited back to parties. I loved the "goateed man in an apron" as a way to describe The Finger-Lickin' Colonel too.
Speaking of bygone English currency, and as we used to say back at the SPCA, take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves. Lewis Carroll turned that questionable economic adage into this questionable advice for writers: take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves. Words to live by, if I could figure out what any of them meant.
So many great clues. And by the way, Vista really is cool. Mr. Nothnagel, I'll send you a free copy and you can try it for yourself.
Update: In response to several email queries, yes I would certainly consider "start to salivate" a quarfy clue for ESS.