May 16, 2007

Thursday, 5/17

Continuing the Norwegian theme of this year's ACPT, Norwegians celebrate their Constitution Day, Syttende mai (May 17th) today.

Join the celebration and try to order this typical Norwegian meal at your local diner: lutefisk, rutabaga, meatballs, cranberries, & lefse. (One would think in a land with so much snow, a celebratory meal might have a bit more color to it!)

But you came here for some smack about the puzzles, didn't you...

NY Times, Alan Arbesfeld

Alan had this Tuesday's NY Sun puzzle, "Eye-Catching," where an I was added to both words of two-word phrases (expertly blogged by Barry here).

Today, Alan offers us a rebus puzzle, inspired by the theme entry BOXED SET. (Thursdays at the Times are known as days when "anything can happen," so we were prepared, weren't we?) The four long phrases with SET "boxed" in one square in them are:

SIAME[SET]WINS - [Ones with a family connection?]
HOR[SET]RADERS - [Shrewd bargainers]
LO[SET]RACKOF - [Fail to keep tabs on]
CUR[SET]HEDAY - [Be very, very sorry]

I'm always interested to hear in rebus puzzles, how long it took to figure out it was one, and which entry finally gave it away. For me, I had -SIN for [Takes root] and knew more than one letter had to go into that empty box. It was later when I had BA-EN for [Decimal] in the middle, that I figured out the rebus was SET. (Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I had RA-EN first, with SPAR for [Bayonet] instead of STAB, thinking of the noun and not the verb, but I quickly recovered.)

Other great clues/entries:

  • [Single, for one: Abbr.] - SYNonym (This puzzle also had TYPO as an entry, which is often clued in a similar way--[Toys for tots] is my favorite, particularly, as someone much smarter than me pointed out, the Y and T are next to each other on the keyboard, making it a likely TYPO someone would make!)

  • FAL[SET]TO as [Much higher than normal]...tough to get with that rebus in there!
  • THE ROSE as [1980 Bette Midler hit] - a great movie, but a title song that got way too much airplay.
  • Alan and Will send a shout-out to Scandinavia on Norway's Constitution Day, with LAPP over OSLO.
  • And finally, a hoorah! for HETERO, clued as [Straight]--as Orange would say, "This ain't your father's Oldsmobile anymore..."

NY Sun, "Themeless Thursday," Karen M. Tracey

I think I finally have Karen Tracey's M.O.--she finds an interesting name (lots of "scrabbly" letters are a must), checks if it's fifteen characters long, and builds a themeless puzzle around it.
A couple of weeks ago, the Belgian jazz guitarist, DJANGO REINHARDT (be sure to try the "Listen Now" link if you're not at work), caught her eye. And today, we are treated to the "modern-day master of suspense," M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN. I learned from this, that the M. stands for Manoj, and his real middle name is Nelliyattu. (I prefer it to "Night," myself...I wonder if he thinks someone is asking him to wear a teddy if he hears "Nighty Night"?)

But our friend M. Night is just the start of great things happening in Karen's puzzle.
We have Barbara Billingsley's forte in the 1980 (sheesh, is it almost 30 years ago?) release of "Airplane," JIVE TALK, opposite [Tina Fey's style],
GEEK CHIC. And slap down the middle, we have "The Boy from Oz," three-time Tony Awards host, HUGH JACKMAN. A dear, dear friend of mine refers to him as "Huge Ass-Man," but I can't see it...)

The celebrity parade continues with (Ed) ASNER, SANDRA (Bullock), AVA (Gardner, these days masquerading as blogster "Linda G"),
(Armand) ASSANTE, HANA (Mandikova), ALEC (Guinness), (Édouard) MANET, and screenwriter ERNEST (Lehman). By my count, 10 of the 70 clues refer to people's names. That's a lot for my taste--I know Orange would be agog with all these celebrities, but hey, I'm in charge around here tonight!

Not all the celebrities in this puzzle are real people. For one, we have the other 15-letter entry, CALVIN AND HOBBES.
(When I first read the clue, I picked out the phrase "Mutant Killers," and wondered which "duo" of Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael or Donatello would fit.) And then there is Mr. Tumnus, the FAUN from "The Chronicles of Narnia."

Some unusual entries too:
  • QUEEG, the captain from 1954's "The Caine Mutiny"
  • ACHTUNG, clued from the U2 album "Achtung Baby"
  • RHUBARB as slang for [Row] and not the pie filling
  • CANASTA as [Basket rummy], the name of which comes from the Spanish for "basket," or the tray the cards are held in
  • QUICKSILVER, a synonym of mercury. (To say someone is "mercurial" is to say they are fickle or erratic in nature.)
  • And continuing our Scandinavian theme today, the city of MALMO, Sweden, third largest in the country, and home to the tallest building in Sweden, The Turning Torso (maybe the name doesn't translate well into English?)
  • My favorite clue [Con, across the Pyrenees], as AVEC, playing on the Spanish and French translations of our word "with."

And I hope by now,
Gentle Solver, no one fell for that old chestnut, [Lab coat ruiner], which was MANGE.

Many thanks for hanging with us guest bloggers. I'm sure I speak for all of us in our appreciation of your comments and a newly found appreciation of how much work goes into maintaining this blog.