(post updated at 11:30am Friday)
Numbers that big at the top of this blog can mean only one thing! Hi, everyone. PuzzleGirl here to talk you through today's puzzles. I was a little nervous about taking on a Friday because I'm not always able to finish the late-week puzzles, but how could I say no to hanging out with you guys again when we had so much fun last time? So let's get to it, shall we?
Not too many items on my list of awesome things rank higher than a Friday Nothnagel puzzle. Thank you, New York Times, for making my day. I had to set this puzzle aside twice, but finally cracked it on the third try. I'm nothing if not persistent.
Here's what tripped me up:
Excellent question-marky clues include:
My Three Gimmes:
With ENAMELS [Gives a glossy coat to] at 1A and E-FILE [Submit taxes with a click] at 1D giving me the first letter (which is all I needed) of IWO JIMA MEMORIAL, I thought Barry C. Silk's New York Sun puzzle was going to be a piece of cake. But, as is so often the case, I was wrong. The rest of the puzzle was quite a bit trickier.
Here's what I learned:
Patrick Jordan's CrosSynergy puzzle, "First Aids," features phrases that start with a word meaning something helpful. ["Neutron Dance" singers] are POINTER SISTERS, [Tiny fraction] is TIP OF THE ICEBERG, and [Cause a catastrophe] is LEAD TO DISASTER. Am I the only one who initially thought this puzzle's theme was … pencils?
For me, this puzzle brought back a lot of fond memories. [Autos taken from defaulters] reminded me of "REPO Man" -- awesome flick. I recall I spent many hours playing the [Pioneering video game] PONG at our local racquet club as a kid. Around that same time, I also watched many episodes of "Hogan's Heroes," featuring Werner Klemperer as the bumbling COL. Klink. And the top ASCOT-wearer on my list is, and always will be, Fred from Scooby-Doo. As for more recent associations, we've had TIVO for seven years, but just gave it up for the Verizon-issued set-top box with DVR, which makes me very nervous. And the clue for IDIOT, of course, brings to mind my favorite [Dunderhead], Regional Manager Michael Scott of Dunder-Mifflin.
Randolph Ross's Wall Street Journal puzzle, "Hair Lines," takes familiar phrases and, with just a few simple folds, magically transforms them into something related to a hair salon.
Bonus fill includes L'OREAL [Maker of Vive shampoo], STROP [Barber chair attachment], and how about TÊTE [Chapeau setting]? I also recall that Eva GABOR had some fancy hair in "Green Acres" and that Shaquille O'Neal, who went to LSU, doesn't.
Jim Holland's Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle, "Furnishing an Education," uses familiar phrases the final word of which can mean a piece of furniture and makes it mean, ya know, a piece of furniture. But not just any old piece of furniture: a piece of furniture found in a particular university department (this is The Chronicle of Higher Education, after all).
The only real problem I had with this puzzle was at the crossing of Former Nebraska governor Kay A. ORR and "CHARRO!," the 1969 Elvis movie in which he never sang. Did you guys get that one? Hey, guess what. "Charro!" is a western with an awesome tag line: "On his neck he wore the brand of a killer. On his hip he wore vengeance." The suspense is killing me!
Let's wrap things up with Dan Naddor's LA Times puzzle. Here, the theme answers are familiar phrases with the letters ENT omitted.
In each case, the first syllable of the resulting phrase is pronounced differently than the first syllable of the original phrase. Nice.
That's it for me. As always, I've had a blast -- but with any luck, Orange will be back tomorrow. Thanks, everyone!
August 08, 2008