August 02, 2009

Monday, 8/3

NYT 3:43 (Cc)
LAT 2:57 (JK)
BEQ (separate post—above)
CS 10:45 (J—paper)

The part where I ramble about stuff unrelated to the puzzle

A guest host is someone who substitutes for a regular host. This is Crosscan, the first of a team of guest hosts filling in for Orange who is off to Washington D.C. to um, save the country or tour museums, or something.

The term “guest host” was popularized on The Tonight Show during Johnny Carson's 30-year reign as host from 1962 to 1992. That reminds me of the only time I was in the audience of the Tonight Show. My then-older, now-allegedly-younger sister and I visited our uncle and aunt in Los Angeles, quite exciting for a couple of Canadian kids. Three things stick in my mind from that summer of ’77: Elvis Presley died, we went to Disneyland and on August 23, 1977 we saw the Tonight Show. Johnny wasn’t there, but the guest host was Steve Martin and Bill Cosby was a guest.

Ok, on to the Monday New York Times puzzle by Janet R. Bender

Started off with 9 straight across answers, then slowed down considerably.

The part where I tell you the theme and list the theme answers

The theme is definitions for different spellings of the sound "mays".

  • 36A: [MAIZE] is a [PALE YELLOW COLO(U)R*]
  • 57A: A LAB RAT'S MILIEU is a [MAZE]
  • 70A: 1969 Mets, A___IN' is [MAZ]*
*Note: American versions of this puzzle are only 15x15 and omit the U and the final theme answer.

Ok, no fair. My first blog and the clues and answers are reversed. Where do the square brackets go? And capitals all around. Help!!!!!!

The part where I talk about some non-theme answers
  • 1A: [What some people do in an online "room"] - CHAT. Why would people want to talk to others online? It'll never catch on.
  • 28A: [1st to 220th, in Manhattan: Abbr.] - STS, as in streets. The street-naming committee in New York do not appear to be the most exciting people on the planet.
  • 35A: [Actress Turner] - LANA. Why not Lana Lang? You can never have too many Superman references.
  • 42A: URAL [Mountains (Asia/Europe separator). If Europe or border is hinted, go with URAL If its all Asia, its ARAL.
  • 43A: [What the dish ran away with, in "Hey Diddle Diddle"] - SPOON. I'm glad the "Hey Diddle Diddle" was added, because I get my runaway dishes confused.
  • 48A: O'ER [the ramparts we watched..."]. If you didn't get this, you likely put a U in COLOUR.
  • 55A: GEODE is a [Rock with a crystal inside]. How do I know? 55A told me.
  • 62A: ["Honest to God!"] - TRUE, like 85% of what I'm telling you.
  • 64A/34D: [Golf's U.S. open champion of 1994 and 1997] is ERNIE ELS. I call this type of clue an OLAF. If you don't know a golfer whose last name has 3 letters, you're not going to get it from the rest of the clue.
  • 68A: [Toward the rising sun] is EAST. Toward the setting sun is west. Happened today. It will happen again tomorrow. Honest to God!
  • 1D: [Gorges] are CHASMS, if today is Monday. They are abysms if this is the 2007 ACPT and the goal is to knock me down 50 spots in the standings. But I'm over that. Honest to God!
  • 2D:[Small village] is a HAMLET, where all addresses are either 2B or not 2B.
  • 5D: [Official's call with outspread arms] is SAFE if the official is a baseball umpire.
  • 6D: [Excess] is OVERKILL, like any OLAF answer.
  • 13D: ["Gimme DAT!" (rude order).] . DAT's an odd clue.
  • 26D: [Flinstones's pet] is SNOOPY. Honest to God!
  • 37D: [In A RUT (stuck in the same old same old)]
  • 37D: [In A RUT (stuck in the same old same old)]
The part where I wonder whether today is really Monday
  • 21D Viscous - GLUEY - ok, you got me. I made that up.
  • 30D [Zuider ZEE (former inlet in the Netherlands)]. Huh? Where did the inlet go? How do you lose an inlet?
  • 33A [English dramatist George] PEELE - He's been dead over 400 years and isn't Shakespeare. I'm supposed to know this?
  • Are there any real English words in the SE corner? POINTE, ADESTE, GEODE, MILIEU, INST, OTTO.
The part where I insert random links to old songs and videos that may or may not relate to the puzzle

Willie Mays
Hey Diddle Diddle

Los Angeles Times puzzle by David W. Cromer

Hi. Crosscan nearly broke the internet so I'm taking over. My name is Jeffrey Krasnick and I finished second in the foreign division at the 2009 American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.

Theme: All together now.

17A: [Data set available to many] is a SHARED FILE. Today’s post is being written in a SHARED FILE. It is mostly a computer thing.
57A: [Professional managed investment type] is a MUTUAL FUND. Past results are no guarantee of future earnings. That could be a good thing, given recent past results.
9D: A [Property co-owner] is a JOINT TENANT. Looks weird, as you don’t think of a tenant as an owner, but the term is correct. JOINT TENANT may be roomies, but don’t have to be. Spouses are frequently joint tenants, as the ownership transfers to the survivor upon death of one of the co-owners.
25D: [Unifying objective] is a COMMON CAUSE.

Appropriate on this first day of multiple bloggers to have a team themed puzzle.

• 1A: [Pear variety] is BOSC if 4 letters, ANJOU if 5 letters. End of pear lesson.
• 5A: [Philbin’s co-host] is RIPA, as in Regis and Kelly.
• 13A: [Rights org.] – abbreviation in clue means abbreviation in answer. ACLU is American Civil Liberties Union.
• 16A: [ESPN sportscaster Hershiser] is puzzledom's only OREL. Also known as a former Dodger pitcher.
• 22A: [Obama was in it until November 2008] – SENATE. That would be Barack Obama, who quit to take another job which came with a house (in Washington, D.C. - hi Orange!), and a plane.
29A: Mel TORME was known as the Velvet Fog. He shortened his name from Melvin Woven Tufted Fabric Low Cloud.
• 39A: [Pointy-hatted garden statute] – GNOME. The hat is usually red, for some reason.
• 49A: [Wetlands growth] – CATTAIL – One word. Did you know it is also known as typha? I didn’t.
• 56A: [Chicken cordon] BLEU. So convenient when French spells things differently than English. Colour that is spelled the same? Orange.
• 60A: [Gets grayer, usually] – AGES. I appear to be usual.
• 61A: [Periods, in telegrams] – STOPS. The word STOP was placed because telegrams didn’t have punctuation. Twitter is Telegram 2.0.
• 62A: [Big Apple theatre award] – OBIE. TONY is more famous and internationally televised. OBIE has 3 vowels. OBIE wins in crosswordland.
• 10D: [Desi who married Lucille Ball] - ARNAZ. Quick, name a Desi who isn't an ARNAZ.
• 11D: BETTE [Midler of “The Rose”]. Quick, name a Midler who isn’t Bette.
• 15D: [Used-car lot transaction] – RESALE, which is what happens to many a 40A: [Taken-back auto] – REPO.
• 23D: “Don’t Bring Me Down” rock gp. ELO. World’s greatest 2 vowel, 1 consonant band.
• 28D: “The Age of Reason” author Thomas PAINE. A gimme for all you Deists out there.
• 54D: [Pack in the overhead bin] – STOW. Good luck finding room.

Go away, Jeffrey. This is Crosscan again. I leave you with this important warning. Last week, my laptop was getting extremely hot and kept shutting off. Coincidentally, my aquarium heater was acting up. Hey! What if…? BAD IDEA! Never put your laptop in the aquarium. The tetras googled “Finding Nemo” and let’s just say I’m still trying to recover.

This has been a BLAST (32D: [Explosion]). Enjoy your week.

Updated Monday morning:

Martin Ashwood-Smith's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Instrument Panel"—Janie's review

In The Mourning Bride, William Congreve famously wrote, "Musick has Charms to soothe a savage Breast"—and the same might be said of musically-themed puzzles. For this solver anyway. The three theme-phrases of Martin's construction all begin with words containing the names of musical instruments. We get a bonus, too, with ORATORIO [Handel's "The Messiah," for one]. Among the many orchestrations for this masterwork, there is sure to be one that includes parts for:
  • the organ—which we get at 17A. with ORGANIC COMPOUND [Chemist's substance]. The molecules of organic compounds are carbon-containing. Here's a link to a list of 'em—and for many, you'll see an accompanying formULA;
  • a horn or two—courtesy of 34A's HORNY-BACK TOAD ["Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" critter]; and
  • a harp—by way of 54A's HARPER VALLEY P.T.A. ['80s Barbara Eden sitcom]. Knew the song, but never saw the show... This fill looks to be a CS-first, btw, and the two others major-publication first-timers.
There's so much good fill throughout this puzzle—like CS first-timer HELIPADS and apparent first-timer altogether, RENT-A-KID [Leslie Nielsen comedy of 1995]. Never saw this either (it looks like it was a made-for-TV movie), but I like how it pairs up with CS-first TINY TOT [Wee one].

Other pairings include:
  • two comicstrip pooches, ODIE and SNERT. Attention newbies: you're going to see these names a lot. They simply go with the territory. Here's a perhaps overly inclusive list of fictional dogs of all sorts. It's certainly worth scanning. It's not likely that these guys or their cohorts are going away any time soon.
  • GUN SHOT and SABER, in the arms department. Oh, and while we're there, let's not overlook SDI, Strategic Defense Initiative or [Star Wars, initially].
  • [Magician] CRISS [Angel], who may be inclined to put you into a TRANCE.
  • two places in southern California, San DIEGO and a Watts neighborhood in the larger city to the north, WEST LA. Do you remember the Watts Riots? They began almost 44 years ago on August 11, 1965. Coming back to our musical theme, if you've never read Richard Powers's The Time of Our Singing, you might want to. It's about race relations and music and American culture, and in one particularly memorable and chilling episode, it takes you right inside Watts at that time.
  • TWA, a [Bygone airline] and SST [Retired flier, for short].
Fave clues today include [Full-sized models] for CS-debut (and not fashion-oriented) MOCK-UPS, the noun [Feel] for TEXTURE, and [It's within your range] for OVEN. Felt like a NITWIT with that one. D'oh, JANE. Think about that appliance in your kitchen!

Nearly forgot the other musical bonus: MIS for [Scale notes]. Does Christine AGUILERA warm up on the this note, I wonder? Whether or not, only one thing to say about today's M A-S, and that's "NICE"—quite simply, it's a [Jim-dandy].