April 11, 2008

Saturday, 4/12

NYT 7:06
Newsday 6:04
LAT 5:41
CS 2:59

Once I finished Byron Walden's New York Times crossword and tucked my son into bed, my foot ache escalated to 11 without warning. So now I'm trapped in my kid's bed with the laptop and don't know when I will be able to make a getaway. Maybe after the ice pack releases all its cold into my foot? Anyway, I like the whiplash effect of traveling from 1-Down across the grid at 33-Across and down again at 36-Down. POST-PUNK, [Like the grunge rock movement], butts heads with a KANSAS CITY CHIEF (football [Player coached by Hank Stram]), and drops off into the FEDAYEEN (non-S plural for [Palestinian fighters]). Other musical fill: ALTO (Word with flute or horn]), POCO ([___ adagio (score direction)]), and a UKULELE ([A musician might pick it]). Other politically oriented fill: THE HONORABLE ([Mayor's introduction?]), [Kennedyesque conquests] or NEW FRONTIERS, and RED / STATES.

There's enough other sports fill to pack a stadium:

  • FAR POST = [Target of some soccer kicks] (not a term I know, but it Googles up very soccerishly)
  • ONE AWAY = [Situation early in an inning] (baseball)
  • CLEM = [1950s Dodgers pitcher ___ Labine] (baseball again)
  • KEARNS = [Pulitzer-winning historian Doris ___ Goodman] (I first encountered her in Ken Burns' Baseball doc)
  • SAMOAN = [Wearer of a wraparound garment called a lavalava] (I group this with football because I learned the word lavalava from a Doonesbury strip about a Samoan football player)
  • SASHA = [Slovenian-born N.B.A. guard Vujacic] (basketball joins the party)
  • KEY ON = [Defend with focus, in football]
  • SNEAD = [Winner of a record 82 P.G.A. Tour events] (golf!)
  • GRIP = [Subject of a golf lesson]
  • ILIE = [Tennis's Nastase] (and here's the other country-club sport)
  • TWO P.M. = [Customary start for Wimbledon singles finals] (tennis again)

Favorite clues:
  • [Strip authority] for PIT BOSS (noun, not a verb phrase)
  • [Underwritten?] for CAPTIONED
  • [Lipitor and such] for STATINS
  • [Like some glasses] for THREE-D
  • [Tub handle?] for PARKAY (surely this is the last time Byron will use "tub" in a margarine clue, just when it becomes obvious—[Promise kept in a tub?] remains my all-time favorite OLEO clue)
  • [Bouts of madness] for DELIRIA (who ever sees the plural? It would make a lovely name for a baby girl)
  • [Kindergarten admonition] for ACT NICE
  • [Booboo] for OWIE (more kindergarten!)
  • ["Too rich for my blood"] for I FOLD (anyone else start out with I'M OUT?)
  • [Top Medoc classification] for PREMIER CRU
  • [The Galloping Gourmet] for GRAHAM KERR (always nice to have a first/last name combo in the grid)
  • [Admission of clumsiness] for I BROKE IT
  • [Like the hoi polloi] for NON-U

There's even a tangentially (!) mathematical vibe:
  • [Setting numbered in multiples of the square root of 2] for the F-STOP of a camera and not some arcane mathematical thing
  • [Hospital patron] for ST. JUDE (because I just pledged money for my nephew's school math-a-thon to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
  • [Reciprocal action] also sounds like it could be mathy, but it's TAT (as in "tit for ___")

I never heard of ["Watership Down" director Martin] ROSEN. It wouldn't be very Saturdayish to turn to the usual ROSEN clue, baseball's Al Rosen.


Here are my favorite clues and answers in Brad Wilber's LA Times crossword:
  • [Tablet named for the organ it soothes] for TUMS
  • [It's graded] for EGG
  • [Bamboo thicket] for CANEBRAKE (so that's what that means)
  • [Law enforcers since 1940] for the DYNAMIC DUO
  • [Two-handed gesture used for ironic effect] for AIR QUOTES
  • ["The Shining" feature] for HEDGE MAZE
  • [Richie or Simon] for POP SINGER (Lionel Richie and, let's see, Carly or Paul Simon?)
  • [Father of Henry II] for EDSEL Ford (not English kings)

Randall Hartman's CrosSynergy crossword, "Ocean's Five," isn't a prequel to Ocean's Eleven. Each theme entry's a phrase that starts with one of the five oceans, provided you accept the distribution of the earth's water into five oceans. The Wikipedia article has a graphic that illustrates how the oceans can be split into five, four (allocating the Southern Ocean's territory to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian), three (ditching a separate Arctic), or one ocean (World Ocean—which would make for a lousy crossword theme); when I saw the illustration, the caption contained Wiki vandalism by "Brandon and Kim," who purport to have discovered the oceans yesterday. My first Wiki vandalism observance!).

Updated again:

Favorite clues and answers in Dan Stark's Newsday "Saturday Stumper":
  • [Bull session participant?] for MATADOR (I was thinking rodeo—close, but no cigar)
  • [Mufasa and Mongkut] for RULERS (Mufasa, as far as I know, was Simba's dad in The Lion King, and Mongkut was the king in Anna and the King of Siam)
  • [Chipper] for ICE PICK
  • [Influence] for COLOR (as in "it colored my impression of this crossword")
  • [Straw product] for HUT (not HAT...or MAT)
  • [Tireless racer] for a SLED (which moves on runners rather than tires)
  • [They make no sense] for BABBLERS (although...how often are you faced with BABBLERS in the plural?)
  • [Help] for PITCH IN