June 21, 2008

Sunday, 6/22

LAT 55:46
NYT 50:56
PI 23:30
CS 19:53
BG - not available this week

Welcome back to the blog, everybody. My name is PuzzleGirl and I'll be your host today. Are you all tired of me? Well, good, because Orange will be back in the hot seat for tomorrow's puzzles and you won't have old PuzzleGirl to kick around any more. I want to thank you all for hanging with me these last few days and I especially want to thank Orange for asking me to sub for her. It's been a real treat for me because my favorite place in the whole world is ... ? Anyone know? (My mom and my sister are probably reading this; I bet they know.) You got it: right in the center of attention. I actually prefer for there to be a stage involved, or at least a podium, but this way is pretty cool too. But enough about me, let's talk about my opinions.

Pamela Amick Klawitter's New York Times puzzle, "Chain Reaction" was really hard for me. I had three or four trouble spots that I had to keep going back to. I really liked the theme. It was, let's see, how can I explain it? Kind of an expansion on the "Before and After" category on Jeopardy. Each theme clue consists of three two-word phrases (and when I say two-word phrases, I mean that to include compound words). We're supposed to figure out the second of the three phrases and enter it into the grid. In each case, the last part of one item and the first part of the following item can be put together to make another two-word phrase. The last two-word phrase of one theme clue is then used to start the next theme clue. Here, I'll show you the first one in detail and then just list the rest: The clue is [Food court _____ circuit board], so the answer is CASE CLOSED: Food Court --> Court Case --> Case Closed --> Closed Circuit --> Circuit Board. Get it?

  • [Food Court] CASE CLOSED [Circuit Board]
  • [Circuit Board] FOOT LOCKER [Room Service]
  • [Room Service] ROAD HAZARD [Light Touch]
  • [Light Touch] SCREEN DOOR [Bell Pepper]
  • [Bell Pepper] SPRAY PAINT [Brushfire]
  • [Brushfire] WALL STREET [Smart Car]
  • [Smart Car] POOL PLAYER [Piano Bar]
  • [Piano Bar] GRAPH PAPER [Trailhead]
  • [Trailhead] MASTERCARD [Countertop]
  • [Countertop] DOLLAR SIGN [Post Office]
So if someone says "nowadays," how far back do you have to go until you get to a time when the thing you're talking about isn't true any more? I was surprised to see that [Like many dorms nowadays] was looking for COED. I lived in a coed dorm back in 1983. That seems like an awfully long time ago. But I went to kind of a hippie school, so maybe coed dorms were unusual. I did not know that Salvador Dali had a pet OCELOT. Apparently, it went almost everywhere with him. Here's a (slightly altered) picture. This is the second time this week I've seen the word chaperon in a puzzle without an E at the end. Merriam-Webster on-line says that without the E is a var. spelling. Then again, it's first definition is "a person (as a matron) who for propriety accompanies one or more young unmarried women in public or in mixed company." It could be time to update that. (It doesn't really mean that nowadays, does it?) One quick story and I'll shut up about this puzzle for now. [Prince Albert, for one] is a COAT. I didn't know that, so I was going through the alphabet: is it a boat? a goat? a moat? And that reminded me of an email I got from our realtor last week (our house is on the market). A couple who looked at our house thought they might be interested in buying it but they had heard from one of our neighbors that a couple of months ago we installed a moat around our house. The realtor wondered what that was all about. A moat. A MOAT. What is this, the Middle Ages? What did she expect me to say? "Yeah, we built a moat to, ya know, deter the invaders. We're having some over-crowding issues in our dungeon." I couldn't stop laughing. I have Absolutely No Idea where that came from. A moat. Still cracks me up.

Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle this week is called "Animals Are People, Too." The theme answers are familiar phrases that end with the name of an animal:
  • [Plant of a sort] = GOVERNMENT MOLE
  • [Pub-crawler's cousin] = LOUNGE LIZARD
  • [Talker looking for a deal, often] = STOOL PIGEON
  • [Usurer] = LOAN SHARK
  • [One with a big closet, perhaps] = CLOTHES HORSE
  • [Slangy resident of the Southwest] = DESERT RAT
  • [Low-rent womanizer] = PARLOR SNAKE
  • [Engine expert of a sort] = GREASE MONKEY
  • [Fame chaser] = PUBLICITY HOUND
Do we have a name for an answer that isn't part of the theme but kinda goes with it? Well, I found two of those in this puzzle: [Where to see urban gorillas] is CITY ZOOS, and [Shootout sounds] is RAT-A-TAT. Other than that, I don't have much to say about this puzzle. It was solid, creative, fun -- pretty much what I expect from Merl. If anything really struck you about the puzzle, please share in the comments!


Sorry I'm so late with this update, but Alan Arbesfeld's L.A. Times puzzle, "Switching Hands," which has a fun theme, was really, really hard for me. In each theme entry, a familiar phrase that includes a word starting with L or R begins that word with the "opposite hand" (R or L) instead.
  • [Jeweler?] = LOCKETMAN (rocketman)
  • [Review a women's bygone outfit?] = RATE (late) BLOOMERS
  • [Build a support network?] = COLLECT LOYALTIES (royalties)
  • [Tarot expert?] = READER (leader) OF THE PACK
  • [Cat's room service request?] = SEND UP THE LIVER (river)
  • [Shoe store temp's diary entry?] = A DAY AT THE LACES (races)
  • [Copy of "Atlas Shrugged" that was ordered?] = THE PROMISED RAND (land)
  • [How Bush felt about a former top aide?] = ALL YOU NEED IS ROVE (love)
  • [Shaky gymnastics maneuver?] = RICKETY (lickety) SPLIT
  • [Able to resist sexual desire?] = LUSTPROOF (rustproof)
I liked this puzzle a lot but, seriously, my head still hurts and it's late so I'm just going to move on.

Rich Norris's CrosSynergy "Sunday Challenge" has a ton of fun fill. Did you know the [First company to create glow-in-the-dark underwear] was JOE BOXER? Did you even know glow-in-the-dark underwear existed? I didn't. [Xer's parent, probably] was a gimme for me. I'm an Xer; my parents are BOOMERs. I used to live a couple blocks away from TKTS [Sign on a B'way booth]. Do people outside of New York know that place? It's a booth that sits on an island right in the middle of a really busy street. Seriously, you take your life in your hands trying to get to it. And once you get there, you can buy discount tickets for the day's Broadway shows. Here's a picture. TIMBUKTU is an [Historic city near the Niger River]. Also a song by Bob Seger that I can't find on YouTube. Sorry. Missteps along the way for me include spikes for SPURTS [Sudden increases]. (Thank God for TORI Spelling or I may never have gotten out of the southeast corner.) Leia for XENA [Princess from Amphipolis]. I obviously don't know my sci-fi princesses. I’m pretty solid on the Disney princesses though. I thought a [Begrudging agreement] would be I guess so but it was I SUPPOSE. And, finally, I wanted blared for BRASSY [Like trumpet music]. It all got worked out in the end, though, so I feel pretty good about myself and now I can go do some laundry and pay attention to my children. Thanks again, everyone!