June 18, 2008

Thursday, 6/19

NYS 27:04
NYT 12:35
LAT 9:38
CS 6:12

Hi, everybody. PuzzleGirl here again with your daily dose of puzzly goodness. Doug Peterson's New York Sun "Themeless Thursday" was slow going for me, but I was able to finish without a Google so I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

The puzzle has two awesome 15-letter answers crossing each other. [Telecommuting reduces it] is a nice reminder to keep an eye on that CARBON FOOTPRINT. And [Brown Bears' adversaries] are the PRINCETON TIGERS. So what's a Brown Bear? Well, duh. That's the mascot of Brown University. Don't you love how Wikipedia allows you to look something up immediately and avoid that extra 5 or 10 seconds it would take to come up with a really obvious answer on your own? Wikipedia also tells me that "Brown's first mascot was a burro, first introduced in 1902 in a game against Harvard. The burro mascot was not retained after it seemed frightened by the noise of the game, and due to the laughter it provoked." Notable Brown Bears include John Heisman, a football player who I'm pretty sure has a trophy named after him.

I don't know what it is about the phrase BABY BUMP, [Indication of a bun in the oven?], but it really gives me the creeps. Almost as much as the phrase "bun in the oven." It took me a while to figure out that [Part of M.E.] is referring to a Medical EXAMINER even though I've watched every single episode of Law & Order except for one from 2001 that, for some reason, TNT refuses to rerun even though they show Law & Order like 12 times per day. What? You all don't keep a spreadsheet to keep track of which Law & Order episodes you've watched? Well, you should. Loved the clue for TRIOS: [Backup groups, often]. Did you know that these days Gladys Knight tours with just one Pip? When I got to [She accompanied Ferris on his day off], I'm all, "Ferris Bueller's girlfriend's name is ...? Anyone? Anyone?" (It's SLOANE.)

HAha, YMCA: [Where "you can hang out with all the boys," according to song]. Did someone say Village People? Okay, I apologize for that. To make it up to you, this link will take you to my favorite reference to TUSCALOOSA, which is, of course a [City on the Black Warrior River] (the audio is a little light on this video, so turn up your speakers). I'm going to go ahead and declare this the best opening 32 seconds in all of country music. Said PuzzleGirl.

The Thursday New York Times is typically the puzzle I look forward to every week. And the minute I opened up this Joe Krozel masterpiece, I could tell I wouldn't be disappointed. What an awesome format. The black squares form the word LIES. When they tell you right upfront there are going to be lies involved, you know that's gonna be fun, right? When you finally make your way down to 56 Across, you find out the [Number of clues in this puzzle that contain factual inaccuracies] is TEN. Here are the lies I found in the puzzle:

  • [France's _____ von Bismarck] = OTTO. Hi, France? Yeah, Germany called and they want their Chancellor back.
  • [Chemical element with the symbol Fe] = NEON. I can only assume that every single one of you did what I did and confidently wrote in IRON and then couldn't figure out what kind of f**ed up way they were trying to spell Mother TERESA [Mother of Calcutta]. (In case you're wondering, the symbol for NEON is Ne.)
  • [Former pharmaceutical giant] = GTE. Only in the sense that pharmaceutical = telecommunications.
  • [Father of Jacob] = ESAU. As any crossword puzzler knows, Jacob and Esau are twin brothers.
  • [Golf great Andre] = AGASSI. I obviously knew the puzzle was going to have some kind of LIES in it, but this was the first answer that made me realize some of the answers were just going to be Wrong. Now, I don't claim to know All the golfers, but I'm pretty sure I could rattle off a list of the golf Greats. And not one of them is named Andre. Agassi is, of course, a tennis champ.
  • [Standard office-closing time] = NINE AM, which actually makes a pretty good office-Opening time, don't you think?
  • [It's more than 90 degrees] = ACUTE ANGLE. In the sense that more than = less than (or ACUTE = obtuse).
  • [Tennis champ Ernie] = ELS. Ernie Els! The Big Easy! (Does anyone really call him that? I think they do.) He's the golf great masquerading as Andre Agassi up at 8 Down.
  • [Currency of China] = YEN. Yeah, hi, China? Japan called and wants their currency back. Sorry, I'm too tired to come up with a new joke.
So here's the thing. That's nine lies. Is the number TEN a lie too? Or am I just not smart enough to see the other wrong answer I entered? Let me know in the comments.
Updated to say that [Summer hrs. in N.Y.C.] are EDT and not EST. So that makes ten lies. Thanks, John! Updated again to admit that I didn't find the first nine lies on my own -- I only had six. Thanks for the other three, Wade!


The theme answers in Dan Naddor's L.A. Times puzzle all contain a homophone for the word MAIN.
  • [Droll ESPN personality] = KENNY MAYNE
  • [City on the Penobscot] = BANGOR, MAINE
  • [Chinese noodle dish] = BEEF LO MEIN
  • [Lahr costume feature] = LION'S MANE
  • [Underground conduit] = WATER MAIN
I got that first one right out of the gate with no crosses. I heart Kenny Mayne! BANGOR was harder for me to puzzle out because for [Screwup] I initially had "gaff" (which I'm pretty sure isn't spelled right) instead of GOOF. [Oft-monopolized den item] made me laugh. My husband travels a lot and, while I hate to have him gone so much, I must say I do like being in charge of the REMOTE. I had to work for [Part of Roy G. Biv], a "traditional mnemonic for the sequence of hues in the visible spectrum": Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, INDIGO, and Violet. Skye is one of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, so a [Skye cap] is a TAM. Tricky.

Theme answers in Randall J. Hartman's CrosSynergy puzzle, "Bull Ring," all start with the letters BU and end with LL.
  • [Battle site of the American Revolution] = BUNKERHILL
  • [William Cody's nickname] = BUFFALO BILL
  • [Play the stock market] = BUY AND SELL
  • [Taps or reveille] = BUGLE CALL
  • [Bebop era jazz pianist] = BUD POWELL
Just yesterday, my daughter and I picked up a few things at the local grocery store and found that they're giving away one of those reusable grocery bags to each customer. Awesome! Printed right on the bag are the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, RECYCLE [Use again, in an eco-friendly way]. That got my daughter and me singing this cool Jack Johnson song on the way home. I misread [Pitched properly] as "pitched property" and couldn't figure out why "tepee" wouldn't work with the crosses. (The correct answer is ON KEY.) I don't get how [Pickup line?] is HELLO. Is that a Jerry Maguire reference? Seems like USA! USA! [Patriotic shout] is showing up a lot these days. It must be time for the Olympics. Do people in the 'hood really declare they're badness? I think of I'M BAD as a declaration on a Michael Jackson album more than a [Delcaration in the 'hood]. But maybe that's just me.