August 08, 2008

Saturday, 8/9

NYT 6:45
LAT 6:20
Newsday tba
CS tba

Well! At this time last night, I was already asleep. Three cheers for Puzzle Girl! (One, because she never fails to crack me up; two, because she let me catch up on my sleep; and three, because my laptop refused to make nice with the hotel's free wireless, and I couldn't have blogged even if I'd been awake.) I'm not sure if three cheers is "Hip, hip, hooray!" or if that counts as one. Just to be on the safe side, join me in two more rounds in Puzzle Girl's honor: Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!

I'm not all that alert right now, but I was OK an hour ago when Mark Diehl's New York Times puzzle came out. With one day off and DVR-delayed Olympics opening ceremonies on the TV, I no longer remember how to blog about a crossword. Let's see...I'll start off with my favorite entries and clues:

  • [One looking for a kiss] is a FROG PRINCE. Or maybe the woman who kissed the frog was just hallucinating after licking a frog.
  • The [Setting for a 1979 horror film], The Amityville Horror, is AMITYVILLE. Flies!
  • [Nation once called Ile de France] is MAURITIUS. The Dutch named it in honor of Prince Maurice. (No relation to Mauritania, named after Mauretania, named after the Mauri tribe, whence the word Moor.) Speaking of Mauritania and thereabouts, RIO DE ORO was [Part of Western Sahara].
  • HERE IT IS is clued ["Voila!"]. In the grid without word spaces, it looks like HEREITIS, or inflammation of the here.
  • SCOTCHED is a great word, meaning [Nixed]. The American Heritage Dictionary gives the following non-Scottish etymology: ddle English scocchen, to cut, perhaps from Anglo-Norman escocher, to notch : es-, intensive pref. (from Latin ex-; see ex–) + Old French coche, notch (probably from Latin coccum, scarlet oak berry, from Greek kokkos).] Who knew?
  • [Sibyl's forte] is PRESCIENCE.
  • ROSEY GRIER was [One of the 1960s Rams' Fearsome Foursome]. I know Rosey from Free to Be You and Me. The Fearsome Foursome? Only from crosswords, baby.
  • IDIOMS? [They're seldom taken literally], but it can be funny when they are.
  • CULTURED means [Man-made] in the case of pearls.
  • I like it that RIVET is both a metal bolt thingie and a verb meaning [Transfix]. Perhaps that verb sense started out as an idiom, and some people wondered why anyone would say they'd been literally riveted.
  • [Like a rock] led me to try INSENSATE, but the grid called for INANIMATE.
  • KNEESIES must be like playing footsie—[Under-the-table action].
  • TIM ALLEN was the [Voice of Buzz Lightyear in "Toy Story"]. Yay, a gimme! There weren't too many of those here.
  • RUPIAH is [Indonesian capital] that you spend, not a capital city.
  • SHADES OF is a phrase meaning [Like], sort of.
This crossword's got only 64 answers, so one might expect to see a few iffy answers along the way:
  • CONSULTER is clued as [Chiromancer client, e.g.]. I think chiromancer is a bit of a mislead, because it could just as well be "ophthalmologist patient," couldn't it? Psychics are far from the only ones people might consult. Also, I have never seen "consulter" as a word.
  • Roman numerals are fun! (Not.) MLI is [Year in the reign of Macbeth, in Scottish history].
  • Unfamiliar three-letter abbreviations are fun! (Not.) ADC is a [Military asst.]. I suspect this is an abbreviation of aide-de-camp.
  • ENOL! Somehow I knew the [Double-bonded compound] would be ENOL.
Other mentionable clues:
  • A [Heap of hay] is a RICK. The word dates back to Old English origins.
  • If you are IN ON something, you're [Knowing firsthand] what's going on.
  • [O, in Morse code] is DAH DAH DAH. Wikipedia reminds us that the dash is also called "dah" and the dot is also "dit." This answer is not to be confused with the Trio song "Da Da Da," from the Volkswagen commercial.
  • [P. Diddy's first name] is SEAN; last name, COMBS. You knew that, right? And that his clothing line is called Sean John?
  • [Chocolate source] is the COCOA PLANT. Are you like me? Did you opt for CACAO PLANT first?
  • [Tea drinker of fiction] is the MARCH HARE. You know, I've never read Alice in Wonderland.
  • [Metal mold, as from a blast furnace], is PIG. I don't pretend to have a grasp on what this means.


I've only got time for one puzzle right now, as the Field Museum's "Nature Unleashed" awaits. Bonnie Gentry's LA Times crossword has oodles of good entries and clues, and one gnarly spot—the latter being that little 3-letter answer for [It's synthesized in a three-step process]. WIth the N in place, I sagely decided the answer was DNA, but no, it's TNT. The T's cross LIMNITE, a [Porous iron ore], and PATENTS, [Safeguards of a kind]. Bonnie's name often gets conflated with that of singer Bobbie Gentry, so I like the CMA clue, [Its first awards ceremony was co-hosted by Bobbie Gentry]. Other items:
  • MT. FUJI is the [View from Lake Sai], not a lake I know.
  • Two of the five 15-letter answers sound driving-related. [Something to do before driving] is APPLY FOR A PERMIT, and when the student driver has passed the driving test, she's ready for her LITERARY LICENSE ([Novelist's tool], right?
  • [Some six-footers] are SUBS, as in giant sandwiches.
  • APNEA? [It takes your breath away].
  • [Form 1040, line 32 deduction] is an IRA. I just mailed the IRS $3 and an amended return, per my accountant's instructions. The IRS had asked for about $19,000, but they were totally on crack.
  • [One often involves several runners] clues a PRIMARY ELECTION. 
  • Did you all get [Letters automatically displayed in the "Wheel of Fortune" bonus round]? They're RSTLNE. I love this entry!
  • The AEF, or Allied Expeditionary Force (I think), was a [WWI military group]. One of my mom's ancestors' brothers was in the AEF.
  • CINDERELLA STORY is a terrific entry, too. [1969 Mets, e.g.]. Will this year's Cubs be a Cinderella story if they win the Series? Or will they once again fail?
That's only the Acrosses, but it's time to head to the museum now. Well done, Bonnie (and editor Rich Norris)!