September 27, 2008

Sunday, 9/28

BG 9:04
NYT 7:53
PI 26:40 (ONOT*)
LAT 23:00 (ONOT)
CS 28:00 (ONOT)

* Obviously Not Orange's Time

I'll be at the movies when the Sunday NYT is released, so either I'll get to that puzzle later this evening or PuzzleGirl will swoop to the rescue and blog the NYT for us. Either way, the hilarious PG will be doing some guest-blogging here tomorrow. Behave for her, will you?

Henry Hook constructed the Boston Globe crossword that's available in Across Lite this weekend. As the title "Struck for an Answer" suggests, the theme answers are phrases in which ST__ words are changed to STR_ words to alter the meaning. For example, [Participated in a food fight?] clues STREWED TOMATOES. The theme wasn't too difficult, but there are a number of knotty crossings and names that aren't common in crosswords. I had to play the "type random letters until one is correct" game where [Psychologist Emil] COUE meets [Leatherwood shrubs] or WICOPIES at the C. Wow, I wonder how many constructors have wicopy and the plural wicopies in their word lists. I hadn't heard of Émile Coué before, but you gotta love him—he's the guy who recommended saying "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." [1993 Nobel Prize winner Robert] FOGEL was also new to me, and I don't think I care for him. The other mystery person in this grid is [Violin virtuoso Fritz] KREISLER. Luckily, I figured out all the crossings for the economist and the violinist. I'd never heard of the [Kia concept cars] called KUES, but fortunately I knew KAPOK, a [Mattress fill of a sort], because my grandma had told me my dad was allergic to it (or maybe he was allergic to non-kapok fill) as a kid.


(Still Orange here.) Well, my weekend plans have changed for the third time. So here I am! Angela will be by Sunday morning (or early afternoon) to blog about the other three puzzles.

It's been too long since we were treated to a puzzle by Cathy Allis Millhauser. Her New York Times crossword is called "'Twas Puzzling" because each theme entry contains a W__ word changed to a TW__ word. Same basic theme idea as in the Boston Globe puzzle, but with the added appeal of the TW sound. Read Cathy's theme entries aloud and you'll feel like Elmer Fudd twying to pwonounce TR__ words. Here are the theme entries:

  • THE TWITCHING HOUR is [When jerks come out?].
  • DESSERT TWINE is [String around a cake box?]. Kinda boring entry, but now I'm in the mood for a bakery cake.
  • THE TWEAKER SEX is clued as [Men or women who pinch?]. I do not care for pinching, I must say.
  • THE SOUL OF TWIT is a [Nerd's essence?]. I like this one. I don't think brevity is the soul of twit.
  • FLIP ONE'S TWIG is [Roast the other side of the marshmallow]. Bonus points for working from the colorful phrase, "flip one's wig." (Though it would be more idiomatic with "your" than "one's.")
  • YOU CAN'T TWIN 'EM ALL is a [Discouraging comment to a cloner?].
  • TWEED KILLER is a [Moth, perhaps?].
  • LIVING TWILL is a [Fabric that really breathes?].
Other clues and answers of note:
  • ON TOPIC means [Pertinent to the discussion]. Kudos to you, the Crossword Fiend reader, for usually staying ON TOPIC in the comments lounge.
  • NEWBIE is one of the better words to arise from the Internet's giant stockpot of slang. It means a [Novice], of course. Another __IE noun is TOWNIE, or [Off-campus local].
  • I DO'S are a [Once-in-a-lifetime exchange, maybe]. If you get remarried, it's twice...or three times...or more.
  • ANGELINA eschews Ms. Jolie for its clue: [Texas county, river or forest that's a girl's first name].
  • [Bridge], the verb, means to CROSS OVER.
  • An APSIS is an [Orbital point]. This is one of those words I learned from crosswords and not from the astronomy unit in physics class.
  • [Dope] as in info is the SKINNY.
  • STIPES is another word crosswords taught me—they're [Mushroom stalks].
  • [Unlikely to run] is COLORFAST if you're talking about fabric dyes. My first thought was "unlikely to run for office." Er, nope.
  • GLORY BE is clued ["Praise the Lord!"].
  • [A leveret is a young] HARE.
  • PILAR is Spanish for "pillar," a word used in some place names. It's also an adjective meaning [Pertaining to hair]. And it's part of the name of Pio del Pilar, a Phillipine national hero who was my husband's grandfather's cousin or something.
  • "Same difference." SAME is a [Kind of difference, oxymoronically].
  • I started right off at 1-Down with a wrong answer. [Monitor type, for short] is CRT, not LCD. Aren't flat-screen monitors cheap enough now that nobody's buying CRTs any more?
  • [Like some eggs or cloth] is SHIRRED. I'd love to find directions for shirring an egg that instruct the cook to sew a bunch of elastic onto the egg.
  • [City near Tel Aviv] is LOD and [City near Milan] is LODI, but poor Lodz, Poland, is left out.
  • The last time there was a '60s baseball clue, 6 letters starting with K, I did the same thing I did today—try to make Al KALINE's career match that of Sandy KOUFAX. Whoops.
  • ["Vigilant ___ to steal cream": Fasltaff] is completed by AS A CAT. Were you familiar with the quotation? I wasn't.
  • WIGWAM is an innately pleasing word. It's one type of [Native American home].
Updated again:

Hey, everyone! PuzzleGirl here, thrilled to be hanging out with you guys this weekend. For those of you who don't know me, I'm, um ... a little slower than Amy. So, while solving and blogging three Sunday puzzles might take her, oh, let's say anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, for me it's more like at least half the day. So I'm going to go ahead and get Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer puzzle, "Gag Me With a Spoonerism," out of the way tonight. Let's get started.

I was happy to see the title on this one. Although puns are likely to make me cringe, spoonerisms, on the whole, make me laugh. Or at least smile. I assume the readership here consists solely of Elite Crossword Solvers and Language Experts, right? Therefore any sort of detailed explanation of "spoonerism" would insult your intelligence? Mkay, moving right along....

Theme answers:
  • WALKING YOUR HARES is clued as [Giving the jumpier pets some exercise?].
  • A LUNCH OF BOOZERS might be made up of [Six martinis and one big olive?]. This is my favorite of the group. Probably because the original phrase is funny too. At least the way I hear it in my head.
  • BELLY JEANS are [Levis with an elastic waistband?]. Any moms out there have the same reaction I did when I put on my first pair of maternity jeans? "Why the heck don't we wear these All The Time?"
  • HUMMING AND PLEATING describes [What goes on at the Happy Shirt and Skirt Factory?].
  • BUSY CHEWING THE DOORS is [What the escape-minded goats were?].
  • BACK TO THE MALT SIGNS is a [Soda-shop owner's decision after the flyers didn't work?]. I've heard the original phrase on this one, but don't really know what it means or where it comes from. ... Okay, I Googled it. Just one of the many services I offer. It simply means "going back to unpleasant work" and may or may not derive from a time in the past where prisoners were sent to Siberia to dig for salt. I'm going to think of it as an early version of "Time to make the donuts."
  • WAIT FOR THE OTHER DREW TO SHOP [What Carey and Barrymore do at Christmastime?]. I could only think of Jim Carrey for the longest time, so I was all kinds of mixed up on this one.
  • MONKEY CHILD SALSA [One way to spice up mashed bananas at the zoo?]. And now, ladies and gentlemen, we've come to the point in the blog where I admit to you that I don't understand this. (You knew it would happen sooner or later, because it always does.) I mean I understand that this phrase is a spoonerism of chunky mild salsa, but what does the resulting phrase mean? Salsa made out of ... children? monkey children? I'm confused and, frankly, a little grossed out.
Other notable stuff:
  • [Late-night Carson] is a verrrrry tricky clue for DALY, dontcha think? Raise your hand if you thought to yourself confidently, "Well, of course that's Johnn... Wait, what? Four letters?"
  • "You're a RIOT, Alice," is a phrase from the old "Honeymooners" television show. Not from Alice in Wonderland. Although it wouldn't surprise me to hear it on "The Brady Bunch" too.
  • KIX is a [Cereal brand]. Also an '80s band from Baltimore that you probably don't want to listen to.
  • [Tillis of country], with no crosses in place, could have been either MEL or Pam. I was going to link to one of Pam's songs but, as it turns out, I'm not a big fan.
  • [Was within popcorn-sharing distance, perhaps] is a super-fun clue for SAT NEAR.
  • I think ["All My Children" star] Susan LUCCI was in the puzzle last time I was here. I'm sure it's been a good 25 years since I've seen AMC, but I still really like this woman and her gorgeous smile.
  • ABC is the ["Lost" network], which reminds me -- when the heck does "Lost" start up again? Anyone know?
  • KNUTE Rockne is a [Big name at Notre Dame]. "Knute" is also the title of what I learned today is PuzzleDaughter's "Very! Favorite! Book! Ever!" Highly recommended for seven-year-old girls, especially if they own the polar bear Webkinz.
  • I was looking for something a little more complicated for [Climber's goal]: apex, acme, summit ... huh? Only three letters? TOP? Oh, okay.
  • Quick story on STREAKER [Runner in the raw]. I was looking at a feminist blog the other day and I saw a headline that I read as "Courtney Streaking in Minneapolis." I thought, "Well, that's a little weird -- some kind of publicity stunt?" The first sentence of the post explained that she'd be talking about her "book, perfectionism, body image...." And I thought, "Well okay, then, I guess it makes sense." (Of course what the headline actually said was that Courtney would be speaking in Minneapolis. HAha!)
Alright, time for me to get to bed. See y'all back here in the morning with two more puzzles.

Updated Sunday morning:

And we're back! Kathleen Fay O'Brien's LA Times puzzle, "Co-editing," drops the letters CO from a familiar phrase to create new funny phrases. Like so:
  • (co)RONA DISCHARGE = [Firing of a gossip columnist?] - I'm not entirely sure what the original phrase means. I'm guessing it's science and not beer.
  • SECOND (co)MING = [Yao junior?] - This refers, of course, to the Houston Rockets Chinese center, Yao Ming.
  • KING (co)BRAS = [Some of Billie Jean's lingerie?] - How much do you suppose Billie Jean King would hate seeing this particular clue/answer pair?
  • XEROX (co)PIES = [Unoriginal desserts?]
  • NOEL (co)WARD = [Hospital section where carols are sung?]
  • STAGE (co)ACHES = [Aftermath of a fall during the play?]
  • PERSISTENT (co)UGH = [Sign of tenacious disgust?]
  • (co)PING MECHANISM = [Gadget that makes a bullet-impact sound?]
  • MY GOOSE IS (co)OKED = [Relieved comment from a "Next Food Network Star" contestant when the judge likes her fowl dish?] - That's a long way to go for the joke, but I like it!
What else?
  • CARIBOU [Arctic deer] seem to be in the news relatively often lately.
  • Unfortunately, RAISINY, [Like some cereal], is not a word. It's just not. But it's Sunday, so that's okay.
  • A debutante, or DEB, is the party who "comes out" at the coming-out party, which makes her the [Coming-out party?]. Got that? People still do this, right? Wow. So far away from my reality.
  • [One of a dozen, often] is a JUROR. Raise your hand if you initially had donut.
  • I wish Jack Johnson would do something with the [Classic Hawaiian song] ALOHA OE. That would be cool.
  • I had never seen the word LincolnIANA. As it turns out, though, I was given some as a gift several years ago.
  • Could ULU Grosbard have a cooler first name? No, he could not.
  • ARPEL is a ["Mon Oncle" family name]. Has anyone seen this movie? Seems like it might be a little hard to understand.
Let's just say there was a lot of Googling going on during the solving of Bob Klahn's CrosSynergy Sunday Challenge. I think the four long answers in this one are colorful:

  • John Denver's "Calypso" is, of course, a tribute to JACQUES COUSTEAU. Also, the song I'll have stuck in my head the rest of the day.
  • The LEGAL PROFESSION can be described as a [Brief field].
  • A MASQUERADE PARTY is, indeed, a ball.
  • And DON'T MOVE A MUSCLE is a much more precise way of saying ["Stay right there"], particularly if you have children who when you say "Don't move" start flailing various limbs around just to annoy you. Not that that ever happens to me.
Good stuff all the way through, a lot of which, sadly, I did not know.
  • HORAL means [Happening every 60 minutes]. I pieced it together, but don't recall ever seeing it before.
  • WISCONSIN is the [State that hosts the "World's Largest Music Festival"]. With only the first I in place, I guessed Minnesota.
  • [Square-toed] means PRIM. Who knew?
  • The [First man to walk in space] was Alexei LEONOV. Now that really seems like something I should have known.
  • [Queen Dido's lover] was AENEAS.
  • A [Queen's demesne] is a REALM. When I don't even know the words in the clues, I know I'm in trouble.
  • A SHOJI is a [Rice paper screen]. Apparently, the depth of my ignorance knows no bounds.
  • Frances the Badger was created by Russell HOBAN.
  • Ya know that [Lining that keeps the lungs from rubbing against the ribs]? Yeah, that's called a PLEURA.
  • ELMER is a [Bugs' bugbear]. I have no idea what this means.
  • JA-DA is a jazz standard written by Bob Carleton in 1918. Here's a clip.
  • A [Banshee's bailiwick] is EIRE. I didn't know banshees were specifically Irish.
  • EDEN is Hebrew for "pleasure." Good to know.
  • [Clementine's final solution] was BRINE. Anyone know all the words to this song? It's pretty sad.
  • Robert DONAT starred in "The 39 Steps." Why can't I ever remember this man's name??
I took it as a challenge when Orange said last night that I might not have the rest of the puzzles blogged until "afternoon," and it's 11:44 now, so let me get this up. Someday Orange will ask me to blog a Monday puzzle for you and you'll see that I am sometimes pretty fast! And smart! Enjoy the rest of the weekend....