December 25, 2008

Friday, 12/26

WSJ 37:52
NYT 36:22
LAT 17:21
Sun 12:58
CS 5:00
CHE Unavailable

(Updated at 7:30pm Friday)

Good morning, everyone. It's PuzzleGirl again. Hope you're enjoying your Day After Christmas, or your Fifth (fifth?) Day of Hannukah, or, ya know, your Friday. Whatever it happens to be for you, I hope it's good. After today you'll only have one more day of me before our beloved Orange is back, so things are looking up! I'll be honest with you, I don't know how early I'll get to the rest of Friday's puzzles. If you want to talk about them — is anyone really even here? — please feel free, but I'll try to get them up before 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. But no promises!

When I saw Brendan Emmett Quigley's name on the Friday New York Times crossword, I suspected I was in for a workout. And I wasn't disappointed.


  • First drive-in, then stadium, and finally BOXSEAT for [Where to get a good view of a hit and run].
  • Stadium at 1 Across gave me ten to one for [Pretty poor chances]. (Actually, ONE IN TEN.)
  • I thought package would be a good tricky answer for [Prepare to ship]. Eventually, changed it to the correct CRATE UP.
  • I know I've been sneered at contemptuously, but come to think of it, I've probably been SNORTED at too.
  • You knew damn well I'd enter imp for ELF, didn't you, Mr. Quigley?! What is this, some kind of sick joke?!?
I admit I was troubled by duplicate words in the grid: CRATE UP, NEXT UP, ONE-UP and FIT IN, ONE IN TEN, KEPT IN. A year ago, I probably would not have noticed this, but since I've been doing a lot of puzzles on a regular basis, I know that there's a "rule" and I don't really expect it to be broken. So, although I knew that NEXT UP looked really good, I was hesitant to use it when I had already seen CRATE UP and that one seemed to be right as well. Obviously, the "rule" can be broken and I certainly don't mean to chastise BEQ or suggest in any way, shape, or form that I could have made this puzzle better, I'm just saying it affected my solving experience. So that and four dollars will get you a half-caf skinny caramel latté (no whip) at Starbucks.

Hip Hip Hooray:
  • It took me way too long to remember that SIR PAUL McCartney was knighted in 1997.
  • This is how discombobulated I was about 3/4 of the way through this puzzle. I had _OE for [One of the Baltimore Ravens' mascots] and was all "Moe? Joe?" Did I mention that I majored in English? Yikes! (By the way, Poe the Raven was voted the "Most Fierce NFL Mascot" for 2008.)
  • OTIS is a [Leading manufacturer of cars]. Elevator cars, that is.
  • SUZIE [Wong of book and film] is the archetypal "hooker with a heart of gold" in Richard Mason's The World of Suzie Wong.
  • BALOO is ["The Jungle Book" bear]. AKELA is the wolf. I only know this from my son's Cub Scouts activities.
  • Nice to see the whole name of MAUNA KEA in the puzzle, instead of just the KEA.
  • Way back in the old days when I moved to New York to go to college, I couldn't wait to "Take the A TRAIN."
  • Never heard of "EADIE Was a Lady." It's a song originally sung by Ethel Merman in the Broadway show "Take a Chance." According to Wikipedia, "In 1933, the show was made into a film with almost no resemblance to the original show, except for the song Eadie Was a Lady. Lillian Roth played Merman's role in the film." So now I know.
Karen M. Tracey's Sun "Weekend Warrior" started out with a big ol' collision of seemingly unrelated letters at 1 Across. [The IJsselmeer was a part of it before construction of the Afsluitdijk]. Um ... WHAT? Got the answer — ZUIDERZEE — completely from crosses and still don't know what it means because I didn't look it up and now it's late and I'm going to try to finish this so I can get to bed. Just to be clear, I'm not complaining. Those are all awesome words.

  • ATRA is the [Fusion predecessor]. I'm going to assume the Fusion is a razor that was created more recently than the Atra. So, nice tricky clue for a common crossword answer! Have you guys ever seen the Uncyclopedia site? I don't know if the whole site is like this, but this article tells the "history" of the "Gillette Good News! Trac II Atra Sensor Excel3 Turbo Power Fusion Power for Men and Women." Funny stuff.
  • COSMO Spacely isn't exactly my go-to answer for Jetsons references, but it was cool to see him here.
  • Never heard the term lady chapel before, but it's related to an APSE. Not sure if one is a subset of the other or what.
  • [Pet for Hamlet] is referring to the Hägar the Horrible comic strip. Hägar's son is named Hamlet, and SNERT is the family dog.
  • Big Spike Lee fan back in the late 1980s. I saw all six of the films he made starting with "She's Gotta Have It" in 1986 through 1992's "Malcolm X." Not sure what happened after that because I didn't see another Spike Lee Joint until "25th Hour" in 2002, and then INSIDE MAN in 2006.
  • It's embarrassing how many words I don't know. COZEN means "to deceive, win over, or induce to do something by artful coaxing and wheedling or shrewd trickery." So I guess [Hoodwink] would be a good clue.
  • I promise — promise — I'll learn my rivers. In the meantime, though, please, please, please I'm begging you, don't clue one river with another. My fragile ego can't take it. ([Rhôone feeder] = ISÈRE. It's in France. I'm writing it down now.)
  • I figured out [Bar in a bar] but I wonder if it threw some people. A bar is a measure in music and a REST is ... shaped like a bar I guess? It looks like this.
  • For some reason I just can't wrap my head around the word bucolic. To me it sounds like anemic or asthmatic ... something medical that's, ya know, not good. But in real life, it means "of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen." So I guess that pretty much describes a LEA.

Okay, this is going to be quick. I was up early this morning with PuzzleSon, who felt like he was going to throw up. He didn't, but I was up with him for quite a while. Then I went back to bed and didn't get up until 11:00. I'm getting my hair cut at 2:00 and the kids are clamoring for ... breakfast? It's basically lunchtime! I guess things are a little off today. What? You don't care about this stuff? Okay, sorry. Here are the rest of today's puzzles:

Don Gagliardo's L.A. Times crossword is filled with puns where the original phrase includes a word that ends with the letter T and resulting phrases change that T sound to a D sound. I'm not one of those people who loves puns, but I don't hate them either. I kinda liked these.
  • [Many a con game? ] = FRAUD (fraught) WITH DANGER
  • [Hippies?] = BEAD (beat) GENERATION
  • [Student's concern?] = GRADE (great) DEPRESSION
  • [Visit Disneyland?] = DO THE RIDE (right) THING (this is my favorite; maybe because it's one of those Spike Lee films I was talking about earlier!)
  • [Math-challenged?] = PAINED (paint) BY NUMBERS
[Low digits] pulls double duty today as a clue for both ONES and TOES. Also a couple of golf clues today with JULI [Inkster of the LPGA] and ERNIE Els, [Rival of Tiger (Woods) and Vijay (Singh)]. I was having trouble getting out of a jam instead of a RUT for a while. Had limo instead of DICE for [High roller's rollers], signing up instead of SIGNING IN for [Registering]. Never heard of Kimmie Meissner, but her milieu is a RINK, so I guess she's a skater. I can never remember how to spell SHIH Tzu. I know how it's pronounced so I always think the first word is going to be shit and then realize that, of course, can't be right. Don't get me started on [Like many couples] = WED. I just don't have time for that kind of a rant today.

Love love love Alice Long's Wall Street Journal puzzle today! It's called "Boxing Day" and rebus squares contain the letters ALI. Like Muhammad Ali! A three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer! Awesome!
  • [Cardiologist's prescription] = DIGITALIS
  • [Lucky charm] = TALISMAN
  • [Deceptive art] = OPTICAL ILLUSION
  • [Gym class activity] = CALISTHENICS
  • [Steinbeck's California birthplace] = SALINAS
  • [Support for a bridge, perhaps] = DENTAL IMPLANT
  • [Some MoMA works] = DALIS
  • ["The Jungle Book" setting] = COLONIAL INDIA
  • [Eucharist need] = CHALICE
  • [Noted University of Padua professor] = GALILEO GALILEI
  • [Trotsky rival] = STALIN
  • [Historic Chicago-to-Los Angeles train] = CALIFORNIA LIMITED
  • [Name on the runways of Milan] = ALITALIA
  • [Mind readers] = MENTALISTS
  • [Hood's handle] = ALIAS
  • [High-pH stuff] = ALKALI
  • [Lionhearted] = VALIANT
  • [Temporary partnership] = COALITION
  • [Vezina Trophy winners] = GOALIES
  • [Detectives check them] = ALIASES
  • [Make illegal] = CRIMINALIZES
  • [Flippered critter] = SEA LIION
  • [Assassination victim of A.D. 41] = CALIGULA
  • [Mullah Omar's group] = TALIBAN
  • [Mouth moistener] = SALIVA
That's a lot of rebus squares! The only other thing I want to mention real quick is that if you haven't seen the HBO series "Entourage," you should consider it. Vince's agent, ARI Gold, played by Jeremy Piven, is the best thing about the show. PuzzleHusband and I just started watching it last year but are catching up with our sweet Christmas present of seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. (One caveat: If you're offended by bad language and sexually explicit humor, this is not the show for you.) I was completely tickled last month when in one of the episodes the actor/director Peter Berg had a cameo. Ari was taking a call from him and told the other people in the room "This is Pete Berg! He was my roommate in college!" Well, that was a shout-out to those of us who attended Macalester College in the early 80s and know that Peter Berg was, in fact, roommates with Ari Emanuel, the guy Ari Gold's character is based on (and, coincidentally, Rahm Emanuel's brother).

Gotta go for now. Back later with the CS.

I'm so late getting to today's CrosSynergy puzzle that I'm just going to post the grid for you and tell you that the theme is Puppet Duos. PUNCH AND JUDY, KUKLA AND OLLIE, and BERT AND ERNIE. I noticed an old-timey feel to the puzzle with the inclusion of LASS, GENT, and FELLA. See ya in a little bit with tomorrow's NYT....