December 22, 2008

Monday, 12/22

Sun 8:57
LAT 5:04
NYT 4:07
CS 4:00

(Updated at 9:30am Monday)

Hi, everyone. PuzzleGirl here. If I had only done a little better on the Sun puzzle, you probably would have thought I was Orange. I mean, 4:07 is pretty good, right? Okay, I realize it's not Orange good, or Howard good ... or Tyler good, or Dan good, or ... Oh whatever — I'm holding my head high today! 4:07!

Lynn Lempel's super-easy New York Times crossword — and I only say it's super-easy because of my incredible time — has theme answers that start with hopping animals. We start out with John Updike's Rabbit Run, which I haven't read. Trying to remember if I've read anything of his. Oh sure, Witches of Eastwick. I understand the sequel, Widows of Eastwick, has just been published and it's supposed to be pretty good. Next, we move on to CRICKET PLAYER, which is a [Batsman at a wicket.] Have I offered you my obligatory "Sports Night" reference in the last few days? No? Well, here it is. All I can remember about the episode "Ten Wickets" is that Jeremy hears about a phenomenal accomplishment by a professional cricket player and everybody's like, "Okay, sure. Great, Jeremy," because they know absolutely nothing about cricket. The summary for the episode also says that "Natalie continues to refuse to break up with Jeremy," so I guess Jeremy is not having his best day. Moving on to the next hopper — ooh! that would have been cool to have Dennis Hopper in this puzzle somewhere! — a holder of an unfair trial is a KANGAROO COURT. Well, that's odd. I thought the proceedings themselves were called the kangaroo court. Who is the holder exactly? Man, I can get caught up in the minutiae. I think we'd better move on. Next is TOADSTOOL. Apparently, there has never been a consensus on the exact difference between a mushroom and a toadstool.

What else?

  • The first three crosses sort of trip off the tongue, don't they? TEMP, TAPS, TRAMP. Nice.
  • Other sparkly fill: RAW DATA, SPITTOONS, and KAPUT.
  • I love the name IAGO. He's so evil and creepy and his name just fits, doesn't it? Say it out loud: IAGO. IAGO. Say it with a sneer. Makes you want to go put a pox on someone's house, doesn't it?
  • I hate to complain because I think this is a fine, fine puzzle, but BOOTEE? I demand a "Var."! Wow, Merriam-Webster online says "bootie" is the variant. I guess I have no idea what I'm talking about. Putting my head down on my desk now.
Today's Sun crossword raises the question on everyone's mind: What the heck is a Triple Crown in baseball? Okay, maybe not everyone's. Peter Gordon, for instance. I'm sure he knows. For those of you who, like me, were trying to think of a horse with a three-letter nickname, let me look it up for you. According to Wikipedia, in baseball the Triple Crown refers to "1. A batter who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories — home runs, runs batted in, and batting average, and 2. A pitcher who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories — earned run average, wins, and strikeouts." The triple crown for batting is less common than the triple crown for pitching. In fact, the last time someone achieved it was in 1967 and guess who! Our buddy Carl Yastrzemski, otherwise known as YAZ. The last time a batter lead both leagues in the three categories was 1956. Anyone have a guess who it was? That's right, Mickey Mantle. The only two-time winners of the Triple Crown are Rogers Hornsby (1922, 1925) and Ted Williams (1942, 1947). Are you bored of the baseball talk? Sorry about that. What else is going on in this puzzle? Oh yeah, the theme! I'm not really sure how to explain it coherently so I'll just give you the theme answers and you can figure it out on your own.
  • [Nickname on "The Howard Stern Show"] is BABA BOOEY
  • [Center fielder for the Red Sox] is COCO CRISP (more baseball!)
  • ["Too Many Rings Around Rosie" musical] is NO, NO, NANETTE
  • ["Hubba hubba!"] is VA VA VOOM
  • [Sampler at a Chinese restaurant] is PU PU PLATTER
  • [Emphatic affirmative, in Acapulco] is SÍ, SÍ, SEÑOR
  • [Dancer with high boots] is GO-GO GIRL
So you don't need me to come up with actual words to explain that. You've got it, right? Good. You know what? There's lots of good stuff in this puzzle, but I got so distracted with the baseball info that I'm pretty much done for today. Go ahead and fawn over this puzzle in the comments. TECATE and GO-GO GIRL crossing COCO CRISP and RAVEL? Good stuff! I'll be back later with the rest of today's puzzles.


Edgar Fontaine's L.A. Times crossword pays tribute to the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors game. My husband calls the game rochambeau, which I had never heard until I met him, but shows up quite prominently in the game's Wikipedia entry. I also recall reading an article once about how people in Japan use this game in otherwise serious social contexts with strangers — for example, two shoppers might play R-P-S to determine who gets the last ... I don't know, Indiana Jones action figure on the shelf at Target. Do they have Target in Japan?
  • [Another name for crayfish] = ROCK LOBSTER
  • [Gain on stock you still own] = PAPER PROFIT
  • [Wrestling ploy] = SCISSORS HOLD
A couple tough ones for a Monday:
  • Auto racer ARIE Luyendyk.
  • Capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, SAIPAN
  • [Rhoda's mom] refers to IDA Morgenstern played by the wonderful and extremely short Nancy Walker. I can't find a single clip of that character on YouTube. That's a travesty! Or I just need to be more persistent.
  • Also, I'm not sure "Dr. Doolittle" would be my go-to descriptive movie for OSSIE Davis.
Sarah Keller's CrosSynergy crossword reminds us that today is the first day of Hanukkah. It defines [MENORAH] as a CANDLEHOLDER, [DREIDEL] as a SPINNING GAME, and [LATKE] as a POTATO PANCAKE. All things associated with the FEAST OF LIGHTS. In the spirit of this puzzle, I'd like to share with you an ... unconventional version of the Dreidel song. Enjoy!

I'll be back tomorrow with your Tuesday puzzles. PuzzleHusband has been lobbying hard to "help" me blog tomorrow, so come on back and see what kind of foolishness he wants to talk about.