March 02, 2009

Tuesday, 3/3

Jonesin' 3:41 — get this now via the Jonesin' Google Group (#404)
LAT 3:09
NYT 3:06 (there's someone there after the jump, but it's not Amy)

Hey, everybody! PuzzleGirl here doing that thing that I do so well. Amy wasn't feeling well tonight and asked me to whip a little something up for the blog so you all could start your gabbing. I'm sorry I'm a little late posting this but I got caught up in "The Bachelor." I have Never watched the show, but PuzzleHusband is totally into it and I had to find out if he won the office pool or not. Did he? I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, so let's just say that it's not exactly clear. I mean he didn't, but then maybe he did? I'm thinking hubby's co-workers may be rehearsing their technicalities for tomorrow. Oh and two more things but, really, I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I'm going to to try the little trick I've seen on other sites from time to time (if you don't mind being spoiled, you can drag your cursor over the seemingly blank space): (1) Did anyone else just wish Jason would Stop Talking once they brought Molly back out?? and (2) From what I can tell, the guy who agreed to appear on national television to choose a wife turned out to be something of a selfish dick! Who could have seen that coming?? Okay, sorry, the puzzle already:

We are talking about Jeffrey Wechsler's New York Times crossword which contains five — count 'em five — theme phrases that take some unusual suspects and throw them in jail.

  • [Prison for soda jerks?] = FOUNTAIN PEN
  • [Prison for bishops?] = MITER JOINT (ha!)
  • [Prison for vintners?] = CHAMPAGNE COOLER
  • [Prison for corny humorists?] = HOKEY POKEY (what if that really is what it's all about?)
  • [Prison for gardeners?] = WATERING CAN
Missteps for me included vie for TRY [Go for it], stet for DELE [Proofer's mark], sassy for SAUCY [Smart-mouthed], SSN for TEL [10-digit no.] (yes, I know), and ate for WON [Took the cake]. NENES are [Spanish babies]? Really? Huh. JOCOSE, [Full of merriment], is a great word. Overall, I really liked this puzzle. The theme answers are pretty snappy for a Tuesday (generally not my favorite day of the week) and the non-theme fill included some good stuff and a few entries that were just tricky enough to make it interesting. And, ya know what? I'm still kind of riding the high from the cruciverb-y weekend and I think that's all I'm going to say about this one. With any luck, Amy will be back tomorrow morning with the rest of the puzzles. See ya!


Amy/Orange here, back after 10 hours of sleep. Thanks for facilitating that, PuzzleGirl! Much appreciated. My neck is still tweaked and if anyone knows how to fix it so that I can look to both sides again without wincing in pain, I'd love to hear from you.

Timothy Meaker's LA Times crossword is a good puzzle for a SMOKE break, as 65-Across explains that SMOKE can [precede the last word of answers to starred clues]. The theme entries are as follows:
  • [Prospector's concern] is a CLAIM JUMPER. Smoke-jumpers fight forest fires.
  • [Television] is the SMALL SCREEN. Put up a smokescreen to deflect attention from your malfeasance.
  • John [Belushi's breakout film] was the classic ANIMAL HOUSE. Can Jim Belushi be said to have had a breakout film? I say no. The smokehouse is where your best barbecue is coming from.
  • On TV, ["The Untouchables" star] was ROBERT STACK. We all know what a smokestack looks like.
Greatest hits from the land of crosswordese: The name for a [Jai alai basket] is CESTA. The only famous TIA is [Actress Carrere]. Luckily, it's also Spanish for "aunt," so crossword constructors have other options for cluing TIA. [Hoarfrost] is RIME, as in the frosty ice that forms on a window when it's super cold out. In "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," rime = rhyme or poem, right? We know that comets have visible tails, but [Comet head?] with a question mark clues the letter CEE that begins the word comet. SAS is the [Airline with a hub in Oslo]. ["SNL" alum Cheri] hasn't been seen much in popular culture in the last few years, but Ms. OTERI was funny on Saturday Night Live.

Hey, I really liked the theme in Matt Jones's Jonesin' crossword, "A Slash of Inspiration." There's a little gimmick—five squares contain a slash. (My answer grid leaves those blank because I couldn't type one in Across Lite.) If you groove on hardcore symmetry in crossword themes, then you'll like how these five slash/rebus squares are perfectly symmetrical. The [1963 Peter Weiss play set in the French Revolution, briefly] is MARAT/SADE, and it crosses F/X, the [1986 thriller starring Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy]. Four of the five long answers are titles of movies, plays, or TV series, so the slashy business is deep in pop culture. Speaking of pop culture, my favorite answer is MR. ROPER, [Jack's first landlord, on "Three's Company."

Gotta run right now—

—and now I'm back, an hour later. All righty, here are Matt's theme answers:
  • [1963 Peter Weiss play set in the French Revolution, briefly] is MARAT/SADE, crossing F/X, the [1986 thriller starring Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy]. 
  • [2008 historical drama that lost five Academy Awards]—way to accentuate the negative in that clue!—is FROST/NIXON. It crosses B/W, or black-and-white, [Like some old TV sets, in want ads].
  • JAZZ/BLUES is a [Section in some music stores]. Crossing: C/O or "care of," an [Abbr. on an envelope to be sent to a third party].
  • The [1997 identity-switch movie with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage] is FACE/OFF, and this crosses AC/DC, the ["Back in Black" rockers].
  • NIP/TUCK is a [TV drama centered around a plastic surgery clinic], and AM/FM is the [Variety of most car radios]. Back when B/W TVs were commonplace, the less fancy cars had only AM radios. Do any of the cheapest basic models these days have only AM radios? I'm thinking not.