May 10, 2009

Sunday, 5/10

NYT (27:32)
PI (18:24)
LAT (untimed, I mean really, it's PuzzleGirl — who cares?)
BG (untimed)
CS tba

Hey, everyone. PuzzleGirl here, filling in for Orange who's off doing ... um ... come to think of it, she didn't tell me what she was doing. No wait. Traveling. Traveling somewhere with spotty Internet? Yes, I'm sure that's it. Well, whatever it is she's doing, we're here gabbing about the puzzles — yay!

Patrick Berry's New York Times puzzle, "Golfing Around," is full of golf puns. If you don't like puns, you probably won't be thrilled with this one. Me? I was just happy to know enough about golf to understand the theme answers. Well, most of them anyway.

Theme answers:

  • Where golf bag handlers congregate inside the clubhouse? [CADDIE CORNER] — "catty corner"
  • Golf clubs tossed into the drink at Pebble Beach? [SUBMARINE SAND WEDGES] — "submarine sandwiches"
  • Tendency to throw one's club after sinking a short stroke? [THE PUTTER FLY EFFECT] — "the butterfly effect"
  • Like golf courses that let you play the full 18? [NO HOLES BARRED] — "no holds barred"
  • Competitions to see who can drive a ball farthest in the rain? [WET TEE-SHOT CONTESTS] — "wet tee-shirt contests"
  • Thoroughly undeserved under-par result? [A LOW DOWN BIRDIE SHAME] — "a low down dirty shame"
  • Fairway club swung quickly? [FAST FOUR WOOD] — "fast forward." This is funny. I just finally explained to my 9-year-old son that nobody outside of our family says "fast backward" for "rewind." The kids have been saying it since they were little and it's hilarious! But I figure it's probably about time to start thinking about how our little family quirks might be viewed by the outside world.
I made two mistakes in this puzzle. The first one was just a bonehead error on my part. I had "No holes parred" at first and couldn't figure out how that fit with the clue. I even Googled pucko to see if that was something. (Well, it's something, but not anything that works in this puzzle.) So I'm sitting here, late at night, knowing I have a mistake in my puzzle, pretty much knowing it has to be at one of the pucko crossings, but I can't figure it out. So I send out a may-day email to a bunch of PuzzleFriends, hoping they're still up after having no doubt completed the puzzle correctly. Crosscan got back to me pretty much right away and set me straight on BUCKO. D'oh! Thanks Crosscan! Then he sent me another email telling me I should talk about the MAYLE/BARIC crossing. I'm all "Huh? MAYLE/BARIC?" Yeah, I had that wrong too. I'm dying to know how many of you got tripped up there. Let me know in the comments!

Okay, what else? I had a couple missteps with zero for JERK [59A: Ding-a-line], mull for MUSE [72A: Cogitate], eggs for HIES [82A: Spurs (on)], and stir up for RILE UP [90D: Agitate]. I also didn't know SLIDELL was a Louisiana city on Lake Pontchartrain, OTIS Smith used to play for the Magic, and LI PO was a Tang dynasty poet. Favorite word in the puzzle? BLAT. No contest.

John Lampkin's L.A. Times puzzle, "Mothers of Invention," has some fun fill, but I couldn't really get excited about the theme.

Theme answers:
  • When Harriet Farnam invented her "Non-Swarmer" beehive, she GOT A HONEY OF A DEAL.
  • When Mary Walton invented sound dampers for elevated railways, she TOOK THE HIGH ROAD.
  • When Amanda Jones invented the automatic safety oil burner, she WASN'T JUST BLOWING SMOKE.
  • When Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate-chip cookie, she SWEETENED THE POT.
  • When Ida Hyde invented the intracellular microelectrode, she CAUSED A SENSATION.
  • When Hedy Lamarr co-invented a radio-frequency encryption system, she MADE WAVES.
  • When Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher, she CLEANED UP.
For all the details on my indifference, and to learn more stuff I didn't know in the puzzles today, check out my post at our other blog: L.A. Crossword Confidential.

Merl Reagle's Philadelphia Inquirer crossword, is full of puns (surprise!) with the theme "Perfect Gifts for TV Moms."

Theme answers:
  • Perfect gift for Shirley Partridge? (A SINGER SEWING MACHINE). To replace Danny?
  • Perfect gift for Jane Jetson? (A SPACE HEATER). To warm up all that outer space.
  • Perfect gift for Wilma Flintstone? (A ROCK ALBUM). I actually received a copy of Kid Rock's "Cocky" for Mother's Day one year. True story.
  • Perfect gift for Samantha of "Bewitched"? (A SPELL-CHECKER).
  • Perfect gift for Mrs. Cunningham of "Happy Days"? (A WAD OF FIFTIES). Perfect for any occasion, really.
  • Perfect gift for Harriet Nelson? (THE WIZARD OF OZ). Is this supposed to be dirty? Because it sounds dirty to me.
  • Perfect gift for June Cleaver? (A CUTTING BOARD).
  • Perfect gift for Dennis the Menace's mom? (A DIRT DEVIL).
  • Perfect gift for Morticia Addams? (A HELPING HAND).
  • Perfect gift for Carol Brady? (ANY BOOK BY RALPH BUNCHE). Because nothing says "We appreciate you, Mom" like a copy of The Political Status of the Negro in the Age of FDR.
I didn't know the real names of either Elvis Costello (DECLAN McManus) or Roy Rogers (Leonard SLYE) until today. I kept reading the "Three Coins in the Fountain" clue as wanting the name of an artist or director or something, but it just wanted the name of the fountain (TREVI). I know that EBOLA and e. coli are two different things (e.g., EBOLA is a [Notorious virus]), but I can never remember which one is which. Raise your hand if you thought Walesa forming solidarity in Poland was close enough and that anyone who knew right off that the correct answer was GDANSK is obviously some kind of over-achiever. If you didn't understand the reference to George Hamilton's TAN, here's a visual aid. You know who else is unnaturally tan? John Boehner, Ryan Seacrest, and the entire Ohio State University wrestling team (e.g., J Jaggers).

Okay, I'm going to wrap this up, but I would be remiss if I didn't just say a little something about MRS. [30A: Mom's title]. Merl. You know I love you. And I get it that it's Mother's Day. But, really? Really?? Yes, there are moms who (a) are married and (b) prefer to be called "Mrs." But the percentage of moms who don't fall into one or both of those categories these days has got to be pretty high. Just sayin'.

Okay, it's late, I'm tired, and I have other stuff to do tomorrow, so I'm just going to give you a quick rundown of Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon's Boston Globe puzzle, "Overlappers."

Theme answers:
  • "Tents & RVs" sign? (CAMPERS AMPERSAND).
  • Office-supply raffle? (BLOTTER LOTTERY).
  • Insult that's a bit yellow? (SAFFRON AFFRONT).
  • Molluscan malarkey? (ABALONE BALONEY).
  • Speech from "Hamlet"? (HORATIO ORATION).
  • Clergy for equal rights? (FEMINIST MINISTRY).
  • Monster in the mood for love? (ROMANTIC MANTICORE).
  • Pilot's tool at lunch? (MEALTIME ALTIMETER).
I like how we start out right at 1A with a golf reference. I'm not sure, however, that all golfers would consider PAR a "success." I like the inclusion of cad and popinjays in the clues and VARLET and FOPS in the answers. And I love the phrase "Room to swing A CAT." Not that I would ever do it! It just cracks me up to picture it. PROM [66A: School ball] made me think of the "Hannah Montana" episode I watched with PuzzleDaughter today. I've been avoiding that show like the plague. Never watched it until today. There were parts that were actually kind of amusing, but I was really surprised to learn that a primary focus of the show is that Miley Cyrus's character leads a double life. By day she's typical high school student Miley Stewart, but when she puts her wig on, she's magically transformed into rock star Hannah Montana. And nobody knows. That's the part that really struck me. I had to ask my daughter: "So, the kids that go to school with Miley Stewart on the show — they don't know that she's Hannah Montana? Even though they look exactly alike?" She was all, "Mom. She puts on a wig and wears different makeup." Well, that explains everything. Anyway. The episode we watched was about Miley's prom and I was going to tell you about it, but really. Who am I kidding? You're not really that interested and I'm exhausted, so I'm going to close for now. Thanks for letting me hang out with you again — it's always a blast! With any luck, Amy will be back tomorrow.