November 25, 2009

Thursday, 11/26/09

NYT - 6:01 (JK - paper)
LAT - oops, clock wasn't on
CS - untimed
Tausig - 11:27 (JK -paper)

Hi everyone. Jeffrey here. Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers. Happy New Year’s Eve to our syndicated readers. Happy Thursday to everyone else.
Happy Birthday to Rex Parker who is now older than me. Check out the previous post for more on this milestone, including two related puzzles and a great cause that needs your support.

Despite holidays, birthdays and Thursdays, like the mail in Seinfeld, the crosswords never stop, so the blogging must go on! Amy is nowhere to be found so Team Orange is on duty to replace Her Fiendness. I must be Turkey Prime, as I get to go first. However, as a Canadian, I'm afraid there'll be no more mention of Thanksgiving.

Paula Gamache's New York Times Crossword

The theme is 51A: [What 20-, 31- and 40-Across were each introduced as by 47-Down] PARADE BALLOONS in the 47D- MACY’S Thanksgiving Day parade. Hey! Darn.
20A: [Introduction of 1977] – KERMIT THE FROG
31A: [Introduction of 1927] – FELIX THE CAT
40A: [Introduction of 1963] – ELSIE THE COW

14A: [First step in a series] – A TO B. There is no Atob.
17A: [Rabanne who was the costume designer for “Barbarella”] – PACO. What a lucky break! Today at work, someone asked me who the costume designer for “Barbarella” was. What are the odds (that any part of that is true)?
25A: [Thoreau’s “On Fields OER Which the Reaper’s Hand Has Pass’d”]. Land of the free, we miss you.
36A: [Head of the Egyptian god Thoth] – IBIS. Every part of that sounds weird.
38A: [A slowpoke may be asked to pick it up] – PACE. Pick up PACE, PACO. Jane Fonda is waiting. Somewhere, a lonely “the” sits alone.
56A: [RAREE] show. Can you say RAREE without show? I’ll have my steakee raree, please.
1D: [Sound on “Batman”] – ZAP! Hard one. Could have been BAM!, POW! Or if this was a rebus, SPLAT!
2D: [Letter after Z] – ETA. Z is pronounced “zed” today.
11D: [Marie Osmond’s ADORA Belle dolls]. Awwww. Isn’t that cuutttte.
12D: [“CAROL of the Bells” (holiday favourite)]. Wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.
30D: [Frozen drink brand] – ICEE. Perfect with that steakee.
35D:[Loser of 1948] – DEWEY. Lost to Truman, right? More American stuff.

"Prime Time Practice" by Ben Tausig.
The theme is revealed at 56A/71A [People whose names begin the starred entries] - SCREEN MDS, or "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV". We have 4 TV doctors:

28A: [*Find the source of some corporate malfeasance, say] -PIERCE THE VEIL. Dr. Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) from M*A*S*H.
48A: [*Holy place] - HOUSE OF PRAYER . Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) from House.
62A: [*Mental material] - GREY MATTER - Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) from Grey's Anatomy.
17A/21A: [Long-running PBS concert series] - AUSTIN CITY LIMITS . Colonel Steve Austin (Lee Majors) from The Six Million Dollar Man. Never knew he was a doctor. Well, it could be Dr. Kate Austin (Christine Lahti) on Chicago Hope. A quick check with other members of Team Orange shows similar confusion.

Other stuff you might not know:

24A: [Text type] : SMS - Short Message Service, what you use for cellphone text messages.
27A: [Lee Myung-bak's country, for short] - ROK. Republic of Korea (South)
34A: [Plitvice Lakes National Park country] - CROATIA. Banff - Canada. Yosemite - USA. Plitvice Lakes - Croatia.
39A: [Time off, in mil. slang] - RNR - Rest "N" Relaxation. R&R is better.
51A: [MST 3K (cult show)] - Mystery Science Theater 3000
59A: [Lamas of "The Bachelor"] - SHAYNE. No idea. Related to Lorenzo Lamas? Yup, daughter.
66A: [Quadratic function subj.] - CALC. Calculus. joon, please explain the difference between integral and differential calculus.
68A: [Publisher whose second and third children were born 35 years apart] - HEF. Hugh Hefner.
7D: [Common occasion for leaving work early: Abbr.] - FRI. Memo to my staff: I'll need a bit more than "It's Friday. I'm leaving early."
10D: [Starting a tic-tac-toe game at one of the edges, say] - BAD MOVE. Edge being a non-corner and non-center square. It could work in Hollywood Squares. You fool! (Steve Austin reference in this link).
24D: [Tattoo, in a way] - SCARIFY. New word to me.
30D: [Celtics guard Rajon] - RONDO. Of the Boston Celtics.
31D: [Jamiroquai's "(Don't) Give HATE A Chance"] - Lots of unknown-to-me in this puzzle.
46D: [Pen name for "The Conning Tower" columnist] - F.P.A. Franklin Pierce Adams. PIERCE again. I should know this?
57D: [Grammy-winning blues musician Robert] - CRAY. Here with Eric Clapton.

Lila Cherry’s Los Angeles Times Crossword
The theme answers are all clued [Turkey] (the last with a “?”). Sigh.
63A: FRIDAY’S SANDWICH. I think this is implying leftovers from Thursday feast.
3D: [Turkish currency] – LIRA
52A: [Lake surrounding Canada’s southernmost point] – ERIE. Trivia question – How many US states are at least partly north of Middle Island, Ontario? Answer – 27!
And in the downs, the World’s Most Eclectic Musical Set:
1D: [“Mamma Mia!” band] – ABBA.
26D: [‘60s song car with “three deuce and a four-speed and a 389”] - GTO
30D: [Greek New Age Keyboardist] – YANNI........oh, sorry, fell asleep for a minute.
32D: [Musical buzzer] – KAZOO.
54D: [Hendrix hairdo] – AFRO.
I leave you with 51D: [Slovenly] – FROWZY. Frowzy? Frowzy?

Patrick Blindauer's CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, "Gobble, Gobble!"—Janie's review

Thanksgiving already—when Tom Turkey says "Gobble, gobble!" (translation: "Please have roast beef instead or maybe send out for some General TSO's chicken or, hey—maybe a nice BLT!!"), and so many of us will be with family or friends indulging ourselves as we enjoy (translation: "gobble down") our feasts (traditional or un-) and maybe even take a moment or three to think about what it is we're genuinely thankful for. For some, there'll be hours of watching football; for others, hours of prepping for the main event, since—as we're prompted at 71A.—the [Popular thing to do on Thanksgiving (and word that's hidden in 17-, 29-, 47- and 60-Across)] is EAT. And eat and eat and eat and eat as in:

• 17A. SURPRISE ATTACKS [Unexpected acts of hositility]. May our lives be from any more of these...
• 29A. DAVE ATTELL [Comic with the 2007 HBO special "Captain Miserable"]. Never heard of the guy—but then again, I don't subscribe to HBO, and to judge from these quotes, I may not want to. Then again, there's not a lot of stand-up that's funnier in print...
• 47A. SEA TURTLES [Crush and pals, in "Finding Nemo"]. Hmm. Never seen this either, but I have this sneaking suspicion it's more my speed...
• 60A. DEFENSE ATTORNEY [Johnnie Cochran, at the Simpson trial]. And may our lives be free from any need for one of these... I liked seeing this fill directly below ABA [Legal org.] and was thankful to see that the correct fill was not POET LAUREATE-related.

Some other highlights include:

• MAN/[Answer to the riddle of the Sphinx] (nice fresh clue here)
• MANIC [Frenzied] and MAD, clued as [Humor magazine since 1952]
• the side-by-side implement pair of PICK [Icebreaker] and RAKE [Tool for deciduous foliage]
• AMENITY/[Chocolate on a hotel pillow, e.g.] (I love the specificity of the clue)
• DRAPE/[Hang], and then farther down the row, EAVE/[Place for an icicle] (i.e., where an icicle might hang...)
• VENAL/[Easily bribed] (I've heard of venal sins [as in the seven deadly ones], and had seen the word in other contexts, but never knew its literal meaning, so I learned something new yet again. And the next word in my dictionary? Yesterday's vena cava...]
• STRAW/[Float accessory], so that would be this kind of float and not this kind of float... The latter, btw, was from the Rose Bowl Parade—not to be confused with ROSÉ [Wine choice]. You might enjoy that with your Thanksgiving dinner!

Hope it's a happy holiday for all!