Tuesday, 3/23/10

NYT 3:33
Jonesin’ 3:20
LAT 3:03
CS untimed

Kurt Krauss’s New York Times crossword

Region capture 10I thought the theme was “Put on a fake Boston accent and change the words to what they sound like,” but the last Across answer tells me the change is “AR TO O”:

  • 17A. DISCOVER COD is devised by changing the AR in “Discover card” to an O. [Try a North Atlantic fish for the first name?]  is the clue.
  • 31A. [Ekco or Farberware?] is a cooking POT COMPANY (part company).
  • 47A. [Registers for a meditation class?] clues TAKES UP OMS.
  • 63A. The SHOP SHOOTER (sharpshooter) is a [Store photographer?].

I heard all of these in the voice of Mayor Quimby of The Simpsons.

The middle of the puzzle had so many cross-referenced clues, I was associating the wrong ones with each other. The way I read it, 26D: ITS, [The “I” in 23-Down], went with the intersecting 25A: MEDIA, which was clued [See 23-Across]. Turns out 23D is TGIF, “thank God it’s Friday.” Do you know anyone who actually carries out the clue? It’s [Letters said with a shout]. MEDIA hooks up with 23-Across, [“I’ll alert ___”: Hobson, in “Arthur” (with 25-Across)]—”I’ll alert THE / MEDIA” is the line Arthur’s butler (John Gielgud) says dryly when Arthur (Dudley Moore) says he’s going to take a bath. (I think.)

Other clues:

  • 21A: [Rhino relatives with long snouts] are TAPIRS. Don’t trust ’em, especially not if they’ve got their backs to you.
  • 3D. MISTER ED was a [1960s sitcom with a talking palomino]. This is often seen in the crossword as MR. ED, but the show did not abbreviation the MISTER.
  • 11D. JEMIMA is clued as an [Aunt known for her pancakes]. I thought she was known for her artificially flavored “maple” syrup.
  • 12D. [Old European gold coin] clues FLORIN. Pretty high-end fill for a Tuesday.
  • 22D. PAPAYAS are [Melonlike tropical fruits].
  • 39D. [Dweller above the Arctic Circle] is a LAPP. The other day, another crossword clue said Santa was traditionally thought by some to reside in Lapland, so you can be excused if you really wanted to wedge SANTA into the 4-letter space here.

Matt Jones’s Jonesin’ crossword, “Stuff It—my cup runneth over”

Region capture 11If you’re anything like Matt, what you stuff your BRAs with is letters that expand the BRA into something entirely different: BRUSCHETTA, BREAKFAST TEA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, BRIDGET FONDA (Really? [Actress in 1997’s “Jackie Brown”]? I remember Pam Grier, the lead, but not Fonda), and BRANGELINA all start with BR and end with A.

Let’s take a look at what else is in the puzzle:

  • 10D. URINE! Yes, really. It’s [Pee].
  • 1A. The [Big-eyed bird] that’s 3 letters long is an EMU, not an OWL.
  • 44A. [Half of 62-across], BRANGELINA,  is Brad PITT.
  • 4D. The [Fastest Finger options on “Who Wants to Be a Millionare?”] are A, B, C, OR D–four multiple choice options, not a single mystifying word. ABCORD! What you call a belt?
  • 15D. Who doesn’t love a good FIST BUMP? It’s a [Handshake alternative].
  • 52D. Ah! “THREE Is a Magic Number,” all right, and that’s my favorite Multiplication Rock song. The chorus is awesome. Sing it with me: “Three, six, nine. Twelve, fifteen, eighteen. Twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven. Thirty.” The clue’s [“Schoolhouse Rock” magic number].

Merle Baker’s Los Angeles Times crossword

Region capture 13There’s much to admire in this puzzle and its six-part theme. Here’s how the theme plays out:

  • 61A. GRAND FINALE is a [Big finish, and what the first words of the answers to starred clues can be]. Those first words follow GRAND in familiar phrases and thus are “grand finales.”
  • 17A. [Sam in “Casablanca,” e.g.] is a PIANO PLAYER.
  • 36A. SLAM-BANG is a peppy answer meaning [Fast-paced]. “Grand slam” is both a baseball and Denny’s term, and the theme adds more baseball at 11D.
  • 42A. An OPERA HAT is [Collapsible headgear], and “grand opera” is a term I had to look up here. You are cautioned not to mix this up with the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 11D. TOTAL BASES is a baseball stat, apparently. [Hank Aaron’s 6,856 is the career record].
  • 29D. “DUKE OF EARL” is the [1962 Gene Chandler hit]. Have a listen here.

Highlights in the fill include 34A:  GRUBBY/[Dirty]; 43D: HUMDRUM/[Boring]; 47A: [Obama attorney general Eric] HOLDER rescuing the word HOLDER from bad odd-job clueing; and 23D: CYMBAL/[One of a drum set pair].

Updated Tuesday morning:

Randall J. Hartman’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Running Wilde”—Janie’s review

In the classic Some Like It Hot, “Running Wild” is one of the songs that features Marilyn Monroe as the singer in Sweet Sue’s all-girl band. If Randy had been cluing the homophone title of today’s puzzle, he might have said [Wit Oscar prepping for a marathon?]. The gimmick, to spell it out, adds the letter “E” to the last word of a familiar base phrase. What makes it fun is that in the process, the last word becomes the name of a famous person. Warning: groaners ahead!

  • 20A. BOWLING GREENE [Author Graham throwing balls for strikes?]
  • 37A. REACHED A NEW LOWE [Came to see actor Rob’s baby?]. See “groaner alert” above. Needless to say, I love this one. With base phrases like this one, keep reachin’–it’s fine by me!
  • 48A. LAY IT ON THICKE [Confide to actor Alan]. Ouch. Another terrific base phrase and another bad/good pun.

Who knows how these things come to be, but with almost nine months to go until December 25th, you’ll see there’s a bit of an Xmas mini-theme today. “TWAS [___ the night before Christmas…”] works very nicely in conjunction with SANTA [Christmas letter recipient] and NOEL [Holiday carol]. TRA-LA, with that cunning clue [A chorus line], almost works, but it should really be FA-LA to be season-appropriate.

While we’re on the topic of music, two ladies of song have their day: ENYA [Singer dubbed “the voice of Ireland”] and ADELE [2009 Grammy-winning vocalist]. She, too, hails from across the pond. Whatever they’re feedin’ ’em there, it seems to be working! Oh–and one more musical reference comes to us by way of ARIA, clued today as a [Pavarotti piece]. Sing out, Luciano!

My first impulse was to enter IDLE for [Goof off], but that’s LAZE today. IDLE is the correct fill instead for [Run in neutral]. Now how does that happen?!

[Workers at home on the range?] clues BAKERS. When I think of a “range,” I think of a cooktop. The burners and not the oven. But it seems I’m thinking too narrowly, and that a “range” can include an oven as well. The clue that works more smoothly for me is [Small revolver] for EDDY. Now that one’s just inspired, imoo…

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3 Responses to Tuesday, 3/23/10

  1. LARRY says:

    Amy – Thank you for relaying my query to the Times folks about the missing 2010 archive. It is there now.

  2. Liz says:

    Just wanted to say…25 Across is “FALLIN”. Didn’t know if you wanted to correct it or not.

  3. Kirsten says:

    25 across on “running wilde” is fallin :)

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