Wall Street Journal, 5/28/10

“S&L Deposits” by Charles Oldham – 13:01

Hi everybody.

Here’s an actual quote from an email sent to a colleague today:

Thanks […] but I didn’t just fall off the back of the turnip truck…..I have a long time friend who is a mucky muck in the …

Suffice to say that my colleague was correct and the emailer was wrong despite his friend.

Xwordinfo.com tells me that TURNIP TRUCK has appeared once in a New York Times. It was a theme answer, with the clue being [Food transportation that a rube might fall off] (Randolph Hartman, Sept 25, 2007).

Mucky muck seems wrong. MUCKETY MUCK has also appeared once, also a theme answer (Peter Gordon, September 25, 2000). Is Turnip Truck Guy wrong again? What’s the verdict on Mucky Muck? Who would you describe as a Mucky Muck? Does anyone use this term?  Wonderboy? Wow, how did this escape me?

WSJ May 28 2010Speaking of Mucky Mucks, I suppose some work for Savings & Loans (S&L’s). Today’s puzzle cleverly “deposits” the letters S and L into the theme answers to create wacky new phrases.

Theme answers:

22A. [Invention for lazy equestrians?] – SADDLING MACHINE from adding machine. I used an adding machine when I could barely count to help my father balance ledger sheets and today I’m an accountant.
34A. [Fowl that’s not too demanding to raise?] – EASY GOSLING from easy going.
41A. [Store specializing in coaching equipment?] – WHISTLE HOUSE from white house.
63A. [Place to keep a starter’s pistol?] – SPORTS ARSENAL from sports arena
69A. [Reach an acquittal in a police brutality case?] – ABSOLVE THE LAW from above the law. Does police brutality pass the breakfast test?
90A. [Charity for naked young sheep?] – SHEARLING AID from hearing aid. Do naked young sheep pass the breakfast test? (see also 124A. [Get naked] – STRIP)
98A. [Sales pitch that eschews boasts?] – HUMBLE SPIEL from humble pie
115A. [Studio of a designer who forbids the use of sequins?] – NO SPARKLING ZONE from no parking zone.
21A. [Intend to] – SHALL from 91D. [Computer voiced by Douglas Rain] – HAL
30A. [America’s Cup entrant] – SLOOP from oop which rhymes with 70D. [Betty of cartoons] – BOOP
40A. [Acts like a bear] – SELLS from els
17D. [David’s weapon] – SLING from ing
28D. [Company man?] – SOLDIER from odier
35D. [Screw feature] – SLOT from ot
46D. [Idyllic valley in the Kunlun Mountains] – SHANGRI-LA from hangria
56D. [Good place to dye] – SALON from aon
58D. [Agronomists’ samples] – SOILS from ois
74D. [Contract stuff] – SMALL PRINT from malprint
90D. [1973 Woody Allen movie] – SLEEPER from eeper

(I suppose it is possible some of these aren’t actually theme answers. I just want to be complete.)

Other stuff:

1A. [Toothy swimmer] – PIRANHA. When there’s a PIRANHA at 1 across you had better stay alert for the whole puzzle.
33A. [___ Michele of “Glee”] – LEA. My favorite music show now that American Idol is off the air. (See 105D. [Tongue-in-cheek humor] – IRONY)
68A. [Identify] – PEG
109A. [Saturn’s fourth-largest moon] – DIONE. Top three are Titan, Rhea and Iapetus.
6D. [It may come down hard on you] – HAIL. Breakfast test!
10D. [Cornbread item] – ASH CAKE. What a horrible name for something to eat.
14D. [“Of course it was me”] – WHO ELSE? I take all the blame for this post.
43D. [Experiencing a bad situation] – IN THE SOUP. I prefer kreplach in my soup.
47D. [Waterloo setting] – IOWA. Also Ontario.
63D. [Chowderhead] – SCHMO. See Mucky muck.
99D. [“Yup”] – UH HUH. You have 5 spaces and can only use H and U. Go!

4D. [“Your point being?”] – AND…5D. [Nothing] – NIL…

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6 Responses to Wall Street Journal, 5/28/10

  1. Amy Reynaldo says:

    Not sure which novel I learned “high muckety-muck” from. Maybe Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, or something by Toni Morrison. So it feels like an old-timey phrase used by African-Americans to me, since I rarely encounter it elsewhere. Except in my head, where I do like to use the term.

  2. pannonica says:

    Didn’t Mucky-Muck sing with the New Kids on the Block?

  3. Bill from NJ says:

    Are you asking about the word WONDERBOY? That was the bat used by Roy Hobbs in Bernard Malamud’s novel The Natural. It was mystical as it was the product of a lightning strike on an ash tree, playing off the Excalibur legend in King Arthur. Or am I off base here?

  4. Jeffrey says:

    @Bill if you click on Wondeboy, you’ll see a song of that name by Tenacious D with lyrics:

    High above the mucky-muck, castle made of clouds,
    There sits Wonderboy, sitting oh so proudly.
    Not much to say when you’re high above the mucky-muck.
    Yeah, yeah.
    Wonderboy, what is the secret of your power?
    Wonderboy, won’t you take me far away from the mucky-muck man?

  5. Bill from NJ says:


    To quote Emily Letella, “Nevermind”

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