Author: Louie (Lee) Glickstein
Before we start, I'd like to draw your attention to the poll question over there on the right. I've received one comment, indirectly, that seems concerned that I'm posting this the evening before the puzzle comes out. Peter Gordon asked me to wait until at least 10pm (Eastern time) the night before, which I have been doing. I may continue to do this regardless of the results of the poll (as it's frankly easier for me -- my mornings tend to be pretty hectic), but I figured I'd at least give people a chance to voice their opinions. Thanks. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog...
I like this puzzle, though it seemed hard when I was doing it due to some false starts, which we will get into a bit later, and the fact that it took a while to glom onto the theme. Once I nailed one theme answer and figured out what was going on, the rest of the theme answers fell swiftly.
Theme: Taking words with an "ee" sound and adding an "oo" sound to get an "oo-ee" sound. Got that? Well, it's easier to look at the examples, so let's do that:
- 17a: Hong Kong farmer's call? South China Sea becomes SOUTH CHINA SOOEY.
- 33a: Pauses made while saying nonsense? Hee-hawing becomes HOOEY HAWING.
- 41a: Ones who hoard nautical markers? Beekeepers becomes BUOY KEEPERS.
- 57a: What might be heard after an objection is overruled? Attorney's fee becomes ATTORNEY'S PHOOEY.
- BONUS: Author Lee Glickstein is listed as Louie Glickstein. Cute.
Do you like this theme? I'm kind of torn myself. It's kind of clever, I guess. Are you bothered by the fact that three of the answers are -OOEY and one is _UOY? Are you one of the people who pronounce BUOY as "boy" rather than "boo-ey"? All in all, I'll give the theme a "B" for effort and move on...
- 29a: Launch of October 4, 1957 (SPUTNIK). Love the name Sputnik. Always have.
- 39a: Fighting ___ (unofficial mascot of Mississippi's Delta State). (OKRA). Are you kidding me? The Fighting Okra? How f-ing cool is that! Wonderful trivia and amusing to boot!
- 45a: Writing on the crawl? (CREDIT). This clue absolutely killed me. I just couldn't figure out what it was looking for until I got it from the crossings. Then it hit... the "crawl" is the scrolling credits after a movie or TV show. Now, I might quibble that the answer should be CREDITS, not CREDIT, but a single credit is certainly a (small) bit of writing, so it's technically correct. Kudos for producing a wonderful "Aha!" moment.
- 53a: Flavor of the month (CRAZE). Nice, colorful phrase.
- 10d: Square, e.g. (ISOGON). Pandering to my math background here. An isogon is a polygon with all angles equal.
- 28d: "Built for boyhood!" sloganeer. I don't recall hearing this slogan, and in today's world it would no doubt be labelled "sexist", but somewhere deep down I knew the answer was going to be TONKA. And it was.
- 39d: Car ad setting. (OPEN ROAD). There's just something relaxing about the term... no traffic, no speed traps, no hassles, just cruising along with the iPod playing...
- 47d: "Thong Song" singer. (SISQO). No, it's not music I listen to, but I have heard of the guy, and it's a cool-looking crossword fill. And besides, it gives me an excuse to post a picture of some thongs...
- 25a: Calif. airport. You know it's going to be either LAX or SFO. In this case, it's the latter. San Diego's code, btw, is SAN, but it's rarely clued as such.
- 65a: Toes up, so to speak. (DEAD). In Britain, they say "tits up" to mean the same thing. We were working with a British company once, and during a meeting they referred to a project that was tits up. I had no clue what they were talking about and whether it was good or bad. I had to ask.
- 8d: Founder of the Stoic school of philosophy. (ZENO). I don't know how I knew this, but once I saw that it started with Z, it just popped into my head and I was sure it was correct. I only took one philosophy class in college and I'm pretty sure Zeno wasn't part of it.
- 9d: Number of Fingers? (ERA). It took me way too long to figure this clue out. Rollie Fingers was a baseball pitcher who had one of the coolest mustaches in all of sports.
- 18d: Timeworn. (HOARY). I had WEARY at first, which really slowed me down.
- 19d: Introduction to geometry? (SOFT G). You're not still falling for these types of clues, are you? Anything with "introduction", "leader of", "first of", etc..., especially if it's a question-mark clue, it likely to be one of these "it's-the-letter-itself" clues.
- 59d: Spare part? (PIN). I so wanted this to be RIM and, while there is a pin on the inflaction valve of a spare tire, I'm pretty sure this a bowling reference.
- 30d: Rare color? (PINK). No, no, no. Medium is pink. Medium-rare is pink with a reddish center. Rare is red.
- 32d: Gymnast Strug. (KERRI). I knew this one right away, then questioned it when it wasn't fitting in with my erroneous IRATE (see below).
- 48d: Quick punches. (JABS). Echoes of Monday's boxing theme. Also a great lead-in to:
- 52d: Baseball's all-time leader in walks allowed. (RYAN). Nolan Ryan is also the all-time leader in strike-outs and seasons played. Plus, he was one tough dude. This is what happened when Robin Ventura decided to charge the mound, after getting hit by a Ryan fastball. It was no contest.
Suns of Bitches:
- 15a: Powerful person. (MOVER). I had the M and started with MOGUL here; then tried MAVEN before I finally got to the correct answer.
- 21a: Tzimmes. (ADO). Wow. Great word that seems like the answer ought to be plural, but on a Wednesday? Nasty!
- 38a: Charlie Chan portrayer Warner. (OLAND). Warner Oland was born in 1879 and has been dead for 70 years. That's all I have to say about that.
- 24d: Done by its own staffers. (IN HOUSE). I have a tendency to read in words that aren't there (as might be obvious to you already, since there are probably occurences of missing words in this very blog that I didn't catch), and I kept reading this "Done in by its own staffers". So, I was looking for some kind of treasonal (treasonish?) behavior.
- 26d: Sigher's phrase. (AH ME). I had ALAS to start.
- 31d: Peeved. (IRKED). I had IRATE to start.
- 55d: Riemann ___ function. (ZETA). Full disclosure -- I was an f-ing Math major (albeit some years ago now), and I had absolutely no clue what this answer was. Want to know what it is? Ok, sure. From MathWorld:
The Riemann zeta function is an extremely important special function of mathematics and physics that arises in definite integration and is intimately related with very deep results surrounding the prime number theorem. While many of the properties of this function have been investigated, there remain important fundamental conjectures (most notably the Riemann hypothesis) that remain unproved to this day. The Riemann zeta function is defined over the complex plane for one complex variable, which is conventionally denoted (instead of the usual ) in deference to the notation used by Riemann in his 1859 paper that founded the study of this function (Riemann 1859). It is implemented in Mathematica as Zeta[s]....
Got that? Good.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.