Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Title: Weekend Warrior
Author: Doug Peterson and Barry C. Silk
Theme: None

Sunny Spots:

  • 7a: Bunk (CLAPTRAP). Claptrap is a great word, apparently deriving from its attempt to gain applause.

  • 16a: It has many layers (HENHOUSE). Gosh CATHOUSE would fit, too, in a way. Of course, we already have BORDELLO (36d: House with a lot of johns), which is also a fantastic clue.

  • 35a: Test requirement, at times (NUMBER TWO PENCIL). This should have been way easier than it was. I guess it's been too long since I've had to take a standardized test that was not on-line.

  • 56a: Wedge alternative (STILETTO). Excellent.

  • 2d: 1890 Henry James novel, with "The" (TRAGIC MUSE). The fact that I didn't know this one does not detract at all from its awesomeness.

  • 3d: What this clue have (BAD GRAMMAR). This one's part grin and part grimace. But the grin wins.

  • 7d: Team with the 1980s mascots Ribbie and Roobarb (CHICAGO WHITE SOX). Nice fill, with interesting trivia associated with it.

  • 28d: It fell on Neil Armstrong in the summer of '69 (TICKERTAPE). Superb.

  • 29d: Where some dissections are performed (SCIENCE LAB). I actually had BIOLOGY LAB to start, but this is almost as good.


  • 1a: Turns up (AT BATS). Excellent deception here. A turn being "up", in baseball, is an "at bat". Actually, that's not officially correct, since walks, errors, and a few other sundry events do not count as at bats, even thought the batter was, in fact, at bat.

  • 17a: Nuts (MADMEN). It seems a shame not to reference the TV series of the same name that is up for more than a dozen Emmy Awards this year.

  • 18a: "Don't mind that" (IGNORE IT).

  • 19a: Encourage (EGG ON). Goes well with HENHOUSE, don't you think?

  • 20a: Intel collectors (SCOUTERS).

  • 21a: Old-style letter opener (SIRS). Admit it, you were picturing some kind of desk knife. I know I was, but I'm in the middle of a Lawrence Block novel where such a device has been used as a murder weapon, so maybe it's just on my mind.

  • 31a: Steak-___ (UMM). I had -UMS, which slowed me down on the BAD GRAMMAR fill.

  • 32a: Northern Italian city (VERONA).

  • 38a: Aoki of the links (ISAO). Gimme for me. This is a name I knew before crosswords, and it shows up enough to keep it fresh. He was (is?) a hell of a putter.

  • 39a: Azadi Tower city (TEHRAN). I've never heard of this tower, but the city name was easy enough to discern with a few crossings.

  • 41a: ___ verte (grayish-green pigment) (TERRE). I'm assuming this means "green earth".

  • 43a: Discovery of Daniel Rutherford (NITROGEN). There's a Rutherford Physics Building at McGill University, but that's named for Ernest Rutherford, who discovered protons and postulated the orbital theory of atoms. I can't find anything that indicates they're related.

  • 45a: The WHO used it to fight malaria (DDT).

  • 47a: Winter holiday of southeast Asia (TET). Gimme.

  • 48a: Vancouver Canucks logo animal (ORCA).

  • 50a: Mourned in meter (ELEGIZED).

  • 53a: Ticket's target (VOTER). As in a political ticket. Good clue.

  • 54a: New Orleans sweets (PRALINES).

  • 57a: Shell holder (PIE PAN). Pralines and pie shells. You're killing me here. Don't you know I'm on a diet?

  • 58a: Certain aerophone (TENOR SAX).

  • 59a: Having a mortgage, e.g. (IN DEBT). Seems to me there's a difference between having debts and being in debt. The latter tends to imply a negative overall balance, doesn't it?

  • 1d: Tops (ACMES).

  • 4d: Tops (AT MOST). I confidently filled in UTMOST here, which was really hard to change, except that ATBUTS wasn't making any sense at all for 1a.

  • 6d: Fig. that never ends with four zeros (SSN). Gimme.

  • 8d: Bionicle brand (LEGO).

  • 10d: X-ray particle (PHOTON). Also a type of Star Trek torpedo.

  • 12d: Penitent (RUER). One who is penitent is called a penitent. Don't you love the English language?

  • 14d: Sulky state (PET).

  • 26d: Did a line, say (SNORTED). This kind of blatant drug reference would never see the light of day at the Times.

  • 30d: "Labor omnia vincit" is its motto: Abbr. (OKLA). This is basically, find an abbreviation that fits and makes sense. Any state would do, but OKLA fit.

  • 31d: Second, e.g. (UNIT). Unit of time, to be exact.

  • 37d: "Here Come the Warm Jets" musician (ENO). Thank God for these crosswordy gimmes; they gave me a foothold.

  • 44d: Pinched the cheek of (GOOSED). Sassy clue.

  • 50d: "La Tosca" sculptor (ERTÉ). Add this to the gimme pile.

  • 52d: Hellenic consonant (ZETA).

  • 53d: Silver streak, say (VEIN). As in a vein of (silver) ore.

  • 54d: Yukon Terr. setting (PST). Pacific Standard Time.

  • 55d: Sch. with a Hartford campus (RPI). The only school I knew was in Hartford is Trinity College. I tried TRI for a bit, but it didn't last.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 23a: City between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (LOD). I was thinking NOD, which I think is mentioned in Genesis, or was that NOB? You know, the land that Cain was banished to.

  • 40a: White, to a wahine (KEA). Well, it's a step up from the Mauna ___ guess that we usually have. Apparently, Mauna Loa means "long mountain", while Mauna Kea means "white mountain" (as it is typically snow-capped). Makes sense now.

  • 13d: 1985 William M. Hoffman play about AIDS (AS IS). My feeble brain thought this clue said William H. Macy. I blame Stephen Colbert, who coined the name Filliam H. Muffman to describe Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman. Damn you, Colbert... Either way, I had no clue what this was.

You know, there are remarkable few SOBs in the puzzle, considering it's a Weekend Warrior. We've had Tuesday puzzles recently with more. All in all, I'd say this was a very nice themeless. Not as challenging as they can be (I was easily able to complete it in a single sitting), but entertaining for sure. Nice job.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Jim in NYC said...

Very enjoyable puzzle. Favorite was 35A, Number Two Pencil. These days I'm more aware of the other system and buy HB or H pencils. My latest pack of Dixon Ticonderogas (the best pencils in the world) are labeled "#2/HB".

Cursory research indicates "Scouter" (20A) is an adult Scout leader, generally in the British system. I found no hits indicating this word used to mean a scout or spy. Good hunting.

Steak-UMM ... sounded Simpsonesque at best. Got it reluctantly from crosses. I guess I don't shop in that world. Have a good weekend, everybody!

Orange said...

Jim is dead on about the Dixon Ticonderogas. My kid goes through a lot of pencils, and the off brands are crap. The ferrule/eraser end falls off, the lead snaps off, they're no good for a kid who is rough on pencils. It's fun to hear an 8-year-old pronounce "Ticonderoga," too. (I hear good things about the Mirado brand, but that's not as fun to say.)

ruy said...

Boy, I was just not in tune with this puzzle for quite a while. New Orleans sweets? Beignets, of course. (Wrong.) Vacate? Empty, of course. (Wrong.) Labor omnia vincit? I was thinking it was a school, not a state; UCLA fit nicely. (Wrong.) On this last, I was probably thrown by seeing the motto at a summer camp my son used to go to; the camp was a private school outside of summertime.

In short, I struggled through, with ATBATS at 1a being the last entry to fall. (Like Pete, I also went for UTMOST on 4d, but the crossing ATBUTS clearly wasn't working.)

Good thing I don't ordinarily time myself.

ArtLvr said...

I was still getting stuck in the NW toward the end, so I peeked at the beginning of your write-up instead of resorting to Google. Lo, TRAGIC MUSE fit with what I had and broke the rest open!

Many thanks for the serendipitous order of your answer list! Glad to see jim in nyc again too...