Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Title: Space Balls
Author: Ogden Porter (Peter Gordon)
Theme: Phrases that contain dwarf planets.
  • 17a: Witches (SORCERESSES).

  • 11d: Loose Brie, for example (SPOONERISM). My favorite clue in the whole puzzle. Spoonerisms are the juxtaposition of initial consonant sounds or blends. In this case, the play is on Bruce Lee.

  • 28d: Government by the wealthy (PLUTOCRACY).

  • 62a: One can be found in 17-Across and 11- and 28-Down (DWARF PLANET).

An apt Monday theme. Perhaps a touch obscure for some, but I liked it fine.

Sunny Spots:

Nothing in the fill really matches the Loose Brie clue for me, but there are quite a few nice Scrabbly fills:

  • 23a: The Street of the Lifted ___ (Dr. Seuss story setting) (LORAX).

  • 25a: Pointedly criticizes (ZINGS).

  • 24d: Photocopies (XEROXES). Nice to see a two-X word on a Monday.

  • 10d: Blew up, perhaps (RESIZED). Good clue.


  • 5a: Plate in a furnace that regulates the draft (DAMPER).

  • 20a: Big name in art glass (STEUBEN). A little tough for a Monday, but fair enough.

  • 26a: Golf green gimme (TAP IN).

  • 39a: "All ___ the Watchtower" (Jimi Hendrix hit) (ALONG). Unbelievably, this Dylan cover is the only Hendrix song that hit the top 40. He was truly a man before his time.

  • 46a: Centenarian, e.g. (OLDSTER).

  • 49a: One-___ bandit (ARMED). Aka, slot machine. Or, in Britain, fruit machine.

  • 64a: "Cars" character voiced by Paul Newman (DOC). Wouldn't have known this, but I never even saw the clue.

  • 65a: Mexican restaurant dish (TAMALE).

  • 67a: Maxwell Smart, e.g. (SPY).

  • 69a: Thing poked by a voodooist (DOLL).

  • 5d: Adventurous person (DARER). Eh. You know I'm not crazy about these forced -ER words.

  • 7d: "McCabe & ___ Miller" (1971 Robert Altman film) (MRS). Didn't know this right off, but what else could it be?

  • 8d: City across the Ligurian Sea from Nice (PISA). Name a four-letter city that starts with P. Actually, my days playing Diplomacy didn't hurt on this one.

  • 9d: Penultimate fairy tale word (EVER). ...and they lived happily ever after.

  • 12d: Bornean ape, for short (ORANG).

  • 30d: CafĂ© ___ leche (CON). I think this is the Spanish equivalent of café au lait. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • 31d: Sauce brand with an accent mark (RAGÙ).

  • 37d: Remain unsettled (PEND). Tricky clue for a Monday, but I like it.

  • 40d: "Live and ___ Die" (LET). Great James Bond film, with a great theme song by Paul McCartney. You know what Beatle's song I always thought would be a great Bond theme? "Happiness is a Warm Gun".

  • 53d: One suffering from Hansen's disease (LEPER). Kind of gross, but there's a twisted tie-in here. John Valby, aka "Dr. Dirty", does a parody of the Beatle's song "Yesterday" that starts: "Leprosy. All my skin is falling off of me. I'm not half the man I used to be...". Funny stuff, in a sick, twisted kind of way. If you've seen him, you know what I'm talking about.

Suns of Bitches:


This one felt a little tougher than your typical Monday, but maybe it's because I was in a hurry. What do you think? Overall, I liked the puzzle fine, but I find there's just not much to talk about. If I've missed something obvious, I have no doubt you guys will pick up the slack.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


ArtLvr said...

Well said, Pete -- It was certainly of better quality than many Monday puzzles, and the SPOONERISM took the cake! Many lively clues, from Witches to Voodooist pokee, Rattle (off) to Thrill-less. Wow.

ehicks77 said...

didn't remember what a spoonerism was but liked the puzzle fine. Loose Brie was perplexing for a time.....Wanted to say Tiffany for the glass or stained since steuben is mainly know for its crystal( duh,guess that is glass)Liked resized for blew up..of course Alou was there again..I think he should be benched for a while

Joon said...

i confess that even after solving the puzzle and getting DWARFPLANET, i was unable to locate CERES and ERIS. i didn't really know exactly what i was looking for. on a monday, i thought that was rather a tough theme. maybe circled squares would have helped? having said that, i found the fill and clues to be excellent for a monday. i thought perhaps DAMPER could have used an easier clue ([Put a ___ on one's enthusiasm], perhaps?). i didn't know the given clue at all, and so i was not playing "name a four-letter city that starts with P"; instead, it was "name a four-letter city that ends with SA." still not terribly hard.

ruy said...

We so often see SRA clued as the English equivalent of MRS that it would have been fun to see MRS clued in Spanish.

I'm also thinking that ALOU, ALAS, ALOT are almost like a Latin conjugation -- too bad only two out of three made it in to this puzzle, otherwise we might have had a subtle (okay, too subtle) mini-theme.