Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Title: "Oh, Yes!"
Author: Lee Glickstein
Theme: Adding an "Oh" sound at the end of phrases.
  • You are here => YOU ARE HERO (17a: What Leander said to his lover?).

  • Rent to own => RENT TO ONO (21a: Provide Yoko with quarters?). This one amused me quite a bit. I wonder what kind of a tenant she'd be?

  • Cowbell => COW BELLOW (35a: Intimidate author Saul?). This is the only one of the group that didn't actually change the spelling of the original phrase. But I'll forgive that since it gives me an excuse to post this clip.

  • Hip boot => HIP BHUTTO (44a: Cool former prime minister of Pakistan?).

  • Bookmark => BOOK MARCO (54a: Schedule Polo for a performance?).

  • Wounded Knee => WOUNDED NEO (64a: Injured "Matrix" character?).
  • The Wounded Knee massacre was not a high point in American history. In fact, it's a little morbid to use it as theme fodder.

Six theme entries isn't always easy to do, especially when they overlap like the first two and last two do. There does seem to be a lot of tragedy and loss interwoven into this theme; Hero and Leander, Yoko Ono, Benazir Bhutto, and Wounded Knee all evoke a sense of sadness for me. I don't think that was the intent of the constructor.

Sunny Spots:

  • 3d: Cover subject of the first issue of Us magazine (PAUL NEWMAN).

  • 32d: Gives a high gloss to, in a way (SPIT SHINES).

  • A nice set of off-beat food choices includes:

  • 15a: Gourmet mushroom (MOREL).

  • 16a: Fuzzy fruit (KIWI).

  • 22d: Vegetarian cuisine choice (TEMPEH).

  • 39d: Source of low-fat meat (EMU).

  • 14a: Chemical featured on a 1989 "60 Minutes" segment (ALAR).

  • 20a: "Save Me the Waltz" novelist Fitzgerald (ZELDA). F. Scott's wife. Clues for Zelda generally go here or to the Nintendo series.

  • 23a: Unaristocratic, to a Brit (NON-U). I learned this from puzzles.

  • 28a: 1956 Glenn Ford film remade in 1996 (RANSOM).

  • 32a: With 36-Down, 1984 Cyndi Lauper hit (SHE / BOP). I had forgotten about this one. I didn't need the reminder.

  • 40a: Emmy-winning "Miami Vice" actor (OLMOS). Another 80s clue, though I really enjoyed "Miami Vice", especially in the first couple of seasons. It was really revolutionary for its time, featuring great new music and often going several minutes with little or no dialogue as the music and visuals said it all. It was also one of the first shows that didn't always feel like it needed to tie everything up in a cute little bow by the end of the show.

  • 41a: Sweet ending (OSE). Glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc.

  • 47a: Trick-taking game played with a 32-card deck (ECARTE).

  • 50a: French seasoning (SEL). Salt.

  • 66a: Limerick popularizer (LEAR). Lear's limericks are actually pretty bad, if you ask me. "But Pete", you say. "Most limericks are pretty bad." Well, you may have a point. There certainly are some funny ones, but most of those are too obscene to be included here. But Lear's? Judge for yourself.
    There was an Old Man with a beard,
    Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
    Two Owls and a Hen,
    Four Larks and a Wren,
    Have all built their nests in my beard!'

  • I mean, please. Actually, I once defended the artistic merits of limericks in a Haiku forum (posts were all supposed to be in the form of Haiku) with the following:
    Lim'ricks for you; not
    "art" like haiku; but I; de-
    cry; your point of view.

  • 69a: "Say It ___ So" (1983 Hall and Oates hit) (ISN'T). I really wanted AIN'T here, but that's Weezer.

  • 71a: "Jim Rome Is Burning" airer (ESPN). Never watched the show, but I've heard of it.

  • 1d: Former CEO of Def Jam (JAY-Z). Seen this one before.

  • 4d: Former home of Picasso's "Guernica" (PRADO). Easy guess.

  • 6d: Former host of "Last Comic Standing" (Jay MOHR).

  • 7d: Algonquian speaker (CREE).

  • 8d: The world's largest particle physics lab (CERN). According to Wikipedia, this originally stood for "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire".

  • 9d: Fate who spins the thread of life (CLOTHO).

  • 10d: Home of the Beacon Journal newspaper (AKRON). This clue could have just said "U.S. city" for all the help it was.

  • 18d: Tried to get a seat (RAN). In an election year, this one should be a gimme.

  • 26d: GI tract bacterium (ECOLI). Ick.

  • 27d: 1997 N.L. Rookie of the Year Scott (ROLEN). For some reason, I knew this right off the top. And that's unusual, as I don't follow the National League at all.

  • 34d: Scanner brand (EPSON).

  • 45d: With 67-Across, colorful bird that feeds on insects (BEE EATER). This would have been cooler as a single entry with EEE in it.

  • 50d: Golf garment (SKORT). Went for SHIRT first, then SKIRT. SKORT is a weird word, and not easy when crossings ARNO (63a: Illustrator of more than 100 New Yorker covers).

  • 52d: "George of the Jungle" character (APE).

  • 53d: Inner circle (CADRE).

  • 55d: Filthy lucre sources? (ORES). Meh.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 1a: Inspector in Agatha Christie stories (JAPP). I should probably know this, but it doesn't look familiar at all.

  • 54d: Maidenform rival (BALI).

  • 56d: Judah's second son (ONAN). I've seen it, but I still needed the crossings. It's a name I'm going to remember.

This had a good mid-week mix of tough and easy fill, the long fill was decent, and the theme was fine, if depressing in spots. All in all, not one of my favorites, but a decent puzzle for sure.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


ArtLvr said...

Hi Pete -- I agree with your assessment, not too easy, amusing theme. I can do those Roman numeral math problems, but always hate to see them. This was redeemed by CLOTHO...

The last letter I wrote in was the L of the OLMOS/ROLEN cross, pure guess, and if I hadn't known JAPP and ZELDA, I'd have felt the same about their cross with JAYZ. Again, not my favorite thing, two/three names like that! However, the theme answers were ingenious and even funnier on reviewing them.

Joon said...

maybe you know ROLEN because he's now on the jays, who beat up the red sox pretty good in their head-to-head games this year.

love this puzzle's theme. i didn't really get how it worked at first and tried to figure out why YOUREMYHERO didn't fit. once i figured out what was going on, every new theme answer was delightful.

i thought the AKRON clue was totally useful. i'm pretty sure i got it with no crosses. maybe the N. anyway, that's a paper i've heard of, if not one i've read. OLMOS, on the other hand, meant nothing to me.

ONAN rarely gets clued in reference to the biblical character (look him up and you'll see why); editors seem to prefer the partial ON AN. in another guise (LEAH'S GRANDSON), ONAN did make an appearance in pete collins's outrageously clever "four corners" friday puzzle a few weeks back.

jim rome... ugh. i don't like what it says about our society that there are high-profile media members who are paid to be as obnoxious as possible.