Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Title: Breaking the Fourth Wall
Author: Victor Fleming
Theme: Clues extend beyond the grid borders in four spots, in ways evocative of the answers themselves.
  • 38a: In every respect (THROUGH AND THROUGH). The fill appears to impale the grid through the middle.
    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.
    from "Jabberwocky", by Lewis Carroll

  • 11d: Outrageous (OVER THE TOP). The O is over the top of the grid.

  • 33d: Soon to be out of business (GOING UNDER). The R extends under the grid.

This is a cool theme, though I have to admit I didn't get the title at all. Turns out "breaking the fourth wall" is a stage term for when a performer acknowledges awareness of the audience (the fourth wall being the "invisible barrier" at the front of the stage). So I learned something new and interesting, which is always cool.

Sunny Spots:

  • 47d: Grandfather (EXEMPT). Love this clue. It's the verb form of the grandfather clause, exempting application of a new law to an existing situation. Back in high school, the New Hampshire drinking age was changed from 18 to 21, but people who turned 18 before the law changed were grandfathered, so they could continue to drink.

  • 63a: "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" feature (QUIZ). This is a great show that runs on weekends on National Public Radio. Between this and "The Daily Show" on TV, you could get all the news you need, and a good laugh as well. Here's a behind-the-scenes look:


  • 15a: When Lady Macbeth says "Out, damned spot!" (ACT V). I filled in ACT_ and waited to see if it was I, V, or X, with X being extremely unlikely, as that's a lot of acts for a play.

  • 16a: Role in "The Mask of Zorro" (ELENA). Played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

  • 18a: Average guys (JOES).

  • 19a: Mints with Retsyn (CERTS). I think old television commercials must have drilled this into me, because I knew it immediately.

  • 20a: Playdate lunch option, for short (P B AND J).

  • 24a: Comets' leader (Bill HALEY). Probably most famous for "Rock Around the Clock".

  • 25a: Dryer insert (WET WASH). I don't like this clue at all. An insert is some small thing you stick in, like a fabric softener sheet. Not a load of wet or partially-wet laundry. I know it's trying to be tricky or cute, but it doesn't work for me.

  • 29a: Some Art Deco prints (ERTES). If you see "Art Deco" and don't immediately think ERTE, then you aren't doing enough puzzles.

  • 31a: Truffle finder (PIG).

  • 34a: Monster's moniker (NESSIE). Nickname of the Loch Ness monster.

  • 41a: "Deal!" (I'M IN). Both also poker phrases (though they aren't at all equivalent in that context). So is 12d: Kick in (ANTE).

  • 42a: Venezia's country (ITALIA). Venezia is Italian for Venice.

  • 43a: Org. for drivers (PGA). Golf.

  • 46a: Actor who wrote the book "Nothing Is Impossible" (REEVE).

  • 48a: Small ravines (GULLIES).

  • 50a: Spot-on (EXACT) and 55d: Capital (A-ONE) both have a British flair. So does the "cheek" part of 13d: Cheek, lip, or mouth (SASS), which is an easy, but very cute clue.

  • 57a: Big name in "twucks" (TONKA). I knew immediately what this answer was going to be, and grimaced just the same.

  • 61a: Pithy sayings (MOTS). Bon.

  • 64a: Class for tots (PRE-K). Pre-kindergarten.

  • 67a: "Bill & ___ Bogus Journey" (TEDS). Sequel to their "Excellent Adventure". Here's a clip.

  • 1d: "Lord of the Flies" boy (RALPH). It's been way too many years since I read this. I needed some crossings to stir those particular braincells.

  • 2d: Its flag includes a four-pointed red star (ARUBA). Not a piece of trivia I was familiar with, but I had _R_BA when I looked at the clue, so it wasn't much of a stretch.

  • 5d: Muslim pilgrim's trek (HAJJ). Also HADJ, sometimes, so be careful.

  • 6d: Green up front? (ECO). Cryptic prefix.

  • 8d: DVR supporter, sometimes (TV SET).

  • 10d: Ornamental shrub with yellow flowers (OLEASTER). I don't know OLEASTER from OLEANDER, so I needed a crossing to help.

  • 28d: Part of HOV (VEHICLE). High-Occupancy Vehicle, eligible to drive in the car-pool lane.

  • 31d: N.L. East champs of '07 and '08 (PHI). The Philadelphia Phillies, current World Series Champions. Enjoy it while it lasts, the Red Sox are coming back strong next year! Does that say "MILF Technologies" behind the Phanatic's head? I'm guessing the founders never watched "American Pie" (CONTENT WARNING: LANGUAGE).

  • 39d: Like an exposed shirttail (UNTUCKED). A decent clue to help an otherwise awkward fill.

  • 45d: Long narratives (ILIADS).

  • 51d: Dino's love (AMORE). My first thought was Flintstones.

  • 56d: Shaping tool (ADZE).

Suns of Bitches:
  • 17a: Sally ___ (teacake) (LUNN). I don't think I've ever heard of this.

  • 32d: Singer Thomas with the album "After the Rain" (IRMA).

Not much else to say. Cool puzzle.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

Does the background sign in the last image say MILF Technology? Wonder what that's all about...

Steve said...

Actually, its Miles Technologies, a company in South Jersey. Sorry to disappoint