Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Title: The Last Hurrah
Author: Andrea Carla Michaels
Theme: "Sis Boom Bah" found at the ends of the respective theme entries.
  • 20a: Author of "Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players" (STEFAN FATSIS). I have never heard of this person. Now, sure, it's more likely that a crossword puzzle solver will be familiar with an author about words and Scrabble, but please... it's only Monday. This dude gets less than 35,000 Google hits.

  • 36a: Taking decisive punitive action (LOWERING THE BOOM). This is a great phrase. Love it!

  • 50a: Muck-a-muck (GRAND POOH-BAH). Love this one too. Reminds me of "Mr. C." on "Happy Days".

I like the theme concept. My only complaint is that if there are only three theme entries, I'd like to like all three of them. STEFAN FATSIS just doesn't measure up to the other two for me. He's just not a well-known-enough name for a Monday puzzle. He'd be a stretch for a Friday puzzle. I would have preferred RISK ANALYSIS or maybe AUTOHYPNOSIS, or even OSTEOPOROSIS.

Sunny Spots:

  • 17a: Shares one's thoughts? (MIND MELDS). Wonderful! Star Trek geekiness and clever cluing combine for a real gem here.

  • 47a: Little squirt (SPRITZ). Great word, great clue.

  • 4d: Ex-lover (OLD FLAME). Excellent fill.

  • 14a: Jannings of "The Blue Angel" (EMIL). Didn't know this, but it wasn't hard to figure.

  • 27a: Macabre cartoonist Charles (ADDAMS). Inspiration for "The Addams Family".

  • 30a: It's a wrap (SARI).

  • 34a: It's a wrap (SARAN).

  • 41a: "___ Irish Rose" (ABIE'S). There was a time when I would have had no clue what this was. But it's been in enough crossword puzzles that it's second nature now.

  • 42a: Basketball court part (LANE).

  • 49a: Mountain capper (SNOW). I live in New Hampshire, and let me tell you it caps more than just mountain tops.

  • 64a: "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" writer (AGEE). This is ERIE-rule for me. Writer in four letters starting with A? AGEE.

  • 3d: Wine's partner (DINE).

  • 9d: Like a nose that resembles an eagle's beak (AQUILINE).

  • 21d: "SNL" role for Tina (SARAH). That's Tina Fey and Sarah Palin, for those who might have been living under a rock for the past year. I'd tell you which is which, but I'm afraid I'd get it wrong. :)

  • 25d: Power of Hollywood (TYRONE).

  • 28d: Genre of "Under the Boardwalk" (DOO-WOP).

  • 29d: Buzzkill (DOWNER).

  • 37d: Ramshackle structures (RAT TRAPS).

  • 38d: Island in the western Mediterranean (IBIZA).

  • 56d: Cold-cocked (K.O.'D).

Suns of Bitches:
None to speak of. Well, except for Stefan Fatsis.

Despite this puzzle's bout with stefanfatsisitis, I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

i knew STEFAN FATSIS, but then again, i've read that book (and i love scrabble). and i happen to know that acme is a scrabblophile.

"let us now praise famous men" is a famous collaboration between james AGEE and the photographer walker evans. it's got pictures of ... starving kids, or poor depression-era families, or something like that.

andrea carla michaels said...

Hey Pete!
Thanks for the thorough write up!!!!
All fill credit/cleverness goes to Peter G on this one :)

As for of all, I love him...he is a god in the Scrabble community...his book was on the NY Times bestseller list for umpteen weeks, he does sports for the Wall St Journal and on NPR...

EVERYONE who has ever read his book "Word Freaks" LOVES it, I would definitely check it out (And the documentary it inspired called "Word Wars" which was very "Wordplay" but came first!)

Lots of puzzlers also familiar with Scrabble world, from me to Joon to I think less obscure than you think, Google be damned!
I think if you read it, you'd love it and have to do a whole different take on Stefan! (I guarantee we'd have a Mindmeld over it)
Tho I do agree a pinch hard for a Monday...

I gave out this puzzle today at a Scrabble tournament in Reno this weekend and people could not have been happier and should draw more folks to the NY Sun puzzles, which can't be a bad thing!