Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Title: Themeless Thursday
Author: Mike Nothnagel
Theme: None

When I first got interested in crosswords Mike Nothnagel was one of the first constructors whose name I learned to look for. His puzzles were always great -- tough but doable. Or maybe I was just on his wavelength. Whatever the reason I still get a smile of anticipation when I see his byline.

Sunny Spots:
41A: Ones who have too many white belts (
WINOS) Recently on Brendan Emmett Quigley's blog, he was talking about how much he hates puns, and I don't think he's alone. A lot of solvers and constructors don't like them even though they are an integral part of crosswords. I love 'em, thye more groanworthy the better. This one gave me a laugh because of course I was thinking of either a 60's go-go girl or a beginning karate class.

15D: "How many of each animal did Moses take on the ark?" is one (TRICK QUESTION) It's a trick question of course because Moses didn't build an ark, Noah did. But it's still a tricky (if not trick) question when you use Noah himself. Despite what they may have taught you in Sunday School, Noah since he took two of every unclean animal and seven of every clean animal. The Bible does not explain how to tell the difference, and I'm guessing by the end of a 40-day ark ride, all the animals -- not to mention Noah and his family -- were all pretty unclean.
(Now that I think about it, though, Moses did have an ark -- the Ark of the Covenant. But you couldn't put animals in it. It was covered in pure gold, and besides it was only two two cubits long.)

52A: Colorado Avalanche, formerly (QUEBEC NORDIQUES) A perfect example of why I like Mike Nothnagel. I know next to diddly squat about hockey, certainly not where the Colorado team used to play, but once I get a few letters filled in, my brain pulls something from a dusty back corner. I have seen the name Quebec Nordiques before. Where I do not know. Nor do I know what a Nordique is, but I don't have to know what it means, do I? just how to spell it. But, judging from their logo, a Nordique is some kind of headless elephant.

Suns of Bitches:

8D: Centerpiece of a successful line (TAC) I know without a doubt that there's something simple I'm missing here and I'll be embarrassed when someone explains it, but I don't get this.

36A: 1978 role for Richard Pryor, with "The" (WIZ) Not reallly an SOB, I don't guess, but I did miss it. Three-letter Richard Pryor movie must be The TOY and that's what I put down. Speaking of missed movies, I didn't fill it in (mainly because it didn't have enough letters, but my first thought when I saw 16A: 1989 Matt Dillon Film was BEAUTIFUL GIRLS not DRUGSTORE COWBOY. I haven't seen "Drugstore Cowboy" or "The Wiz", but "Beautiful Girls" is a great movie. ("The Toy" not so much.)


  • 1A: Crusty entrĂ©e (POTPIE).

  • 7a: Seat of the Bishop of London (STPAULS).

  • 14a: Sources of ornamental feathers (EGRETS).

  • 15a: Pendant shape (TEARDROP).

  • 18a: Academic year div. (SEM).

  • 19a: Cross of "Arrested Development" (DAVID). I didn't discover this show until after it was off the air (Thanks, Hulu!) but it's hilarious. Supposedly they're making a movie. David Cross played psychiatrist slash actor slash Blue Man Group member Tobias Funke.

  • 20a: Becomes legally guaranteed (VESTS).

  • 21a: Pertaining to light (PHOTIC).

  • 23a: Thou (GEE).

  • 24a: Courage (SPINE).

  • 25a: Literally, "divine wind" (KAMIKAZE).

  • 30a: Sham (FALSE).

  • 31a: Sit on one's haunches (SQUAT).

  • 32a: Lay down the lawn? (SOD). Another pun, and a good one.

  • 33a: Sounds of light bulbs going on? (AHAS).

  • 34a: Slow down the growth of (STUNT).

  • 35a: Sister company of Louis Vuitton (DKNY).

  • 37a: Mattress cover (SHEET).

  • 38a: Apportions (METES).

  • 39a: Kings and others (NBATEAMS). Could have been NHL TEAMS too. In fact I think I had that at first when I thought 24d: Indian term of respect (SAHIB) might be RAJAH.

  • 42a: Like some coll. courses (REQ).

  • 43a: Hooks up with (TIESTO).

  • 45a: Newsman who wrote "Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam" (SAFER).

  • 48a: Racing form data (SIRES).

  • 49a: Three-time award for A-Rod (MVP).

  • 55a: "Wheel of Fortune" bonus (FREESPIN).

  • 56a: Gives a seat to (ELECTS).

  • 57a: Lectures (TALKSAT).

  • 58a: Dog (REDHOT).

  • 1d: Those hoofing it, for short (PEDS).

  • 2d: Damsel maltreater (OGRE). I wouldn't put it past an ogre to mistreat a damsel, even though that's usually a dragon's job.

  • 3d: Atlantic City landmark since 1984 (TRUMPPLAZA).

  • 4d: Brit's clothespin (PEG).

  • 5d: Finish line (ITSDONE).

  • 6d: Word with tax or sale (ESTATE).

  • 7d: "Space ___" ("Star Trek" episode featuring Khan) (SEED).

  • 9d: "I don't believe you" follower (PROVEIT).

  • 10d: Madison Avenue trade journal (ADWEEK).

  • 11d: Sticks' antitheses (URBS).

  • 12d: Proceeds from a smashing success? (LOOT).

  • 13d: 1974 spoof with the tagline "Would you buy a used secret from these men?" (SPYS). Starred Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland -- both fresh off the movie "M*A*S*H" -- but this film was not nearly as successful. Maybe they should have spelled it "S*P*Y*S."

  • 17d: Prefix with sac (OVI).

  • 22d: Sound of disapproval (HISS).

  • 23d: Wharton applicant's exam: Abbr. (GMAT).

  • 26d: Clara on "Bewitched," for one (AUNT). Clara on "Bewitched" for one (AUNT) This one just jumped out at me. Isn't it odd how so much of the bad television you watched as a kid stays with you forever?

  • 27d: Push it, in a way (ASKTOOMUCH).

  • 28d: Regions (ZONES).

  • 29d: Maker of Mint Karaoke Cookie ice cream (EDYS). I don't eat much ice cream -- or sweets at all. I have no idea what a karaoke cookie is.

  • 30d: Hall of fame (FAWN). Fawn Hall was secretary to Colonel Oliver North, who evidently kept her busy shredding evidence.

  • 31d: Originate (STEM).

  • 34d: ___ Fu (1994 fighting video game) (SHAQ).

  • 35d: Bit of progress (DENT).

  • 37d: Divine miss? (SEERESS).

  • 38d: Silo contents (MISSILE).

  • 40d: Frequent Ferrell "SNL" role (TREBEK).

  • 41d: Gardening tool (WEEDER).

  • 44d: Like seconds: Abbr. (IRR).

  • 45d: House painter's meas. (SQFT).

  • 46d: Vibe (AURA).

  • 47d: Vibe (FEEL).

  • 48d: Foul mood (SNIT).

  • 50d: Bill kill (VETO).

  • 51d: "Over here!" (PSST).

  • 53d: One for the books? (CPA).

  • 54d: Calculus class letters (QED). Never got to calculus class. Does it mean "quod erat demonstrandum" there too?

  • Have a nice Thursday. Norrin.

    Anonymous said...

    tac is the middle of tic tac toe

    Norrin2 said...

    SMACK! (palm hitting forehead!)

    Jim Finder said...

    I entered REM (remedial) instead of REQ for "some coll. courses." The corresponding down entry SHAM FU (34d) seemed as reasonable as anything else.

    See, Fawn Hall was famous at one time, like her boss Oliver North, and she had great hair, but in 2009 "Hall of fame" is just not true. And when this puzzle shows up in a book in maybe 2012 how much more untrue will it be? Pity the poor editor who has to make the call on this kind of clue.

    Joon said...

    that's quite a clue for TIES TO. maybe we do need that "sexual innuendo" tag after all.