Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Title: Themeless Thursday
Author: Karen M. Tracey
Theme: None

Happy new year, everybody. Hope 09 treats y'all fine. Norrin2 here and my new years resolution is to not complain about how easy the Thursday Sun puzzles are these days, and it looks like Karen Tracey is helping me keep that resolution. This was a tough one. Tough but fair with several entries that I should have got a lot quicker than I did.

24D: Explore among stalagmites and stalactites (SPELUNK) was my ticket into the puzzle. I knew this one,
even though I also knew that most people who do explores among the stalactites prefer the verb "to cave". Too bad because "spelunk" is a great word. From there I utilized my knowledge of 70's TV to get 44D: Barbarino of TV's Sweathogs (VINNIE)

And that together with 47D: Pie nut (PECAN) allowed me to get 47A: Novel with the character Serjeant Buzfuz, with "The" (PICKWICK PAPERS) I didn't specifically remember the name Buzfuz but I recognize a Dickensian name when I see one. And from there I figured I was off to the races and indeed the lower lefthand corner fell in pretty short order. Since I was already thinking of caves and spelunking I wasn't thrown off the by 55A's the looks-like-a-gerund-but-is- actually-an- adjective Yawning (CAVERNOUS).

But after that things slowed down considerably. I struggled mightily with 23A: Woodstock artist. I was racking my brain to recall who painted that famous picture of the bird on the guitar neck, or maybe she meant musical artist, so I tried to remember some of the more obscure acts at that event. It turns out the clue refers to Snoopy's buddy, who maybe should have been there:

I hate it when I have one in my wheelhouse (I'm a big comic strip fan) and I can't quite mentally expand enough to grab it. No, actually I don't hate it, but it's a tad embarrassing to fess up to.
And speaking of comic strips I had to cheat and look up 60A: 1954 Janet Leigh portrayal (ALETA). I never even knew there was a Prince Valiant movie. It must be pretty bad, even though now that I think about it Janet Leigh seems the perfect choice to play that part.

I'm also a big baseball fan and I definitely should have got 1A:Ballplayer Roy in "The Natural" (HOBBS) but I was sure it was spelled HOBBES like the philosopher (and Calvin's tiger). Plus I never expect to get One Across in a Karen Tracey puzzle, so I successfully psyched myself out.

I have a couple of minor musical quibbles, starting with 45A: Name in the only hit by Dexys Midnight Runners (EILEEN). It's true that "Come on Eileen" was their only hit in the United States, they had several more hits in their native England including a number one "Geno." (Also, shouldn't "Come on Eileen" have a comma in there?) 51D: Like vinyl records (PASSE) CD sales fell for the umpteenth year in a row in 2008, but LP sales are up as are sales of turntables, and you now see albums in places like Best Buy. So I'd say the LP is not passé just yet.

Here, with a minimum of interruption from yours truly, the rest of the first Sun puzzle of 2009:

  • 1a: Ballplayer Roy in "The Natural" (HOBBS).

  • 6a: They're not street-legal in many places (ATVS).

  • 10a: Swift stroke (LASH). I tried to make this harder than it was, thinking it must refer to satirist Jonathan Swift.

  • 14a: Lit (AFIRE).

  • 15a: Sound of alarm? (BEEP).

  • 16a: Service designation (ONEA).

  • 17a: Flonase alternative (AFRIN).

  • 18a: The Plow (URSAMAJOR). This one took a while too. I couldn't stop thinking it referred to hatha yoga asana "The Plow."

  • 20a: "Must See TV" lineup (SITCOMS).

  • 22a: Present (TROTOUT).

  • 23a: Woodstock artist (CHARLESMSCHULZ).

  • 25a: GRE component (VERBAL).

  • 26a: Furtive glance (PEEK).

  • 27a: 2008 hurricane (OMAR). Already forgotten the 08 hurricanes.

  • 28a: Unspoiled locale (EDEN).

  • 30a: Online lad mag (STUFF). Granted, I don't pay much attention to lad mags, but is Stuff online only these days?

  • 35a: Leave-taking word (TATA).

  • 36a: Chokes up, in a way (SILTS).

  • 38a: Anent (INRE).

  • 39a: Suits (EXECS).

  • 41a: Sign of disuse (RUST).

  • 42a: Ness and others (TMEN).

  • 43a: Having no fractional parts (EVEN).

  • 45a: Name in the only hit by Dexys Midnight Runners (EILEEN).

  • 47a: Novel with the character Serjeant Buzfuz, with "The" (PICKWICKPAPERS).

  • 52a: August (EMINENT).

  • 53a: Posthumously published Franz Kafka novel (AMERIKA).

  • 55a: Yawning (CAVERNOUS).

  • 57a: Trig function (COTAN).

  • 58a: Children's book author Jon (AGEE).

  • 59a: Ticks off (IRKS).

  • 60a: 1954 Janet Leigh portrayal (ALETA).

  • 61a: Earns (NETS).

  • 62a: Plain Jane (EYRE).

  • 63a: Signs over (CEDES).

  • 1d: Berkeley business school (HAAS).

  • 2d: Staples rival (OFFICEMAX).

  • 3d: Baby figure? (BIRTHRATE).

  • 4d: Whatnot contents (BRICABRAC).

  • 5d: Lady abroad (SENORA).

  • 6d: Revile (ABUSE).

  • 7d: Long jumper Igor ___-Ovanesyan (recordholder before Bob Beamon) (TER).

  • 8d: Attire (VESTMENTS).

  • 9d: Thin (SPARSE).

  • 10d: Indisposed (LOATH).

  • 11d: Historical region of western France (ANJOU).

  • 12d: Where Samsung is headquartered (SEOUL).

  • 13d: Big name in pet products (HARTZ).

  • 19d: Dummies (up) (MOCKS). Tricky. I thought she meant dummy up as in "be quiet."

  • 21d: Grasse lasses: Abbr. (MLLES).

  • 24d: Explore among stalagmites and stalactites (SPELUNK).

  • 25d: Tribal Council highlight (VOTE).

  • 29d: Lobby list (DIRECTORY).

  • 31d: Monk, e.g. (TITLEROLE).

  • 32d: Not deserved (UNMERITED).

  • 33d: Long program (FREESKATE).

  • 34d: "Twin Peaks" actress (FENN).

  • 37d: Anger (STEAM).

  • 40d: Runoff conduit (SEWER).

  • 44d: Barbarino of TV's Sweathogs (VINNIE).

  • 46d: Dried root from a plant of the madder family (IPECAC).

  • 47d: Pie nut (PECAN).

  • 48d: TIFF part (IMAGE).

  • 49d: Palm cat, e.g. (CIVET).

  • 50d: Delivers a low blow to (KNEES).

  • 51d: Like vinyl records (PASSE).

  • 54d: Santa ___ (New Mexico Indians) (ANAS).

  • 56d: Hung. neighbor (UKR).

    Joon said...

    yeah, "come on eileen" should have a comma. for that matter, dexys midnight runners should have an apostrophe. maybe they just don't like punctuation. :)

    mellocat said...

    Sounds like LPs have moved from passe to retro. I think the clue I submitted had VCRs instead -- though I still have one and no DVR so I did think that might be pushing it, yet again I get the distinct impression from others that I'm way behind the times in this area.

    Norrin2 said...

    I think VCRs are more passe than LPs, although I've still got mine hooked up -- mainly because I don't want to hack my way through that jungle of wires behind the entertainment center.