Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Title: The Oys of Yiddish
Author: Ogden Porter (Peter Gordon)
Theme: Wordplay theme in which a word gets an initial S changed to SCH phonetically, sometimes with a spelling change

  • 17a: Slovenly hitters? (BATTING SCHLUMPS). i don't think i'm familiar with the word SCHLUMP, although at least it looks like what it sounds like. no "toches" here.

  • 35a: Set of ads for cream cheese? (SCHMEAR CAMPAIGN).

  • 58a: Carried? (SCHLEPPED AROUND). that does it—i'm adding the sexual innuendo tag. its time has come.

okay, the theme was fine. with a wordplay puzzle with only three theme answers, you can often nitpick about consistency; why does the modified word come first in only two of the three answers? why is there a spelling change in only one answer? etc. but i won't. still, it did seem odd that SCHLEPPED AROUND seems like an actual phrase that somebody might say. in fact, it seems like something i've said.

Sunny Spots:

  • 16a: Frisbee maker (WHAM-O). i miss college.

  • 42a: "None for me, thanks" ("I'M GOOD"). oh, he's pretty good all right.

  • 38d: It's big in a May-December relationship (AGE GAP). my first thought: SUMMER?


  • 1a: Make sound (MEND). tough clue right off the bat. this puzzle wasn't as much of a killer as last tuesday's, but it still took me a good long while, slightly longer than most wednesdays. i like this clue, though. even after i had MEN_ i couldn't figure it out.

  • 14a: ___ Fun Barbie (1997 doll) (OREO). okay, that's a new OREO clue for me. really? OREO fun barbie?

  • 20a: Subsidiary of Hallmark (CRAYOLA). so that you can send greeting cards in crayon.

  • 22a: Body of water enclosed by an atoll (LAGOON). this word always reminds me of the scene in a buffy episode from season 2 where willow compares a fish-like monster to the "creature from the blue lagoon." xander corrects her, pointing out, "black lagoon. the creature from the blue lagoon was brooke shields."

  • 31a: Wide receiver Welker (WES). did somebody say scrappy?

  • 68a: ___ Star (brand of beer) (LONE). i'm sure it is. luckily, LONE star is also lots of other things, including a big old state in the south.

  • 3d: Make after expenses (NET). i find it clever that this is next to 4d: Online biz (DOT COM), even though peter gordon doesn't like to cross-reference clues if he can help it.

  • 11d: Lincoln's first vice president (hannibal HAMLIN). this guy was just in a theme clue for last thursday's NYT puzzle. i think he hails from paris, maine.

  • 34d: "My Two ___" (Paul Reiser sitcom) (DADS). would you believe i also know this from the NYT crossword puzzle? months ago, greg EVIGAN (the other DAD of the title) was the answer to a clue, i think in a tuesday puzzle.

  • 40d: With 36-Down, source of great wealth (GOLD/MINE). i wanted this to be CASH/COW, but GOLD MINE is a nice expression too.

  • 46d: Two-time Wimbledon winner Gibson (ALTHEA). first black woman to win wimbledon, i think. but she wasn't the addressee of richard lovelace's poem "to ALTHEA from prison," which contains the lines "Stone walls do not a prison make / Nor iron bars a cage."

  • 57d: Score after six faults and four aces to start a match (AD IN). and also, the player returning serve is probably really bored by now. i bet ALTHEA gibson didn't serve like that.

  • 59d: Two-fifteenths of CCCXC (LII). i did this one by estimation since i already had _II from crosses when i read the clue. one fifteenth of 300 is 20, so this one is somewhat more than 40. in this case, 2/15 of 390 is 52.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 23d: Secret agent Leamas in "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold" (ALEC). ha. not happening.

  • 60d: One million chiliads (EON). chiliads, you say? apparently this is an old (and fancy!) word for 1000 years. that's the thing about peter gordon—he's so obsessed with new clues for common words that you end up with obscurity like this in the same puzzle as clues such as 10d: Day after Wed. and 12d: ___ State Building (Manhattan skyscraper). i gotta say, it's a bit jarring.

other than the clue difficulty going all over the map, this was a pretty enjoyable puzzle. see you next time.


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