Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Title: Weekend Warrior
Author: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Theme: None

I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to solving I'm not in the same league as most of my fellow bloggers (I don't even want to look at Amy Reynaldo's time), so for me this puzzle was what a Weekend Warrior should be -- hard! I didn't time myself, and I didn't do it all in one sitting, but I was able to complete it without Googling. Granted, it was touch-and-go there for a bit and required some educated guesswork, some likely partials (e.g., this probably ends in ER -- that kind of thing), and more than one leap of faith that turned out to be correct.

Since pretty much the entire puzzle was both excellent and difficult, it doesn't seen to make sense to break the clues into categories today; so I'm just going to run through them roughly in order. Ready?

  • 1a: Picking from a lineup (IDING). I don't know how to (or whether to) punctuate this one, but I got it immediately. I guess I watch enough cop shows and movies, that it seemed the only logical choice.

  • 6a: Old-fashioned (MOSS-GROWN). This was one of the leaps of faith, which I took on MO__G____. This was after the whole rest of the puzzle was finished and I was staring at a pretty empty NE corner.

  • 15a: Monster Park player, familiarly (NINER). My brain was trying to find an actual player's name, so this was a "Doh!" moment.

  • 16a: "Falcon Crest" actress (ANA ALICIA). As you probably know by now, names are my weak spot. This was no help at all, and finally fell completely by crossings.

  • 17a: Andretti contemporary (SNEVA). I had the N early and guessed UNSER. NEVA (4d: "___ Get Enuf" (3LW song)) heard of SNEVA. NEVA heard of NEVA either, but at least it's inferrable (actually, I think I've seen it before as a river, but not as a song).

  • 18a: Bounty hunter in "Attack of the Clones" (JANGO FETT). This section would have been easier if I could have dredged this name up from scratch. Instead, it took several crossings before the fog lifted.

  • 19a: World Series game (TEXAS HOLD 'EM). Wonderful! The World Series of Poker, of course; not baseball. I nailed this from just the X in INEXACT (3d: Like some sciences).

  • 21a: ___ mort (dispirited) (A LA). I feel like I should have known this right off, but I didn't. I think it roughly translates to "like the dead".

  • 22a: Seraglio room (ODA). This is on my list of crosswordese words I need to remember. And I did, this time.

  • 23a: Chef's implements (PARERS).

  • Ines RiveroInes Sastre
  • 24a: Model Rivero or Sastre (INÉS). I've never heard of either of these gorgeous women. Where have I been? The N was from the crossing of OCEANUS (12d: Titan who was the brother and husband of Tethys), which I also didn't know, but it sure looked like it had to be that. If it had turned out to be OCEALUS/ILES or OCEAXUS/IXES or OCEARUS/IRES, I wouldn't have been that surprised (though I would have bitched about it).

  • 25a: Sprint (RACE).

  • 27a: Chimpanzee psychologist played by Kim Hunter in "Planet of the Apes" (ZIRA). This one goes with JANGO FETT as one I should have known but couldn't dredge up.

  • 28a: Trounce (CRUSH).

  • 29a: Old comics girl whose boyfriend was Wingey (ETTA KETT). Once I had the ETT, I knew where it was going. The Wingey part was no help.

  • 31a: Like the baseball played by the Savannah Sand Gnats (CLASS A). I like this one a lot. I've never heard of the Sand Gnats, but it's not hard to figure that they're a minor league team.

  • 32a: Bank (RELY).

  • 33a: Squidward Tentacles, for one (TOON). I don't watch SpongeBob SquarePants, but I was pretty sure this was from there. I thought they were going for what kind of an animal he was, at first. Nice clue.

  • 34a: Common childhood malady (OTITIS). Ear infection. Been there.

  • 37a: Cites (MENTIONS).

  • 41a: Capital of Libya (DINAR). You're just lucky TRIPOLI didn't fit, aren't you? (Of course, neither did ELL.)

  • 42a: "___ no thang" (AIN'T). Rap ain't my thang, but I knew this right away. I mean, what else could it be? For those who care, here's the Outkast song of the same name (Explicit Lyric Warning).

  • 43a: Buttonhole, basically (SLIT).

  • 44a: Salon, e.g. (E-MAG). You can check it out here.

  • 45a: Gather on a surface, chemically (ADSORB). This was a leap of faith with only the final B in place. I must remember it from high school or college, because I certainly haven't used it since.

  • 47a: Eagle, at times (ACE). As in a hole-in-one on a par 3.

  • 48a: Block letters? (SPF). I confidently put in IRS here, thinking they were referring to H&R Block. I only needed to look to my own blog title to get back on track.

  • 49a: Launderette liquid (SPOT REMOVER). A Stephen Wright classic one-liner: "I poured spot remover on my dog; now he's gone."

  • 51a: White wine often served with foie gras (SAUTERNES). I'm not sure I've ever had a Sauterne. Chardonnay? Sure. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chablis? Yup, yup, yup, yup, and yup. Don't know Sauternes. You can read about it here.

  • 53a: Apollo 16 lunar module (ORION). Got the OR and N. Seemed like a pretty likely choice.

  • 54a: "Archie Bunker's Place" costar (ANNE MEARA). Names names names. Luckily, I've heard of her, so a few crossings helped.

  • 55a: "What's It All About?" autobiographer (Michael CAINE). I know Michael Caine, but I didn't know he wrote a book.

  • 56a: Bassist on the album "Girls, Girls, Girls" (NIKKI SIXX). You know you're going to get some funky pop culture from BEQ, but the bassist from Mötley Crüe? That's tough. I ended up with a guess-the-vowel situation where the last I crossed ADONAI (42d: "Baruch atah ___ ..." (Hebrew prayer start)). I was torn between I, which looked best on ADONAI, and E, which would make the bassist's nickname NIKKI SEXX, which seemed pretty plausible to me. I guessed right, but it was still a guess. Does he play a six-string bass?

  • 57a: More furtive (SLIER). I always spell this first with a Y. It just looks weird to me with an I.

  • 1d: Forthcoming (IN STORE).

  • 2d: Patronized, as a restaurant (DINED AT). Nailed this one right away.

  • 5d: Fathom (GRASP).

  • 6d: It may rule (MAJORITY). Very nice.

  • 7d: Watching (ON ALERT).

  • 8d: Sonny's wife in "The Godfather" (SANDRA). Yet another one that I couldn't pull out of the fog. I gotta start rewatching some old movies.

  • 9d: Magi, e.g. (SAGES).

  • 10d: Latch (onto) (GLOM). I love the word GLOM. This was a gimme.

  • 11d: Discharge from the military, informally (RIF). Is this short for "Reduction in Force", or does it have another root?

  • 13d: Asinine (WITLESS). This is the entry that helped me break open the tough NE section.

  • 14d: Singer Bedingfield (NATASHA). This is one of the entries that made the NE section tough for me. I know I've seen the name before, but it wasn't something I could get without plenty of crossings.

  • 20d: Trees of the birch family (HAZELS). I can't think of another tree that begins with H and fits here. HOLLYS, maybe, but I think it's probably HOLLIES.

  • 24d: Some Pashto speakers (IRANIS). I had everything but the N and had to wait for the crossings to choose between N and Q.

  • 26d: Livestock marker (EAR TAG).

  • 28d: Coagulum (CLOT).

  • 30d: Dullea of "2001" (KEIR). No clue. 100% crossings.

  • 31d: ___-partie (furniture inlay) (CONTRE). This is new one on me. Read about it here.

  • 33d: Bill Clinton often blew it (TENOR SAX). I'm not even to mention all the thoughts that went through my head on this one.

  • 34d: "Friday Night Lights" player, e.g. (ODESSAN). Apparently, this is true of the book and the movie, which were both set in Odessa, Texas. The TV show created their own fictional town of Dillon, Texas. I am totally unfamiliar with all of them.

  • 35d: Tunable drums (TIMPANI). I used to play timpani back in high school, so this was a gimme for me.

  • 36d: Bummed (IN A FUNK). This was my first thought when I read this clue, but it took a few crossings before I believed it was the correct one.

  • 37d: Anonymous guy (MISTER X). Very nice. If I hadn't had couple of crossings that I was pretty comfortable with, I would have guessed JOHN DOE.

  • 38d: 11th-century king of Norway (OLAV III). The Olavs (sometimes Olafs) show up more than most kings (almost as much as tsars). Get used to them.

  • 39d: "Impressive!" (NICE ONE). Nice one.

  • 40d: Less forgiving (STERNER).

  • 45d: Seurat's "Un dimanche ___-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte" (APRÈS). I didn't know the title, but I can read "A Sunday ___-noon..." and have a pretty good idea what's missing.

  • 46d: U. hotshots (BMOCS). Alright, you've hit one of my real pet peeves here. Skip ahead if you don't want to hear it. BMOC stands for Big Man on Campus. The plural of Big Man on Campus is Big Men on Campus, which also abbreviates to BMOC. There's no S at the end; it can be used interchangebly as a singular or plural ("He is the BMOC." "They are the BMOC.") It's the same for RBI (runs batted in/run batted in). Ortiz had 3 RBI; Manny had 1 RBI. It drives me up a wall when sportcasters say RBIS. Of course, they don't know the difference between "well" and "good" either, so what can you expect. Ok, I'm done for now.

  • 49d: Final Four game (SEMI).

  • 50d: Part of ORU (ORAL). It was either ORAL or UNIV.

  • 52d: "___ Kill" (William Shatner novel) (TEK). I've heard of "Tek War", though I never read it. Turns out the Shat has written nine books in this series: Tek War, Tek Lords, Tek Lab, Tek Vengeance, Tek Secret, Tek Power, Tek Money, Tek Kill, and Tek Net. When Tek Sex comes out, I'll start at the beginning.

So, there you have it. A fine example of what a Weekend Warrior can be. Plenty tough, but pretty fair, and filled with interesting and colorful words, names, and phrases. Nice work by Mr. Quigley.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

LOL, from your mouth to Shatner's ear! Anyone have an opinion to share on the Tek series? I haven't read them.

The puzzle was indeed a good one, made difficult as Pete said by the many pop-culture names. [Snark alert:] It's a challenge to learn the names of unimportant people, and to ape the bad spelling of unimportant songwriters.

Joon said...

i loved this puzzle, as much of it was right in my wheelhouse. four sports answers [NINER, TEXASHOLDEM, CLASSA, SEMI], all of which i sniffed out with basically no crossings... yum! lots of pop culture that i was only vaguely aware of, but i know i've heard of NATASHA bedingfield, ANNEMEARA, and ANAALICIA, so i was able to fill those in after about half the crossings.

NIKKISIXX i know, believe it or not, from crosswords; there was an onion puzzle a few months ago where all the theme answers ended with XX, and he was one of them. (i can't recall the others off the top of my head. JIMMIEFOXX may have been one. or at least, if i had written the puzzle, he certainly would have been.)

pete, seurat's la grande jatte is an iconic painting, the foremost work of pointillism and probably the signature piece at the art institute of chicago. it's a fantastic painting. someday i'll actually go see it (didn't have time to drop by the AIC last time i was in chicago, for a bridge tournament), but my friends who have seen it all rave about it. it's an enormous canvas, something like 7 feet by 10 feet. it was also the basis of a sondheim musical, "sunday in the park with george." (by the way, your accent on the E in APRES goes the wrong way. although i think the french don't usually accent capital letters anyway.)

i have a question about your blog: what are the "crossword" and "new york sun" tags for? aren't 100% of the posts about new york sun crosswords?

Pete M said...

@joon: Fixed the accent, whether it belongs on caps or not. Re tags: I originally decided to include those thinking they might boost the "relevance" of the page if someone googled on those terms. I honestly don't know if it makes a difference, but it can't hurt. :)