Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Title: Weekend Warrior
Author: Karen M. Tracey
Theme: None

We know what to expect when we see Karen M. Tracey's name on a Weekend Warrior. Lots of sparkling fill, tough names, and a challenging puzzle. Let's see how it went.

Sunny Spots:

  • 21a: George Harrison autobiography (I ME MINE). I'm a sucker for anything Beatles.

  • 48a: Rocinante rider (QUIXOTE). Don Quixote's horse. I didn't know this, but once I had the Q it was an easy guess. And QUIXOTE is a great fill.

  • 50a: Portrayer of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (TIM CURRY). Love it. I would have loved to be at the meeting where they first pitched the script to him. I've posted a link to this video before (June 19 - Doug Peterson), when the answer was RIFFRAFF, but I'll include it here as well.

  • 5d: Raptors' rivals (CELTICS). That's the NBA WORLD CHAMPION CELTICS, to you.

  • 20d: 1992 #1 hit for Right Said Fred (I'M TOO SEXY). This is my favorite entry in the puzzle. Talk about one-hit wonders.


  • 1a: It begins "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" (REBECCA). By Daphne du Maurier.

  • 8a: Hurly-burly (TEMPEST). There are a lot of great synonyms for this: kerfuffle and foofaraw are two of my favorites.

  • 15a: Heath family members (AZALEAS). I knew I was looking for a plant; that was enough.

  • 16a: On a par with (EQUAL TO).

  • 17a: A French letter might have one (CEDILLA). (ç)

  • 18a: Not as practiced (RUSTIER).

  • 19a: 1974 Mocedades hit (ERES TU). This was just in yesterday's Times puzzle.

  • 20a: One end of St. George's Channel (IRISH SEA).

  • 23a: Letters for a Clarence House resident (HRH). Clarence House is the British royal home.

  • 30a: Dogs' resting spot? (FOOTSTOOL). Why the question mark? What am I missing here?

  • 32a: Topsy's creator (STOWE). From "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

  • 35a: Singer of the Oscar-nominated song "May It Be" (ENYA). I think she's won all the Oscars for song. My resource for this claim is crossword puzzles. Actually, maybe ELTON JOHN won one.

  • 36a: "Cheers!" alternative (SKOAL).

  • 41a: Descendant of Jacob (ISRAELITE). Nice, vowelly word.

  • 45a: Vain sorts (EGOTISTS). This has been showing up more frequently than I would expect, given its length.

  • 59a: Bank problem (EROSION). River bank, not savings bank.

  • 62a: Canaries, e.g. (ISLANDS).

  • 6d: Peace pipes (CALUMETS). It took a bit to remember the middle vowel, but I've definitely seen this before.

  • 9d: Morgan, for one (EQUINE).

  • 10d: Billi-bi ingredient (MUSSELS). I have never heard of billi-bi, which is a soup made from mussel stock and cream. Still, there weren't many words that could fit here. And, it sounds good; now I'm going to have to find some to try.

  • 12d: Inventor who gave skyscrapers a boost (ELISHA OTIS). I knew the Otis part immediately, but couldn't remember the first name of this elevator brake inventor. My first instinct was Jeremiah, but it didn't fit. At least I was on the biblical track.

  • 22d: Mushroom popular in Asian cuisine (ENOKI). I spelled this ENAKI originally, confusing it with SHIITAKE.

  • 26d: Virginia McKenna movie role of 1966 (JOY ADAMSON). From "Born Free". It's nice to see a reference to this film that's not ELSA.

  • 27d: Breakout producer (ATARI). Breakout is like solitaire pong.

  • 29d: Russian import, briefly (STOLI). Short for Stolichnaya, the vodka.

  • 31d: Key name (LARGO). Brings to mind the Beach Boys song "Kokomo". Here's a version you may not remember.

  • 37d: Vientiane natives (LAOTIANS). I got this right away, but you gotta admit it's a weird-looking word.

  • 47d: Part of Wonder Woman's getup (TIARA).

  • 53d: Last name in do-it-yourself home improvement (VILA). Of the original "This Old House".

  • 55d: Lille's department (NORD). Well, I know it's French for "north", so I guess it makes sense that it's the name of a department.

Suns of Bitches:

There were several answers in this puzzle that I didn't know, but it still filled in surprisingly quickly for me, with the northeast corner the last to fall. Alas, I had an error in the southwest at the crossing of 61a: Ornamental flower (LANTANA) and 49d: "Cat People" woman (IRENA). I didn't know either, and guessed LANTANE/IRENE. This deserves the "guess-the-vowel" tag.

Others that I did not know, but that fell without to much hurly-burly:

  • 28a: Tiffany jewelry designer Peretti (ELSA).

  • 38a: ___ Mesa (San Diego border crossing) (OTAY). If this had been a Buckwheat clue, I'd have gotten it easily.

  • 58a: Algonquian spirit (MANITOU).

  • 2d: "On Eagles' Wings" author Weizman (EZER).

  • 4d: Endymion's kingdom, in Greek myth (ELIS). I have no idea what this clue is about. I guess ELIS is a mythical kingdom. I'm not totally oblivious to Greek mythology, but I've never heard of it.

  • 8d: Clark of country music (TERRI). The only Clark that came to mind was PETULA, and that didn't fit. I know very little about country music, and nothing about recent country music.

  • 14d: Simchat ___ (Shemini Atzereth follower) (TORAH). I didn't even know what we were looking for here, except that it was probably a Jewish word. From Wikipedia:
    On the Hebrew calendar, the holiday of Sukkot in the autumn (mid to late October) is immediately followed by the holiday of Shemini Atzeret. In Orthodox and Conservative communities outside Israel, Shemini Atzeret is a two-day holiday and the Simchat Torah festivities are observed on the second day. The first day is referred to as "Shemini Atzeret" and the second day as "Simchat Torah," although both days are officially Shemini Atzeret according to Halakha, and this is reflected in the liturgy.

    In Israel and in Reform congregations both in Israel and the Diaspora, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are celebrated on the same day.

Overall, this is the kind of Weekend Warrior I like. Plenty of great, evocative fill; plenty of tough answers, but mostly discernable from crossings. My only complaint is the LANTANA/IRENA cross, which I found to be a little nasty.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Deciminyan said...

(30a) "Dogs" is slang - it means "feet". Hence a footstool is the dogs' resting spot. Nice Friday puzzle!

Pete M said...

I've never referred to my feet as dogs. New one on me. Thanks, Steve.

Pete M said...

I am probably remiss in my duties for not tying the George Harrison clue back to yesterday's "Here Comes the Sun" theme. So, consider them tied. :)

Anonymous said...

This is getting weird. On Wednesday I mention a high concentration of a single letter in my comment, then along comes Thursday with all the I's. On Thursday, I mention a cedilla in one of my comments, and along comes CEDILLA in the Friday puzzle. No, I didn't look ahead, but if something from this comment shows up in Monday's puzzle, I'm going to really be scratching my head.

mellocat said...

Remember the Beagle winning Westminster this year? That's around when this puzzle was written. The commercials for the show used "I'm Too Sexy" excerpts and I got a kick out of those lyrics being the background music for the dogs prancing around in the ads. So I thought it would be a cool entry to build a puzzle around.

Sorry about the Lantana/Irena. Agreed that was a tough one. Glad you liked the rest of it though. Thanks for the comments!

Joon said...

karen, you're my idol. (i hope that doesn't creep you out.) another great puzzle. the NE was also the last to fall for me.

i've never had billi-bi either, but i'm up in maine this week and we did have steamers the other night. mmm! will have to have some lobster this weekend, too. *wipes drool off mouth*

have a great weekend everybody!

Bill from NJ said...


Yes! I remember! My daughter has 2beagles (Maggie and Akimoru) and we watched the dog show. I thought about the dog show when I reached that clue.

I echo joon's sentiment(with the same caveat). You are my favorite constructor