Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Title: Themeless Thursday
Author: Doug Peterson
Theme: None

Sunny Spots:

  • 1a: Indication of a bun in the oven? (BABY BUMP). I really like this entry a lot. Very nice 1a fill.

  • 17a: Coffeehouse dunkables (BISCOTTI). This has the double bonus of being a cool word and a tasty food.

  • 35a: Telecommuting reduces it (CARBON FOOTPRINT). I'm in quandary. I drive about 65 miles each way to work in a Honda CRV. It's mostly highway, but it's quite hilly, and I normally average around 25 or 26 miles to the gallon with cruise control set around 72 mph. Yesterday, as an experiment, I drove as passively as I could, trying to maximum fuel efficiency. I was able to average over 33 mpg round trip, at an average speed of about 60 mph (slower up hills). So I can improve my fuel efficiency better than 25%, but at the cost of adding 20% to my time, which is about 40 minutes a day. Is it worth it? Hmmm...

  • 8d: Brown Bears' adversaries (PRINCETON TIGERS). It's not the (some college) Brown Bears, it's the Brown (University) Bears. Nice clue!

  • 25d: "What would your mother say?!" (SHAME SHAME). Very good.

  • 44d: She accompanied Ferris on his day off (SLOANE).


  • 9a: Razzie Award winners (WORSTS).

  • 15a: Part of M.E. (EXAMINER). Gumme for anyone who reads or watches crime dramas or murder mysteries.

  • 16a: First name in the second group of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees (ARETHA). Not group as in musical group; group as in collection of inductees. In other words, she was inducted during the second year of inductions.

  • 18a: Scaled-down racer (GO CART). For some reason, I wanted to spell CART with a K.

  • 23a: City on the Black Warrior River (TUSCALOOSA).

  • 25a: Sticky treat (SMORE).

  • 28a: Battle of the Bulge arena: Abbr. (ETO). European Theater of Operations. This shows up with a fair amount of frequency, so remember it. Not to be confused with EDO, which is an old name for Tokyo.

  • 29a: Comic book sidekick with a chauffeur's cap (KATO). We just saw KATO in a puzzle recently, so this was easier than it might have been.

  • 31a: Ventriloquist Lewis (SHARI).

  • 34a: Kids' hangout (LEA). Kids as in baby goats.

  • 38a: Ivan directed her in "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" (UMA Thurman). Has anyone seen this film? I thought the previews looked kind of amusing, in a leave-your-brain-at-the-door, campy way, but I've heard it was pretty bad. Anyone care to offer a review?

  • 40a: Borscht Belt outburst (OY VEY). The Borscht Belt, according to Wikipedia, is an area of the Catskills where New York jews go for vacation. It feels like a vaguely pejorative term to me; is it?

  • 41a: Dangerous street drug (METH). Just SAY NO (39a: Refuse). Back in the 80s when Nancy Reagan started her "Just say no" crusade, there was a comedian we saw who jumped all over it, saying, "She has a plan to stop homelessness, too. It's called 'Just get a house!'". Still makes me laugh.

  • 45a: Their outcomes are never in doubt (SHOW TRIALS).

  • 49a: Syrup brand (EGGO). I'm familiar with the frozen waffles. Didn't realize they had a syrup, too.

  • 50a: Chiromancer's reading material (PALM).

  • 54a: Oil low in erucic acid (CANOLA). Erucic. Now, there's a weird-looking word.

  • 58a: Code broken by squealers (OMERTA). Mafia code.

  • 59a: Attaching a new handle to (RENAMING). Handle is getting pretty trite these days. It seems way overused in puzzles.

  • 61a: Doesn't dwell on (SEES PAST).

  • 1d: Nixon crony Rebozo (BEBE). Strangely, this one was vaguely familiar. I think I've seen it in puzzles before.

  • 2d: Botanical angle (AXIL). We've had the AXLE, AXEL, AXIL, AXL discussion here before.

  • 4d: Where "you can hang out with all the boys," according to song (YMCA). I'm not including a link to this one. I don't think it's necessary.

  • 9d: Sign of puppy love? (WAG). I started with LAP.

  • 10d: Black Bears' town (ORONO). University of Maine.

  • 11d: Nuke, perhaps (RECOOK). No, no, no. You reheat things in a microwave, not recook. In order to recook something, you'd have to uncook it first, which, as far as I know, is impossible. It's either cooked or it's not.

  • 12d: Isn't eliminated (STAYS ALIVE). Unlike, say, the Los Angeles Lakers, who are quite eliminated.

  • 21d: Needlework design? (TATTOO). Cute clue.

  • 24d: Kidd stuff (LOOT).

  • 26d: One who can keep on running after hitting the wall (MARATHONER).

  • Orrery
  • 27d: Orrery element (ORB). It's one of those things that shows how the planets revolve.

  • 30d: Like muesli (OATY). OATY is kind of lame.

  • 31d: Riffraff (SCUM). Riffraff is a great word. Also a side character in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Man, I love Tim Curry, but he truly has no shame.

  • 36d: Pro-Lincoln cartoonist (NAST).

  • 48d: Galwegian, e.g. (SCOT). From Galway.

  • 50d: Grill (PUMP). As in, for information.

  • 57d: Estonian Air partner (SAS). Almost as frequent as EL AL, but not quite.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 19a: Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover model Benitez (ELSA). Swimsuit models have names?

  • 22a: "The Loom of Years" poet (NOYES). I was not at all familiar with this one. Here's an excerpt from the poem:

  • The leaves of the winter wither and sink in the forest mould 
    To colour the flowers of April with purple and white and gold:
    Light and scent and music die and are born again
    In the heart of a grey-haired woman who wakes in a world of pain.

    The hound, the fawn, and the hawk, and the doves that croon and coo,
    We are all one woof of the weaving and the one warp threads us through,
    One flying cloud on the shuttle that carries our hopes and fears
    As it goes thro’ the Loom of the Weaver that weaves the Web of Years

  • 32a: '40s Nobelists Hahn and Stern (OTTOS).

  • 60a: Oscar winner Wright (TERESA). She won Best Supporting Actress in 1943, for her role in "Mrs. Miniver".

  • 42d: French painter Daumier (HONORÉ). I half-recognized this after I filled it in.

All in all, I liked this puzzle. Fairly challenging, but nothing so tough that it couldn't be figured out. The SE was the last section to fall for me, but that doesn't mean it went down in order, because it didn't. Of course, I was watching the Celtics and "Hell's Kitchen" as I was doing it, but still, it took some thought to break open a couple of sections. Nice job.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the puzzle, Pete. BABY BUMP was indeed the "seed" for this one, and I wanted to make sure it was at 1-Across. It's too cool of an entry to bury in the grid.

I missed the METH/SAY NO juxtaposition. Good one! And I can see your point about RECOOKing. In my defense, I don't cook (or recook) anything more complicated than oatmeal or spaghetti.

My only complaint is that you didn't include a photo of ELSA Benitez. I thought that would be a gimme! :)

Pete M said...

@doug p: I certainly considered posting an Elsa picture, but I've called out before for overly pandering to a male audience, so I don't always take the bait. :) Good job on a nice puzzle.

Joon said...

pete, i'm with you on RECOOK. but everything else in this puzzle was pretty cool. SHOWTRIALS was a really nice one.

GOCART and GOKART have both been in puzzles relatively frequently, so that's why you might have wanted a K there.

i spent some time trying to figure out what CARTONFOOTWRIST meant before i fixed a whole bunch of bad crosses. anyway, my advice is: move closer to where you work, or work closer to where you live. or telecommute, as the puzzle suggests. as for me, i bike to and from work, and i'll be a happy man when my son is old enough that i can take him to daycare on my bike instead of in the car. driving sucks. on the bright side, i saw this link on CNN this morning.

otto hahn discovered fission, and is called "the father of nuclear chemistry." otto stern, i think, is the stern of the stern-gerlach experiment, the pioneering quantum mechanics experiment demonstrating the intrinsic spin of particles. (i did not know his first name until this morning.) thus endeth the modern physics lesson for today.

Anonymous said...

An enjoyable solve for me today - not as many "Suns of bitches" for whatever reason, but not too easy either: just right for a Thursday.

Pete, thanks for the Orrery explanation - I have to confess, I never Google something when I'm solving, particularly if I've gotten it through crossings. I alwyas prefer to look to you or Orange for the answers - it's more entertaining (and I'm lazy!).

I will take you to task however for missing an opportunity to post a picture of a swimsuit model (I'm reminded of your "cheesecake" link - which I did indeed follow, you rascal! I got what I deserved!!) - for those interested in putting a face (OK: and body) to the swimsuit model named after a crossword lioness:

If there was a model named DEY ALI, you can bet we'd all find out about her, too!

embien said...

At first I thought I was never going to finish this puzzle. I had a vast sea of empty white squares staring at me. I eventually got over my problem areas (SYRUP instead of SMORE for sticky treat), etc.

Last fill was RECOOK (I initially had MICROS in there since KATO made no more sense to me than SATO.) I assume he's some kind of comic book/superhero type character.

I was bitterly disappointed to find no pix of ELSA (Pete, you can pander to me all you like), but thanks to Tony's link I now have a visual image of this person (previously unknown to me).

Bill from NJ said...

Through the 50s, when Jews were routinely excluded from all manner of things, the Borsch Belt referred to the Catskills where Jewish families could vacation without discrimination. My family used to spend two weeks every summer at Grossingers, the most famous of resorts in my opinion.

When things began to loosen up in the 60s, places like the Borsch Belt faded into history.

In my opinion, the Borsch Belt is analagous to the Negro Leagues in baseball as it represents an institution of exclusion that faded away when the excluded people began to be accepted by the population at large

Pete M said...

Alright, alright. I've added an Elsa picture. Jeesh! :)