Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Title: A and Q from A to Z
Author: Derek Bowman
Theme: Pangrammatic (uses all letters) "Jeopardy!" ad slogan.

So, the "A and Q" means answers and questions, which is the format of "Jeopardy!", and the "from A to Z" refers to the pangrammatic aspect of the phrase.
  • 20a: With 37- and 53-Across, a pangrammatic promotional phrase (WATCH JEOPARDY / ALEX TREBEK'S / FUN TV QUIZ GAME).

I like the pangram theme here. It's cool that someone noticed that this was a pangram. Certainly JEOPARDY, ALEX TREBEK, and TV QUIZ take care of most of the hard letters.

Sunny Spots:

Some nice fill here, especially for a Tuesday, with some cool letter combinations and scrabbly fill.

  • 9a: Unrewarding position (MCJOB). I always like this one. So current and descriptive, and has that great MCJ letter combo.

  • 39a: Green liqueur flavored with wormwood (ABSINTHE). True absinthe, with wormwood, is still illegal in the United States; however, some companies are filtering out the banned chemical, Thujone, that comes from the wormwood, and selling the resulting product.

  • 44a: Chris Noth's role in "Sex and the City" (MR BIG). I never watched the show, but I still like the fill.

  • 5d: George mag cofounder (JFK JR). Just a great letter sequence.

  • 11d: Assembles in a makeshift manner (JURYRIGS). Very good.

  • 36d: "Master of the House" musical, familiarly (LES MIZ).

  • 55d: Rapper who was in "She Hate Me" (Q-TIP). I don't care for rap, and I don't recall ever hearing this song, but I like the fill. Would have prefered a simpler clue like "Swab".


  • 1a: Bloomie's rival (SAKS). I'm assuming this is Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue.

  • 15a: Criticism (FLAK). Great word.

  • 18a: With 28-Down, Elton John's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" singing partner (KIKI / DEE). I remember this one well. It brings back memories of junior high school and listening the Casey Kasem's Top 40 count down. Here it is.

  • 24a: West ender? (ERN). Cryptic suffix.

  • 26a: Phat (RAD). Peachy.

  • 32a: Be in harmony (JIBE). Many people mistakenly say "jive" when they mean "jibe". One of my pet peeves.

  • 35a: Last part of many a novel (EPILOGUE).

  • 42a: 1987 Suzanne Vega hit (LUKA). Sad song about child abuse. If you've forgotten it, here it is.

  • 49a: "Shameless" singer DiFranco (ANI).

  • 52a: Kiwi's relative (EMU). Australian birds.

  • 57a: Dog on "The Jetsons" (ASTRO). Love "The Jetsons". Great clue.

  • 61a: Lose one's balance? (SPEND). Cute clue.

  • 63a: Omphaloskepsis impediment? (LINT). Okay, omphaloskepsis is the contemplation of one's navel. This happens enough that we need a word for it? I've got to believe this is a Peter Gordon clue.

  • 66a: Finders' keepers? (FEES). As in finders' fees. Cute.

  • 1d: Like distorted data (SKEWED).

  • 3d: Harvey of "Reservoir Dogs" (KEITEL). Not my favorite Tarantino film. I much prefer "Pulp Fiction".

  • 6d: 1979 Sigourney Weaver thriller (ALIEN). Fun film.

  • 7d: Blue-and-white shark (MAKO).

  • 8d: Do double Dutch, e.g. (SKIP ROPE).

  • 9d: Shrek voicer (Mike MYERS).

  • 22d: Wings it (AD LIBS).

  • 27d: ___ Ghraib (Iraq prison) (ABU). Very topical.

  • 30d: Actress Shire of "Rocky" (TALIA).

  • 31d: 1994 Peace co-Nobelist Shimon (PERES).

  • 32d: Canasta card (JOKER). I never played canasta, but it was still pretty easy.

  • 37d: Inquire about (ASK AFTER). Sounds a bit old-fashioned to me, but not hard.

  • 39d: It flows in bars (ALE). It shows up often, but it's beer, so we like it.

  • 45d: Skullcap with a propeller (BEANIE). Oh, this brings back memories of Quisp cereal.

  • 50d: San Francisco's ___ Vista Park (BUENA).

  • 51d: Performers in black-and-white striped shirts (MIMES).

  • 56d: Sport in which you try to beat your opponent using clubs? (GOLF). Funny clue. Excellent.

Suns of Bitches:

Surprising, none for me. All the names were well within my wheelhouse, and/or really easy to figure out.

I have to say, I really liked this puzzle a lot. Cool theme phrase and chock full of scrabbly letters, with 4 Js and 7 Ks, and some really cool words. Even the short fills popped with words like KIKI, FLAK, MAKO, LUKA, Q-TIP and JIBE. Very, very nice. Keep up the good work, Derek Bowman.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.

1 comment:

Joon said...

i also loved the fill in this puzzle. the theme did little for me, but it was still a fun solve.

i think "she hate me" is a movie, not a song. rappers act more than they rap nowadays, it seems. ah yes, imdb confirms it was a 2004 spike lee joint.

the EMU is aussie; the kiwi is, er, kiwi (that is to say, from new zealand). they're "cousins" in the sense that australia and new zealand are closely linked in most americans' minds.

omphaloskepsis is a wonderful word, but it's usually used to refer to navel-gazing in the metaphorical, rather than literal, sense. hence the ? in the clue.

this puzzle had a whole lot of slightly dated pop music: KIKI/DEE, LUKA, ANI. even LES MIZ, if you count that as being "popular." i knew ANI but the others eluded me; i needed all the crosses. still, a fast solve for a tuesday.