Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Title: Silly Songs
Author: Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke
Theme: Songs with gibberish names.

Alright, I'm too lazy to go research the correct punctuations on these songs, so I'm just going to insert hyphens between the syllables. If this is incorrect and it offends you, well, comment away -- I'm not losing any sleep over it.
  • 17a: With 62-Across, "silly" Police song (DE-DO-DO-DO / DE-DA-DA-DA).

  • 27a: "Silly" Iron Butterfly song (IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA). The story is that this song was originally to be titled "In the Garden of Eden", but was misheard by one of the bandmates (alcohol may or may not been a factor here, depending on which story you believe), who wrote it down phonetically. Either way, the new name stuck.

  • 36a: "Silly" Manfred Mann song (DO-WAH-DIDDY-DIDDY). There's a local Boston band, "The Fools", that's been around since the 70s that does a version of this song. Here's a video of it. They still tour locally, and while they are certainly older, they are still quite the fun, talented rock band.

  • 44a: "Silly" vaudeville song (TA-RA-RA-BOOM-DE-AY). I think I only know this because it was parodied so often when I was young. Probably at about the same age as "Jingle Bells, Batman smells...".

This is an interesting mix of songs, all of which I was able to nail without a single crossing once I got the first part of the Police tune. It also made me think of another silly song; unfortunately, its title, "Swinging the Alphabet" (which I never knew until today) isn't as silly as the song itself, so it wouldn't have fit the theme. But here it is, anyway. 99% guaranteed to make you smile. And, if you want a really off-beat parody, check out this bit from "The Forbidden Planet" (LANGUAGE WARNING).

Sunny Spots:

  • 14a: Shortstop Luis with nine Gold Gloves (APARICIO). He finished his playing career with the Red Sox in the early 70s, and he's definitely on my "Top 100 Coolest Sounding Names in Sports" list. Well, okay, I don't actually have such a list compiled, but if I did he'd be on it. So would Julio Lugo and Esteban Loaiza.

  • 59a: Oyster hoister's hangout? (RAW BAR). This brings back memories. Before kids, my wife and I used to go out after work to a place that had music interspersed with trivia. Periodically, they'd throw out a "raw bar" question (i.e. the first correct answer got a free raw bar entry). Once, the question was "According to [I don't remember the source], the average sexual encounter burns the equivalent calories of walking up how many flights of stairs?" Guesses were being shouted in rapid succession -- "2, 3, 7, 5, ..." -- when a girl's voice in the back screamed "100!". As if on cue, about five guys turned around and in unison shouted "What's your number?" Fun times.


  • 5a: Tupolev Tu-144, e.g. (SST). Way to make a common entry obscure.

  • 8a: Knocks the socks off (AMAZES).

  • 18a: Rotund cartoon cat (STIMPY). Stimpy still doesn't the crossword ink that buddy Ren gets, but he's starting to make some headway.

  • 19a: Executioner's item (AXE). Needed this cross to decide between APEX and ACME for 2d: Tippy-top.

  • 20a: Road trip expenses (TOLLS). Tolls are nothing compared to gas these days.

  • 22a: Gaelic language (MANX).

  • 23a: It lost out to "Braveheart" for Best Picture (BABE). There's something amusing about this. Both very good films, but just not two that you would tend to think of at the same time.

  • 24a: Ding Dong alternative (HOHO). Click on this picture to see the full-sized painting by artist Craig Stephens, who does a painting every day. Check it out; many are available to buy.

  • 41a: Suffix for halogens (INE). The halogens are fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine.

  • 43a: Pot heads? (LIDS). It's a bit of a stretch to call a lid a "head", but it's a cute clue.

  • 51a: 1917 Kentucky Derby winner ___ Khayyam (OMAR).

  • 54a: Big name in Scotch whisky (DEWAR). Not my Scotch of choice; I prefer the peatiness of the Islays -- Lagavulin, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, etc. Still, thumbs up for the reference.

  • 65a: They're full of themselves (EGOTISTS).

  • 66a: Element #8 (OXYGEN).

  • 1d: Vocal fanfare (TADA).

  • 5d: Floor-washing robot (SCOOBA). Here's a video of one in action, coincidentally featuring a song by STYX (13d: "Renegade" band).

  • Gimlet
  • 7d: Gimlet or screwdriver, e.g. (TOOL). A gimlet is a boring tool; not as in unexciting (though it may be that as well), but as in a sort of hand drill.

  • 9d: Player on a Queens bench (MET).

  • 10d: Creator of the Three Laws of Robotics (ASIMOV). A little continuation of the robot mini-theme.

  • 11d: Alcopop brand (ZIMA). Alcopop is a new one on me. But BRITNEY SPEARS didn't fit, so ZIMA was a good guess.

  • 15d: Dog collar dangler (ID TAG).

  • 23d: Broadway Joe's alma mater (BAMA). Joe Namath and Alabama.

  • 25d: Adopted last name of singer Anita Colton (it's pig Latin for what she hoped to make) (O'DAY). The pig Latin bit is over-the-top. And do we know she hoped to make "dough"? Maybe she just sings because she loves it.

  • 26d: Bunch of bananas (HAND). I think I've heard this before, though I've never heard anyone actually use the term in this context. Still, it makes good sense if you consider a banana to look like a finger.

  • 31d: ___ longlegs (DADDY). I like that this crosses Do-wah-diddy-diddy.

  • 32d: Actresses Adams and Brenneman (AMYS). I barely even noticed this clue. I couldn't put a face on either, but they sound vaguely familiar.

  • 33d: Ready for print (EDIT). Good use of ready as a verb.

  • 45d: Item in a steering wheel (AIRBAG).

  • 46d: New York county (OSWEGO). Need a few crossings before this became clear.

  • 47d: One of the Sopranos (MEADOW). I don't watch the show, but it sounds enough like a name and the crossings were easy.

  • 48d: Remove certain vermin from (DERAT). So, if you finished constructing this puzzle and decided DERAT had to go, would you DEDERAT the grid? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • 51d: It can be twisted (OREO). Nice clue for a common word.

  • 52d: Proponent of a classless society (MARX). Karl, not Groucho.

  • 55d: "Escape to Chimp ___" (Animal Planet show) (EDEN). I've seen this show once or twice. Nicely current reference for a common fill.

  • 57d: 1999 Matthew McConaughey movie (ED TV).

Suns of Bitches:

  • 27d: Massey of "Love Happy" (ILONA). I've probably seen this before, but it's not a name I remember. The film stars the Marx Brothers, and also features Marilyn Monroe.

I enjoyed this puzzle. To me, it felt a touch easier than yesterday's, and no where near as scrabbly, but I liked the theme answers and a good bit of the fill. That's pretty much what I want in a Wednesday puzzle.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

This theme didn't quite do do do it for me, though it might have worked better with a different set of song titles. Nearly 13% of the letters in this puzzle were D, which is a pretty high concentration for a single letter, and of course there was a lot of repetition of individual syllables.

mellocat said...

This puzzle was way harder if you didn't know the songs. I did know the Police one, but the rest were just nonsense entries to me. Thus I had to rely on crosses to get practically every letter, and there were enough things I didn't know in the crosses to make that impossible. I can see how it would have been fun if you knew the songs, but I found it not so much fun given my ignorance. Such is life.

Anonymous said...

This was not so fun, as the only song I knew was the Iron Butterfly one. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

PS - Amy Adams is amazing. Go watch Junebug.

PPS - Maybe Groucho was a proponent for a classless society, as well.

janie said...

haven't seen junebug (it's on my "to rent" list...), but amy adams was also quite wonderful in enchanted.

as for ms. brenneman -- first couple of seasons of nypd blue and (all of...) judging amy.

fun puzzle!



Joon said...

i agree with karen. if you don't know the songs, the puzzle is practically impossible, since the crossings are not all easy and the vowels could basically be anything. i found this puzzle relatively quick to solve but i had a zillion squares wrong. particularly ILONA--all three of those vowels crossed theme answers and could have been anything. (i knew the I, but not the O or A.) brutal. similarly with SCOOBA (wtf?), which had the additional problem of crossing the SST clue from outer space. OSWEGO has a similar issue, although i've at least heard of it.

Anonymous said...

i love you Juan Carlos♥

Anonymous said...

I like Jose & Stimpy♥

Anonymous said...

I like Jose & Stimpy♥