Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Title: Shuffle the Deck
Author: Joe DiPietro
Theme: Card spoonerisms.

Alright, before we even start. If you're not familiar with spoonerisms, you need to be. These are a favorite device among crossword constructors, so you need to know what they are. Read more here. Go ahead, I'll wait...

Okay, now that you know what they are, don't worry; there will virtually always be an indicator that spoonerisms are involved. It can be in the fill, as it was today, but more commonly it is referenced in the title (e.g., "Reverend Spooner goes to the blah blah blah", where the blah blah blah indicates a common link among the base phrases). So, if SPOONERISM didn't fit in today's grid, they might have entitled it "Reverend Spooner Plays Cards", or some such. Alright, let's get to it.

  • Eight of hearts => HATE OF ARTS (17a: Philistine's characteristic?).

  • Ace of spades => SPACE OF AIDES (23a: Assistants' area?).

  • Queen of diamonds => DEAN OF KWAI MENDS (34a: Movie river's senior member gets better?). This is the most painful of the bunch. Like most puns and wordplay, some just flow and some feel really forced. This leans toward the latter. Okay, it's leaning so far it fell over.

  • Six of clubs => CLICKS OF SUBS (48a: What's heard in the computer lab when the regular teachers are sick?).

  • 57a: What each of 17-, 23-, 34-, and 48-Across is (SPOONERISM).

I actually like good spoonerisms, and these were mostly okay. Even the KWAI MENDS one is so bad it made me laugh. Not as much as DICKS OF SIMON'S might have, with a suggestive American Idol clue, but hey, that's just me.

Sunny Spots:

  • 11d: It begins "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" (AMENDMENT I).

  • 28d: General manager of the Mets (OMAR MINAYA). Nice to see the whole name for a change. And certainly fair in a NYC puzzle.

  • 64a: What kids do when it counts? (HIDE). This is phenomenal clue. Love it! Reference, of course, to not being "it" in hide-and-seek.


  • 10a: Animal with a scut (HARE).

  • 14a: Bank job, say (CAPER). Also a really tasty food; we use capers all the time.

  • 16a: Flock's cry (AMEN). Good clue.

  • 20a: They can be seen in the middle of summer (EMS). Cryptic clue. Not fooled for a second.

  • 26a: Gulf of Guinea island (SAO TOME).

  • 30a: B.A. Baracus portrayer on TV (MR T). Pity the fool.

  • 42a: His favorite dish is green eggs and ham (SAM).

  • 52a: "___ I Promise You" (2000 'N Sync hit) (THIS). Didn't know it, but there's not much else that fits.

  • 56a: With 53-Across, explicit HBO series (REAL / SEX).

  • 60a: Boot brand (FRYE).

  • 61a: Title for Mozart (HERR). If this didn't come immediately to mind, go watch "Amadeus" again.

  • 63a: Whack (STAB). As in, to take a stab/whack at.

  • 65a: Middle schooler, maybe (TWEEN).

  • 1d: Gut feeling? (ACHE). I've seen this one a few times; the question mark really gives it away.

  • 5d: Universal donor's blood typing category (GROUP O).

  • 10d: Locale of a John McCain statue that calls him a "famous air pirate" (HANOI). I'm embarrassed that I didn't get this right off the top.

  • 18d: Oil filter brand (FRAM).

  • 24d: Blackfish's relative (ORCA).

  • 25d: Hyperbola pair (FOCI).

  • 27d: It frequently follows you (ARE). I've seen this clue before, too, but I still like it.

  • 33d: Subotica residents (SERBS). I was figuring Subotica to be a region, but it's a Yugoslavian city.

  • 35d: Expo '70 locale (OSAKA).

  • 38d: Org. that catches mules (DEA). Mule is a slang term for one who smuggles drugs.

  • 42d: Inhales, with "down" (SCARFS). I like that this was clued as a verb. Excellent.

  • 43d: The "A" of A&M Records (ALPERT). That's Herb Alpert, of the Tijuana Brass, whose version of "Spanish Flea" was used on "The Dating Game" when the bachelors walked out. Here's a funny scene when Andy Kaufman is one of the bachelors.

  • 47d: Classless? (ABSENT). A bit of a stretch, but okay.

  • 50d: Former post of the 7th Infantry Div. (FT ORD). Of Monterey Bay, California. Former, because the base was closed in 1994.

  • 54d: "Nine Stories" girl who says "I'm extremely interested in squalor" (ESME). It's getting to the point where ESME is my first instinct when I need a girl in 4-letters.

  • 55d: 2006 movie subtitled "The Last Stand" (X-MEN).

  • 58d: Prov. whose capital is Charlottetown (PEI). Prince Edward Island.

Suns of Bitches:
    There were only a few answers I totally didn't know, but none of them were particulary hard to figure, which is unusual (for me) for a Friday.
  • 19a: Composer Hefti who wrote the theme to "The Odd Couple" (NEAL).

  • 22a: Orphan of old comics (DONDI).

  • 23d: "People" composer (STYNE).

I thought this was a very enjoyable Friday puzzle. No complaints.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes one is just lucky. I initially thought ANNIE was the comic orphan, and the crossing N was enough for me to fill in AMENDMENT I. ANNIE was wrong, but a good kind of wrong.

Anonymous said...

Neal Hefti's name must have passed before my eyes 1000 times on TV, yet I had no recollection of him at all. With mild chagrin I got him from the crosses. Favorite clue: DEAN OF KWAI MENDS. Have a good weekend, everybody, and stay cool.

Anonymous said...

Another opportunity missed...a theme entry with the clue "Flatulent bees?"

Joon said...

FTORD still looks ridiculous to me. part of it is never having heard of fort ord. but only part.

boy, there were a zillion names i didn't know in this puzzle. FRAM, NEAL, DONDI, STYNE, ALPERT, FRYE, and of course FTORD. if it weren't for OMARMINAYA and his friend SAM (also my son's name), i'd probably still be working on this puzzle. liked the theme, though.

what's a scut?

Pete M said...

@joon: A scut is a short, erect tail (as of a hare). I probably should have blogged that, but frankly I didn't bother to look it up. It's also apparently slang for the pundendum... see what gems we learn from puzzles. Good thing I already selected the pictures of the day. :)

embien said...

I struggled for a long time with this one (spoonerisms not being my forte). I eventually got it except for the SE where I had written in OMEN for 56d: 2006 movie subtitled "The Last Stand". I've never seen the X-Men and never heard of REAL SEX, and who knows what the start of ESME could have been?

I guess 28d: General manager of the Mets is fair for a New York puzzle, but that was tough, tough, tough for a non-baseball fan living in Oregon (me) to get.

I'm guessing I took longer on this one than any NY Sun puzzle I've attempted (admittedly only a couple of months now), and still got 53a SEX wrong. D'oh!