Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Title: Anatomy of Poker
Author: Mark Feldman
Theme: Phrases that start with a part of the body and end in poker actions.
  • 3d: *Basketball no-no (HAND CHECK).

  • 10d: *Cosmetic surgery target, often (SKIN FOLD).

  • 25d: *Yoga exercise (LEG RAISE).

  • 38d: *1997 Jamie Foxx film (BOOTY CALL).

  • 42d: *Keep one's ___ (be on the alert) (EYES OPEN).

On the plus side, I love poker. So, I'm predisposed to really love this theme. On the minus side, I'm not crazy about the actual theme phrases. With the exception of "Booty Call", which at least has some pizzazz, I found the phrases pretty dull. And an 8-letter partial (EYES OPEN) seems especially weak. On the neither plus nor minus side, the theme requires a 15x16 grid in order to handle an 8-letter (even numbered) central entry, which forces the theme clues to run down instead of across. I guess, since I didn't even notice the theme while solving, we need to just look at the rest of the fill.

Update: Joon points out my glaring neglect to notice that the first parts of the phrases were all body parts. This makes the theme that much tighter, and we must make allowances for the partial. My bad for missing this, and 50 pts to Joon.

Sunny Spots:
  • 36a: "To ___, With Love" (SIR). This is my all-time favorite Sydney Poitier film. A classic.

  • 48d: "On the Road" writer (Jack KEROUAC). I always think of this as being a 60s novel, but it was actually written in 1951 and published in 1957.

  • 58a: With no exceptions (BAR NONE). Good phrase.


  • 1a: Note equivalent to C (B SHARP). There's no black note between B and C, so a half step up from B is C.

  • 7a: Egyptian goddess (ISIS). Common entry in crosswords..

  • 14a: Kitchen utensil (REAMER). This is the thing you use to juice a lemon.

  • 24a: Kingdom that comprised most of Spain (CASTILE).

  • 26a: Mushrooms, e.g. (FUNGI).

  • 41a: More slothlike (POKIER). Very close to POKER, which is today's theme.

  • 46a: ___ fibrosis (CYSTIC). The Sun doesn't seem to have the same aversion to disease that the Times does.

  • 48a: Soup and sauce mix brand (KNORR). I don't ever recall buying this stuff, but I've seen it at the supermarket.

  • 56a: Stream of electrons (BETA RAY).

  • 60a: Miniature racer (SLOT CAR).

  • 69a: Complained (RAILED).

  • 1d: Super Mario ___ (BROS). A Nintendo game.

  • 4d: Radarange maker (AMANA). As brand names go, this one seems to show up almost as much as ESSO.

  • 5d: Makeups (RETESTS). As in makeup exams.

  • 11d: Body types? (SEDANS). Cute.

  • 13d: "Cheers!" (PROSIT). I thought this was Russian, but according to Merriam-Webster, it's German, from Latin.

  • 32d: Game for daredevils (CHICKEN).

  • 47d: Sleeveless garment (TUBE TOP).

  • 53d: With plenty to spare (GALORE). The classic Bond film "Goldfinger" featured Pussy Galore as the bad girl/love interest.

  • 61d: N.L. outfielder who won a Gold Glove in 1970 along with Clemente and Rose (AGEE). I only know this name from crosswords.

  • 62d: Film that garnered Warren Beatty his Best Director Oscar (REDS). Personally, I liked "Heaven Can Wait".

Suns of Bitches:

  • 22a: Writer Aiken and actor Bain (CONRADS).

  • 37a: Marinated Philippine dishes (ADOBOS). Never heard of this, and I've pretty up on food.

  • 64a: Fall Out Boy bassist Wentz (PETE). Not only have I never heard of Pete Wentz, I've never heard of Fall Out Boy.

  • 72a: Rice-___ Stadium (setting of the ceremonies for the Salt Lake City Olympics) (ECCLES). This didn't ring a bell at all.

  • 28d: Main character in the musical "Xanadu" (CLIO). I think I've seen this in puzzles before, but it's not something I ever remember.

The fact that there were several SOBs in a Monday puzzle wasn't actually that daunting, since all the crossings were easy enough. All in all, this puzzle was okay for me. Nothing spectacular, but a quick, easy solve.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Orange said...

Re: today's Suns of Bitches—Conrad Bain was Mr. Drummond in Diff'rent Strokes! Is his fame not eternal among members of our generation? I know Pete Wentz only from a href="">Go Fug Yourself, the celeb fashion site—he and Ashlee Simpson, Jessica's sister, recently got married. My in-laws are Filipino, so I know ADOBOS—but wouldn't know it otherwise. I alsoo had no idea about ECCLES and CLIO, the latter also being the muse of history and an advertising award.

Orange said...

(Make that Go Fug Yourself.)

Pete M said...

@orange: "Diff'rent Strokes" was not one I ever got into. I was more of a "The Love Boat" guy. :)

janie said...

in this "poker"-themed puzzle, i got smile outta the inclusion of "pokier"...

but then again, as i've stated elsewhere, i tend to be easily amused...



Joon said...

pete, i think you missed half the theme--the "anatomy" part, which necessitated the EYESOPEN partial. it's quite a bit more impressive when you look at it that way. having said that, i agree with you that only BOOTYCALL has any pizzazz to it, though i do like HANDCHECK. it's a little ironic that your HANDCHECK picture is from a college game--i think hand-checking is still allowed in the NCAA, but not in the NBA (which is what makes point guards like chris paul so incredibly valuable). i don't remember when the NBA did away with hand-checking, but it wasn't that long ago--probably this decade. and it really helped make the game more interesting.

i've heard of fall out boy, but don't know any of their music. the only reason i remember them is that they are named for a metafictional character from the simpsons (i.e. even in the simpsons' universe, he's a fictional character).

milhouse: i've said "jiminy jillickers" so many times the words have lost all meaning!

good stuff.

Pete M said...

@joon: I must be going braindead. 50 pts!