Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Title: Bakin' Bits
Author: Tom Heilman
Theme: Substituting homophonic baking terms in familiar words or phrases
Guest Blogger: Cross-Man
  • 18a: Gluten? (FLOUR POWER) Flower Power.

  • 57a: Without having been pressed or folded? (NOT KNEADED) Not needed.

  • 3d: Like someone whose cornea is caked up? (DOUGH-EYED) Doe-eyed.

  • 32d: All there is from crust to crust? (PURE BREAD) Purebred.
A reasonable theme for a Tuesday, but one that (perhaps inevitably) requires some forcing in both the cluing and the answers. It's not as if we say "crust to crust" in normal speech, for example, and "not needed" is not a word or phrase that you would find in the dictionary. Oh, and speaking as someone who once had a ridiculously uncomfortable case of conjunctivitis, I could have done without the reference to a caked-up cornea. Blech. Call me sensitive.

Sunny Spots:
  • 36d: Park that in 1933 held the first baseball All-Star Game (COMISKEY). A true sunny spot, like all baseball fields. Given that this year's All-Star Game just went by, this is a timely clue. Unfortunately, the name went corporate back in 2003. Isn't U. S. Cellular such a charming old-fashioned name?

  • 38d: Moist, in a way (DEW-LADEN). One of the few interesting two-word phrases in this puzzle.

  • 5d: Flattery(SOFT SOAP). And here's the other one.

  • 15a: Pearl ___ (Gibson garnish) (ONION). I know martinis are somewhat popular again, but does anyone still drink Gibsons?
  • 16a: Petty of "Tank Girl" (LORI). I only remember her from "A League of Their Own".

  • 17a: Spitter's sound (PTUI). The traditional spelling, of course.

  • 20a: One way to serve potatoes (AU GRATIN). Some might say it's the only way to serve potatoes, but I like mashed as well.

  • 22a: Region of France that borders Germany and Switzerland (ALSACE). It also was held alternately by France and Germany multiple times between the 1840s and the 1940s.

  • 23a: Job (HEIST). As in the 2008 movie "The Bank Job".

  • 28a: Hit a short golf shot to be safe, with "up" (LAY). Golf? Was basketball out of town?

  • 29a: Language of Sri Lanka (TAMIL). Sri Lankan didn't fit. Neither did Ceylonese.
  • 31a: Gulled (DUPED). Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in the dictionary?

  • 35a: Nice with (AVEC). Despite having seen Nice used this way so many times, this particular use caught me off-guard for a minute.

  • 39a: Nike rival (PUMA). At least this wasn't AVIA. I had a blue suede pair of Pumas back around 1970, but I don't think I've noticed the brand much in the
    US in recent years.

  • 40a: "War and Peace" director King ___ (VIDOR). A great name, and he directed an astounding number of movies before I was born. I don't think I've ever seen a one. Not to be confused with King Baggot.
  • 42a: Threat in "Deep Impact" (COMET). The real threat was to the acting reputations of Morgan Freeman and Vanessa Redgrave. Better than Shelley Winters in "The Poseidon Adventure", I suppose.

  • 49a: Baseball stats (ASSISTS). Baseball? Was basketball out of town again?

  • 53a: Drink of beer used to wash down a shot (CHASER). I never got this concept. If the first drink needs chasing, maybe it shouldn't have gone down the hatch in the first place.

  • 54a: Disappearing acts? (ERASURES). Sure, if you use "disappear" as a transitive verb.

  • 60a: Gannon University's home (ERIE). An awfully obscure way to clue this, but I certainly am sick of "Part of HOMES".
  • 62a: Crackers (GAGA). Two other four-letter words that could have gone here: nuts and loco.

  • 64a: Luster (SHEEN). I didn't know that Martin Sheen was so priapic.

  • 2d: Caesar's censure (ET TU). For all his achievements, old Julius only seems to get this or "veni, vidi, vici" in crosswords. How about a Rubicon once in a while?

  • 6d: Not matched up? (UNLIT). I don't really hear "match up" used as a verb in this sense.
  • 7d: National park in Utah (ZION). Previously known as Mukuntuweap National Monument. Can't see why they changed the name.

  • 8d: Debtor's letters (IOU). It wasn't going to be SOL (S*** Outta Luck, in case you're wondering).

  • 9d: Filled with delight (ENRAPT). I prithee not speak this way.

  • 11d: Midwestern tribe (IOWAS). A change from OTOES, at least.

  • 12d: El ___ (Spanish painter who was born in Crete) (GRECO). The "who was born in Crete" was hardly necessary here.

  • 21d: "___ Talkin'" (Bob Dylan song) (AIN'T). Of all the great Dylan songs out there from the 1960s, I'm supposed to know one from 2006?

  • 25d: Rapper with a trademark clock necklace, informally (FLAV). Just his last name. His first name is Flavor, in case that helps.

  • 26d: Sitarist Shankar (RAVI). Or father of Norah Jones, if you're feeling a bit more contemporary. Ravi is 88 years old.
  • 48d: Nirvana's genre (GRUNGE). A good word, but it feels like there should be a cleverer way of using Nirvana to clue it.

  • 49d: Pimply (ACNED). No, no, a thousand times no. While I'm not a big proponent of the breakfast test, I make exceptions for caked-up corneas and anything to do with acne. Using this ridiculous adjectival form only makes it worse.

  • 50d: Ocean liner? (SHORE). I think the oceans surround the land masses rather than the other way around, but I still liked this clue.

  • 51d: "Nights in White ___" (1972 Moody Blues hit) (SATIN). Never reaching the end...

  • 52d: Alla ___ (cut time) (BREVE). A vaguely familiar phrase to me; I apparently need to work on my musical education.
  • 56d: "On the double!" (STAT). And if you can't come up with this one ASAP, you need to work a few more puzzles.
  • 58d: Sigh of satisfaction (AAH). Blaah.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 5a: "The World of ___ Wong" (SUZIE). A 1957 book and a 1960 movie, which I've not read, seen, or previously heard of. The title keeps reminding me of a much later film, "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar".

  • 54d: "Peter Gunn" character Hart (EDIE). I suppose I had a better shot at knowing this, but it's really from the same bat time, same bat channel as Suzie Wong.

  • 55d: Vet (EX-GI). Even after getting it from the crossings, I had to look at it for a while before understanding what it meant.
All in all, a straightforward puzzle. Nothing exciting, but a perfectly good theme idea (albeit with some execution issues), and hardly any real junk in the fill, either.

Thanks for listening.

- Ruy (Cross-Man)


Pete M said...

I loved the Suzie Wong clue. Any reference to prostitution is a welcome relief from the often overly prudish clues in your average puzzle.

Nice write up. Thanks for standing in for a day!

- Pete

embien said...

I wasn't a big fan of FLAV (never heard of him/her) crossing VIDOR (never heard of him/her). I suppose if these are important personages, it's OK, but it was beyond my ken.

Wasn't real thrilled with 1a: PEDS, either, but I'll get over it.

Nice write-up, I enjoyed it!
As for gullible, it's in my dictionary, or perhaps you just stuck that in there to make me go look it up (and hence be the gullible one)?

Anonymous said...

Yes WRT "gullible" -- it was indeed a little joke. I'll bet you use it yourself within a week :-)

Joon said...

what, there's really somebody who hadn't heard the "gullible" thing in elementary school? color me surprised.

my wife hated this theme, but i thought it was rather good. exact homophones >>> wretchedly forced puns. i've never heard of VIDOR either so i have some sympathy for people who mucked up that crossing, although i did love the flavor FLAV clue. EXGI would surely have messed with my mind, too, had we not seen it in an NYT puzzle very recently.

embien said...

Nope, I'm too old, evidently, to have heard the gullible joke. Never heard it before. At least I figured it out and responded in case it was a serious comment. Everyone can have a laugh at my expense (my treat).

And no, I won't be using it within a week (or ever), I don't think. (Trying hard not to make this sound bitter or snarky, 'cause I don't mean it that way.)