Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Title: Themeless Thursday
Author: Joe DiPietro
Theme: None

Sunny Spots:
  • 1a: Dump (SCRAP HEAP). That's a nice 1a.

  • 32a: It comes from the Japanese words for "slice" and "broil" (SUKIYAKI). I guessed TERIYAKI at first, but this makes more sense, since teriyaki isn't so much sliced. For the record, teriyaki comes from "glaze" and "broil".

  • 53a: Cooker at a tailgate party (HIBACHI). A great place to cook teriyaki, but not sukiyaki (unless you've got a special grill pan).

  • 25d: Anna Nicole Smith was its spokesperson (TRIMSPA). Good, topical fill. Anna Nicole's life (and death) definitely have something to say about modern American society. I'm not sure exactly what, but something.


  • 10a: Backup procedure (PLAN B). Very nice. This was not immediately obvious to me; well clued.

  • 15a: 1947 Camus novel (THE PLAGUE). My first guess here was THE PLAYER, which messed me up for a bit. Once THE PLAGUE came to mind, I knew it was right.

  • 16a: He played Tommy in "Tommy" (ROGER Daltry). As rock operas go, I prefer "Quadrophenia", but "Tommy" is good too.

  • 17a: Did some cataloging (MADE A LIST).

  • 19a: Urgent transmission, for short (APB). All points bulletin. Nicely paired with:

  • 20a: Urgent transmission of sorts (SOS).

  • 25a: It can be used when making solders and soldiers (TIN). "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming..." - Neil Young

  • 26a: Lowball poker variant (RAZZ). I've watched this on TV and, embarrassingly, still didn't get it right away.

  • 27a: Cooper's "High Noon" role (Will KANE).

  • 31a: Thing that begins gradually? (GEE). Cryptic letter clue. I wasn't fooled for a minute on this one.

  • 34a: British invasion participants (SAXONS). My misguess on 35d gave me problems here. I should have gotten these much more easily. See XHOSA, in the Suns of Bitches section.

  • 36a: Smoker's question (GOT A MATCH).

  • 38a: Bit of plumbing hardware (CAP NUT). This would make a cool cryptic crossword fill, as you could reparse it as CAP'N UT.

  • 41a: Competed in the super-G (SLALOMED).

  • 49a: "You've gotta be kidding me!" (C'MON).

  • 51a: "___ La La" (1964 Manfred Mann hit) (SHA). Figured it had to be either SHA or OOH.

  • 58a: 2004 Billy Bob Thornton film, with "The" (ALAMO). Can't compete with "Sling Blade" or "Bad Santa".

  • 59a: Ordinary (PLAIN JANE).

  • 63a: Slice warmer (PIZZA OVEN).

  • 64a: Shortstop who played for Durocher (REESE). I got the RE- and immediately guessed Jose REYES. But no, it's Pee Wee REESE. It would have helped if I'd known that Leo Durocher stopped managing in 1973.

  • 65a: Feature of some radials (STEEL BELT).

  • 1d: Place in the East Village (ST MARKS). I'll take your word for it.

  • 2d: Hat (CHAPEAU).

  • 4d: "The Hairy ___" (Eugene O'Neill play) (APE). Not to be confused with "The Naked Ape", which is a book by anthropologist Desmond Morris.

  • 5d: Tissue: Suffix (-PLASM).

  • 6d: Parhelic circle (HALO). Also a hot-selling Xbox game.

  • 7d: Tutelage (EGIS).

  • 9d: Early TV role for Moore (PETRIE). From "The Dick Van Dyke Show".

  • 12d: In days of yore (AGES AGO).

  • 13d: Facebook member, e.g. (NETIZEN). This is one of those coined words that nobody really uses. At least, no one I know.

  • 14d: Some busts (BRONZES). B-cups didn't fit.

  • 22d: Like a cheap hotel, maybe (ONE STAR). I really wanted this answer to be FLEA BAG.

  • 28d: Spiteful (CATTISH). This one didn't fall right away. I know CATTY, but hadn't heard CATTISH. Even when I had _ATTISH, it wasn't obvious.

  • 30d: Chemist's shaker contents (NACL). E.g., salt.

  • 37d: Ballantine product (ALE). Kudos for the beer clue.

  • 39d: "Toad of Toad Hall" playwright (A. A. MILNE).

  • 50d: Onomastician's study (NAMES).

  • 52d: ___ calculus (kidney stone) (RENAL). If you know RENAL means relating to the kidney, you don't need to know much else here.

  • 54d: Delicious part that isn't eaten (CORE). Referring to the Delicious apple (as opposed to, say, the MacIntosh or Cortland).

  • 55d: Rat race locale? (MAZE).

  • 56d: Hall of Fame first baseman Johnny (MIZE). He played from 1936 to 1953, a little before my time. I'm more familiar with Larry MIZE, the golfer. Still, I like the MAZE/MIZE side-by-side action.

  • 60d: Wasted (LIT). More drug and alcohol references that are found here much more often than in the Times.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 3d: New Jersey birthplace of Count Basie (RED BANK). I feel like I've seen this before, but I couldn't dredge it up until I had most of the crossings.

  • 47d: 1970s Cleveland Browns quarterback Mike (PHIPPS). Not one I knew, but a common-enough name.

  • 35d: Bantu language related to Swazi (XHOSA). I guessed LHOSA here, and couldn't for the life of me figure out why SALONS were part of the British invasion. I guess someone had to provide all those Beatles' haircuts. Still, I should have figured it out.

Despite a couple of missteps, I enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit. Interesting longer fill, some tough entries and clues, yet with everything eminently solvable. Nice one.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Jim Finder said...

I knew about A.N.Smith and TRIMSPA from commercials on the manly Versus network. I won't mention the other commercials they make me see.... Is there no end to the crap we're willing to hold in our memories?

Thanks for the CSNY clip. It's been a long time since 1970 ... and "it should never be forgot."

Joon said...

i thought the whole point was that they didn't cut their hair (often).

XHOSA is not only a great-looking word, but it's one of the coolest languages in existence. it's got all those clicks & stuff, plus the capital X in the middle of a word. i can't pronounce XHOSA even after listening to the audio at that link a few times.

how cool was this puzzle, by the way? SUKIYAKI! all those Zs! PLANB! HIBACHI! [Some busts]! this is definitely one of my favorite ThThs.

embien said...

Very tough for me. I started out confidently putting in TRASH HEAP for 1a so my whole NW was a mess for a long time. Never heard of ST MARK'S, but I guess it is a NY puzzle, so there you go.

RAZZ was a gimme for me since I'm a huge poker fan. The WSOP telecasts start later this month (July 22) on ESPN.

Started with YAKITORI for 32a, figured out from crosses that the YAKI was in the wrong place, so then tried TERIYAKI before finally getting it right. I suppose the only Japanese cooking style that I didn't try was TEPPAN YAKI (like at Benihana), but that didn't fit anyways.

My last fill was ROGER, amazingly enough, since I couldn't remember Daltrey's first name for the life of me, despite being a fan of The Who.

Enjoyable puzzle, just really tough for me to overcome my early errors.