Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Title: Well, Um...,
Author: Pancho Harrison
Theme: Adding ER to phrases.
  • 17a: Burglary under cover of darkness? (NIGHT CAPER).

  • 63a: Captain of the Yankees after gaining a lot of weight? (JUMBO JETER).

  • 11d: Drunk flamingo? (TIGHT WADER).

  • 27d: Cheat a sot? (SCREW TOPER).

Another workmanlike theme. Decent, but not earth-shattering. Jumbo Jeter cracks me up; if I had time I'd doctor up a nice image for you, but I don't.

Sunny Spots:

  • 20a: Curly's job in "City Slickers" (TRAIL BOSS). This was the Jack Palance character.

  • 48a: Two-time Grammy winner for Best Male Jazz Vocal Performance (MEL TORME). Nice to see the full name.


  • 1a: Queen, in Quito (REINA). I don't know much Spanish, but I've seen this one before.

  • 10a: Olla podrida, e.g. (STEW).

  • 15a: Notes from short people? (IOUS). Good clue.

  • 16a: City with a notable property listing? (PISA). I love this clue. Listing, as in leaning. Wonderful.

  • 19a: "Spice Up My Kitchen" network (HGTV). Home & Garden channel. Makes sense.

  • 25a: Bred (FOSTERED).

  • 31a: Ocho + tres (ONCE). 8 + 3 = 11.

  • 40a: Sing "The Lonely Goatherd," say (YODEL). I have a soft spot for "The Sound of Music", so I really like this clue a lot.

  • 43a: Best (IDEAL). Interesting that this falls right next to 45a: Distribute hands (DEAL), but there's nothing wrong with that.

  • 51a: Lemmon's costar in "The Odd Couple" (MATTHAU). This was a very good film. It's been years since I've seen it; I need to rent or own it soon.

  • 54a: Defenseman who ended his career with the Chicago Black Hawks (ORR). Bah! He'll always be a Bruin.

  • 55a: Thrombi (CLOTS). I knew thrombosis, so this wasn't much of a stretch.

  • 56a: French art movement of the late 19th century (SYMBOLISM).

  • 62a: Opportune (RIPE). This is interesting in that it the meaning feels right, but it doesn't seem to quite satisfy the substitution test. You would say "the time is ripe" or "it's an opportune time", but I don't think either "the time is opportune" or "it's a ripe time" quite fit. Still, it was easy enough to figure, so it's probably nitpicky.

  • 67a: "Doin' the Pigeon" singer (BERT). Yep, that's Bert from Sesame Street.

  • 69a: Band with the 2000 #1 hit "It's Gonna Be Me" ('N SYNC).

  • 4d: Perfect game, e.g. (NO-HITTER). All perfect games are no-hitters, but not all no-hitters are perfect games. In a perfect game, nobody even gets on base (i.e., no walks or anything).

  • 5d: U.K. P.M. Clement (ATTLEE).

  • 12d: 1985 autobiography subtitled "A Success Story" (ESTÉE Lauder).

  • 18d: Smokey spotter in a big rig, maybe (CB'ER).

  • 24d: Any of seven Chinese puzzle pieces that can form a square (TAN). The puzzle is called a tangram. I never really thought about what the individual pieces were called, but it's certainly logical.

  • 29d: Atlanta WNBA team (DREAM).

  • 38d: Venice's Bridge of ___ (SIGHS).

  • 41d: Like carbon monoxide (ODORLESS). Got this just from the O.

  • 49d: Former New York Liberty player Rebecca (LOBO). This is one of the only former-WNBA players I've actually heard of. Probably because she played college ball at UConn the year they went undefeated.

  • 50d: Brand of condoms (TROJAN). TROJAN shows up in puzzles, but usually as the USC team, not the condom.

  • 51d: Golden Arches pork sandwich (MCRIB). I had forgotten about the McRib. Do they still make that?

  • 52d: Coworker of Dilbert (ALICE). I'm a big Dilbert fan, so this was a gimme for me.

  • 53d: Take by force (USURP).

  • 57d: Disco song that went to #2 in 1979 (YMCA). No, I'm not going to include a link to this song. It was held out of the #1 spot for three weeks by Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy".

  • 61d: Richie's mom, to the Fonz (MRS C). I watched "Happy Days" growing up, so this was a no-brainer.

  • 63d: "Aunt ___ Scrap-Bag" (Louisa May Alcott series) (JO'S). Never heard of this, but it was pretty easy with the J in place.

Suns of Bitches:

  • 34a: "Kangaroo Notebook" novelist Kobo ___ (ABE).

  • 3d: Congo River's ___ Falls (INGA).

Another decent puzzle. Nothing terrible, but nothing terribly notable either. And, as I've said before, that's not a bad thing.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Jim Finder said...

Lord Google and my dictionaries are all silent on why ICES (64A) is a slang term for "seals." Ideas?

Orange said...

Jim, one of the definitions for ice is "Slang. To ensure of victory, as in a game; clinch." Or here, "Slang. To settle or seal; make sure of, as by signing a contract: We'll ice the deal tomorrow."

Joon said...

"with those free-throws, he ICES the victory"

oh, orange beat me to it. well then.

i liked this puzzle a lot. really good long fill, a minimum of crap, and a clever theme. PISA (great clue!) and bridge of SIGHS make me want to visit italy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jim - ICES for "seals": think of "seals the deal"...not that you say "ice the deal" very often, but I think that's the intended connotation. ICE, CINCH, NAIL etc.

I enjoyed this one, though having stuck in an unchanged DEREKJETER in that slot I had some difficulties recovering in the SE. Also in that area I had -ISM for the art movement and wanted POINTILLISM, FAUVISM, SURREALISM, IMPRESSIONISM, CUBISM etc. before getting around to SYMBOLISM. Should definitely have focused more on the crossers than taking a mental tour of art history!

Some fun fill clues, as Pete mentioned, with PISA & IOUS being favorites. Also liked the Spanish 11 vs. whatever awkward synonym/fill-in-the-blank we'd likely get for the English ONCE.

Tony O.

janie said...

just have to add a "me, too" on clues for "pisa" and "ious." also, love the "sighs," "ideal" and "dream" connections in the grid.



embien said...

I loved this puzzle, also, but again didn't see the theme until coming here to the blog (I guess I'm dense on themes).

As others, I thought PISA and IOUS cluing was brilliant. A true laugh out loud moment when those came to me.

Pete, the USC team is the Trojans (plural), though a member of that team would indeed be a TROJAN. I'm guessing we'd never see the condom cluing in the NYT! (Or the way SCREWTOPER was clued, for that matter.)

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