Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Title: Weekend Warrior
Author: Karen M. Tracey
Theme: None
Guest Blogger: Cross-Man

Pretty much a nice clean Tracey, though the fill is a tad weaker than her usual high standard. Not bad by any means, just not quite as shiny. While I got through the upper two thirds pretty quickly -- for a Weekend Warrior, anyway -- I had a little trouble in the bottom third, particularly in the SE.

Sunny Spots:

Mostly the longer entries.
  • 15a: Singer of "Like a Surgeon" (with the lyric "I can hear your heart beat for the very last time") (WEIRD AL YANKOVIC). A very clever guy. I still crack up every time I watch the video of White & Nerdy, featuring Donny Osmond. Check it out on YouTube.

  • 59a: From a reliable source (ON GOOD AUTHORITY). An excellent 15-letter phrase.

  • 62a: Ruthless group since 1935? (THE BRONX BOMBERS). As in Babe Ruth and the Yankees. This one took me longer than it should have.

  • 8d: Like a refrigerator, sometimes (RAIDED). Points for giving me an aha! moment.
  • 16d: Portrayer of Weena in "The Time Machine" (YVETTE MIMIEUX). Though I've never seen the movie, I got this almost as soon as I filled in the Y from the crossing WEIRD AL YANKOVIC. A very nice change from the usual Time Machine entry of ELOI, and extra good because Weena was actually one of them.

  • 43d: Worthless loafer? (ODD SHOE). Did you know that there's a National Odd Shoe Exchange (

  • 1a: Classic retro style (ART DECO). Of course, it wasn't retro at the time it originally appeared.

  • 8a: Varlets (RASCALS). This quotation from the OED illustrates the correct usage: "1829 LYTTON Devereux II. iv, ‘Now for thee, varlet,’ cried Tarleton, brandishing his rapier."

  • 17a: #1 hit of 1999 (LIVIN' LA VIDA LOCA). By Ricky Martin. Wikipedia tells me that Rolling Stone names this one of the 20 Most Annoying Songs. I can see -- um, hear -- what they mean.

  • 20a: Cordero or Nieves of baseball (WIL). Gambling: Pete Rose:: Domestic abuse: Wil Cordero.
  • 21a: British-style crossword constructor (SETTER). A dog of a clue. I hope no one minds the pupcake.

  • 24a: Supt.'s responsibility (BLDG). And he or she probably spends a lot of time in the 24d: Rm. without a view (BSMT). Nice crossing.

  • 30a: Words that might accompany a shrug (SEARCH ME). I can picture this perfectly.

  • 32a: Ewan's "Moulin Rouge" costar (NICOLE). Kidman.

  • 36a: Obsession (MANIA). A bit of a stretch for a synonym clue, but it's legit.

  • 37a: Little, in Lockerbie (SMA). I'm not fond of these regional accent spellings, never mind a crossing pair of them (see 38d). And shouldn't this be "wee," anyway?
  • 40a: Bean Town skyscraper (THE PRU). An ugly box (pox?) on the Boston skyline since 1964. Beantown, by the way, is usually spelled as one word.

  • 42a: 1977 Paul Davis hit (I GO CRAZY). I'd say Paul Davis was more than a one-hit wonder, but less than a household name. Crossings took care of the whole thing.

  • 44a: Popular game show of the '70s and '80s, familiarly (PYRAMID). This went from a $10,000 version in 1973 to a $100,000 version by 1985. Don't you miss those inflation years?

  • 46a: "___ Final Broadcast" (Broadway song sung by Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin) (EVA'S). From the musical "Evita".

  • 47a: Present time, for short (B'DAY). My first thought was XMAS, but the crossings eliminated that in a second.

  • 50a: "Wicked" character (GLINDA). The Good.
  • 53a: Young enfant (BÉBÉ). A little French to start the day. Boy, was I tempted to use a Bebe store ad for a pic. But I compromised between that and one of Bebe Rebozo.

  • 54a: Burns and Allen (STEVES). I very much appreciate the cleverness of the cluing, but do you know who Steve Burns is without checking?

  • 63a: 2004 All-Star Game MVP (SORIANO). Alfonso Soriano, now of the Chicago Cubs, then (2004) of the Texas Rangers, and earlier of the aforementioned Bronx Bombers.
  • 64a: Proposed state of 1849 that was not granted admission to the Union (DESERET). While you might guess that this included most of today's Utah, it also took in great chunks of Nevada, Arizona, and California.

  • 2d: Mutual fund alternative: Abbr. (REIT). Real estate investment trust. But can you trust real estate investment?

  • 4d: Coffeemaker style (DRIP). As opposed to the percolator kind whose sweet burbling was often a presence at dinner parties in the 1960s and 1970s, maybe even earlier.

  • 5d: Best and others (EDNAS). Oddly, the first person I thought of here was pre-Ringo drummer Pete Best, who I think once released an album entitled "Best of the Beatles".

  • 6d: Where the Beavers play (CALTECH). MIT's mascot is also a beaver, but the school's teams are named Engineers.
  • 7d: Oporto greeting (OLÁ). A rare appearance of a Portuguese word besides São or Rio. Also a widely-distributed brand of ice cream novelties over in the old country.

  • 9d: Firedog (ANDIRON). Though the object is usually made of iron, it seems to be coincidence that the word contains the name of the metal. Alternative answer that wouldn't fit: DALMATIAN.

  • 10d: Game similar to sheepshead (SKAT). I've heard of the answer (a card game), and the game in the clue was mentally filed somewhere nearby.

  • 11d: Mustard, e.g.: Abbr. (COL). As in Colonel Mustard, one of the murder suspects in the game Clue.

  • 13d: Not crooked (LICIT). Not one of my favorite words. It may as well be EPT.

  • 14d: Blanch (SCALD). In the cooking sense, not the whitening one.

  • 22d: Stomach-soothing roll (TUMS). Probably not if you swallow the entire roll.

  • 25d: 1962 Roy Orbison hit (LEAH). I'd prefer to spell this as BLEAH. Really, listen to the song and see if you disagree.

  • 27d: Afflicted with the flu (GRIPPY). I really have to question this one. First, does anyone really use the term "grippe" anymore? Second, has anyone ever used this adjectival form?

  • 29d: Its motto is "Forward": Abbr. (WISC). Weren't we just talking about state mottoes last week? Here's a less usual non-Latin one. Anyone know the only Greek one? Here's a hint: If I had to guess, I'd say that 10% of you do.
  • 31d: He lost out to Bing for Best Actor of 1944 (CARY). Der Bingle won for his role in "Going My Way"; Cary Grant was nominated for his role in "None but the Lonely Heart".

  • 33d: Nordic saint (OLAV). Olaf with a V, not to be confused with…

  • 34d: Beth alternative (LIZA). …Liza with a Z. But to be honest, I don't think too many women named Elizabeth use Liza as a short form, and the only Beth I know has a complete first name of... Beth.

  • 38d: Once more in the country? (AGIN). See my comment on 37a, which this crosses.

  • 45d: Pro wrestler Lou (ALBANO). He had a very recognizable beard in his day, and his day went on for far longer than you might have guessed.
  • 47d: Vulnerable backgammon pieces (BLOTS). I never took to this game.

  • 48d: "Pearly Shells" singer (DON HO). Great, now I've got "Tiny Bubbles" floating through my head…

  • 49d: Author of "The Young Bank Messenger" (ALGER). As in Horatio. Though he wrote dozens of stories, I don't think I can name a single one besides "Ragged Dick." Didn't stop me from getting this entry, though.

  • 53d: When repeated, one of the Society Islands (BORA). Besides Bora Bora, Pago Pago, and Walla Walla, are there any other repeated geographical names? Sing Sing doesn't count.

  • 57d: Soyez is a form of it (ÊTRE). More French, and a subjunctive to boot. Mon Dieu, gardez-moi!
  • 58d: Part of AWACS (SYST). Airborne Warning and Control System.

  • 61d: Up in the air, on a sched. (TBD). Having been on a plane a few days ago, I was thinking airline schedules rather than television or conferences.

Suns of Bitches:
  • 55d: Kathryn of "Oz" (ERBE). She is far better known for her role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and that's not a show I watch. Having this right next to VIER made for an uncomfortable SE corner.

  • 56d: One-fifth of zwanzig (VIER). I figured it was a German number, but I lose count after three. Too bad VIER is four.

Thanks for listening.

- Ruy (Cross-Man)


Anonymous said...

"And Deseret's 102 electoral votes go to the Senator from Deseret ... Mitt Romney! Say a few words about irrigation, Mitt ...."

Joon said...

those three, along with baden baden, have formed the theme of at least two crosswords in the cruciverb database. those are the only common ones (i'm assuming you don't count shenanigans like "new york, new york" or "singapore, singapore"), but check out australia.

i liked this puzzle a lot, and i would have done it much quicker if i had ever heard of YVETTEMIMIEUX. also, if i hadn't absolutely blanked on NICOLE kidman's first name. she's actually the closest thing i have to a favorite actress, and yet i simply could not remember her name (!) until i had four crossings. i kept thinking, "you know, that blonde australian actress... she was married to tom cruise..." argh.

Pete M said...

VIER/DESERET was a tough cross, but my zen sense felt like it was an R, as I'm sure I've seen VIER before. Top half of the puzzle was a breeze. Slowest area for me was in California. Even with THE PRU and SEARCH ME in place, it just wasn't GRIPPY enough.

Thanks to all my wonderful guest hosts; see you all on Monday.

Norrin2 said...

Thank you for not posting a picture of Bebe Rebozo!

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is so late, but thank you so much for posting a picture of Bebe Neuwirth! I'm friends with her father, and last year I went to see her as Roxie in _Chicago_. She was fabulous! And then I got to go backstage and hang out with her and get a picture and autograph. She's such a sweet lady.