Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thursday, August 21st 2008

Salutations, Sun solvers! It's your old pal Norrin2, the Green Genius, putting down the shuffleboard cue and my gin-and-Geritol to briefly unretire from crossword blogging.
Man, I can't believe I used to do this five days a week. It's a heck of a lot of work, and Pete M deserves a big pat on the back for putting in the effort every day. (Whether or not he might also deserve a swift kick where the Sun don't shine for letting me guest blog remains to be seen.)
Let's get on with it, shall we?

Title: Dressed to the Nines
Author: Tony Orbach
Theme: Common phrases modified by the inclusion of the Roman numeral 9 (IX)

18A: Orchard Sprites? (APPLE PIXIES)

24A: Sound editor's '80s TV gig? (MIXING DYNASTY)

40A: Animation company's quality control goal? (PIXAR EXCELLENCE) I would say that this goal has been met. I've seen all of the Pixar films and they are all great.

53A: Skipped a trip to Belgium? (NIXED FLANDERS) Flanders is the land of the Flemish (You didn't think they were from Phlegmland, did you?) as such is not only in Belgium, but also in France and the Netherlands. It was the site of some horrific war battles (what other kind of war battles are there?) and was the setting of the most famous poem to come out of that conflict:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

63A: Frank fellow who tilts at windmills? (OPEN QUIXOTE)

I have to admit since I retired from daily crossword blogging I don't do the puzzle every day, and I've kind of gotten off Peter Gordon and company's wave length. So it took me a while to get into the swing of things. Music was what allowed me to get a foot in the door. I may not know my Sudanese supermodels or my Saudi Arabian billionaires, but I know about Johnny's golden fiddle: 69A: "The _____ Went Down to Georgia" (1979 Charlie Daniels hit) (DEVIL) and I know that rust never sleeps: 11D: "Hey, Hey, My My" singer (NEIL YOUNG) who also had a song called "My My, Hey Hey," and no, I'm not kidding. After a few dead ends on EVERLY and WINTER, I also knew 7D: Surname of brothers in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (ISLEY) and I speak the language of love so I knew 43D: "___ Means I Love You (1968 Delfonics hit) (LA LA). BTW, this song is featured prominently in one of those movies I love that everyone else hates.

Maybe it's just because I know Tony Orbach is not just a cruciverbalist but also a musician (a modern day Renaissance man -- is that an oxymoron?) but it does seem as though his puzzles always feature a lot of musical clues. Also in this puzzle: 1D: Shabbat song (PSALM) 2D: Dizzy Gillespie's faith (BAHAI) and 61A: Big ___ (Andre 3000's Outkast partner) (BOI) and 50D: Musical with the song "All the Dearly Beloved" (I DO I DO)

Sunny Spots:
71A: Piece of Lamb or Bacon
(ESSAY) Francis Bacon is probably best known these days as one of the possible playwrights that elitist snobs who can't believe that a poor boy like Bill Shakespeare wrote some magnificent plays put forth as the real author of said works. Too bad, he was quite an essayist. Here he is on the subject of children: "The joys of parents are secret; and so are their griefs and fears. They cannot utter the one; nor they will not utter the other. Children sweeten labors; but they make misfortunes more bitter. They increase the cares of life; but they mitigate the remembrance of death. " He also coined the phrase "Knowledge is power" but it wasn't always true in his case. He had an idea that you could use snow to preserve meat and he died of a case of pnuemonia he contracted while trying to freeze a chicken.

62A: Character in "The Return of Jafar" (GENIE) Hey, say what you want about kids, Sir Francis, but mine's video watching habits ensured that I had no problem with this clue.

29A: Lucky tip (ASH) Wow, do they still make Lucky Strike cigarettes? Hang on a sec, while I Google that. Yep, according to Wikipedia: "Lucky Strikes currently have a small but very loyal base of smokers." (Small, and getting smaller, no doubt. That's what happens when you kill your customers.) The only reason I know anything about LSMFT is because I am a big fan of old-time radio and Lucky Strike was the sponsor of Jack Benny's radio show.

27D: "A Giraffe and a Half" author Silverstein. (SHEL) It's always good to see Shel Silverstein in the puzzle. Another Renaissance man, Silverstein gave us "The Giving Tree" "A Boy Named Sue" and plenty of great cartoons like this:


55D: Pulitzer-winning Bernard Malamud novel, with "the" (FIXER) I've never read this one, but I've read Malamud's "The Natural" and I can tell you that is one of the few instances where the movie is not only better than the book, it's a heck of a lot better. Terrible book, great movie IMOH.

(And speaking of baseball) 12D: First of three Mets to hit a lead-off home run in a World Series Game 3 (AGEE) Even if you know nothing about baseball you know the answer starts with an A. Four letter baseball name? Got to be either AGEE or ALOU.

60D: "House co-star (EPPS) No, that I'm no longer a full-time crossword blogger I've been catching up on my TV viewing -- I love House. (Can you believe they killed Amber off on the season finale?)

45A: Loss leader? (AT A) I was thinking ELL

3D: Women's undergarment brand (SPANX) I was not familiar with this line of slimming unmentionables, but they evidently carry a full line, including "power panties."

33D: Church recess (APSE) One of these days I'm going to learn the difference between anave and an apse.

Suns of Bitches:

Actually the only thing I considered to be a real son of a B-word was where 9A: Billionaire Khashoggi whose luxury yacht was bought by Donald Trump (ADNAN) crossed 10D: Utterance (DIXIT). There were -- as we shall see -- other words I didn't know but this was the only place where words I didn't know crossed each other. DIXIT? What the heck is a dixit? Or is this another themed entry and it's actually DIT? I don't know. And if I was a billionaire the first thing I'd do is change my name to something less monstrous than KASHOGGI.

51A: Merry, to a Euskara speaker (ALAI) Wow, I guess he didn't want to go the JAI ___ route, but Euskara?

33A: Sudanese supermodel Wek (ALEK) Never heard of her. (him?)

23A: Marquises, e.g. (ILES) I thought they were like French dukes or earls or dukes of earl.

19D: What some whistles lack (PEAS). I remember from crossword blogging back in the day that there were times when I just had to say "I don't get it." It was always embarrassing because as soon as it was explained to me I was smacking myself in the head like the most rueful V-8 drinker. But I have to admit -- I don't get it.

That's about all I have time for. By the way, I still blog, just not all crosswords all the time. One of the things I discuss is my autograph collection. Here's one of my favorites:

Thanks for listening. Thanks Pete M. for this forum. It's been fun but if I can just find my sandals and black socks I'm heading back to crossword blog retirement land -- well, right after a quick stop at Denny's for the early bird special.
Robert Loy AKA Norrin2


Ellen said...

Nice to see you back.

The Oprah show that featured Will Shortz and Merl Reagle also had the founder of Spanx.

Norrin2 said...

Thanks, Ellen. Actually that book I posted with the Peter Gordon autograph is one I got from you via Bookmooch.

Pete M said...

Nice job. You had me at the bacon bra. :)

Anonymous said...

Fair to say that the bacon bra is definitely not kosher?

Joon said...

you know how some whistles have a little ball inside that rattles around when you blow in it? it's called a pea (i guess because it's the size and shape of a pea). some whistles are pealess.

i didn't know this either until i looked it up just now, but i did guess that's what it was when the crosses showed up.

fun puzzle. i really dig the Xness of it.

i've played ZEBU in scrabble but i didn't remember what it meant. other than tons of names i didn't know, this wasn't so hard for a thursday, i thought.

Norrin2 said...

That sound you heard was me smacking my temple. Thanks, Joon. I actually know what ZEBU means but I get it wrong anyway. One of the comic books I read as a kid was about a Tarzan wannabe who had a sabre-tooth tiger named Zabu, and so that's what I usually put down.
Thanks, Pete, I appreciate the compliment and all the hard work you put in here.
Ruy, no, probably not kosher but certainly the best of both worlds.

ArtLvr said...

For some reason I came up with the super-rich ADNAN okay in the NE, but never realized his last name was so funny, "cash-hoggy", until you said you'd change it. My guess is that he can afford a sense of humor about it!

As for the DIXIT, I don't get it as a stand-alone, but if not just extracted from the phrase "ipse dixit" maybe they were thinking of the the French "on dit" (they say, one says, or it's said) -- leaving out IX and also "on". Not so hot -- anyone else?

BOI, it was a GLEEful, extra-trixsy puz, ANGELS crossing the DEVIL and a GENIE, no PEAS in the whistle, and ALAI-ALI-LIES... ERUCT was icing on the cake.

ArtLvr said...

p.s. Just to add another bit of Francis Bacon --

"Reading maketh a full man,
Conference a ready man,
And writing an exact man."

Today he might add that crossword commentary affords an opportunity for appreciation and enjoyment of all three!

Anonymous said...

Since your comment on Lucky Strikes appears just a bit below your endorsement of raw pork consumption, this is a good time to recall the bold, yet elegant, sexual innuendo of their advertising: the full slogan was "so round, so firm, so fully packed ... so free and easy on the draw ... LSMFT, Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco."


Anonymous said...

I was all set to ask you all, "Hey, you all, why is "try" the answer to "hear" at 73A"? But then I started to think ... dixit ... Latin ... legal ... oh, yeah, hear a case = try a case. Happy Thursday, all. Now back to the Olympics.