Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Title: Doughboys
Author: Mark Feldman
Theme: Phrases describe men and end in things made from dough.
  • 18a: Clever doughboy? (SMART COOKIE).

  • 27a: Macho doughboy? (STUD MUFFIN).

  • 48a: Doughboy, to his main squeeze? (SWEETIE PIE).

  • 60a: Wimpy doughboy? (MILQUETOAST).

I like this theme, even though it feels flawed. Which of these things does not belong: cookie, pie, muffin, toast? Toast just seems a little off, in that it's not sweet like the other three and in that you don't make it directly from dough -- you make bread first, and then slice it and toast it. But I'm willing to overlook this. Why? Because MILQUETOAST is just such a great entry, that's why. It would be a shame not to use it.

Sunny Spots:

  • 8a: Hot Wheels toy company (MATTEL). I still have my old Hot Wheels in a box somewhere, stored in those plastic carriers shaped like big tires.

  • 11d: Become established (TAKE ROOT). Great phrase.


  • 1a: Bridge designer's deg. (DDS). Dental bridge, that is.

  • 4a: Thailand currency (BAHT). I knew this one right off. Probably from puzzles.

  • 16a: Simple house (A-FRAME).

  • 17a: Not irr. (STD). I started with ORD (for Ordinary). Don't know why.

  • 20a: Golden brew? (COORS). Got this one right away, too. Coors, as you probably know if you've seen their hundreds of commercials, is brewed in Golden, Colorado.

  • 22a: Oscar-nominated actor in "The Crying Game" (REA). A crossword staple.

  • 23a: Makes the first bet (OPENS). Love the poker terms.

  • 24a: Oenophile's adjective (OAKY). Wine lovers. You will see OENO- in later-week puzzles, so keep it in mind if you don't know it.

  • 32a: Hardtop convertible from Volkswagen (EOS).

  • 36a: Gung-ho (RAH-RAH).

  • 53a: Platte River tribe (OTOE).

  • 56a: Radius neighbor (ULNA). I broke them both as a teenager, so I'll always remember this one.

  • 59a: One in the majority? (ADULT). Good clue.

  • 64a: Wannabe intellectuals (PSEUDS). I've never heard of this as a noun, but it makes sense.

  • 1d: Dance halls (DISCOS).

  • 2d: Perform perfectly (DO TO A T). Four "words" in six letters can really throw you for a loop. It took me a while to figure out what was going on here.

  • 3d: Crossword alternative (SUDOKU). You know when you clue this that it's going to raise the ire of crossword fans all over, don't you? Sure, there are similarities, but "alternative" implies a sort of "one is as good as the other"-ness that just doesn't sit well. I don't know many people who sit down and say, "Gee, I really feel like doing a crossword, but hey, here's a sudoku. I guess I'll do that instead." To me it's like cluing fish as a chocolate alternative. Sure, they're both food, but when you're in the mood for one, the other one is just not going to cut it.

  • 4d: Big enchilada (BOSS). Also the climactic opponent of many a video game.

  • 7d: Detached, as a sheet from a notepad (TORE OFF). I had TORE OUT to start, which slowed me down.

  • 12d: Fame (EMINENCE).

  • 19d: Language related to Malayalam (TAMIL).

  • 21d: Gere's "Autumn in New York" costar (Winona RYDER).

  • 25d: Hedgerow makeup (BUSHES). Can you guess the song I'm going to link to here?

  • 34d: Surfing option (WIFI). Web surfing, of course.

  • 36d: Co. in "The Farnsworth Invention" (RCA). I never even saw this clue. Good thing.

  • 37d: Firebug (ARSONIST).

  • 38d: Certain innkeeper (HOSTELER).

  • 40d: Wizard of id (FREUD). Yeah, okay.

  • 44d: Certain red algae (SEA MOSS).

  • 47d: Twisting force (TORQUE).

  • 50d: Stuff completely (PLUG UP).

  • 54d: Piano player's practice piece (ETUDE). Here's Sviatoslav Richter playing a Chopin étude. It's more than just a practice piece.

Suns of Bitches:
  • 8d: Little ___ (protagonist of the video game Punch-Out!!) (MAC). Never heard of it. Got it from the crossings.

  • 62d: Fu Manchu creator Rohmer (SAX).

I've got to admit, this puzzle did not fall like a typical Tuesday for me. I was not on the same wavelength for many of the clues and sections, so it solved in time and manner much more like a later-week puzzle. Which is not a complaint, since I prefer a bit of a challenge -- just an observation.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

Agreed on the difficulty - very tricky clues made this feel tougher than a Tuesday to me, especially the NW corner. But I liked it a lot!

I remember playing Punch Out, but didn't know the characters had names. I thought it was just Blue Guy vs. Red Guy.

Joon said...

oh man, little MAC was the world's biggest gimme for me. i could name every character in the game--glass joe, von kaiser, piston honda, etc. i still remember being on a high for 2 days after i finally beat tyson. speaking of video game BOSSes, that guy was ridiculously tough, even after you survived the "lightning round" opening (during which a single punch landed by iron mike would knock you down).

so which is a better "alternative": SUDOKU for crossword, or FAMINE for feast?

i don't want to take sides in the ongoing cheesecake conflict, but i would like to opine that today's picture of winona is neither tasteful nor attractive.