Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Title: Horse Around
Author: Randall J. Hartman
Theme: Phrases whose beginnings and ends can be put together to form types of horses.
  • 17a: *Region of the South (COTTON BELT).

  • 23a: *Going rate of sorts (MARKET PRICE).

  • 55a: *Filmmaker nicknamed "King of the B's" (ROGER CORMAN). This name is only vaguely familiar to me. He did direct "Little Shop of Horrors", along with such obvious masterpieces as "Attack of the Crab Monsters" and "Bloody Mama".

  • 64a: *Where "SNL" is shot (GE BUILDING).

  • 11d: *1993 film about an orca (FREE WILLY).

  • 33d: *Caribbean combo (STEEL BAND).

This is one of those themes that's kind of cool, except that it didn't even enter into the solving of the puzzle. I had to go back and look at the title to realize what the theme was when I was finished. That's okay, except it solves like a really easy themeless. I prefer themes that I notice as I go, or figure out on my own when I'm done.

Sunny Spots:

  • 21a: Dolt (AIRHEAD).

  • 72a: Retouches third, say (TAGS UP). Good baseball reference here.

  • 49d: Cheap booze (ROTGUT). So descriptive.

  • 51d: Small portion (DOLLOP). Another great fill word. Is there anything you use a dollop of besides whipped cream?


  • 10a: Fizzled-out firecracker sound (PFFT). I actually got this right away. I mean, what else could it be?

  • 14a: "The Boys From Brazil" novelist Levin (IRA).

  • 15a: Home of Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (TAIWAN).

  • 19a: ___ tetra (bright aquarium fish) (NEON). I have several in my tank.

  • 20a: BlackBerry message (EMAIL).

  • 29a: Morales of "La Bamba" (ESAI). Gimme. Besides knowing him from "NYPD Blue", he shows up so often that you just can't miss this one.

  • 39a: Like a Nehru jacket, now (RETRO).

  • 42a: Got the point? (LED). This one doesn't click so much for me. Are we talking about being on point, like in the military? Or being a point guard in basketball? I guess both sort of work, but I'm not sure either was what was intended.

  • 43a: Sarandon's costar in "Lorenzo's Oil" (Nick NOLTE). We also have Susan Sarandon's "Thelma and Louise" co-star, 56d: Davis of "Commander in Chief" (GEENA).

  • 47a: The BoSox retired his #8 (YAZ). Too easy for any Boston fan of my age.

  • 50a: Dominatrix's activity, briefly (S AND M). No, it has nothing to do with SAND. Well, I suppose it could...

  • 60a: Requirement for e-commerce (WEBSITE).

  • 62a: Hotelier Helmsley (LEONA).

  • 69a: World Heritage List gp. (UNESCO).

  • 1d: Command to an attack dog (SIC 'EM).

  • 3d: Genghis Khan follower (TATAR).

  • 4d: Hot, so to speak (STOLEN).

  • 5d: "Saving Fish From Drowning" novelist Amy (TAN). Best known for "The Joy Luck Club".

  • 18d: Former Giants running back Barber (TIKI). I don't know many Giants, and I couldn't have told you what team this guy played for, but a name like Tiki Barber sticks in the brain, so this was pretty easy for me.

  • 24d: Rubber ducky's home (TUB). One of my all-time favorite Sesame Street songs.

  • 25d: "Te Deum," for one (PSALM). I'm familiar with the Hector Berlioz version, which is quite impressive. Here's a taste.

  • 35d: Ventriloquist Bergen (EDGAR).

  • 41d: Cheri of "Scary Movie" (OTERI). Also from "Saturday Night Live", for which she is probably better known.

  • 52d: "He'll give you the answer that you endorse," according to song (MR ED). A horse is a horse, of course, of course.

  • 61d: Corset insert (STAY). Didn't know this off the top, but it makes sense.

  • 65d: Seek change? (BEG). Cute.

Suns of Bitches:
None. Lots of names today, but all familiar to me.

Another average puzzle today. Nothing earth-shattering and nothing terrible. Just an easy Tuesday with a theme that would have gone unnoticed without the title, and not too much to talk about.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

i thought this theme was awesome, even though it took me a while to see it after i had solved it (i sprinted through it pretty quickly, so i didn't have time to pause and hunt for horses). i also liked MRED and NAGAT in the southeast, just to give gentle nudges in the direction of the theme.

the only name in the grid i'd never heard of was the thematic ROGERCORMAN. options that i would have known include ROASTINGPAN, ROADSIDEINN, ROCKWELLIAN, ROBBQUINLAN (though he's not actually famous), and ROSEMCGOWAN. it didn't bug me having the unfamiliar name there, but i did have a C/K guess on the IN_ magazine.

Pete M said...

Btw, congrats on your NYT debut, Joon! Nice puzzle.

"IS IT I?"
"IT IS."

Anonymous said...

First-time commenter here - great blog, I race here after solving the puzzle to learn what I got by guessing.

Anyway, "dollop" to me always goes with sour cream. I believe a dollop is equal to one and a smidge teaspoons.