Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Title: Go Team!
Author: David J. Kahn
Theme: Add USA to a common phrase.
  • G.E. Building => USAGE BUILDING (20a: New grammar student's goal?).

  • Med school => MEDUSA SCHOOL (26a: Group of young jellyfish?). Did you know that a medusa was a jellyfish? I didn't, but it makes sense when you think of the Medusa's tentacled hair.

  • So to speak => SOUSA TO SPEAK (45a: Headline about an upcoming lecture by "The March King"?). Here's an awesome version of Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" for solo guitar.

  • Sage advice => SAUSAGE ADVICE (53a: Tips on cooking chopped meat in a casing?).

Very cool theme, coinciding nicely with the Beijing Olympics. All four theme entries are excellent both in their base phrases and reconstructed meanings.

Sunny Spots:

  • 40a: Kegling spot (ALLEY). Kegling is another name for bowling. I prefer to think of it as a noun, picturing a bunch of baby beer kegs running around.

  • 59a: Frozen rope (LINER). As a baseball term, liner is not that exciting. But "frozen rope" is just a beautiful metophor for it.

  • 3d: No-goodnik (SCOUNDREL). I like scoundrel as a word. It implies, to me, a certain je ne sais quoi that is not totally evil or unlikeable.

  • 27d: Hoe houses (SHEDS). Love the innuendo in the clue.


  • 6a: Play tricks (JAPE).

  • 14a: Goal of a "For your consideration" ad, maybe (OSCAR). I guess I don't read the right magazines, because I'd never seen one of these before that I can recall. But it's logical, and so not particularly difficult.

  • 15a: Dodger teammate of Fernando in the 1980s (OREL). Always looking for new ways to squeeze Orel Hershiser into the puzzle, eh?

  • 18a: Richard of "Home Improvement" (KARN). I knew exactly which character this was, Al Borland. But I didn't know the actor's last name without some crossing help.

  • 25a: Peer group (NOBLES). I didn't get this at first. A peer is a nobleperson in Great Britain.

  • 31a: Wife of Cronus (RHEA).

  • 38a: Goosen rival (ELS). Quick, name a golfer besides Els in three letters. Yeah, I couldn't either. Well, that's not entirely true, there's Wie and Pak, but they're not MALE (39a: Like Viagra takers), and play in a different league than Retief Goosen.

  • 42a: Sigourney's role in "Gorillas in the Mist" (DIAN Fossey).

  • 44a: Media center? (DEE). Cryptic clue. Didn't fool me for a second. Well, maybe just that long.

  • 57a: Mathematician Gödel (KURT). "Gödel, Escher, Bach" was one of my favorite reads back in college. If you like math at all, you should check it out.

  • 63a: Taunting remark (GIBE).

  • 2d: Hot flick? (ASH). Cute.

  • 4d: Long Island county that borders Queens (NASSAU).

  • 7d: Shatt-al-___ (river to the Persian Gulf) (ARAB).

  • 8d: Big zinc exporter (PERU). I'm embarrassed at how long I stared at _E_U without seeing a country name in there. What's wrong with me?

  • 9d: Weather phenomenon (EL NINO). Gimme.

  • 10d: "Jurassic Park" actor (GOLDBLUM).

  • 12d: Piglet's creator (MILNE). Gotta love all the "Winnie-the-Pooh" characters. Great stories.

  • 23d: Headquarters of ConAgra (OMAHA). Easy guess from the O.

  • 33d: Added up (MADE SENSE).

  • 37d: Stopped, in legalese (DESISTED).

  • 41d: Subject of many Hindu texts (YOGA).

  • 43d: Home rule? (NO TV). Is this a rule in many homes? Not many that I've been in.

  • 46d: Releases from censorship (UNGAGS).

  • 48d: Actor whose character said "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" (PACINO). From "Godfather II".

  • 55d: "Fantastic Four" actress (ALBA).

Suns of Bitches:

  • 28d: Duke Frederick's daughter in "As You Like It" (CELIA). Not one I knew. Got it from the crossings.

Despite my having a slow time in the North Dakota section, I enjoyed this puzzle. I don't think it was harder than yesterday's, but that one was tough for a Tuesday. This puzzle felt about right. Good one.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

Agree with the difficulty of N-central. JAPE? That and KARN were unknown for me, so I stared at _O_E for a while.

I'm sure you showed a great deal of restraint in electing not to post a semi-clothed photo of Jessica Alba. Or of Al Pacino.

Joon said...

the ND area also messed me up pretty badly. after a while i guessed PERU from the ending U, and i wanted ARAB, but i had LINE for JOKE and couldn't make any sense of the acrosses. the dodger first name, in particular, was driving me nuts. eventually i had an epiphany and stuck in OREL, after which JOKE manifested itself, but it took me a good long while.

the ELS clue is pretty easy if you know that goosen is a golfer, but he's not exactly a household name, despite a pretty (okay, very) successful career and a funky memorable name. i never saw this clue, incidentally, as the three downs in the middle were all gimmes for me.

the theme was fine, but maybe the freshness of it for me was diminished by having recently (on july 4) done the WSJ puzzle by mike shenk with ... exactly the same theme, except sunday-sized. my favorite one from that puzzle was SAY IT AIN'T SOUSA. MEDUSA also made an appearance as CLUB MEDUSA, or [Advice to Perseus if he had a bat instead of a sword?].

Anonymous said...

Your comment about "kegling" reminds me of the old (VERY old) joke:

Young man trying to seem worldly-wise, to sweet young thing:
"Do you like Kipling?"
Sweet young thing"
"I don't know; I've never kippled."

ArtLvr said...

Please explain [frozen rope] ? Thanks,


Anonymous said...

artlvr: A line drive (LINER) is a baseball hit very hard and not too high, so it appears to travel in a straight line until it slows down and drops in the outfield. This is sometimes nicknamed a frozen rope, I guess since a rope would be straight if you froze it that way.