Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Title: mixed emotions
Author: lee glickstein
Theme: phrases ending with an emotion instead have the emotion "mixed" (anagrammed) to give wacky new phrases, which are then clued

  • 17a: Immortal rodent? (EVERLASTING VOLE). the song "everlasting love."
  • 24a: Motorcycle helmet and gloves? (ROAD GEAR). road rage.
  • 47a: Seafood? (CAPE FARE). the movie cape fear. or also, i guess, the north carolina geographical feature cape fear.
  • 60a: Peek over one's shoulder before going too far? (LOOK BACK IN RANGE). look back in anger. this one is definitely the most forced of the four theme entries. it's one thing (and probably good) if the "surface sense" of a wordplay theme entry is a little silly. EVERLASTING VOLE falls into this category. it's another thing (and not good) if the surface sense isn't sense at all, but rather nonsense.
lee seems to specialize in wordplay themes. this is a pretty good one--all four of the base phrases are very well known, and the theme is really very tight. only one of the four falls a little flat. and (not an insignificant consideration) the title is great: apropos and itself "in the language."

Sunny Spots:
  • 45a: Like "10," "54," and "300" (RATED R). good fill, great clue.
  • 12d: Brazil's "Rei do Futebol" (PELE). brazil lost to argentina in the olympic semifinals yesterday, but as consolation, i give you this (it's 10 minutes long, but the whole thing is highly recommended):

  • 38d: Uncomfortable feelings (BAD VIBES). boring clue, but a great, great answer.
  • 1a: Cracked a bit (AJAR). it's wednesday, all right--the clues are starting to get trickier. this one seems like it might be a past tense verb, but it's an adjective.
  • 5a: Fall faller (LEAF). easy, but i like it.
  • 15a: Tiger Woods's father (EARL). only vaguely familiar to me. he certainly hasn't made himself into the public spectacle that, say, richard williams has.

  • 22a: One or more (ANY). as in, "are you guys hiding ANY weapons of mass destruction? no? we'll just be on our way, then."
  • 23a: FBI guys (G-MEN). not T-MEN, this time.
  • 29a: Tense (ON EDGE). seems like this has been coming up a lot, but that probably just means i've been doing too many puzzles.
  • 33a: "Where the bold saguaros raise their arms on high," according to its alma mater: Abbr. (ASU). another holdover from monday's puzzle, this time with a classic peter gordon clue: one that makes it guessable (saguaros -> desert -> arizona), but unlikely to have been used before. it's a long way to go for those three simple letters, though.
  • 34a: Bass and the like (ALES). "bass" has a lot of meanings, but clues like this point to ALES or ALE more often than not. it's probably just a matter of bayes's theorem at work: ALE is just so common that if you think it might be ALE, it is. kind of like how [Fencing sword] in four letters could be FOIL, but in practice it's always EPEE.

  • 38a: Unsupported, in a way (BRALESS). nice clue. and of course, i know exactly what kind of picture to post with this one. hot hot hot!
  • 41a: "Ran" director Kurosawa (AKIRA). i have a confession to make: i fell asleep about 15 minutes into this movie, which i was supposed to watch for a shakespeare class in college (it's an adaptation of king lear). i was also supposed to see "throne of blood" (macbeth), but never made it to the showing. and in fact, i've never seen another kurosawa movie. and yet for some reason i still feel he's one of my favorite directors.
  • 44a: Generic top-level domain (NET). this is the kind of clue that almost doesn't even make sense until you have the answer.
  • 50a: Program interrupter (TV AD). i knew right away what this clue was going for, but it still took almost all the crosses to figure out how this answer was going to parse.
  • 52a: Genetic stuff (RNA). i wonder if the intent here was for the solver to misread this as "generic stuff."
  • 53a: "Steps in Time" autobiographer (ASTAIRE). and for once, it's fred rather than adele.
  • 56a: Professional wrestling duo (TAG-TEAM). good fill word here. am i the only one who uses this expression as a transitive verb? for example, i'll often refer to my wife and i "tag-teaming" sam to mean taking turns watching the baby.
  • 62a: Put through the mill? (PUREE). the food mill, naturally.
  • 63a: French fashion nickname (COCO). you can't hide from me, COCO! even if "chanel" isn't in the clue.
  • 67a: Old Testament twin (ESAU). ESAU sold his birthright to younger brother jacob for a bowl of food, but has avenged himself by appearing in crosswords infinitely many more times than jacob.
  • 1d: Assert with confidence (AVER). for once, this clue actually seemed to be specific to AVER rather than AVOW. maybe i'm dreaming, though, and tomorrow we'll see the same clue for AVOW.
  • 2d: Louis Prima's "Jump, ___ an' Wail" (JIVE).
  • 3d: Ex-husband of Kim (ALEC). bassinger and baldwin.
  • 4d: Proof, maybe (REREAD). another tricky clue--"proof" is a verb.
  • 5d: 2000, e.g. (LEAP YEAR). unlike most years ending with 00. this is because the length of a sidereal year is 365.24 days, which isn't quite 365.25.
  • 6d: Lyme or Orange preceder (EAST). EAST lyme is in connecticut; EAST orange is in new jersey.
  • 7d: Busts and such (ART). good wednesday clue. oh, right, this is my cue to post a picture of a beautiful busty woman.
  • 10d: Good emcee, for example (LIVENER). eww.
  • 13d: One-quarter of doce (TRES). i wonder why peter doesn't make us do outrageous foreign language arithmetic. like, why isn't this [Cube root of veintisiete]? i guess everybody knows roman numerals, but not everybody knows spanish numbers larger than, say, ten.
  • 19d: "Captain ___ and the Underwater City" (1969 Chuck Connors film) (NEMO). another gordonesque clue, much in the same vein of the ASU clue: unlikely to have been used before, but totally guessable.
  • 24d: Storm shower? (RADAR). it shows storms.
  • 25d: Home of Nagai stadium (OSAKA). bayes at work again: five-letter japanese city, guess OSAKA.
  • 30d: Bride of 7/29/81 (DIANA).
  • 31d: D&D fan, e.g. (GAMER). wait, did i already use my quota of simpsons pics? yes? oops.
  • 32d: Happify (ELATE). is that a word? really? that sounds like the kind of inflected form i routinely use while knowing full well that it's not a word. i didn't think you could do that in crossword puzzles, though.
  • 39d: They can get high (SOPRANOS). let's see, does this count as the daily NYS drug reference? judges? ... we have a yes.
  • 42d: Shot again (RETAKEN). ouch.
  • 48d: Dilbert, for one: Abbr. (ENGR). i guess he's an engineer. i used to be an "engineer," too.
  • 53d: One of its products features chicken, vegetables, and rotini pasta (ALPO). rotini? that seems excessive.
  • 54d: Joke locale for a fly doing the backstroke (SOUP). it seems like "joke" is misplaced, but that's a very lively clue.
  • 57d: Grandson of Eve (ENOS). that would make him, let's see, much older than ESAU.
  • 58d: Pearl Mosque city (AGRA). hmm. i thought AGRA was in hindu country. then again, my indian geography is not very good. i'm reading salman rushdie right now and i'm always confused about which places are muslim and which are hindu.
  • 59d: It might have a list of starters (MENU). this is definitely the first thing i thought of, but i guess i was "supposed" to think about a lineup for a sporting event.

Suns of Bitches:
  • 16a: "The ___ Sanction" (1975 Clint Eastwood film) (EIGER). no clue.
  • 49d: LancĂ´me mascara brand (FATALE). okay.
  • 51d: "Rock Around the Clock" record label (DECCA). i'm just glad these three all had easy crossings.
overall, this was a very good wednesday puzzle: good theme, some really nice fill, and only one real clunker (LIVENER). it wasn't super-tough, but there were enough misleading clues to keep me on my toes.

anyway, that's all from me this week. i enjoyed filling in, but boy, it's a lot of work. (frankly i don't understand why pete does it, but don't tell him i said that or he might stop doing it.)

i'll see you all in the comment box.



ArtLvr said...

Thanks for your commentary, joon... and agree that the theme answers were great except for the last one.

I liked the other tricky clues too, and note one more [chuck] at 8D used as a verb for FLING. For the noun, e.g. "I took a fling", it doesn't work at all!

I didn't remember Tiger's father EARL either... but I recommend "EIGER Sanction" as one of the better books/films of the type!

R.I.P. LING-LING the panda, and of course Princess Di.

ArtLvr said...

p.s. I've seen 32A [happify] before, just took it as tongue in cheek... However, I got BAD VIBES from 10D LIVENER.... Egads.

Anonymous said...

RIP Earl Woods as well; he died a couple of years ago.