Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Title: Divine Intervention
Author: Joon Pahk
Theme: Phrases that contain Norse Gods (Odin, Thor, Tyr, and Loki).
  • 18a: *Classic jazz composition by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard (MOOD INDIGO). Great tune. Here's a little different version by Nina Simone.

  • 28a: *Boundary of a black hole (EVENT HORIZON).

  • 47a: *Common political principle (MAJORITY RULE).

  • Badtz-Maru
  • 59a: *Friend of the penguin Badtz-Maru (HELLO KITTY). I had absolutely no clue when I read this clue, figuring it was some reference to "Happy Feet" or something. But I've certainly heard of Hello Kitty, so it wasn't hard once I hit a few crossings.

  • 53d: With 58-Across, what can be found in each of the answers to the asterisked clues (NORSE / GOD).

It definitely would have taken me longer to figure this theme out without the helper clues, especially since TYR is not as familiar to me as the others. But it's definitely a nice and well-executed theme, with each deity spanning the two-word phrases that contain them.

Sunny Spots:

  • 2d: Doll in the National Toy Hall of Fame (GI JOE). I still my old ones, minus a couple of hands and feet. The oldest has the smooth molded head; the other has the fuzzy buzz cut.

  • 3d: Maestro Seiji (OZAWA). Formerly the head of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A gimme for me.

  • 25d: Result of a hook-and-eye connection? (SHINER). Excellent boxing reference here.

  • 29d: Possible cause for an R (NUDITY). See? I don't always rise to the bait. Some things just scream for pictures; others I leave well-enough alone. Great fill though.


  • 1a: They can be inflated (EGOS). I knew this even before I saw it was a 4-letter fill.

  • 5a: "ER" costar of Julianna (ERIQ). I know I've mentioned this before, but it's been a long time since Eriq La Salle has been on "ER". Please, Eriq... do something else of note so we can update these stale references.

  • 14a: Sphinx site (GIZA).

  • 17a: "The blue dot cleanser" (AJAX). A couple of nice, Scrabbly short fills. I don't know if they still use that phrase in their advertising, but I certainly remember it from TV commercials growing up.

  • 22a: Victim of Bart's prank calls (MOE).

  • 23a: Two-___ (kind of fastball) (SEAMER). Easy for a baseball fan. There's also a four-seam fastball, which has different action on it due to the way airstream passes over the seams.

  • 25a: Web user (SPIDER). I know you wanted us to put SURFER in there, didn't you. Luckily, I already had the I in there.

  • 32a: Emmy winner Woodard (ALFRE). You're right, Karen M. Tracey, I remembered it this time. I even remember that her middle name is ETTE.

  • 38a: Little biters (RED ANTS).

  • 42a: Turn and river preceder in hold'em (FLOP). Some day, I'd like to play in the Main Event. That'll be after the kids are out of college, as there's no way I can front the entry fee right now.

  • 44a: North Pole list header (NICE). As opposed to NAUGHTY. Which one are you on?

  • 50a: Rock genre? (COMEDY). Chris Rock, that is.

  • 55a: Rock genre (EMO). And, of course, EMO is also a comedian, so it's kind of a tight loop.

  • 63a: Swift, e.g. (BIRD). Aww, Joon. We can't get a Larry clue here? How about "Johnson rival"?

  • 4d: Zoot's instrument in Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (SAX). Love the clue. The reference, if you don't know it, is to "The Muppet Show" band.

  • 5d: "Freaky Deaky" author ___ Leonard (ELMORE).

  • 6d: Quadratic formula solution (ROOT). The first of two mathy clues which, as a former math major, were gimmes for me.

  • 8d: Abbr. that a proof reader might come across? (QED). This second one was well-disguised, which made it even nicer.

  • 13d: Roadway writing (SLO). I've never seen SLO written in a roadway.

  • 19d: Customs duty (IMPOST).

  • 27d: Colleague of Lauer and Vieira (ROKER).

  • 30d: Rockets star McGrady (TRACY).

  • 31d: Cousin of a congo snake (NEWT). I didn't know this off-hand, but I'm glad it avoided yet another first-name reference.

  • 34d: Nickname for a fast woman (FLO-JO).

  • 39d: City hard by Vance AFB (ENID, OK.). I didn't parse this correctly until just now. I saw it as Enidok, which I was not at all comfortable with.

  • 40d: Leaves in a bowl (SALAD). I've seen this clue before, so I wasn't fooled.

  • 43d: Large citrus fruits (POMELOS).

  • 59d: Haw's partner (HEM). You know it's either HEM or HEE.

  • 61d: Lucy who voiced Viper in "Kung Fu Panda" (LIU).

Suns of Bitches:
  • 35a: Former name of Broadway's George Gershwin Theatre (URIS).

  • 56a: McFarlane who spawned the comic book "Spawn" (TODD).

  • 64a: "Eight Men Out" author Asinof (ELIOT).

Nice theme and nice puzzle by Joon. Plenty of Scrabbly letters (in fact, it's a pangram, containing every letter at least once) with interesting fill and some clever cluing. Maybe a touch name-heavy, though it could have been moreso if EMO, BIRD, and NEWT had been clued differently. Everything was gettable from crossings, so all-in-all, it was an entertaining Wednesday.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

Tough one, joon! And congrats on the pangram...

Pete thinks everything is gettable from crosses, but I missed the F in ALFRE/FLOJO, two odd names. I did like the NORSE GOD selections, tho.

Pete M said...

@artlvr: Nah. I'm often having to resort to guessing, especially where names cross. In this case, though, FloJo (Florence Griffith-Joyner) was a gimme for me, as I remember her from the Seoul olympics in 1988 when she won several medals. And Alfre Woodard appeared in "Suns of Bitches" a couple of months ago, sparking a commentary thread in which Karen Tracey (mellocat) ended saying, "But I bet you'll remember her name next time she comes up in a crossword!" She was right.

Joon said...

thanks for the kind words.

the ALFRE/FLOJO crossing was the one i was most worried about, since it is indeed two unusual names, crossing at a letter that could plausibly be any vowel or several consonants. but peter didn't seem to think it was a big deal, and i guess i agree with him. FLOJO is legitimately incredibly famous. her world records in the 100m and 200m are still records 20 years later, which is almost unbelievable in track & field. and really, nobody has even come close, including confessed dopers like marion jones. by the way, the FLOJO clue was absolutely my favorite in the puzzle. and like all my other favorite clues in the puzzle (COMEDY/EMO, SHINER), it was written by peter!

i think i may have originally submitted a larry BIRD clue, but i guess it didn't make the cut. as you point out, there are an awful lot of names in the puzzle already. my favorite clue that didn't survive was [Finish seducing] for 63D. maybe that was deemed too edgy even for the NYS.

pete, two of your "suns of bitches" are secretly baseball clues also. ELIOT asinov's eight men out is the classic book on the black sox scandal, which became a movie. it's a good read, although asinov himself recently passed away. and TODD mcfarlane is a guy i only became aware of because he purchased a whole bunch of famous home run balls--mcgwire's 62nd and 70th, sosa's 66th, bonds's 73rd, etc.

the URIS clue is totally unfamiliar to me, but it's probably easier for new yorkers.

last time ALFRE came up, i think i said something like, "i've seen this name before, but i don't think it was in a puzzle i've done." it turns out that i'd seen it because it ended up in my own puzzle! (though i didn't put it in--that part of the fill was redone by peter.)

Austin said...

Good puzzle. Never got SHINER or NUDITY. "hook-and-eye" got me thinking of clasps and "cause for an R" had me thinking of baseball and what could cause a run.

Still don't understand why the word "hard" is in the clue for ENID, OK. Makes more sense to me as "City by Vance AFB"

Any help?

Pete M said...

@austin: I only know this because I've seen it and questioned it before in a Sun puzzle. "Hard by" means "in close proximity to".

Anonymous said...


Zoot Sims (1925-1985) was the sax reference.
He played with Woody Herman's band among others.
He also recorded a lot with Al Cohn; another jazz tenor.

Pete M said...

@jazz: Zoot Sims may well have played sax, but the reference in the puzzle was to Dr Teeth and Electric Mayhem, which is the band from "The Muppet Show" and also happens to feature a sax player named Zoot (very possible named for the aforementioned Sims).