Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Title: Themeless Thursday
Author: Karen M. Tracey
Theme: None

Sunny Spots:

  • 20a: Luddite's organizational aid (INDEX CARD). Luddite's eschew technology. Excellent clue and fill.

  • 14d: It might burn a hole in your pocket (READY CASH). Kind of easy, but very pretty.

  • 30d: Cryptozoology subject (SASQUATCH). Love it. Do you suppose it's coincidence that it's so near to HENDERSON 32d: Baseball's all-time leader in steals, evoking the film "Harry and the Hendersons"?.


  • 1a: Groom (STABLE MAN).

  • 10a: Eberhard ___ (pencil brand) (FABER). Awww... give me a Dean Wormer clue any day.

  • 16a: In concert (AS ONE).

  • 17a: Device that measures work performed (ERGOMETER). If you know ergs are units of work, then this is not too hard to figure out.

  • 18a: National forest in Utah (UINTA). I've run into this one before, so it fell more easily than it otherwise might have.

  • 19a: Blow away, maybe (ERODE).

  • 22a: Fountain of jazz (PETE). One of the greats on clarinet.

  • 23a: First name of Billy Crystal's character on "Soap" (JODIE). "Soap" was a show that took chances. Well before its time.

  • 24a: Alter (SPAY). Ouch.

  • 25a: Be unfair? (RAIN). My first thought was FOUL, but this is actually better.

  • 27a: Surf alternative (ERA). Detergent brands.

  • 30a: Rifts (SCHISMS). Great word. Straightforward clue.

  • 35a: Pianist Templeton and others (ALECS). I guess this one's a shout out to those who think clues these days are too modern.

  • 36a: Some Art Deco collectibles (ERTES). Standard crossword fare.

  • 42a: Peter Parnell play about physicist Richard Feynman (QED). Didn't know it, but it was easy enough to figure, once I had the Q.

  • 43a: T, e.g. (TOP). As in shirt, I suppose.

  • 44a: "The Destroyer" adventure series hero Williams (REMO).

  • 47a: Reese's "Pleasantville" costar (TOBEY Maguire).

  • 53a: Execrable (ATROCIOUS).

  • 56a: Unit equal to one billion gammas (TESLA).

  • 57a: Don't stop (KEEP GOING).

  • 60a: HBO series about movie star Vincent Chase (ENTOURAGE).

  • 61a: Dr. Heimlich of Heimlich maneuver fame (HENRY).

  • 2d: Dodgers hiree of 2007 (Joe TORRE). I'm no fan of the Yankees, but I thought the way they let Torre walk away was disgraceful.

  • 3d: Computerese, e.g. (ARGOT).

  • 4d: "Brighton Beach Memoirs" Tony winner (Matthew BRODERICK).

  • 5d: Key fruit (LIME). Mmmm... Key lime pie.

  • 11d: "Sound mind, sound body" shoe company (ASICS). Name a shoe company that fits. I don't recall this phrase.

  • 13d: Intermissions (ENTR'ACTES).

  • 21d: Chair designer Aarnio (EERO). Oh, my! Another EERO.

  • 23d: Good name for a phys ed teacher (JIM). Ugh.

  • 34d: Some hospital figures, briefly (E.R. DOCTORS).

  • 38d: Naan alternative (ROTI). Both styles of Indian bread.

  • 39d: Made uneasy (SPOOKED).

  • 40d: Car radio conveniences (PRESETS).

  • 51d: 1964 #1 hit for Lorne Greene (RINGO).

  • 52d: Their numbers are in the book (PAGES).

  • 54d: Encrusted (CAKY).

Suns of Bitches:

  • 33a: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" musical (ROBERTA). I don't my musicals. If it's not standard stuff like "Oklahoma" or "Music Man" I'm lost. This one's from 1933.

  • 40a: Division of India (PRADESH). Okay.

  • 62a: "Manhattan Transfer" novelist (DOS PASSOS). The crossings with BUENO and ARIAS were both a little sketchy for me, but I guessed correctly.

  • 12d: "Golden Boy" protagonist Joe (BONAPARTE). Another oldie. This one from a 1939 film based on an Odets play.

  • 48d: Three-time Wimbledon winner Maria (BUENO). I should probably know this, but I don't. Margaret Court and Billie Jean King are the only names I recall from that era of women's tennis.

  • 50d: Costa Rican president ├ôscar (ARIAS).

This puzzle has plenty of pop culture in it, but when Remo Williams and "Soap" are among the more current references, it makes the whole thing feel a little... well... old, I guess. Alec Templeton, "Roberta", "Ringo", "Golden Boy", Maria Bueno, "Manhattan Transfer", even Pete Fountain has been around forever. Sure, we've got Matthew Broderick and Tobey Maguire, but that's about it for this century. Overall, the puzzle was fine. Tough in spots -- the SW was the last to fall for me -- but generally fair. It just felt like it was dipping back into the before-I-was-born time a little more than I would prefer.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

I suspect the T-top clue is referring to the removable car roof rather than a T-shirt.

Bill from NJ said...

A real juicy Karen Tracey puzzle - a true crossword puzzle solvers puzzle, it you get my drift.

I liked the mixture of old and new pop culture, science and geography, all in a scrabbly stew.

I loved this puzzle, particularly SASQUATCH and INDEXCARD. Made my day

Joon said...

in a puzzle that already has so many names (some of them clued very obscurely), it was a little surprising that BUENO and ARIAS also received proper name clues instead of straightforward ones. but i didn't really mind. i've heard of maria BUENO, if only in the context of older crossword puzzles, and ARIAS is a perfectly common spanish name.

PRADESH isn't a word i know independently, but i've often seen uttar pradesh together as a place name, so it was pretty easy to guess that one. i have vague recollections of the plot of golden boy, but not any of the character names. john DOSPASSOS is a very famous author, but this is not one of his famous works. the USA trilogy (the 42nd parallel, 1919, the big money) is the only reason i've ever heard of him.

i liked this puzzle just fine, but i usually more than like KMT's puzzles. this one just didn't grab me in quite the same way. maybe it was the relative lack of scrabbliness that did it. maybe it was the relative lack of sit-up-and-take-notice answers.

i think the TOP clue could refer to either. it might make a good ! clue in a cryptic, as a standalone double-definition. i remember that happening before a few months ago, but i can no longer remember the clue or answer.

Anonymous said...

This was a fun one - challenging but fair and gettable throughout, though I had a couple of classic mis-directions, starting right in the NW: did anyone else go and get a magic marker and enter NEILSIMON in the BRODERICK slot? Didn't really mess me up except for the psychological disadvantage of having the wrong entry in for a minute.

Has Pete ever divulged here that he is a clarinetist? I, too, have played the "licorice stick" (though licorice is one of the few things in the food universe I dislike) and would like to point out the entirely non-crossword-y point of potential interest for Pete and me that his namesake Mr. FOUNTAIN used to play a mouthpiece made of crystal. This as opposed to one of Ebonite/hard rubber/plastic or metal. I can also expound on the subject of paint drying, if anyone's interested.


Joon said...

tony, i put NEILSIMON into the grid very early on, after only TORRE. it didn't immediately prove wrong, but nothing worked so i took it out.

i played the clarinet in middle school band. i think i had an artley. don't remember anything about the mouthpiece.

Pete M said...

Just to clarify, I don't play clarinet. I play some piano and dabble in bass and guitar, but I've never played a wind instrument. I'm assuming Tony is referring to Peter Gordon here.

ehicks77 said...

I love KMT's puzzles except for today. Not nearly as clever as she usually is, although "indexcard" was pretty great. But Maria, Tobey, Henry, Jodie, Pete,Faber, Alec,...most of them fairly obscure names and if I wasn't so old I would never have remembered 50% of them. Still, Manhattan Transfer is a well known work even though not his best known....and I'm glad to finally know it it Henry Heimlich because he will probably show up again.

mellocat said...

Tee, in my mind at least, was the shirt. Never thought of referring to a car T-top that way.

Yah, there were a lot of names, I do that sometimes. In choosing words names often strike me as more interesting than words. Many of these seemed easy when writing the puzzle...but if you go with all the easy references -- Jodie Foster, Ringo Starr, Florence Henderson (well, she'd be easier for me at least than the baseball guy) I guess you'd get a puzzle that was "too easy". Ah, well. Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Serviceable puzzle, but with a few exceptions, didn't have much zing to it. STABLEMAN, WORRISOME, and ERGOMETER aren't the most exciting entries to start off with.

KMT's batting average is still very high in my book though.

Anonymous said...

Ah, poop. Pete, do I lose bonus points for interpreting the T clue incorrectly?