Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Title: Reading for a Bit Part
Author: Jeremy Horwitz
Theme: Films based on books in which the book's author makes a cameo appearance

  • 18a: 1989 film in which author Stephen King plays a minister (PET SEMATARY).

  • 36a: 1999 film in which author John Irving plays a stationmaster, with "The" (CIDER HOUSE RULES).

  • 59a: 1996 film in which author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. plays a sad man on the street (MOTHER NIGHT).

This is the kind of interesting trivia that makes for a cool theme. I don't remember the film "Mother Night", but it stars Nick Nolte and gets reasonable reviews on IMDb.

Sunny Spots:

  • 1d: Moot (ACADEMIC). I just love the word "moot". Reminds me of a great SNL skit with Jesse Jackson, "The Question is Moot". It may take a couple of minutes to download, but it's worth it.

  • 43a: North America's highest mountain (DENALI).

  • 2d: Squid (CALAMARI). Nice pair of words ending in "I".

  • 39d: Blobby light source (LAVA LAMP).

  • 9a: Paddles, maybe (HAZES). "Thank you, sir, may I have another."

  • 17a: Singer/actress Lohan (ALI). Lindsay's little sister.

  • 22a: Outcast (EXILED). Adds a little Scrabbliness to the NE corner.

  • 23a: Arabic for "commander" (EMIR).

  • 27a: Snow or blow (COKE). It's been a couple of days since we've had a good drug reference clue. Well, wait no longer.

  • 28a: Woman in charge of a bordello (MADAM).

  • 30a: "The Pagan Stone" author Roberts (NORA).

  • 31a: Phone button (STAR). I had OPER to start. Actually, that's not entirely true. I had MUTE, then OPER.

  • 32a: Tabriz residents (IRANIS).

  • 34a: Word with feet or shoulder (COLD).

  • 48a: Heart of the matter (PITH). Literally.

  • 51a: Loco (BATS). I'm sure I'm not the only one who tried NUTS first.

  • 55a: Medium relative (ORACLE).

  • 57a: Automobile pioneer Gottlieb (DAIMLER).

  • 63a: Holiday music (BLUES). I was fooled, going with NOELS. But no, it's the sultry and awesome Billie Holiday.

  • 3d: Port-of-Spain setting (TRINIDAD).

  • 4d: Hitchcock's first color film (ROPE).

  • 5d: Former "At the Movies" cohost (EBERT).

  • 7d: Stubborn sort (ASS).

  • 8d: Confederate commander at Gettysburg (LEE). Yesterday featured ASS and MEADE; today we ge ASS and LEE. Go figure.

  • 10d: Tomfoolery (ANTICS).

  • 11d: Big fan (ZEALOT). Part of the Scrabbly NE.

  • 12d: Cry of discovery (EUREKA).

  • 13d: James Dean's infamous Porsche (SPYDER). Infamous because he died in it, in a head-on collision.

  • 19d: Got the gold, e.g. (MEDALED).

  • 21d: Grammer part (CRANE). I was little slow on the uptake on this one. The references are to Kelsey Grammer, who played Frasier Crane.

  • 25d: One of the Ten Plagues (LOCUSTS).

  • 29d: Joan of art (MIRO). Cool clue. Cool artist.

  • 38d: Take a piece from (UNARM). We just had a piece twist yesterday, so this one wasn't quite as fresh as it might have been.

  • 40d: Steel anniversary (ELEVENTH).

  • 44d: Fission gear? (A-BOMBS). That's pussion it a bit, don't you think?

  • 45d: Sentence abbreviator (PAROLE).

  • 46d: Square figure (STATUE). Good one.

  • 47d: "Hand With Reflecting Sphere" artist (ESCHER). Gimme for me. I love Escher's work.

  • 49d: Limited financial risk (HEDGED).

  • 53d: 1986 Indy 500 champ Bobby (RAHAL). I know almost nothing about auto racing and I know this name, so it must be pretty easy.

  • 60d: Point of writing (NIB). The writing tip of a pen.

  • 61d: Nancy's role on "Rhoda" (IDA). I didn't know it off the top, but it felt right when I got it.

Suns of Bitches:

Surprisingly, none.

This was a decent Wednesday puzzle for me. Not spectacular, but decent. On the minus side, I'm not crazy about starting off with 3-letter across fill. The NW corner kind of sets the mood for the puzzle, so I prefer a little more flash in that area and in the across clues in general. On the plus side, the down fill was quite good. And, at 72 words, it's getting down into themeless territory for word count, which is a bonus for a mid-week themed puzzle. Add in the interesting theme, and you've got yourself a pretty nice puzzle.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

i really dug this puzzle. the theme was interesting and informative, and the fill was really good for the most part. IRANI(S) is a pet peeve of mine; nobody says that outside of crosswords. (it's "iranian." unlike, say, IRAQI, which is totally fine.) but everything else was really nice.

the SW corner was very tough. even after i had APSE, ORACLE, MOTHERNIGHT, and SEERS going across, with PAROLE and ESCHER going down, it wasn't happening for me. i kept wanting ATOM-something for the fission clue, and i was totally thrown by the STATUE and BLUES clues, both of which were very clever. probably took me 20% of my solving time to get those last four squares.

ArtLvr said...

Yes, I agree with Pete and joon. [Square figure] in the SW was devilish for STATUE: I didn't quite get it even as it was the last one I wrote in! Ditto with BLUES. Then it hit me... I don't think I'd ever seen DAIMLER's first name before either, but everything finally came through with the crosses.

Very enjoyable puzzle, though HEDGED was unfortunately all too timely a reminder for those investors who weren't sufficiently wary of the stock market...