Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Ooh, too cool. Patrick Blindauer is probably my favorite crossword constructor. He is constantly pushing the boundaries of what a crossword puzzle can be, turning that familiar black and white grid into an acrostic, a chess problem, a picture of the sword in the stone, or even a game of Frogger to name just a few. Even when he plays it straight as he does with today's puzzle, I enjoy his clues and the way his mind works.

Title: 007
Author: Patrick Blindauer
Theme:Seven across entries have a double-O phrase in the place of the more common single-O one.

17A: Cheerleaders? (MOOD SQUAD) One white, one black, one blonde; they're cops on a soul beat. My feelings about "The Mod Squad" changed a lot during its five-year run. When it started in 1968 I was ten years I thought Pete, Linc and Julie were cool heroes but by the time it ended in 1973 I thought they were dirty turncoat traitors. I did however still have a crush on Peggy Lipton.
But these guys weren't real hipsters. Look they can't even spell "groovy."

21A: Test on which to use a number two pencil? (POOP QUIZ) I guess it reveals what a high-brow I am when I tell you that was far and away my favorite of the themed entries. Double potty humor -- number two pencil! that's funny.

30A: Pail for bailing out a single-master vessel? (SLOOP BUCKET)

36A: Trousers for Woodsy Owl (HOOT PANTS) Give a hoot, don't pollute!

48A: Midday menthol (NOON SMOKING)

55A: Entrance stairway discontinuity (STOOP GAP)

61A: Like people with hoops in their lobes (LOOP EARED) I wish PB had found a
nother way to clue this one. HOOP and LOOP are just too close for comfort.

Sunny Spots:
I always like sexy-sounding clues and this puzzle starts and ends with them. 1A: They get laid (EGGS) and 65D: One who's coming out (DEB). Along the same lines there's 32D: Castrated cock (CAPON)

I can't remember now exactly who the Mod Squad worked for, but DEA is right under them in this puzzle (20A: Busters; abbr.) and that seems likely that they would probably turn in all their pot-smoking buddies first.

52A: Abbr. on a holey vestment (IRR) 48D: Russell of "The Wiz" (NIPSEY) He was a ubiquitous figure on 60s and 70s game shows, usually showcasing poems like this:

49D: Member of the WHO (ORG) That's world health organization, of course, not the guys responsible for "Behind Blue Eyes."

71A: Its logo is a crowned griffon (SAAB) I could see that griffon in my mind, but I didn't get the answer until I had S_AB.

43A: the 2s in 2 + 2 = 4 (OPERANDS) Well, damn, it looks like my fourth grade teacher Miss Overton lied to me again. She told me they were called ADDENDS.

58A: "The Premature Burial" writer (POE) Not one of his most famous stories.

Suns of Bitches:

The whole southwest corner was a bugaboo for me for a long time. I'm not big on westerns so I didn't know 40A: 1966 Howard Keel western (WACO) and I really wanted 42D: Entertainment option since the 1950s (COLOR TV) to be TV MOVIE. It was hard to let go of because all I had was that O in the fourth square so that would have worked. I also wanted 69A: Emissary (ENVOY) to be PROXY.

It's not that hard, but I initially missed 6D: Only valid three-letter Scrabble word that doesn't contain Y or any consonant (EAU). (I had IOU). By the way I don't know if it's the only three letter Scrabble word with no vowels, but NTH is a good one to remember when your rack is consonant-heavy.

Not knowing what a hackberry is, I also missed 1D: Hackberry's cousin (ELM). (I had ELK, which is embarrassing cuz I don't think berries and mammals are very closely related.

That's all I've got this time. See you next Thursday


Torbach said...

My biggest stumbling block as a solver is that I think too hard sometimes - in this case, because I didn't know the name [Olsen of "Hellzapoppin"], and I had yet to crack the theme, I actually thought "Well, it can't be POOP SQUAD..." and kept moving! Neat fill with PLETHORA, GOODJOE & NIPSEY being my favorites. I also liked the SW, which I broke into with the fun [Bath water measure] for LITRE.

Joon said...

3-letter scrabble words with no vowels: BRR, HMM, NTH, SHH, ZZZ. not that you'd ever play ZZZ in a million years, even in the unlikely event that you had the Z and both blanks. there's also CWM (!), but actually the W is acting as a vowel in that one. (it's welsh; i think the W is roughly an "oo" sound, which is very apropos considering today's theme.) i'm pretty sure the longest scrabble word with no AEIOUY is CRWTHS, which is also welsh (and again the W is acting as a vowel).

miss overton wasn't lying. addends are OPERANDS, but OPERAND is a more general term. anything which is fed into an operation is an OPERAND, but it's an addend only if that operation happens to be +.

Norrin2 said...

Joon, remind me not to play Scrabble with you. : )

Pete M said...

Couldn't resist adding the "potty humor" tag. Hope I haven't overstepped... :)

Norrin2 said...

Not at all. I appreciate it in fact. That will probably be one of my favorite search topics in the future.

Jim Finder said...

Any comment on why "English, to the English" at 4D translates to "side"?

Jim Finder

Norrin2 said...

Jim, I think that refers to how we in America call backspin English. Evidently in England they call that "side."

Pete M said...

Actually, technically topspin and backspin are not "English"; English, in pool at least, refers specifically to left or right side spin. But people use it to refer to any spin, including back and forward.

Jim Finder said...

With your hints, it was easy to find this Google definition: English: (sports) the spin given to a ball by striking it on one side or releasing it with a sharp twist

Live and learn.

Jim Finder said...

Definition of "side," that is.