Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

First of all, I would like to thank Joon for stepping in on Wednesday. We lost power for 5 1/2 days, which is a long time to be "off the grid". It's good to be back, and thank you to those who sent messages of support. The above picture is a close up of a lawn near my home (not mine -- I live in the woods). When you see how each individual blade is coated with ice, you realize why the trees, especially the evergreens, got so unbelievably weighted down. It was really all quite spectacular and beautiful, like everything was made of glass. Somewhat dampened by the no electricity thing. :) Our street was finally brought online by a crew who drove up to New Hampshire from Tennessee.

Okay, enough of that. Back to the program.

Title: Position Papers
Author: Robert A. Doll
Theme: Newspaper rebus
  • 1a: Swank prize (GOLDEN GLOBE). This was so obvious after the first couple of letters that the rebusness was almost immediately revealed.

  • 7d: Go around the world (GLOBE TROT).

  • 8a: John McCain has one (SILVER STAR). Funny how it's mostly gold.

  • 14d: Astronomy item (STAR CHART).

  • 37a: #1 hit in the summer of 1978 (THREE TIMES A LADY). Lionel Richie, then with the Commodores.

  • 20d: Frequently (MANY TIMES OVER).

  • 67a: "The father of modern China" (SUN YAT SEN). A touch of nastiness crossing this with 46d: Greek peak (MT OSSA).

  • 44d: Juice brand sold in pouches (CAPRI SUN). My kids used to drink this all the time. It should have come to me sooner.

  • 68a: 2005 Richard Gere film (BEE SEASON).

  • 52d: Friend of Clara Edwards (AUNT BEE). From "The Andy Griffith Show".

Ok, I get the "Papers" part of the title, but not so much the "Position" part. Is there significance to where the rebus squares fall? I thought maybe it was a geographical thing, but it seems that would put the Globe in the northeast (Boston). Of course, there are many papers with the same or similar names. I'm pretty sure I'm missing something here, and I have no doubt someone will clue me in.

Sunny Spots:

  • 19a: Sign of trouble (BAD OMEN).

  • 27a: Kenneth Grahame character (MR TOAD).

  • 26d: Cartoon spy Natasha (FATALE). Of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

  • 15a: Uniform adornment (EPAULET).

  • 16a: Native (ENDEMIC). Nice word.

  • 17a: Benz contemporary (DAIMLER).

  • 21a: 1993 inductee in the Songwriters Hall of Fame (ANKA). I saw this was four letters and immediately thought ANKA. I think it fits the ERIE rule.

  • 26a: Topps rival (FLEER). Makers of baseball cards.

  • 34a: Actress Bingham of "Baywatch" (TRACI).

  • 35a: Fool's gold (PYRITE). I used to be into rocks and minerals as a kid, so I remember this one.

  • 40a: Moon of Uranus (OBERON).

  • 48a: Rams teammate of Deacon and Rosey (MERLIN). Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, and Rosey Grier, who along with Lamar Lundy made up the "Fearsome Foursome". I know him more as a broadcaster.

  • 51a: It's indispensable to vie (EAU). Water is key to life, even for the French.

  • 54a: Certain subatomic particle (PION).

  • 59a: Charles Foster Kane's dying word (ROSEBUD). If you haven't seen "Citizen Kane", what are you waiting for?

  • 66a: Ancient warship (TRIREME) I know this from some game I used to play years ago. I think it might be Sid Meier's Civilization.

  • 2d: WWII agcy. (OPA). Letters, letters, letters... I hate three-letter-agency clues. They could be anything.

  • 4d: Slow (DUMB). Eek. Something about this just feels... well, insensitive at the least.

  • 5d: Cinders of old comics (ELLA).

  • 8d: Spanish golfer Ballesteros (SEVE). A gimme for me. I've watched enough golf to know the old-timers.

  • 10d: CEO, e.g. (LDR). Ick.

  • 11d: Corruptible (VENAL). Great word.

  • 12d: Rapper who wrote the book "The Way I Am" (EMINEM). ERIE rule again, since DRE doesn't fit.

  • 28d: Dos y seis (OCHO). 2 + 6 = 8.

  • 35d: Gilpin of "Frasier" (PERI).

  • 36d: Fulda feeder (EDER).

  • 45d: Like bialies (ONIONY).

  • 48d: Reflective sorts (MUSERS). Eh.

  • 56d: "The Dragons of ___" (Carl Sagan book) (EDEN). I don't recall if I read this, but I know the title well.

  • 60d: They're not just het (BIS). Reference to hetero- and bisexuals. Well, at least this is hipper than the "Cry heard at a recital" clue of last week. Or maybe not... what kind of recital was it, anyway... ;)

  • 64d: Reliever Robb (NEN). We just saw this. I knew it then, too.

Suns of Bitches:
  • 30a: Fashion designer Ricci (NINA). "Woman's name" would have been just as helpful a clue, for me. But the crossings were easy.

  • 57d: Val and Joan's mother in the comic strip "Stone Soup" (EVIE). Ditto.

  • 58d: Olympic swimmer Torres (DARA). Ditto.

  • 3d: "Love Story" composer Francis (LAI). I never even read this clue. Thank goodness, because I would have had no idea.

This puzzle seemed really easy for a Friday. There were many clues that felt downright Monday-Tuesday-ish, and there was very little long fill for a 76-word puzzle. Overall, it was okay. I reserve the right to upgrade if I get a stunning explanation of the "position" part of the theme.

Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Joon said...

welcome back, pete. glad to hear you survived.

i don't have a good explanation of "position"; just thinking maybe that the title suggests the rebus, somehow, and not just a newspaper theme. like, each paper name is in one "position" in the grid.

the clues were on the easy side for a friday, but a rebus with non-identical rebus squares is tough in general, so i think that was an appropriate decision.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Position Papers refers to the rebus being Last, Last, Middle,
First, First?

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps, 2 right-wing papers, 2 left-wing papers and one centrist.

Dan said...

Welcome back Pete! I agree with joon, no extra meaning to the title.

Yep, LDR is sub-Sun-level fill. But LAI is kind of crosswordesey -- I've seen him many times, always clued with Love Story.

Yesterday I gave my brother a ride to the public library, where he grabbed a bunch of books on his senior thesis topic: EMINEM.