Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Title: Think Twice
Author: Mark Diehl
Theme: Double edged -- all squares around the perimeter contain two letters each.

  • 17a: Fuzz busters? (RaZORBLADES). A nice clue here, evoking the slang for a radar detector.

  • 40a: Excalibur and Glamdring (BROADSWORDS). Glamdring was the name of the sword found in the troll lair in "The Hobbit" and wielded by Gandalf throughout the rest of that book and through the "Lord of the Rings". That single reference warrants a geek tag like no other reference I've ever seen. Awesome!

  • 64a: Like 17- and 40-Across (and this puzzle) (DOUBLE-EDGEd).

  • I love this theme. I really do. I knew there was something funky going on (not in the 39d: Funk (ODOR) sense of the word) when so few words were fitting where I thought they should go. The one that confirmed there was something up was HALTER, which I knew had to be right. Then I got the theme clue and it all fell into place beautifully. Not to say it wasn't still a challenge, because it was. Perfect for a Friday.

    Here are the rest of the edge clues:

  • 1a: Arctic game (CaRiBoUs). This one threw me a bit, even after I knew the theme, because I've always thought the plural of caribou was caribou (like moose and deer). I've never heard it pluralized in this fashion, though the dictionary backs it as an option. Caribou is also the name of an alcoholic concoction commonly drank in unseemly quantities at Quebec Winter Carnival. If you've been to Quebec in the winter, you'll understand the appeal.

  • 5a: 2001 Robert De Niro film (ThE sCoRe). Great film, also starring Edward Norton and featuring Marlon Brando.

  • 9a: Oscar-winning song from "Captain Carey, U.S.A." (MoNa LiSa). This classic, sung by Nat King Cole, was the first "Best Song" Oscar from a non-musical drama. Here, I hope, is a link to it. (My company has blocked my access to youtube, so I can't verify it. If it's wrong, I apologize.)

  • 13a: Derby distance (MeTRE). Derby is a city in England, hence the spelling. Not the distance of a particular race or of a hat of any kind. I confidently put MILE here before I knew what was going on.

  • 16a: "Little House on the Prairie" tribe (OSAGe).

  • 19a: Miranda Cosgrove TV character surnamed Shay (CARLy). Didn't know this at all. You might remember her as Summer, the cocky girl who becomes the band manager in "School of Rock".

  • 23a: Garner (JeNN). Just kidding. It's ReAP.

  • 27a: Slush fund purchase? (SNOWTIRe). Ouch.

  • 31a: Traverse (CoURSE).

  • 35a: Ballpark figures (ERAs).

  • 36a: "A Journal of the Plague Year" author (DeFOE). I couldn't have named a single thing he wrote other than Robinson Crusoe. I suspect I'm not alone here.

  • 38a: Affixes, in a way (IRONS On).

  • 43a: To such an extent (as) (InSOFAR).

  • 46a: Word with space or rock (OPERa). I assume that's opera space, not space opera? Maybe I'm wrong. Has "Star Wars" been made into a musical yet?

  • 49a: Nana (GrAN).

  • 52a: Injustices (WRONGs).

  • 53a: "Count me in!" (I'd LOVE TO). Great fill.

  • 57a: Drawn figure (TOOn).

  • 61a: Draw back (CoWER).

  • 69a: Certain furbearer (StOAT). Furbearer is a weird word. Are we skinbearers? Are fish scalebearers?

  • 71a: Con game (BUNKo).

  • 72a: Party mix ingredient (CoRn ChEx). Mmmmm. Party mix.

  • 73a: Cause (EnGeNdEr).

  • 74a: Military unit insignia (ArM pAtCh).

  • 1d: Shooter's device (CaMeRa).

  • 2d: It's scalloped (RiTZ). I couldn't figure out where this clue was going to save my life. Then I got it from crossings and went "Doh!".

  • 3d: Jersey municipality (BoRO).

  • 4d: They're not clean (UsERS). Drug reference.

  • 5d: Calliope kin (ThALIA). Muses. Usually, it's Erato.

  • 6d: Conveyance in an emergency (EsCAPE POD). Love it.

  • 7d: Mixed (CoED). Sensitively clued as the adjective, not the more-politically-incorrect noun.

  • 8d: Make available (ReLEASE). As DVDs, CDs, games, etc.

  • 9d: Kid's farm sighting (MoO-COW). As opposed to all those baa-cows and neigh-cows out there. This felt like a bit of a stretch, but I can accept it. I guess.

  • 10d: Columbia org. (NaSA). The space shuttle Columbia, not the city or the school.

  • 11d: Trust buster? (LiAR).

  • 12d: With prudence (SaGeLy).

  • 23d: Change, as a computer program (ReCoDe). Well, sort of. Recode typically implies that you're starting from scratch, not modifying an existing program. So, if you start from scratch to create something that does basically the same thing, is it the same computer program anymore? Maybe it depends on whether you name it the same thing.

  • 30d: Think in a logical manner (ReAsOn). "Logic is little tweeting bird chirping in meadow."

  • 42d: Citizen part (WATCHBANd).

  • 43d: Anastasia portrayer (InGrId). Bergman, of course.

  • 48d: Teases (RaGs On).

  • 51d: Ran a successful pass pattern (GOT OPEn). I like this fill a lot.

  • 54d: Top (VERTEx).

  • 56d: Kind of top (HALTEr).

  • 60d: Keep out (DEBAr).

  • 61d: Place to buy Kirkland Signature products (CoStCo). Never shopped there; never heard of Kirkland Signature products.

  • 62d: Spent (WORn).

  • 63d: Not together (EACh).

  • 65d: Lean on (URGe).

  • 66d: Sell off rapidly (DUMp).

  • 67d: Black fly (GNAt).

  • 68d: Successor to Joseph Wapner (Ed KoCh).

  • 58a: Polish phrases, say (EDIT). Very cute clue.

  • 70a: Presumably thin guy of rhyme (SPRAT). Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean.

  • 18d: Animated TV dog (BLUE). I don't know what this references.

  • 22d: Start of a saying about forgiveness (TO ERR).

  • 28d: Hamilton (TENSPOT). I've never called a 10-dollar bill a "Hamilton", but then again I've never called it a tenspot either. I do know that Alexander Hamilton is on the ten, though, so it's not a reach.

  • 37d: Pulsating pair (CAROTIDS).

  • 47d: Spoon drummer Jim (ENO). Is he related to Brian?

  • 52d: Osso buco ingredient (WINE). First guess VEAL; second guess BONE; finally figured it out.

This was a really beautiful puzzle, and a great send-off (hopefully not forever) for the Sun puzzle series.

I've had a great time blogging and want to thank everyone who came to read and/or post along the way, and to all those who have supported me, openly and behind the scenes. You know who you are.

Special thanks to Peter Gordon who, if you ask me, shouldn't have to pay for a single drink this whole weekend. If you see this guy, show your love.

Well, in the words of one Bilbo Baggins...

I regret to announce, this is the end.
I'm going now - I bid you all a very fond farewell.


Thanks for listening.

- Pete M.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Pete and all your helpers, for the blog!

Beth Willenborg

Joon said...

"space opera" is a term for a generic sci-fi swashbuckler, much like "horse opera" is a generic western.

ironically, DeFOE was what "broke" the rebus for me. i rightly suspected something was fishy when nothing seemed to fit, but i didn't realize how pervasive the fishiness was. beautiful puzzle, and a fitting farewell to a great run for peter and his crew of constructors.

but hopefully only a temporary farewell! sign up to say "yes, i'm willing to pay for these excellent puzzles to return someday!"

Unknown said...

Pete - Thanks for the nice write-up and I echo you're sentiments on Peter. We all need him daily to keep up his great work!

BLUE is the animated dog from the children's series "Blue's Clues" who helps the human host (and audience) solve small-kid-level mysteries.

MOO COW is as familiar to me as choo-choo train.


pete1123 said...


Thanks for the many months of blogging. I've really enjoyed it. I think your name should be added to those who deserve to be stood a drink. If I were going to Brooklyn, I'd get you and Peter Gordon together, order up a round on me, and we could kick off the first annual "Pete Fest".

Maybe Pete's Wicked Ale ...?

Pete Collins

Norrin2 said...

Thanks for talking.

Jim Finder said...

Yes, Pete, thanks, and it was a lucky break running into you at the ACPT so I could say so in person. Best wishes in all your future endeavors.
Jim Finder

nyc acting coaches said...

Thanks for the many months of blogging. I've really enjoyed it. I think your name should be added to those who deserve to be stood a drink. If I were going to Brooklyn, I'd get you and Peter Gordon together, order up a round on me, and we could kick off the first annual "Pete Fest".