Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sunday, June 24 - Eric Berlin

Today's puzzle, No Appointment Necessary, by Eric Berlin, is just what the doctor ordered. Not tear-your-hair-out difficult, but challenging enough to keep boredom at bay. And circles in the grid--something we random thinkers are always happy to see.

If you hadn't already figured out the theme answers by the time you reached 65A: Alternative title for this puzzle (The doctor is in), it was easy enough to go back to the circles and fill in some of those blanks. The theme answers are:

23A: Wall Street worker (SEcUritieS analySt). You can read all about Dr. Seuss here. I was surprised to find out that he wasn't really a doctor at all.

39A: Broadway's "The Producers," e.g. (MusiCal COmedY). Dr. Leonard McCoy, better known as Bones on Star Trek, was played by DeForest Kelley. He is best remembered (by me, anyway) for often saying, "I'm a doctor, not a [fill in the blank]," depending on what he was being asked to do.

50A: They might come back to haunt you (FAmoUS LasT words). I'm sure someone out there knows who Dr. Faust was. It's late and I'm not looking it up.

84A: Appetizers served with sauce (ShrimP cOCKtails). Most of my friends raised their babies on Dr. Spock. I think Mr. Spock might have been better.

91A: It might go in a tank (WATer SOfteNer). Although a fictional character, Dr. John Watson was really a doctor, as well as Sherlock Holmes's confidante.

109A: Elizabeth Dole once led it (DEpartMENT Of labor). I initially thought this was American Red Cross, but it didn't fit. Nor would it have produced a doctor. This one made me laugh for several reasons. First, the name is just so funny. Second, the only trivia I know about Dr. Demento is that he's one of Bart Simpson's mortal enemies. Third, every time I looked at the answer, I saw Department o'Flab.

Every time I got stumped on this puzzle (several), I walked away for at least fifteen minutes, then came back and saw something that had had me staring stupidly for far too long. The last section to fall was the northeast. 16D: Gradually substitute (rotate in) and 17D: One way to argue (heatedly) eluded me forEver. Only when I had those two did I get 53A: Blu-ray players, e.g. (Sonys). I am technologically impaired and don't know about Blu-ray players. I'm just beginning to understand iPods.

Also looked at--and didn't see--several others, including 96A: One way to be taken (aback). Geez, I had A_A_K and still didn't see it. It was the very last word I entered in the grid. Actually had 81A: More than enjoyed (ate up) early on, but every time I'd see it, I was sure I had something wrong. What the hell did ATEUP (pronounced a-toop) mean?

Very good guesses that turned out to be right:

38A: Terre's counterpart (mer). I'm embarrassed to say that I think I remember this word from Titanic. Please remember that my daughter was then 14 and in love with Leonardo DiCaprio. I can't tell you how many times I saw that movie.

102A: Language from which lemon and julep come (Farsi). I knew that 102D: Wash out had to be fade, and there's only one language that starts with an F and has five letters...except that 102D turned out to be fail, which still made my guess work out.

116A: Tempter (siren). I did think snake first, though.

74A: Car that won the 1939 and '40 Indy 500 (Maserati). Guessed that with only the two As in place.

Today we get a double-dose of Bible names. 10D: Mess of pottage buyer (Esau) and 61D: 10-Down's father (Isaac), as well as a playground clue that's better than the standard retorts we usually see. 70D: Playground taunt (sissy).

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out 59D: "__ Say, " 1939 #1 Artie Shaw hit (They). It's only significant if you remember that Artie Shaw was once married to the lovely and talented Ava Gardner.

In addition to Farsi, some words that I don't recall ever seeing in a puzzle include 1A: Dogs named for a region of Japan (Akitas) and 20A: Mrs. Gorbachev (Raisa).

Stumbled for a while on 89A: Symbol on a 6 key (caret). I was thinking letters on a phone pad, not the ^ that appears on a keyboard as the uppercase of 6. Also struggled with 58A: Game played with a 1/2- to 3/4-inch ball (roulette). A ping pong ball was the smallest I could think of, and I knew that wasn't small enough.

My favorite clues include 38D: Cheese place (mousetrap), 21A: Start a pot going (ante), and 119A: 10-year prison sentence, in gang slang (dime).

It got awfully close to 100 today, and I'm whipped. I should have taken a siesta (121A: Time out?) but didn't. So I'm calling it a night.

See you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Artie Shaw? Married to Ava Gardner? Wow. I gotta check that out! Thanks for the mention. I kept wanting PACHINKO for the miniscule gameball, maybe due to recalling a hilarious story of what one of my friends did with said ball once when she was a wee tot.... Its so hot, I think I'd like to be scarfing down SHRIMPCOCKTAILS with lemon and a mint julep.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Linda,

Is SMASH, clued as overhead, a sports related term? Tennis, perhaps?

Also, how is NCO "below grade one"?

Can you please let Donald know that I have tried to post two different comments on two different occasions at his blog and neither went through.

I particularly wanted to compliment Donald on Saturday's blog. He ARTfully connected clues and answers that at first seemed to be unrelated to create a very entertaining and enlightening exposition.

So to both of you: Keep blogging.


Linda G said...

How hot? It's probably close to 100, so I'm not venturing outdoors today. That combined with pollen and cottonwood = no fun. Don't have the makings for a mint julep, but an ice cold beer sounds goods.

Jo, I'm guessing that smash is a tennis term. Not sure about NCO. I saw a comment (at Rex's blog?) about it, but I'll ask Don once he comes in. And I'll let Donald know he has a comment waiting here.

Anonymous said...

Linda: I'm impressed you knew "farsi" I had to get it off of the downs.

Like you I tried something about Red Cross in 109A and remembered she was also in charge of the Dept of Labor. That was my first big window of opportunity in this puzzle.

Keep up the good work, Linda!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ava had three famous husbands, all rather diverse if you think about it. Besides Artie, Mickey Rooney and of course Sinatra. She was once quoted as saying, "It's not all my fault, when you consider that my three husbands have had 20 wives."

Can't argue with that logic! ;)

Linda G said...

Kitt, the only reason I could guess FARSI is that a young woman was hired for another nonprofit in town. She speaks five (or seven?) languages, including Farsi -- and that's how she was introduced to me.

Wendy, that logic works for me. I worked for a man who'd been married three times. He used to say that he couldn't help it if the women he married couldn't handle commitment!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Linda G,

Rodrigo's comment is spam, almost certainly. Don't click on the links for security's sake. You can check with someone of authority but my recommendation is that you delete the message. Maybe your Don or blogger Donald would be aware of what's going on.


Linda G said...

Thanks, Jo. I would never click on a link from someone I didn't know, but it didn't occur to me that it could be spam. It's gone.

cornbread hell said...

dr. NO is in american red cross...

i liked that PHD was directly beneath DOCTOR in the grid.

wow. 20 ex-wives. if you ever construct a puzzle, i could see it using some of their names with today's gimmick.

i still have a few blank squares here and there. must go get clarification for 87A, 68D and 41D.

'AVA good sunday.

Linda G said...

cornbread, who had 20 ex-wives? Artie Shaw? Dr. Seuss?

This might be worthwhile information if I ever construct a puzzle : )

Anonymous said...

wendy, above, quoted ava saying, "It's not all my fault, when you consider that my three husbands have had 20 wives."

(rick aka cornbread)