Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wednesday, August 1 - David J. Kahn

David Kahn's Wednesday puzzle is a tribute to famed soprano, Beverly Sills, who died on July 2, 2007.

The theme is revealed at 21A: With 28-Across, a late, great entertainer (Beverly/Sills). Other theme answers are:

17A: 1966 Lincoln Center role for 21-/28-Across (Cleopatra).

48A: 1970 Covent Garden title role for 21-28-Across (Lucia).

58A: Childhood nickname of 21-/28-Across (Bubbles).

62A: 1955 "Die Fledermaus" debut role for 21-/28-Across (Rosalinde).

11D: "La Traviata" role for 21-/28-Across (Violetta).

29D: With 39-Across, 21-/28-Across, for one (lyric/soprano).

38D: Stage wear for 21-/28-Across (costumes).

That is so much more than I knew about Beverly Sills. I knew her nickname...I had a penpal when I was in elementary school named Beverly, and she was also called Bubbles. I was also able to guess costumes and lyric soprano. This article tells about a side of Beverly Sills that many didn't know, describing her as "special mother to the special children."

I'll be the first to admit I had to use Dogpile to get several of these. While I had letters in place from crossings, some of the names were just too vague for me.

Some of my favorite clues and/or answers:

23A: Insignificant (nominal). "The line is busy. For ONLY ninety-five cents..." As if I'm willing to pay what they consider a nominal fee to have Qwest redial the number for me.

61A: Stretches out? (comas). Not that it's funny, but the clue is certainly clever.

1D: Mysteries (arcana).

8D: Conger, e.g. (sea eel). EAEE just looked wrong. Anyway, I'm bettin' it's a pretty ugly thing. We're in luck...no photo available at that site.

9D: Unlikely candidate for Mr. Right (creep). Too funny...how many of us fell for Mr. Creep anyway?

41D: Linguist Chomsky (Noam). I have always liked the name.

49D: Requirement to buy on eBay (user ID). I try to stay away from eBay. In a matter of two months, I spent more money on Hummel figurines than I care to admit...or more than I want Don to find out if he reads this.

52D: Cause to burn (kindle). I had ignite at first...a good wrong answer. I started a fire in the microwave at work yesterday, heating up a pizza in the box. The box was microwave safe, but I had absentmindedly put a sticker on the box, and it wasn't. Fortunately, I was able to put it out before any damage occurred...but it did stink.

Things I didn't know:

27A: "As I Lay Dying" father (Anse). That looks like something I should remember...like maybe it will come back.

68A: Ruhr Valley city (Essen).

3D: Starting lineups (A-teams). I've fallen for this one before. I had at bats. I'm not even sure I could call that a good wrong answer.

37D: D-backs, on a scoreboard (ARI). Would someone please explain this? I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't get it.

We have similar answers at 13D: Expert finish? (ise) and 34D: Believer: Suffix (ist), and 55D: "The Wild Duck" playwright (Ibsen) crossing Essen (see above).

We also have identical clues at 7D: Balkan native (Serb) and 43A: Balkan native (Croat). I thought I was seeing things...maybe getting a little 33A: Scatterbrained (ditsy).

Another playground retort rears its ugly head at 35A: Retort to "Not so!" (is too). Making another appearance, to the dismay of many, is 51D: More ludicrous (inaner). And there will be some offended by 65A: Really big (obese).

That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


kratsman said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog since its debut.

About 37D, baseball teams have
3-letter abbreviations that are used on stadium scoreboards (and elsewhere). For example, ATL (Atlanta), BOS (Boston), and AZI (Arizona). The Arizona Diamonbacks.

Anonymous said...

37D: D-backs, on a scoreboard (ARI). Would someone please explain this? I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't get it

ARI=Arizona [Diamondbacks]

Anonymous said...

Your comment about eBay and what Don doesn't know is hilarious. I served dinner on some recently-won Lenox Ming plates, and when Peter said "Where'd these come from?" I sounded like John Cleese's Basel Fawlty trying to cover myself.

Love your blog. And I loved today's puzzle. As I said on Rex's blog, it's a nice cultural correction to all those sports-related clues that I NEVER, EVER know.


Wendy said...

I thought the eBay answer should be Paypal, though of course none of the crosses called for it. I recently started selling on eBay and half.com; it's insane what there's a market for and I've become quite addicted to it and the extra Pin money ;). I'm buying NOTHING, just recycling!

Liked this puzzle; as soon as I saw Bubbles, I knew what was going on. Sills was at least as well known for her nick as for her actual body of work.

I thought Ditsy was spelled with a Z? And I too do a double take when the repeated clues show up; I'm always wondering whether I've lost my marbles - didn't I see that before? - but I enjoy this ploy when it occurs.

Linda G said...

I knew I'd feel stupid when someone explained it. Thanks, Dave and anonymous.

Liffey, I love that you referred to "recently-won" plates. When I've used that expression with Don, he points out that I didn't win the item...I paid (sometimes dearly!) for it.

Wendy, you're so disciplined. If I went online to sell items, I'd end up buying others...in which case, I'm better off giving my items to charity. And I actually had DITZY at first, thinking that somehow LIZP was the spelling they wanted for 25D. The things we can rationalize!

Matt said...

Pardon me if I'm being daft but I just don't get "comas" for "stretches out" -- is it simply implying that being in a coma is like stretching out for a long time?

Anonymous said...

Matt, as long as you're questioning, you're not daft ; )

"Out" for long "stretches" of time...that's how I took it, anyway.

Linda G

Rex Parker said...

How could anyone be offended by OBESE clued as [Really big]??? It's ... what it means. Literally. The first dictionary I looked at had "grossly overweight" as a first definition, so [Really big] seems downright kind by comparison.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps "sensitive to" would have been more accurate than "offended by." I remember a comment...here or elsewhere...that made me think that.

I used to be sensitive to jokes about short people. Other than still hating the song, I'm okay now ; )

Linda G

Anonymous said...

D-backs is shorts for Diamondbacks from ARIzona...their baseball team! I love your blog. I am hopelessly addicted to the Times' puzzles also...

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda,

Several yrs ago I tried doing the NYC crossword but always gave up because I didn't want to think that hard plus I don't like to start something I can't finish. However, this July I decided to try it again. I almost ave up again but this time I started Googling out of frustration and accidentally found you site. Boy am I glad I did.

The posted ? cleared up one of my frustrations. Now that I know my paper is six weeks behind in the dailies it is a lot easier for me to confirm my answers. I still Google but I haven't done so for the past 3 days.

I guessed Bev Sills after I got Cleopatra and Violetta. I didn't know her nickname was Bubbles. I got a big chuckle out of it however because my user name is "mcbubbles." When I was a receptionist for a military contractor the guys gave me the name Bubbles because they all said I had a bubbly personality.

Now I look forward to the puzzle. Love your website. Thanks so much for listening.


Linda G said...

mc, I'm so glad you found a way to do the puzzle and enjoy it.

I ran into a friend today who said she only does the Monday through Thursday NYT because the later ones are so difficult. I told her I sometimes Google a couple of obscure answers, which then opens up enough of the grid that I can finish the puzzle. Whatever works!