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


Anonymous 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.


Anonymous 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!

Billy Belman 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!