Friday, August 3, 2007

Saturday, August 4 - Byron Walden

I don't know why I always panic when I see Byron Walden's name on a puzzle, but I do.

The man is brilliant, and his puzzles always reflect that. But how does he do it? How does he come up with a puzzle that has three 15-letter stacks at the top, with three more at the bottom...and all of them are superb fill.

1A: First (before the others).

16A: Dante characters? (Italian alphabet).

17A: The "she" in the lyric "And when she passes, I smile" (Girl from Ipanema). The only gimme of the six long answers.

56A: Interdisciplinary college major (American Studies).

59A: Patch alternative (nicotine lozenge).

60A: Last (keep on keeping on).

Did you notice how the first and last long answers were clued? First...and last. Brilliant, I tell you. Also see 29A and 58D: Highest quality (top/end). That's Byron Walden.

Things I didn't know but hope to remember when I see them again:

49A: Mallow family members (okras). I don't mean that I don't know okra. I didn't know it was a member of the Mallow family.

2D: Saint-__-du-Mont, church containing the remains of the patron saint of Paris (Etienne).

8D: Villain in the book of Esther (Haman). If I'm going to be a serious solver, I'm going to have to do some serious Bible reading.

13D: "Over the Rainbow" vocalist Ray (Eberle). Have never heard of him. I thought it was Ray Charles so briefly entertained the possibility that this was a rebus. Didn't they pull that trick on us just recently? Maybe last Friday?

50D: Eastern royal (Ranee).

Good guesses that panned out include 30A: Discoverer of the law of quadratic reciprocity (Euler). I'm sure it's fascinating stuff. Here's a link to information about it...I promise I'll read it later. Also 21A: First word of "Shrek" (Once). Isn't that how all fairy tales begin? And we recently had after, clued as how fairy tales end...or am I making that up?

There were several favorite clues and answers, so I'm not sure I can award a prize for the very best. But some of the best were:

20A: 50 Cent cover (do rag). Can you believe that do-rag has its own Wikipedia entry? Here it is, although Slim Thug is the featured model.

38A: With 55-Across, MgSO4.7H2O (epsom/salts). I didn't really know that one, but with a few letters in place, it was gettable.

4D: Hardy one? (Ollie). In case you're not's Stan Laurel and Oliver (Ollie) Hardy.

15D: Like some disappearances (staged). Some years ago we lived in a mountain town, and one of the locals disappeared. Unsolved Mysteries came and filmed an episode. His body was found more than a year later, but a friend of his disappeared the day of the service...many of us thought that one was staged.

22D: Chihuahua fare (burrito). Very clever. I was trying to think of some kind of mini-kibble that would fit in there.

36D: Higher calling? (yodeling).

Right in the center of the grid we have 34A: Sideshow staple (bearded lady). The D crosses with the equally excellent 35D: Charity carnival feature (dunk tank), although I originally had cake walk there.

And today's confusing (to me) sports clue is at 57D: N.L. Central team, on scoreboards (CIN). Here's my interpretation/guess. N.L. means National League, Central has something to do with a division (as opposed to East or West), and CIN is Cincinnati. Are we talking football? Is N.L. supposed to be a hint?

Time to wrap it up. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


LindaBudz said...

Darn, you're good. I got four of the six. Missed the top two. "Before the others" ... doh! Did pretty well on the bottom two-thirds of the page.

And I agree, a beautifully constructed puzzle.

Got NOWHERE on yesterday's puzzle, BTW!

Wendy said...

Linda, your sports lesson of the day involves baseball. The 30 teams of Major League Baseball are divided into two leagues, the National and the American (you see the goofy NL-ER/AL-ER answer a lot, right?), and there are the three divisions, East, Central and West. The Cincinnati Reds are in the NL Central. Your Colorado Rockies are in the NL West; my Cleveland Indians are in the AL Central.

Linda G said...

Lindabudz, not that good. Maybe I didn't say in the post...I had to Google for several things, ETIENNE, BRITT and EBERLE for sure. I always hope that I'll remember them the next time I see them in a grid.

Wendy, your sports knowledge is impressive. Thanks for the tips. So...NL means baseball, NFL is football, NHL is hockey, NBA is basketball. Am I getting it?

Wendy said...

You're getting there! The comparable organization for baseball is Major League Baseball, MLB, but you don't see that used in common speech as much as the other sports leagues - at least I don't hear it. The NFL, NBA and NHL all have their various breakdowns/divisions too. So NL and AL are just subsets of MLB. If you really want to bone up, go to!

Probably I'm more aware of MLB as an org because they were a client of the PR firm I work for in 1997 when the All-Star game was held in Cleveland.

Larry said...

Linda, Just to add to your cofusion - If I were to be sitting in Yankee Stadium watching a baseball game and looked to the scoreboard for other games going on, I would see the Cincinnati Reds score as CIN just as I would see the Detroit Tigers score posted behind DET. That was the clue N.L. (National League) Central (Division) team (Cin).