Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Wednesday, August 8 - Donna S. Levin

Today's puzzle seemed a little tougher than your typical Wednesday puzzle. I'll be curious to know if others felt that way...maybe I was a little slow. I caught on to the theme fairly quickly, but there were several answers that just stayed blank for far too long.

The theme--adding PA to common phrases, resulting in new phrases that are clued in very different ways.

20A: Back-to-the-slammer order? (PArole reversal).

30A: Reason the kids were left alone? (PArent strike).

40A: Reward for a Ringling invention? (circus PAtent). This one clinched the theme for me and was my favorite of the bunch.

54A: Scuff marks on the prairie? (Buffalo PAwings). Without a doubt, this looked the strangest in the grid. Buffalopa wings?

Things I didn't know that caused me to tear my hair out:

14A: 1980 John Carpenter chiller (The Fog). Don't see scary movies, don't read scary books. It sure didn't help that I didn't have a clue about 4D: Music from across the Atlantic (Afro pop). WTF?

29A: Cheerful (sunny). Didn't know 29D: 1970s tennis great Smith (Stan) and was guessing Alan when I had the last two letters in place. That made for a strange-looking word for cheerful.

11D: "Oklahoma!" gal (Ado Annie). I think I've fallen for this one before. I hereby resolve not to fall for it again. I might have been able to get sunny if I had figured this one out.

Things I wasn't sure about, but my guesses panned out:

25A: Son of Judah (Onan). I know the story of Onan, but I didn't know he was the son of Judah. IMOO, it's one of the strangest stories in the Bible. I mean, if God were to kill everyone who...well, never mind. Read the story if you don't know it.

3D: Looked like a wolf (leered). I wasn't thinking that kind of wolf.

12D: Ceylon, now (Sri Lanka). I am almost as geographically impaired as I am sports impaired. I only got this because I had the first three letters in place, and it couldn't have been anything else.

33D: 1969 and 2000 World Series venue (Shea). I get so excited when I get a sports clue! I have to admit that having the H and A pretty much made it a dead giveaway.

I'm ashamed to admit that I laugh every time I look at the top line and see 7A: Dietary needs (fats) and 11A: Balaam's beast (ass) sitting next to one another. It would be even funnier if the clue was dietary need. My bad.

Absolute gimmes:

1A: Toyota Camry model (Solara). My graduation present to myself was a 2004 Solara. I'd always wanted a car with a sunroof but had always been too practical to justify paying for one. Practicality be damned! I love my Solara and I love having a sunroof. Sometimes I run the air conditioner with the sunroof open. Decadent, I know.

58A: "Young Frankenstein" hunchback (Igor). That has to be one of the funniest movies ever. It's hard to believe it's over thirty years old...or that I am.

65A: Alley pickups (spares). This was great, especially on the heels of Monday's bowling theme.

7D: Dalmatian's master, sometimes (fireman). I've never seen a dalmatian at any of the fire stations here. Do firemen still have dalmatians...or is that a thing of the past?

41D: Do (coif). I don't know why I was thinking hairdo, but I was.

42D: Least favorably (at worst). Maybe this falls under good guess, since I had a couple of the letters in place.

43D: Starchy dessert (tapioca). The last time this was in the puzzle it was clued as Calvin's least favorite dessert...the thermos of phlegm. Gross kid. Gotta love him.

And a few things I really liked:

28A: Hard-rock connector (as a).

39A: Get stuck with, as the cost (eat).

59A: TV's Howser (Doogie). I had my gallbladder removed seven years ago by a doctor who looked about the same age as Doogie Howser. I asked him if he had his mother's permission to cut on me. Fortunately he had a good sense of humor.

That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...I don't think there are any errors in it.

See you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Now this was much better! I like these letter add/delete themes altho editors routinely dismiss them. (Yes, I know, if the theme entries are really lively, if ... they will consider).

I beg to disagree that you should not be tough on puzzles just because you are not a constructor. You are the customer/audience and it is important to let the constructor community (as well as editors) know how you truly feel. Would you really like to have more of the badabing, you talking to me, unfocused puzzles? :-)

[No I am not any constructor you have seen much of - of course, that should explain some of my cathartic outbursts!! ;-)]


Anonymous said...

Except for 14A and 4D I thought the puzzle was fairly easy due to all the gimmes. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out the theme. Thanks for pointing it out.

Howard B said...

There... there wolf. There castle. :)
I need to see that film again soon. Also the upcoming show (this year?). Say what you want about Mel Brooks, the guy still knows how to market his work.

Linda G said...

From what I've read on other blogs, only a couple of solvers had trouble with this one. Must have been a slow brain day for me.

Howard, I bought the anniversary edition (20th?) of Young Frankenstein and it's still in the wrapper. Time to break it out.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way about afropop...very npr.