Sunday, September 9, 2007

Monday, September 10 - Edward M. Sessa

Circles! When I see them in a puzzle, I know I'll have fun solving it.

I just zipped through this one, catching the theme after only one theme answer, which was revealed at 40A: Features found in 17- and 64-Across and 11- and 28-Down (NOTES OF THE SCALE). In musical order, as well as puzzle order, the theme answers are:

17A: Many a Westminster show exhibit (DOG BREEDER)

64A: Longtime Wal-Mart symbol (SMILEY FACE)

11D: Rear of the roof of the mouth (SOFT PALATE)

28D: G.I. Joe, for one (ACTION DOLL)

I'm always impressed when a constructor is able to pull off a theme that involves letters placed in a particular order. I think it's an acceptable trade-off that some of the fill is fairly standard crosswordese. 25A: Swiss peak (Alp), 46A: The "r" in Aristotle (Rho), 52A: Ayatollah's predecessor (Shah), 63A: Sailor's greeting (Ahoy), 68A: Fox TV's "American __" (Idol), 4D: Skewered lamb, e.g. (kabob) preferred spelling of the word, 9D: Wrap for Indira Gandhi (sari), 32D: Born: Fr. (nee), 41D: Geisha's sash (obi), 47D: Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. (Ste.), 58D: T. Rex, e.g. (dino), and 61D: Supply-and-demand subj. (Econ.).

We're also given plenty of entertaining to fill to round things out.

10A: The Beatles' "Back in the __" (USSR), which we played on 53D: Old 45 players (HI-FIs)...the only way to write it so it didn't look funky.

20A: Parrot (echoer). Not that it's a great word...but it's the one place where I stumbled. I couldn't remember the full name of 2D: Quadrennial games org. (USOC), so I was missing its second letter. I was also unsure of 18D: Queens of France (Reines), so I had E*HO*R. That just didn't look like a word at all...and I was pretty sure it was the United States Olympic Organization. EOHO*R looked even worse. That's when I started with the alphabet song, although I still didn't get it the first time through.

29A: Mathematician John von __ (Neumann).

44A: __ noire (bĂȘte). Literally, it means black beast, but it sounds so pretty.

47A: It is golden, it's said (silence). After a house full of company last week, I can say that it definitely is. Wait until we have a two-year-old running around. Christmas will definitely not be a golden time, although I'm looking forward to meeting the little guy.

54A: Walked unsteadily (doddered).

70A: Shareholder's substitute (proxy), crossing with 65D: Superman enemy __ Luthor (Lex)...possibly the only Superman clue I would know.

5D: South Dakota's capital (Pierre)...pronounced PEER, rather than like the Frenchman's name. Don and I used to play the capitals game when we were traveling. As a result, I know all of the state capitals. I didn't realize at the time that it would come in so handy. We should probably expand to other countries, though.

Other interesting words include 24D: Camper's bag (duffel), 30D: Dull photo finish (matte) 31D: Parthenon's home (Athens) and 51D: Pastoral composition (idyll).

Most disgusting clue is 50A: Louse-to-be (nit)...because of the visual it brings to mind.

I liked 5A: Sonnet and sestina (poems). I don't see the word sestina too often. When I took Creative Writing a few years ago, we had to write both. My sonnet sucked, but my sestina was published in the college's literary magazine. For those who aren't familiar with a sestina, it's a very structured poem...the same six words are used to end each line, but in a particular order, which changes with each verse. The last line contains all six words. Here's an article that explains it better than I can. The funny thing was that I wrote it in about fifteen minutes, intending it to be almost a joke. It read like the saddest country western song you'd ever heard. But when I read it for the class, people were in tears, and I was asked to recite it at a faculty reading later that year. Who would've known?

I didn't know 55D: Birthplace of seven U.S. presidents (Ohio), although I had it in place because of the acrosses. Maybe someone out there knows who the seven are and will share.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Hi you are...Presidents born in Ohio. Ulysses Grant; Rutherford Hayes; James Garfield; Benjamin Harrison; William McKinley; William Taft; Warren Harding
Have a ggod day

Linda G said...

Thanks, Bob. I knew someone out there would know ; )

Anonymous said...

Will you please share your sestina?

QP said...

Yes, that would be nice (ie sestina sharing).....

Anonymous said...

Here's another request for the sestina. Do you still have it?

Linda G said...

I do have it, and I'm surprised by the requests to read it. I'll include it as a separate post before I blog the Tuesday puzzle, so it won't be extraneous reading for anyone who Googles a particular clue. But was intended to be a joke, so you can't be critical.

Boy, I'm nervous.