Saturday, September 29, 2007
Saturday, September 29th, 2007 Robert H. Wolfe
Hello again. Happy Saturday to everyone. This is Norrin2, the Green Genius trying once again to fill Linda G's blogging shoes. I gotta tell you, I'm used to having weekends off. I feel like I had just gotten out the ring with Byron Walden in yesterday's New York Sun puzzle and I had to put the figurative fighting gear on to take on Robert H. Wolfe. It worked out all right though. Wolfe may have edged me out on points but like Rocky BALBOA I accomplished my goal of going the distance.
(That sound you just heard was my boxing metaphor going as far as possible and snapping.)
I almost got through this puzzle without having to look anything up -- but I got in vowel trouble. In all the places I was stuck it was because I had the wrong vowel or vowels in place. I couldn't get 1A: When (AS SOON AS) because I had AHS at 5D: Understanding responses instead of OHS. I had a hell of a time with with 9A: Slip covers (BLEEPS) because I had UBOAT at 12D: W.W. II vessel instead of EBOAT (Eboat? WW II? I thought it was only in the last few years we started grafting the letter E on the front of every word that would hold still long enough.) I had a hard time with 27A: African evergreen shrub (ERICA) because I'm not a botanist and because I had ALSO at 27D:More instead of ELSE.
I actually sailed through the puzzle pretty smoothly until I got lost in the vowels. I really enjoyed seeing MATA HARI make an appearance in this puzzle (at 15: She was executed in 1917) I've seen her name in puzzles so much I decided to research her; she was a fascinating woman and, by the way, not a spy.
Here's how you can tell that this is a Saturday puzzle -- BALBOA is a unit of Portugese currency and not a boxer named Rocky; ALI is a figure in the Sunni/Shia split not a boxer named Muhammed. Jessica ALBA is in the movie "Sin City" not "Fantastic Four" and SAL MINEO is in the toy-truck drama "Tonka" rather that "Rebel Without a Cause." ERICA is an aforementioned African shrub rather than an actress on Smallville. The song "Piece of My Heart" is by ERMA Franklin and not Janis Joplin. OCHS is an obscure news-nerd, rather than semi-obscure folkie Phil. (Mr. Ochs, by the way, (Adolph not Phil) is better known as the savior of The New York Times. He took it over when it was in financial trouble, took great pains to keep it separate from the yellow journalism so popular at the time, and even came up with the "All The News That's Fit to Print" front page tagline.)
The three long entries in the puzzle were easier to come up with than a lot of the shorter ones.
The only one that slowed me up much was 36A: Delicacy (SENSITIVE NATURE) where I spent several minutes foraging for a foodstuff. It's always good to get a twofer and that's what we got with 17A: "Nonsense" (THAT'S RIDICULOUS) and its cousin 44D: 17-Across, quaintly (PSHAW) I thought of DON'T LOOK AT ME as soon as I saw the clue for 55A: "I'm not volunteering" and after a couple of crosses I was able to add the requisite HEY.
Although the clue doesn't make it sound appetizing POLENTA (44A: Cornmeal concoction) is delicious.
I don't really get 6D: Pusher (NARCO). Narcs may pretend to push, but they don't, do they?
That's all for me for today. I'll be here again tomorrow for the big Sunday extravaganza, and I hope to see you then.