Saturday, September 29, 2007
Sunday, September 30th Kelsey Blakeley
Hello again, and welcome to another exciting episode of "Madness. . . Crossword and Otherwise". Filling in for the lovely and talented Linda G. is your guest host Robert Loy AKA Norrin2 AKA Green Genius. And if you're thinking Mr. Loy took more than his share of AKA's you're probably right.
Anyway, on with the puzzle. The theme of this puzzle is hinted at in 17D: Fivesome seen in order in the answer to each starred clue (AEIOU). And what that means is that each of the five fulltime vowels is in every themed entry. That's A-E-I-O-U. Y and W are part-timers, and are not included. The problem is my current M.O. for solving puzzles is to start at the lower right-hand corner -- or around Miami for those of you who like to compare crossword grids to US maps. So the first starred entry I filled in was WATERING TROUGH at 119A: Barnyard fixture and the second one I got was WANDERING SOUL at 94A: Drifter. Then I got GATHERING CLOUDS at 68A: Sign of coming danger and at that point I started looking for the "fivesome" alluded to at 17D. For some reason I was looking for five consecutive letters, you know, like a hidden word or something. The only series of five letters in each of the entries I had was E-R-I-N-G, and I wondered if that was what we were supposed to be looking for. It didn't make much sense, but after yesterday's E-Boat U-Boat thing, I thought at least there was a possibility that an E-Ring was some cousin of an O-Ring I'd never heard of before.
But then I got LATE NIGHT HOUR at 58D: Time during a graveyard shift and I knew my I had erred with my e-ring assumption. For the record the other occurrences of the famous fivesome are at:
23A: Ice hockey penalty (GAME MISCONDUCT)
34A: Tongue-in-cheek (FACETIOUS) The only entry to have all five vowels in order in just one unhyphenated word.
40A: Somewhat in jest (HALF-SERIOUSLY) My favorite --- only because Y is included. What can I say? I think all vowels are beautiful and they should all be allowed to participate.
102A: What "dele" means (TAKE IT OUT) 13D: Professional courtesy in pricing (TRADE DISCOUNT)
Here's some things I liked:
13A: Frog's place (THROAT) The absence of a question mark after this clue threw me off briefly.
78D: Beach bash (LUAU) Probably where Linda is right now, while I'm slaving over a hot keyboard. I hope she's behaving responsibly and not paying attention to all those frat boys exhorting her to CHUG (74D: Repeated cry at a beer bash) and that she brought her drivers license just in case she gets IDED (72D: Carded, say)
31A: Companion of a spade (HOE) Amazing how many potentially offensive words lurk in the toolshed.
50A: Dinner spread (OLEO) I wonder if crossword constructors put oleo on their Oreos. I wouldn't know. I'm a butter and Hydrox man.
115D: Unaccompanied (STAG) Simple enough, right? But first I had LONE, then I had SOLO. I had a similar problem at 54D: Chiantis, e.g. where I had WINES before I had VINOS.
And some stuff I didn't like so much:
I had never heard of 7D: Religious recluse (ANCHORITE) or 8D: Derisive gesture (SNOOK). I don't mind learning new things -- I like it in fact, I'd never heard of 117A: Tin: prefix (STANNO) either -- but having two of them side-by-side like that made things a little rough in that part of the puzzle.
That's all for today. Thank you for your attention. I hope to see you next weekend when I do my final two fill-ins here.