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.


wendy said...

Robert, I got the same initial three theme answers you did and was dropping "ring" into other slots even though it was dawning on me that something wasn't kosher.

My reaction to this puzzle was TEDIUM, I'm afraid. There were clever answers sprinkled throughout, but I was not on this constructor's wavelength.

Case in point: 1A and 5A. I had Idea for EDEN (both starting points) and Bows for BOAS (the thinking being that when you 'wrap' your stint onstage you take a bow). Between that the the aforementioned wrong turn on the theme, this was not fun even though I made a lot of progress despite it all.

Thanks for your commentary! Hi LUAU Linda!

Norrin2 said...

Wendy, I have to say I was underwhelmed by this one the same as you were. I mean it was all right, I don't feel the need to give Kelsey Blakeley a mean SNOOK -- even if I knew how to.
Off the subject, I am curious about the picture that represents you -- "Cyclops" by Odilon Redon -- and why you chose it. Are you by any chance a fan of the writer Russell Hoban? He is the man who introduced me to Redon.

wendy said...

Robert: I'm not familiar with Hoban but I see that he's quite the Redon aficionado ... what would you suggest I read by him?

Odilon Redon has been in my life for 35+ years. I discovered him in college, at which point I wrote a short story based on Cyclops, and he just stayed with me. His work, both the haunting/grotesque and the more naturalistic stuff, just enthralls me. His understanding of the shadow side of our psyches is probably what drew me initially. I have various prints of his works framed in my home, and was privileged to have gone to the last really big exhibition of his work, which was in Chicago back in ... I can't remember the year.

From that I have a 450-page book based on his work and life that I prize called Odilon Redon, Prince of Dreams. A friend bought me one of his published journals (in French!) when he was in Paris, which I haven't read because I'd really need to brush up on my French; I did major in it for a while. But I'd like to try that for a little project, now that I'm thinking of it ...

Anyway, without going on and on, that's my story with regard to Redon. Have you looked at his stuff much?

Norrin2 said...

Actually Hoban is more than a Redon aficionado. He's almost obsessed with the artist. Redon references show up in every one of his books that I've read, and I've read every one I could get my hands on. There's a detail from Redon's Orpheus at his website:
I would recommend "Come Dance With Me." You can read the first chapter -- and there is much about Redon's Cyclops painting in that chapter -- at
(Click on the "Come Dance With Me" link near the top of the page.)
I have sought out and seen a lot of Redon's work and also the work of Caspar David Friedrich, another artist Hoban is enamored of. I had "The Prince of Dreams" book out from the library and would love to own a copy. Redon's work requires some study, it seems to me.
I'd be interested to hear what you think of that chapter. Hoban is a very interesting writer, by the way, in addition to some great books like "Come Dance With Me" geared for an intelligent adult audience, he also wrote the Frances books and "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas" for younger readers,and is the only author I can think of who has an international annual convention devoted to his works.

Norrin2 said...

P.S. Sorry, the link to "Come Dance With Me" got truncated. That one will work but you'll have to click on Russell Hoban on the list of authors and then click on "Come Dance With Me." It's worth the hassle, I promise.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat more enthusiastic about this puzzle. I noticed that 17D would provide the theme and worked on the NE right away. Knowing that there would be vowel sequences made it much more fun to uncover the answers. It also helped with cross clues. For example, I wanted SNEER instead of SNOOK, but I knew that I could not have an E at this point.

Kept me out of trouble for a while!

Norrin2 said...

I had SNEER at first too, then changed it to SMIRK when I got the final K. No doubt knowing the vowel theme would have been helpful.

Linda G said...

This is the first Sunday puzzle I've finished online, but it took me forEVER. I'm definitely the paper and pencil type solver. I keep ending up with the across when I want the down, so when I boldly type in an answer, I screw up both ways. That said, I'm off to do the Monday puzzle, which should be easier to pull off.

It's a rainy day on the north shore, but a rainy day in Hawaii is okay with me. We'll find plenty to do. Took some great shots of the sun setting over Bali Hai last night...not its real name, but that's what it was called in South Pacific. Also have seen Nurse's Beach (also from South Pacific), the Jurassic Park falls and surrounding area, the honeymoon cottage from The Thornbirds, the locations of the opening scenes from Fantasy Island, and something from Raiders of the Lost Ark...all of this on the helicopter tour. Another movie is being shot here next week...a Vietnam movie, I think.

I've been eating so much fresh fish I've probably developed scales. It's such a treat...we don't get much of that in Colorado. Also mango, pineapple, papaya, and those sweet little apple bananas. All in all, a delicious visit...for the eyes as well as the palate.


wendy said...

Robert: Good God in heaven!

Since this has nothing to do with the puzzle, I'll take this offline and email you about the Hoban excerpt.

Norrin2 said...

Aloha, Linda, it sounds great -- no, it sounds perfect. I hope you'll post some of those pictures when you get back.