Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wednesday, September 12 - Alan Arbesfeld

If you take a look at the sidebar...over there, to the right...you'll see the names of some of the wonderful readers who have agreed to guest blog while Don and I are relaxing on the beaches of Kauai. There are still two others who have yet to sign on, but I'd like to thank each of them. Howard (who comments as Howard B) will be covering the three Friday puzzles, Robert (Green Genius) will do the Saturdays and Sundays, except for Sunday 9/23. Dave (who comments as evad) will do that one, in addition to the two Thursday puzzles. Rick (Cornbread Hell) will cover the Tuesday and Wednesday puzzles. Wendy, who I think may be making her blogging debut, will cover the Monday puzzles, and I'm extremely grateful for a feminine presence. Keep the guys in line, Wendy, especially...well, he knows who he is. (Just kidding. I love you all.)

Today has been only slightly better than yesterday. Again, that will be my excuse for not understanding the theme. I know I'll be embarrassed when I read it elsewhere...or when a reader points it out to me.

The theme is revealed (to some, anyway) at 52A: Sprint to the tape...and a hint to this puzzle's theme (finish strong). Okay, would someone please tell me how the theme answers all relate?

20A: Smash (box office hit). I get the reference to hit, but does that make one strong?

29A: Athlete seated at a table, maybe (arm wrestler). A wrestler is strong, but there's probably more to it than that. By the way, before I tore my bicep, I was quite the arm wrestler, considering my small stature. I used to beat some of the (younger, rather wimpy) guys at the shelter.

35A: Advice to a Harley passenger (hold on tight). This was actually a gimme, although I don't see the connection.

42A: Fits perfectly (suits to a tee). Maybe this isn't even a theme answer, but it's in the right place for one.

I feel stupid enough already. When someone explains it, I think I'll just crawl into a hole somewhere.

On to what I really liked. The clever clues at 28A: Head of state? (ess), 2D: They spread fast (rumors) and 55D: Poll closing? (ster).

Also the vertical stacks in the northwest which join rumors. 1D: Tarzan portrayer (Crabbe)...he was even before my time, 3D: Joan's "Dynasty" role (Alexis)...I'm mildly embarrassed to say that I loved the show, and 4D: Salami variety (Genoa). I used to love Genoa salami sandwiches on buttered white bread. I can't even imagine eating it now...all those blobs of fat.

8D: Going from A to B, say (linear), 10D: Suffered from an allergy, maybe (felt itchy)...bet that hasn't ever been in a puzzle, 33D: Enriches with vitamins (fortifies), 47D: Cause of weird weather (El Niño), and 48D: Young swan (cygnet)...I learned that at a baby shower years ago. We had to name the young of about 50 different birds and animals.

Check out the number of sports-related clues, all of which I got: 49A: Soccer forward (striker), 59A: Like any of seven Nolan Ryan games (no hit), 44D: Court action (tennis), and 45D: A.L. East player (Oriole). Not too shabby.

I didn't know 41A: County near Tyrone (Derry) but guessed it once I had the D and the last R in place. Also didn't know 53D: Weapon in a rumble (shiv). And would someone tell me why 27D: Good sign for an angel is SRO?

I Like Ike is back, clued as a two-part answer...at 57-Down and 62-Across.

I just noticed the number of Scrabbly letters in this. Z, X, K, J, F, V. Nicely done.

There were entertainment clues for everyone. In addition to Crabbe and Alexis, we have 33A: "Shrek" princess (Fiona), 34A: "It's Impossible" crooner (Como), 32D: Fish in a John Cleese film (Wanda), and 35D: "Aquarius" musical (Hair). I saw it in West Palm Beach a hundred years ago. I think it was the first time I ever saw a naked man...well, several of them. I still can't believe my mother let me go. Or maybe I didn't tell her.

Time to say good night. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...


I too was perplexed by the theme and until this second could not figure it out. Eureka by Jove I've got it: Strong can be placed in front of the first word of the theme answers: strong-box; strong-arm; strong-suit.

Orange said...

Hang in there, Linda.

SRO = standing room only, a.k.a. a sold-out show on Broadway that was bankrolled by said financial angel. This is a morsel of stale bread that I learned from many years of crossword solving. It's right up there in the lobe of the brain that knows about OONA and UTA.

Anonymous said...

I left out strong-hold and strong-finish? Thus the first word of the theme answers can be added to strong ergo "finish strong."

As to "SRO" being a good sign to an angel, think patron/sponsor/angel of the theater and Standing Room Only signalling a successful show.

Enjoy Hawaii and don't catch any nenes as they are endangered. I was pleased to see nene crane its neck. It was a regular in the old-days.

I'll miss your take on the crossword .

Anonymous said...

can someone explain to me how ess is "head of state"...I get estate, but isn't it suppose to be all the letters used before the word or after such as polster...essstate makes no sense to me or is this just a bad clue in a good puzzle
Thanks for the help

Anonymous said...

I understand how "stong" relates to the three themed answers but since it has to come before each of the words....box, arm, suit....strong finish seems incorrect.....Am I just being stupid as with ess above....please help!!!!
Linda...way to go on the sports clues...you are becming a real maven!

DONALD said...

One can say "strong finish"; but it seems more as though "strongbox", "strong-arm", "stronghold" and "strong suits" are the main recipients for the added word.

"Ess" meaning the verbalized "s" -- so "state" begins with "s" -- it's corny, yes, but head meaning beginning letter of the word "state" -- desperate crossword cluing -- ugh!

Anonymous said...

Donald...Thanks for the insight...I am glad that I am not the only one confused by "desperate'' cluing
Have a nice day

Anonymous said...

Salami on buttered bread??? Say it aint so.

Why are Z, etc. scrabbly letters?

Anonymous said...

Enjoy Hawaii. I love your blog and was glad to see that I wasn't the only one who didn't understand ess or SRO.
As for scrabbly letters, Z. X, K, J, F, and V are top point letters in Scrabble. You always want good words to create from them, especially both ways.

Anonymous said...

SRO is the answer to good sign for an angel is a theatric reference to the people who put up the money to stage a show. So SRO means that the angels will get their money back and some more.

Anonymous said...

"Buster Crabbe" always struck me as a most unlikely name for an action hero, but his Tarzan photos show that this casting was right on the money.

Anonymous said...

Linda G,

It's great news that you will be going to Hawaii for a holiday. It has also been fabulous to read how you have so meticulously and lovingly arranged for this site to continue in your absence. Without question, your style of writing will be missed for the next few weeks.

Since the state bird of Hawaii, Nene, appeared in today's puzzle, I also wanted to share with you my favorite Hawaiian fish name:

"The reef, rectangular, wedge-tail, or Picasso triggerfish, also known by its Hawaiian name, humu­humu­nuku­nuku­āpua`a - also spelled Humuhumunukunukua'Pua'A or just humuhumu for short." (wikipedia)

Mahalo and Godspeed!

Jaya B

Linda G said...

Nice to come home from work and find so much activity. Thanks to all of you...those who explained the theme I could NOT see, those who were as confused as I was, and those who said such nice things about the blog.

I can't believe I forgot to mention NENE, what with the upcoming trip. We never saw one when we were there last, but I think we saw a humuhumu.

Off to dinner, then home to solve and blog ; )