Monday, October 29, 2007

Tuesday, October 30 - Gary Steinmehl

An early Halloween treat for all NYT solvers...a ghoulish little theme, revealed at 57A: Misspells, say, as a ghost might at 20-, 28-, 37- and 50-Across? (makes a boo-boo).

The four theme answers are spooky alternate spellings of familiar phrases.

20A: Scary sound from the ocean? (humpback wail).

28A: Scary sound from a war zone? (battle creak).

37A: Scary sound from a cornfield? (farm groan).

50A: Scary sound from a steeple? (bell and howl).

I thought this was a clever little theme...and the puzzle a little tougher than normal for a Tuesday.

Went completely blank on 10A: TV horse introduced in 1955...or a Plymouth model introduced in 1956. I thought Mr. Ed was later than 1955, and I didn't remember that Plymouth made a Mr. Ed. Maybe it's just that I'm tired, but it took too long to remember Fury...who I always confuse with Flicka.

Other spots that tripped me up:

53A: Tedious (prosy). Don't think I've ever used the word. It kind of reminds me of leprosy...probably because I read about Father Damien and the lepers on Molokai.

63A: African antelope (eland). Here's a picture for those of you who didn't know about them.

70A: Card game for three (Skat). Haven't ever played it. Actually, I don't think I've even heard of it...but I liked its cross with 54D: Sport utilizing a clay disk (skeet).

21A: Country just south of Sicily (Malta). Because I'm geographically impaired, I had to rely on crosses for this one, although I managed to guess pretty early on. For the same reason, I struggled briefly with 43D: Neighbor of Slovenia (Croatia). Again, a couple of letters made it happen.

40D: Egyptian dry measure equal to about five-and-a-half bushels (ardeb). I don't feel too bad about not knowing this one...Don didn't either. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about an ardeb but were afraid to ask.

52D: Musically improvise (noodle). I still can't remember the word I thought was the answer, but I haven't heard or used this expression.

34A: Kodiak native (Aleut) was in the puzzle fairly recently. Another gimme because of a recent appearance...33A: Juillet's season (ete). Unfortunately, I don't get the clue, but I knew it was what they wanted.

Favorite clues include 11D: Helpless? (unaided) and 22D: Moo goo gai pan pan (wok).

Best answers in the puzzle include 3D: Cane cutter (machete), 12D: Filled to the gills (replete), 42D: Tag for a particular purpose (earmark), and 46D: Co. addresses, often (PO boxes).

Least favorite answer...45A: Sales slips: Abbr. (rcpts). I understand that sometimes things like this have to happen in construction. I'm just sayin'.

Yesterday I mentioned the difficulty with AVER/AVOW. Today we have the same kind of problem with 30D: Fit for a king (regal)...could have just as easily been royal.

And I would be remiss in my aloha duties if I didn't point out 61D: Island with Waimea Bay (Oahu). It wasn't my favorite island...much too crowded...but it's still Hawaii. And here we are at the top of Diamond Head, taken on our first trip two years ago.

After doing puzzles for a while, I've finally learned not to automatically put an S at the end of a plural answer. 58D: Hospital shipments (sera) was a gimme.

Time to call it a night. I'm still beat from consecutive late nights.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


luigi said...

Had to get BELLANDHOWL from my husband. Was trying too hard to make ARTAL or ARTEL fit 40D. Those were two terms my NYT Crossword Dictionary gave for Egyptian weights. Also had TOODLE instead of NOODLE. I thought this was a harder than usual Tuesday puzzle as well. I think ETE is that ubiquitous French summer and our clue to this was French for Juliet. Liked your Oahu picture Linda. Happy Halloween!

Anonymous said...

I don't get Bell and Howl. What's it a play on? I got it (although I had to google ardeb to make sure I was right), but I don't understand it.

wendy said...

Luigi and Linda: Actually, Juillet is French for July, hence ETE for summer.

This wasn't a Tuesday puzzle in any way, shape or form. "Styptic agent"? "Egyptian dry measure ..."? Wow. I couldn't finish the puzzle entirely, it was so not-Tuesday.

I laughed about the Mr. Ed possibility, as that's what I wanted too except I already knew what some of the downs were. There were so many TV horses during our youth, Linda ;) Hard to keep 'em all straight.

I knew the BELL AND HOWL reference, but I'll bet many won't; it is so dated, and not in a good way.

I did think the theme was clever though, unusually so for the beginning of the week.

rick said...

Bell and Howell is still alive and kicking making, a lot of different consumer electronic products.

Linda G said...

anonymous, Bell & Howell used to make cameras and movie projectors. A quick Google shows they're still making electronics.

As a proper name, it was different from the other theme expressions...the only flaw in the theme, IMOO.

I learned ETE and HIVER from a very recent puzzle, although I wasn't sure which was summer and which was winter. Thanks, Luigi and Wendy, for clearing up the confusion about the clue.

And while I was busy writing this, Rick answered about Bell & Howell...but I'll just leave mine as is. While they're still kicking, most older solvers (like me and Wendy!) remember the movie projectors. Younger solvers should Google that ; )

wendy said...

Anonymous 6:16, I posted before I saw your question - Bell & Howell was an old manufacturer of many products, especially movie projectors and cameras but also other consumer items. I guess it still exists as a brand, as I look at wikipedia, but it merged with a company called Bowe.

pm said...

Juillet is french for july ete is french for summer

Anonymous said...

33A Linda I saw your question regarding "ete" - Juillet is July in French. The season in July is the summer, and ete is summer in French.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answers about Bell & Howell. I'm quite old enough that I should have remembered it.

If you have trouble remembering ete and hiver and which is which, just think about hibernate which bears do in the winter.

rick said...

I'm plenty old enough to remember Bell and Howell movie cameras. They're what my rich friend's parents had. The rest of us could only afford Polaroid cameras.

Do you remember the smell of the chemical that you had to rub on Polaroid prints to get them to develop?

Anonymous said...

I recently tried to find a U-control analog to digital sound converter (record analog tape recordings to CD). Three local music stores told me they were back-ordered forever, two Web stores said they were out-of-stock forever. Bell and Howell shipped the next day. Like the others, I did not know they still existed.

Peden said...

okay - i'm still having trouble with "bell and howl," despite everyone's wonderful explanations. what does "bell & howell" have to do with a steeple? is there another definition for steeple? i feel like the other clues, misspelled or not, are somewhat tied to the answers. thanks!

rick said...

A church steeple has a bell in it.

Peden said...

thanks, rick. i do see that, but i was thinking that the actual brand "bell & howell" should have something do with steeples, like "hump back whales" may be found in the ocean, and the term "farm grown" can be applied to corn. but i guess it can't be perfect. thanks!

cornbread hell said...

thanks for the cool ARDEB link.

i kinda like a tough tuesday (ex: ardeb and PROSY) but my friend(s) flica, mr.ed and fury all say, "neeeigh"...

and thanks for the pic of you and don. a handsome couple, indeed.

Anonymous said...

re. your comment: "Yesterday I mentioned the difficulty with AVER/AVOW. Today we have the same kind of problem with 30D: Fit for a king (regal)...could have just as easily been royal."

As a puzzle constructor, that is done purposely. Taking things for granted without checking the crossers can trip you up, just as in real life. As for the "ete" clue: Juillet is french for July; ete french for summer.


Susan Freedner said...

I don't know or speak French but you have questioned the clues to a few words recently when the clues and answers were French... hiver (winter) and Juillet (July) therefore ete (summer)

regards, Susan

I really do appreciate your comments as it doesn't really help to learn anything to simply read the answer...