Thursday, November 8, 2007

Friday, November 9 - Henry Hook

Henry Hook hasn't had a New York Times puzzle since the end of April...remember the Circle of Friends?

Today's puzzle wasn't nearly as tough as that one, but I struggled in a few areas...words not seen or heard often, as well as some I'd never heard of.

That said, there were quite a few gimmes. 18A: "Pardon me" (ahem); 19A: Closing bid? (adieu)...making its second appearance this week; 21A: McCartney, to fans (Sir Paul); 39A: Hostel environments (inns); 40A: Wore out (ran ragged); 49A: Roast pig side dish (poi)...aah, Hawaii; 60A: Engine manufacturer Briggs & __ (Stratton); 12D: Ward of "Once and Again" (Sela); 28D: Ponch player in 1970s-'80s TV (Estrada); and 43D: City connected to the 4.1-mile long Sunshine Skyway Br. (St. Pete).

I had more erasures with this puzzle than I can remember having at any time in my solving history. Some of the wrong answers I remember:

17A: Without a match (uniquely). Once I had the Q in place, I thought I was sitting pretty...had unequals.

33A: Most in need of toning (fleshiest). What a disgusting word. Even more disgusting than flabbiest...which is what I originally had for the answer.

37A: Get all histrionic (emote). Went blank on had orate.

14D: Sighing a lot, maybe (blase'). Again, with the first letter in place, I thought I was right on with bored.

There were probably several others, but I've managed to forget them.

I was totally clueless in other areas. Didn't have a clue about 48A: Appoints as an agent (deputes); 56A: Afro-Caribbean religion (Santeria); 58A: Toeless creature in an Edward Lear verse (Pobble) can read the poem here; 10D: Moldovan money (leu); 23D: __ Pendragon, King Arthur's father (Uther); or 27D: West African currency (leone).

I generally struggle with connected was no exception. 1A: Concerned query (you ok?) and 1D: Hoped-for reply to 1-Across (yeah, I'm fine). I had a hard time thinking of a question that would begin with the same letter as the response.

Once I had a few letters in place, I was able to get some of the longer answers.

2D: Payment is often sent with one (order blank).

3D: Apt to say "So?" (unimpressed).

25D: Call slip? (wrong number). Best clue in the puzzle.

30D: Too awful even to fix up, as an apartment (unlettable). Not a word you hear often, although in our tight rental market here, it comes up more often than I'd like to hear. Basically, if the general public can afford it, you wouldn't want to live there.

31D: Octopus, e.g. (sea dweller).

26A: Weaken, in a way (embrittle). Never heard the word used.

44A: Result of a new TV series' renewal (season two). Had season...struggled to think of an appropriate second word. Eventually got 45D: Kitchen appliance brand (Oster)...not Amana...and I was off and running.

For some reason, I liked 47D: In a sense (sorta). Well, I sorta liked it.

Two of the infamous -er words, one sitting right atop the other: 61A: One with a second helping (dueler) and 63A: Personnel director, at times (firer). Somewhat clunky, but okay in an otherwise good puzzle.

So much for my recent sports knowledge. I totally bombed 62A: Super Bowl XX champs (The Bears). I wasn't expecting the answer to start with an article, and I struggled to find the name of a team that would fit in there. I ended up Googling to find out who won...still didn't see how Chicago Bears would fit in there.

That's it for tonight. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

hi Linda...was up way too early so I got a started on the was tough and not much fun...thank goodness for Dr. Google
Have a good day

coachjdc said...

How is 11D: He or I, but not you: Abbr. ELEM?
Didn't get the NLAT/UNLETTABLE cross either.

Linda G said...

Coach, never even saw that answer at 11D. I'm guessing that He and I are abbreviations for elements in the periodic table.

NLAT...probably something to do with degrees of latitude.

It's good that I don't see all of these when I solve and blog.

Anonymous said...

Some questionable spelling. I'd have used LAHDIDAH and DUELLER, and He (Helium) and I (Iodine) add up to ELEMS, not ELEM.
Took me awhile to erase ENTRYBLANK and LOA from the NW.

Linda G said...

parshutr, I'm with you on LAHDIDAH. The clue for 11D was He or I (not He and I), so ELEM works.

LOA and KEA...I never fill in one or the other until I've got more than the last letter from crosses ; )

Sue said...

I thought this one was pretty brutal. My first gimme was TONI at 7D, and that is a sure sign of my age. Does anyone still get home perms?

I was once in Cuba and learned a lot about SANTERIA (56A), but I could not pull that word from my memory bank for the longest time. With all those common letters, I am surprised not to have encountered it before in a puzzle.

MBG said...

No too bad for a Friday. It took a bit of time, but I manged to finish.

I didn't understand the the he and I clue either. Thanks, Linda for the suggestion about elements. It sounds like it fits.

NLAT = north latitude. I took me a while to get that. Tried hard to fit in long(itude)until it finally dawned on me that latitude is measured north and south from the equator. And that opened up the whole section for me.

I loved YOU OK. By chance, before doing the puzzle, I had just finished watching a film where the hero asks the heroine exactly that - a not well known, little gem called Dear Frankie.

cornbread hell said...

there it is again. the relative difficulty factor.

while sue's 1st gimme was TONI at 7D, i kept wanting to write in, MM-II-NN-TT. (double mint gum)

bein' a friday i knew it couldn't bbee. still, that bogus notion and the clever clue for ADIEU made the NE last to fall for me.

good puzzle.

MBG said...

Henry Hook's puzzles are featured biweekly in the Boston Globe on Sunday. His puzzles are always hard, clever, and for the most part fun and doable. It's nice to see one of his featured here.

Anonymous said...

I really, really enjoyed today's puzzle.

The nice thing about "Loa" and "Kea" is that you always know there is an "a" the end. Often the other two letters aren't that hard to figure out.

That happened to me today. I got 1A "You OK" right off the bat. Then tried to figure out 1D with "Yes I'm fine" took me a bit to get "yeah".

Loved "ran ragged", NLAT, Poi, Ahem/Psst, Adieu, season two.....