Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thursday, November 8 - Paula Gamache

I don't know if I dare say this...

This was the easiest Paula Gamache puzzle I've ever seen...not that there weren't some tough spots and some words I'd never heard of. All in all, though, it was a very doable (with the help of my friend Dogpile) Thursday puzzle.

The theme is revealed at 53A: Unfeeling nature...or a literal hint to 19-, 31- and 38-Across (heart of stone). The word stone is at the heart of the three theme answers.

19A: Internal-combustion device (piston engine).

31A: "American Psycho" author (Bret Easton Ellis).

38A: Loser in a staring contest (first one to blink). This was the easiest answer, by far.

First, the words I'd never heard of and would never have gotten without the help of crosses.

45A: Temper, as metal (anneal). Huh?

63A: Equipment in chuck-a-luck (dice). Well, of course I've heard of was chuck-a-luck I didn't know.

7D: Sinn __ (Fein). Maybe someone can fill me in.

32D: Marie Antoinette, par exemple (reine). And that's French for...what?

41D: Stewpot (olla).

Clues I really liked include 5A: Contents of a scoop (info), 9A: Glass substitute (mica), 18A: "Skunk egg" (onion), 4D: It's read to the unruly (riot act), 8D: The end (omega), 25D: Visitor from afar (alien), 44D: Beach maximizer (low tide), and 57D: Sturdy feller? (axe).

Favorite answers in the puzzle:

30A: "Trés sexy!" (oo la la)...not quite sure how many words to make that, but I think oo is spelled ooh.

61A: Apply (exert). I like any words that have an X.

5D: Beach adjacent to Copacabana (Ipanema)...and there were songs about both the clue and the answer.

24D: "Rag Doll" singer, 1964 (Valli). I wasn't sure how to spell it, though, and had Valle at first.

26D: Kind of surgery for the eyes (Lasik). That seems like a rather wordy clue for this late in the week.

42D: One who's late to adopt the latest (old fogy). One of my favorite cartoon strips is Zits...Jeremy often makes fun of his dad for this very thing. Poor ol' Walt.

Well, that one doesn't show Walt, but it was the only one I could find without searching forever. I used to think if I had a boy, he would have been Calvin...and I'm sure he'd have grown up to be Jeremy. Counting my blessings...

31D: Without question (by far) is another favorite.

It seems kind of strange to like 46A: Vaccine target (polio), but it's a word I don't recall seeing before. I went to school with kids who had's hard to remember there was a time before the vaccine.

Knew but struggled to remember 64A: Best of the early Beatles (Pete). Also struggled with 66A: Tolkien's talking trees (ents). I don't know why I can never remember it from crosses.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


cornbread hell said...

i love the relative nature of gimmes and gotchas.

here's what got me:
chuck-a-luck/dice, reine??, skunk egg/onion, the "by" of by far, and the worst of all...ENTS. damn those ents!

on the other hand; anneal, sinn fein, and olla were gimmes.

(sinn fein is the political arm of irish protestant nationalism. it dates back to at least the early 20th century if not 100 years before. in modern times gerry adams is a most familiar name. w.b. yeats' nationalist poetry was ostensibly sinn feinian. (ok, i made that last word up.)

my daughter, the french student, once explained OO LA LA to me, but i can't remember what she told me. somehow, though, i think that may be the correct spelling.

no doubt, someone will advise.

Anonymous said...


Reine is French for queen, long may she reign.I wasn't sure how to spell it for a while.

Olla, is Spanish for a stew pot, pronounced oya. This used to be a very common crossword answer and I bet you've seen it before.

First I've heard of Skunk Egg.

I enjoyed the puzzle but had some difficulties with the SE and Sw, also was not sure at first if it was "heart of Stone" or "heart of steel." The downs confirmed stone and then realized the theme.

Anonymous said...

"anneal" means to heat and then cool which is synonymous with "temper".

Sinn Fein is the name of the outlawed IRA political movement whose leader is Gerry Adams.

wendy said...

Lordy, with the 38A. Because I too had Valle and also Lasic instead of LASIK to start with, I was on the wrong track right away. Then I realized that BLINK was probably part of the answer and made those corrections. *Then* I was sure the answer was The First TO BLINK. So that wrecked everything until I realized that TALENT had to be the right answer to the pageant question and that STONE needed to be in there somewhere. Whew! Or is it Phew? Whatever ... I eventually prevailed.

That 23/27A duet was the pits. I couldn't see the clunky When Someone ... I had ARRIVAL, but didn't grasp what When Someone ARRIVAL meant, even with the COMES in place. Now I see the ploy, but boyoboy that's pretty brutal.

Sturdy feller was clever, and I loved RIOT ACT. Check out the Nome Nugget for some down home fun.

Linda, I am a major comics enthusiast and Zits is one of the best out there. It has truly made the demise of Calvin and Hobbes easier to bear. I think the cartoonist, Jim Borgman, who is also the political cartoonist at the
Cincinnati Enquirer
is a genius. And while I'm going hyperlink crazy, did you see that Bill Watterson came out of hiding to write
a column for the Wall Street Journal
on Charles Schulz and the new Peanuts book?

Anonymous said...

Linda, It was a fun puzzle for a Thursday...way more enjoyable than the past few Tursdays, for me at least. Until I read you blog, I had no idea of what the heck the theme was...Thanks for the insight

Anonymous said...

skunk egg is what onion translates as in some Native American Dialect

Le Master said...

Wendy and Linda,

59D in today's New York Sun looks to be a gimme for you two. (Ashamedly, I'm going to have to solve the crosses to get it.)

Anonymous said...

Saw Jersey Boys in NYC Sat after Thanksging last year-it was great! The following dialogue from the show should help you to remember the name VALLI and how to spell it Linda!

Girl: So that's your real name, Valli?
Frankie Valli: Nah, Casteluccio, Francis Casteluccio.
Girl: Kinda long for a marquis.
Frankie Valli: That's why I changed it. Vally. V-a-l-l-y.
Girl: No, V-a-l-l-i.
Frankie Valli: How come?
Girl: Because Y is a bullshit letter. It doesn't know if it's a consonant or a vowel...and you're Italian. Ya gotta end in a vowel. Delgado. Casteluccio. Pizza. It says "This is who I am." If you don't like it, you can go fuck yourself.

Anonymous said...

Yes it was easy in parts but clever also.
As well as the literal 'stone'in the 3 longer answers, there is a broader connection.
Bret Ellis is often written about in relation to his ability to write graphic horror after surviving his own mother's horrific murder. A piston engine can function relentlessly because it has a heart of stone. You can only win a staring match if you totally ignore the other's emotions and expressions. So a neat link n'est ce pas?

Linda G said...

Thanks to all for clarifying things unknown to me.

Mildyjude, good job connecting those dots...I wouldn't have had a clue.

Now I'm off to see the New York Sun to see what Wendy and I would like ; )