Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday, December 27 - Jim Leeds

I struggled to stay awake last night to download the puzzle...then managed to solve it before crashing in the big chair with Barnabas. This morning, my scanner is slow, my computer is slow, I'm slow. I think I'll just dump coffee on everything and see what that does.

Today's theme is C-Plus...the five theme answers are in-the-language phrases, each starting with C added up front. The new phrases are then clued.

Theme answers:

17A: Certain marine biologist's test? (coral exam).

23A: One way to get into a gang's headquarters? (con the lookout).

35A: Eskimos in an igloo? (cold folks at home).

45A: Pictures of Slinkys? (coil paintings).

57A: Witches' pots, pans, etc.? (covenware)...the first theme answer to fall.

It took some time for me to figure out the theme...just kept plodding away with the crosses. Once I got it, it was (of course) much easier to understand all the others.

I struggled with 1A: Palms (off on)...had everything but the third letter, and nothing sounded right. It wasn't until I got 3D: Coos and hoots (bird calls) that I finally got fobs. It still doesn't sound right...maybe not an expression I've heard.

9A: Casino equipment (rakes). The clue threw me...isn't a rake the house take? I was thinking of tangible equipment.

14A: "__ the Agent" (old comic strip) (Abie). Must be old if I haven't heard of it. Nice to have Abie clued differently.

20A: __ Kooser, former U.S. poet laureate (Ted). Should have known that but had to get it from crosses.

30A: "Breaker Morant" people (Boers). Had no clue...again, the crosses were needed.

40A: Stomach contents (acids). One of only a few gimmes.

41A: "'Starts With F' for a thousand, __" (Alex). Tricky for those of us who remember Jeopardy from its early years...although I can't remember his name at the moment, either.

52A: Prefix with -phile (oeno). This didn't come to me right away, but I refused to put in my first thought...and I was relieved that it wasn't the answer.

59A: Cling Plus brand (Saran). I thought it was referring to a toilet bowl cleaner...had Lysol at first.

60A: Novelist Seton (Anya). Love the name.

61A: Kiss in Kensington (snog). Love the word but can never remember it.

62A: "__ we all?" (aren't). One of several arbitrary fill-in-the-blank answers. I had so say...what the jury would say. That was a pretty messed-up corner for some time.

64A: 1910s heavyweight champ __Willard (Jess). Max Baer is the only one I've had to know for the puzzle so far...other than Ali.

2D: Poulenc's "Sonata for __ and Piano" (Oboe). Good guess on my was the only thing that fit, musically and otherwise. I mean, you wouldn't have a tuba and piano...or a drum and a sonata.

4D: Triton's realm (sea). Identical cluing for 37D (ocean)...both gimmes.

9D: Beef cut (rib roast). Wouldn't have gotten it without crosses...there are probably ten cuts that would fit in that space.

10D: Hebdomadally (a week). The clue is the best word in the puzzle. Had to look it up, though...totally unfamiliar to me.

11D: Five-time Horse of the Year, 1960-64 (Kelso).

22D: Dried coconut meat (copra). I didn't know it had a name.

25D: Windblown deposit (loess). Never heard the word. If you look at the grid carefully, you'll see that I had lwess...the result of not doing a final check...which makes even less sense. That means that 28A: F.D.R. agcy. was OPA, rather than WPA. Since my scanner is slow, I'm not going to re-scan.

31D: Let pass (OK'd). There's one that looked like an error just now until I read the clue again.

32D: Poisonous flower (wolfsbane). Not sure if it's one word or two, but I'm sure I won't eat it.

36D: Utmost distance from the eye at which an image is clear (far point).

43D: Kind of gland (pineal). Not one I knew.

47D: French frigate that carried the Statue of Liberty to the U.S. (Isere).

49D: Who has won an Oscar for Best Actor three times. There was a clue that began with Who a month or two ago, and it caused quite a stir. Here it is again. The general consensus at the time was that it was deliberate so that it didn't say he or she. While it specifies actor in this clue, there isn't a pronoun for the correct one. I wonder how much time others spent trying to think who it might have been. I could think of two for Tom Hanks and wondered if he'd gotten one that I didn't remember.

50D: "Fiddler on the Roof" role (Tevye).

Well, it's after 7:00 and I'd better get ready for work. Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tonight.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

The RAKE is used to sweep the chips off of a Roulette table.

bougeotte said...

Difficult puzzle. Must figure out a way to use hebdomadally and loess in a sentence - never heard of these words, or LORAN for that matter. 7D I wanted figgy, but remembered the rhyme:

Pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold
Pease pudding in the pot nine days old.
Some like it hot, some like it cold.
Some like it in the pot nine days old.


Anonymous said...

Linda, are you thinking of Art Fleming as the first Jeopardy host?

Anonymous said...

My LORAN, which I use hebdomadally, sometimes gets screwed up by loess.

Anonymous said...


I too had issues with "fobs" as I know it as the watch chain pocket. But checking Webster's reveals a second definition:

Main Entry: fob off
Function: transitive verb
1 : to put off with a trick, excuse, or inferior substitute
2 : to pass or offer (something spurious) as genuine
3 : to put aside now fob off what once they would have welcomed eagerly -- Walter Lippmann


MBG said...

Tough puzzle! It took me 30 minutes and some googling to finish. Loess and hebdomadally didn't give me any trouble because I've been doing the vocabulary test over at Free Rice every day and it's really paying off.

I had heard the phrase fobs off, but it took me forever to get it. It wasn't until I guessed at the oboe that it fell into place.

Also got hung up on who had won the Oscar for best actor three time. Tried so hard to make Jack Nicholson fit in some way because I knew he has three Oscars ... but it turns out that one of them is for best supporting actor.

Had never heard the term far point, or of Jess Willard, and OPA gave me a bit of trouble.

Linda, not only is Anya Seton's name lovely, but she was a very talented author as well. She wrote historical novels like Green Darkness, The Winthrop Woman, and my favorite, Katherine.

Sue said...

I loved this rough, tough puzzle. It seems to me that there were so many answers that were lurking in my subconscious, words I just barely know, waiting to be dug out by cross clues. Such reward when they emerged! My favorite clue: "'Starts with F' for a thousand _________"

Linda G said...

Yep...Art Fleming. Boy, do I feel old now!

I guess I'd better get back to Free Rice on a regular basis...and I still need to put a link in the sidebar.

Off to download the Friday puzzle.

Unknown said...

I'd like to thank all of you for such edifying appraisals of my 12/27 NYT crossword, C-PLUS.

All best wishes

Jim Leeds
(I've lots of fun published puzzles for you to unravel, if you'd like)