Sunday, January 27, 2008

Monday, January 28 - Michael Blake

A fun Monday puzzle from Michael Blake...a name I don't recognize. I'll have to check the Forum later to see if this is a debut.

Whether or not it is...the theme made me laugh. I only knew one of three theme answers before I reached the give-away clue...then I was able to fill in at least part of the other two.

The theme is revealed at 55A: Singing group suggested by the starts of 20-, 28- and 48-Across (The Chipmunks)...and the theme answers are:

20A: "Future Shock" author (Alvin Toffler). The only one of the three that I knew...but the best one to know. There was only one trio that had an Alvin.

28A: Late hunter of Nazi war criminals (Simon Wiesenthal). I was only able to get his last name from crosses. Maybe I should have known this...

48A: "Sister Carrie" author (Theodore Dreiser). I don't know how I've managed to get this far in life without having heard of this book. It's under $3 on Amazon, so maybe I'd better get it with my next order...which will be "The New York Times Sweet Dreams Crosswords: 200 Relaxing Puzzles" to be released on February 5.

I had a couple of brain lapses while solving this. You know what I mean...you read the clue, you know the answer. But the word just will not come. I'm blaming it on the the fact that I started reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" yesterday. I didn't get very far, but this morning started reading and got absolutely hooked. I couldn't put it down...and ended up reading most of it. I have about 25 pages left, but I finally got to a place of enough resolution that I could leave it for a short time. It's every bit as good...and as haunting...as "The Kite Runner." Maybe even better. Maybe more haunting.

The first brain lapse was 16A: Katmandu's land (Nepal). I stared at the five squares and nothing...NOTHING...would come to mind. The second one was 66A: Thesaurus author (Roget). Both of those are things I know, and it just makes me crazy when that happens.

On the other hand, I immediately knew such things as 45A: Former senator Trent (Lott), 61A: Dragon Ball Z game company (Atari), 65A: Actress Papas or Ryan (Irene), 71A: Actress Falco and namesakes (Edies), 4D: Dolphins QB Dan (Marino), 25D: Clarence of the Supreme Court (Thomas) and 40D: "The __ Squad" of '60s-'70s TV (Mod). So I'm not completely brainless.

Multiword answers include 14A: Skip __ (lost tempo) (a beat), 5D: Finished (at an end)...seems like we just had that, 21D: Namely (to wit), 29D: "Put me down as a maybe" (I might) and 44D: First American to walk in space (Ed White).

Favorite answers in the grid:

17A: __ firma (terra).

36A: Brewing coffee produces one (aroma). I put on a pot of coffee before the puzzle was available online, then totally forgot about it until I came to this clue. I'm serious...that book has done something to me.

69A: Bullwinkle, for one (moose).

1D: __ Hari (Mata).

3D: "__ Griffin's crosswords" (Merv).

9D: Insect or radio part (antenna). That's how I finally got Nepal.

26D: Kind of class for expectant mothers (Lamaze).

27D: Noisy shouting (clamor).

28D: Anesthetize, say (sedate).

30D: Tied down, as a boat (moored).

32D: Country rocker Steve (Earle).

46D: Orkin target (termite).

The weather looked iffy all day, so I decided to spend another day at home. In addition to reading, playing the piano and watching the birds frolic, I made chicken noodle soup (with homemade noodles), baked hamburger buns for tomorrow night's dinner, and made a lemon pudding cake. I heard from both of the girls...it was a good day.

I discovered a new crossword blog a couple of days ago, and I'm hooked on JimH and his inimitable style. I just spent fifteen minutes trying to explain what I like...about his writing style, his philosophy, his sense of humor. I give up! Just follow the link in the sidebar or click here for The JimH Crossword Blog.

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



...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G

9 comments:

wendy said...

Very neat construction. The Chipmunks always make me smile. Some car dealer around here is using voice talent to approximate an Alvin persona talking to his owner-guy (did he have a name?). Despite its being truly goofy, for some reason I can't help but listen intently to it every time. I always loved those shrill little voices.

Also loved 'Cadavers, slangily.' I throw that around ALL the time ;)

Bob said...

Linda..know what you mean about brain freeze...I had it with Thomas and like you Roget...also did not know Ed White was the first
American to walk in space...wanted it to be Shepard...it was a nice Monday puzzle

Bob said...

I followed your advice and read the JimH blog..makes some good points about crosswording that I had never thought of...could not believe that he never saw Seinfeld..as intersting as his blog is I prefer yours

bill komissaroff said...

Hello again, Linda! I had a couple of spellings issues with this one that tied me up: Lemaze with a Z? And I had Chipmunks with an O instead of a U. Oops.

I would also characterize Steve Earle as a Blues singer and not a country singer. If it is the same Steve Earle that I am thinking of, he has an acting role in the HBO show The Wire and he also sings the song in the opening credits this year. (Tom Waits' Way Down in the Hole.

I had a similar experience with Jon Krakauer's book Into The Wild last weekend. I started it and pretty much did not put it down until I was finished...

Linda G said...

Wendy...his name was Dave. Why do I remember that and forget other (more important) facts from that period of my life?

Bob, I hope you (and others) will visit Jim's blog on occasion. As he said, it's great to see so many different styles co-existing.

Bill, I've heard others say the same thing about that book.

Lauren said...

LOL. I found Jim H blog a few days ago too. Just like you I was trying to explain to a friend why I liked it. You have to read it.

Is it just me or do those chipmunks creep you out too? Fun puzzle though.

wendy said...

Dave, yes of course! Thanks, Linda, that was going to bug me way more than it deserved to.

scottsny51 said...

Looked through the comments on Tuesday for this puzzle and didn't see anyone else notice this strange event. A close relative mentioned to me earlier today about a blurb in the Times about Hamilton College where my son currently matriculates. The Times mentioned that the college has published "The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette". The same Chester Gillette who murdered his pregnant lover in 1906 and, here's the strange part, whose trial inspired the 'THEODORE DREISER' novel "An American Tragedy". I'm sure Times articles have wound up sharing common, present day famous people within articles and the puzzle on the same day but this one was a little too spooky, don't you think.

Linda G said...

Scottsny51,

Eerie...that's from one of the Wednesday puzzles.

I subscribe online...for the sole purpose of getting the puzzle...and I didn't see the article. I don't think many readers will look back at this post, so you may not get any other feedback. That's too bad.

Thanks for the insight.