Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sunday, January 27 - Mike Nothnagel

I'm pretty sure this is the first Sunday puzzle Mike Nothnagel has had since I started doing the New York Times again a year and a half ago...not counting the diagramless that appeared last month.

The title, I NEED MY SPACE, made me think it would have something to do with the solar system.


The theme answers are all in-the-language phrases, each with the word room added to it. The new phrases are then clued.

24A: Like a useless photo lab employee? (afraid of the darkroom). I got this one right away. I'm not sure if that means it was easy...or if I was just on Mike's wavelength. Have I mentioned that he's one of my favorite constructors?

39A: Offers breakfast to students before first period? (brings homeroom the bacon). One of the best theme answers.

53A: Beer sources for genteel guests? (powderroom kegs).

72A: Reminder to a forgetful judge on bowling night? (the ball's in your courtroom).

92A: What talk show guests have before the broadcast? (greenroom party).

107A: Sign outside a church lavatory? (no restroom for the wicked). The best one.

126A: Where a Monkee changes after a game? (Davy Jones' lockerroom).

There's so much nontheme fill to love...a plethora of Scrabbly letters and multiword answers, plus plenty of words that you just don't often see.

First, the multiwords...5A: Succeeded in (won at), 31A: Imported by plane (flown in), 84A: 1977 George Burns film (Oh, God!), 117A: Short-hop plane (air taxi), 131A: Handily defeated (aced out), 3D: Laredo or Nuevo Laredo (border town), 10D: 1976 horror film whose score won an Oscar (The Omen), 18D: Seldom-used golf club (one iron), 19D: Over (at an end), 39D: Offer to buy at auction (bid on), 49D: Host of public radio's "This American Life (Ira Glass), 50D: Cubs' protector (den mother), 58D: Attempt to trick (put-up job), 85D: "Right Place Wrong Time" singer, 1973 (Dr. John), 99D: Prescription phrase (one a day) and 105D: Singer with the #1 country album "80's Ladies" (K. T. Oslin).

Favorites crosses...for one reason or another.

17A: Drag show accessory (boa) and 17D: Eccentric friend on "Designing Women" (Bernice). Boa allowed me to guess her name correctly.

35A: "Let's go, Miguel!" (vamos) with 35D: __ 1, Yuri Gagarin's spacecraft (Vostok). Thank you, Spanish 101 and World History.

59A: Sharp turn (zig) with 59D: "Beetle Bailey" soldier (Zero).

65A: Sauce thickener (roux) with 52D: Increase, in a way (wax).

66A: Name in a hymn (Jesu) with 66D: Schmo (jerk)...let me clarify that what I like is the letter J .

67A: Worthless talk, in slang (bilge) with 57D: Rap enthusiast, in slang (B-boy)...good guesses, since I'm not familiar with either expression.

104A: Ring stats (TKOs) and 104D: Italian province or its capital (Trieste).

121A: Music with jazzlike riffs (ska) and 122D: Kind of beef (Kobe).

133A: 1964 Quinn role (Zorba) and 106D: Playful movement (scherzo).

A couple of days ago I didn't recognize the name of a band...and was chided for it by an anonymous reader. I got it this time. 90A: Band with the 1989 hit "Stand" (REM). You can hear it here, but I don't like it was well as "Losing My Religion."

Other clues and answers I liked:

1A: Literary elephant (Babar). Who doesn't like Babar? And who doesn't like getting the first answer?

36A: Wally's TV brother, with "the" (Beav).

78A: Early invader of Britain (Saxon).

115A: Satirical paper, with "The" (Onion). "America's Finest News Source." See for yourself here.

135A: Tasty bit (morsel). I didn't need to bake bread today, so I made dog biscuits. They must be tasty, because the boys went nuts when I took them out of the oven.

5D: Cereal topping (raisins).

9D: Religious retreats (ashrams).

14D: Day spa accessories (loofahs).

42D: Guthrie's follower at Woodstock (Baez). I saw the movie enough times that I almost think I was there. Ronald Ray-gun...zzzzzzap!

54D: Poland Spring competitor (Evian).

55D: Owen __ , John Irving character (Meany). Great story.

88D: Expensive strings (Strad).

108D: Company with a star logo (Texaco). That took too long to figure out, even though I know that "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star...the big, bright Texaco star."

There were a few things I didn't know but managed to get from crosses:

21A: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Edd (Roush).

99A: Poker game with four hole cards (Omaha)...never heard of it.

56D: "A maid with hair of gold," in an old song (Katy). I guess I don't know the old song.

68D: Rob of "Melrose Place" (Estes).

93D: Seine tributary (Oise).

100D: "Le Misanthrope" playwright (Molière ). I think we just had this, so I'd better remember it.

My favorite wrong answer...95D: Blanket holder (chest). I really wanted Linus, even if the crosses didn't make any sense.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

I don't think I've seen a Sunday MN puzzle either. This one was great fun with his usual colorful fill. Thought I'd do a bit tonight, then save the rest for Sunday, but I breezed right through it. Guess that means I can sleep in tomorrow.

Linda... hope you are enjoying A Thousand Splendid Suns as much as I did. Haunting.

Linda G said...

Rikki...and since I blogged last night and didn't sleep in this morning, I'll get back to A Thousand Splendid Suns. I'm enjoying it as much as I did The Kite Runner. Hosseini is a gifted author.

wendy said...

Woo hoo! (That's code for I heart Mike Nothnagel, like I haven't said *that* before). So thrilled to see him on a Sunday, with a diagram!

I love that title, especially since it's apparently one of my life's guiding principles. The theme wasn't too hard to grasp, although I wasn't sure at first if every answer was going to have ROOM in it or some other "space."

Finished without any help, but I did have one error that slowed me down. I had Dieu instead of JESU for a long time; either worked with GUAM. I was scratching my head over the mattress company which I knew had to be SERTA or Sealy but I also had Dork off of Dieu instead of JERK so it wasn't unfolding properly there for a while. At the end of the round, JESU and JERK did triumph over Dieu and Dork. ;)

Pleased to see Owen MEANY, one of my favorite novels ever. The two most heartbreaking last lines in any book are in that one. I can't look at them without breaking out into tears.

BILGE - great word! I had just yesterday read it in a column by noted wordsmith George Will, wherein he said, "Clinton promptly resorted to the sort of bilge that the adjective “Clintonian” was created to denote." Love it! I hardly ever agree with Will on anything, but anyone who loves the English language should read him regularly; he writes like a dream and we could all learn a lot from him in that regard.

Also fun to see Monkees reference as I've been trying to decide whether to add one of their songs to my blog list. I was kind of hoping that the answer had the word Tork in it, as he was my heartthrob at the time, but it became pretty clear that we were going another way ;)

Linus would have been a much better blanket answer, Linda. Fabulous, in fact.

Anonymous said...

Hey folks.

I'm sure I've said it before, but thanks *again* for all the wonderful kudos about the puzzle today. As Amy Reynaldo (oops...Orange) correctly deduced, NO RESTROOM FOR THE WICKED was the first-born's definitely been the hands-down favorite, overall.

Not to indulge in a bit of self-promotion, but this is actually my second Sunday puzzle (not including the diagramless last month). The first one, "Lingo", was published on September 16th of last year.

OK, off to grade midterms!

Linda G said...

Wendy, I need to go back and read the last lines of "A Prayer for Owen Meany." I'm drawing a blank.

One of my favorite last lines is from Lake Wobegon Days. "Some luck lies in not getting what you want, but getting what you have. which when you think about it, it is what you would have wanted all along had you known." That brings me to (happy) tears.

Mike, mea culpa for my lack of research!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Nothnagel's output is very impressive. Of the 14 published NYT puzzles that carry only his name, two are Sundays and eight are Fridays!