Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thursday, January 3 - Henry Hook

Oh, I loved this puzzle! Loved the theme, loved the theme answers, loved much of the nontheme fill.

The theme answers:

16A: Ad icon since 1914 (Morton Salt Girl). When it rains, it pours. Do their ads still say that? Here's the original...way before my time.

37A: Oswald Cobblepot's nom de crime (Penguin)...played by Burgess Meredith in the Batman TV series. I didn't see any of the Batman movies...was the Penguin character still around?

11D: Caretaker for the Banks household (Mary Poppins).

24D: Churchill predecessor (Chamberlain). Why didn't I know that? Fortunately, I had enough of the crosses to guess the rest.

And it's all wrapped up at 56A: What 16- and 37-Across and 11- and 24-Down were all known to do (carry umbrellas).

I was sure I had something wrong when 56A was ending in LAS. Pleasant surprise.

Some excellent nontheme answers, among them:

9A: Poor box contents (alms).

19A: Acupressure technique (Shiatsu).

20A: Tree sacred to Druids (yew). I had oak at first...but 21D: Itty-bitty (wee) confirmed the error of that answer.

22A: Regular at Kelsey's Bar, on TV (Archie). Bunker, I guess. I remember that he hung out at some bar.

28A: Rebel yell (wahoo). Also the name of a restaurant that makes really good fish tacos.

34A: It could easily go up (fire trap). There was a horrifying accident outside our office today...a cement truck carrying a full load took a sharp curve way too fast and skidded, landing on the driver's side with a sickening sound. Gas was leaking and the driver was trapped. It all turned out okay, thankfully. He had only minor injuries, and the truck didn't blow. We watched two cranes work for an hour to set the truck upright...that part was fascinating.

44A: "The Female Eunuch" author (Greer). Is this something I should add to my list of books to read?

48A: Recipient of a 1937 wooden Oscar (Bergen).

52A: Impatient (anxious). A great X and three vowels in a row. I don't recall ever seeing it in a puzzle.

67A: First batter to hit a home run against every Major League Baseball team (Sosa). Good guess on my part.

5D: Musical with the song "Easy Street" (Annie). Didn't remember NYC the other day...don't remember this one.

6D: Arno city (Pisa).

7D: Ignore the lyrics? (scat). I've never heard it used to mean that. I always think of the biological definition. Scat = animal droppings.

29D: Bottled spirit (Jinni). Have never seen this word and thought it was probably wrong.

30D: Element whose name roughly means "lazy" (argon).

43D: Dishevels (tousles). I like the clue and the answer.

44D: Literary monogram (GBS)...a nice change from TSE.

Favorite clues include 29A: One may hold the mayo (jar), 32A: Mend (atone), 38A: Boxer's hand (paw), 41A: Prig (bluenose), 63A: Roast setting (dais), 1D: Half a huge cost? (arm), with the same clue at 42D (leg), 4D: Place to pick up a puppy (pet shop) and 54D: Opening day? (Xmas).

And two very cool rhyming words...13A: Pleasure seeker (roue) and 47D: Grimace (moue).

That's it for today. Here's the grid... [which contains an error. 9D: is ARG, making 15A reap. Thanks to annielee for catching that.]

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


MBG said...

I loved this one too, Linda. Henry Hook is one of my favorite puzzle constructors. Think I'm just on his wavelength.

I may be wrong, but isn't 9D: the neighbor of Bol(ivia) ARG(entina)?

I read Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch back in the 70's. It was a good read, but only if you're into radical feminism, which I was at the time. Greer's opinions are not always easy to swallow, but she is/was very, very bright. Just not mainstream.

Danny DeVito played The Penquin in the film Batman Returns (1992). I thought he did a great job.

Anonymous said...


I too really liked this one. As to scat you probably have heard it as scatting, for example Ella Fitzgerald singing when she drops the words and just makes sounds bodeeedboop. Although, I don't think it's etymologically related to scatological. As to jinni, that's a more authentic spelling of the Arabic jinn which we are more use to see as genie or jeannie (I dream of Jeannie). Know I have the scatting from "I Dream of Jeannie" running through my mind: Bumbumbumbumbumbumbum!

Anonymous said...

Linda - Annielee has it correct for 9D as ARG entina w/ 15A (Obtain) yielding REAP. HH is a regular constructor for the Sunday Boston Globe Magazine and contrary to Annielee being in sync w/ his puzzles I am just the opposite. He makes me tear my hairs out. Today's CWP was relatively easy for a Thursday puzzle. Much better than last weeks end (Thurs, Fri & Sat) which were all killers.

Linda G said...

annielee is right. ARG is definitely near BOL...and LEAP definitely makes no sense in that context. My bad.

Since I do the puzzle on paper, I'd have to go back to the NYT site and enter all the answers to check the grid...a step I usually don't bother with. I actually like that readers catch my error and point it out. I really don't have much of an ego, especially when it comes to crossword puzzles ; )

Thanks for clarifying SCAT, profphil. I've heard singers do that, but I never knew that there was a name for it. Bah-de-de-bah-bah.

Norman, I'm with you...last Saturday was the puzzle from hell.

Anonymous said...

Good morning all...I too like todays puzzle and it was easier than some recent Thrusday puzzles. I had a problem with one of the answers...Opening day= XMAS...I understand the clue but feel it should have said threw me for a bit

bougeotte said...

I enjoyed the puzzle too, the theme came easily but like Bob I was lost on opening day. I don't understand how that relates to x-mas unless it has to do with all the buying frenzy of the holiday. This was much easier than last week.

Anonymous said...

bougeotte, I believe that Xmas as the birthday of Christ marks the begining of something...however I believe that our current calender begins after the death of Christ ergo it is poor cluing as well as lack of telling us it should be an abberviation. Hope that helps a bit.

SethG said...

I really think it's just when (some) people _open_ lotsa presents.

I couldn't get the N in (N)AY, and didn't know (G)REER, (B)ERGE(N) or (S)AL. All I could think of for the Oscar was Sergei Eisenstein, and SAL could have been Hal, or even K/M/P/T/Val. So at that point having the literary monogram there ("enter three random letters") didn't help.

Can't believe I didn't finish this on my own...

Anonymous said...

sethg...your interpation of the xmas clue is correct...I never thought of it in that manner...thanks for the clarification...I still think that it should have the notation for abberviation

Anonymous said...

I thought it was brilliant that the answer for "Prig", in addition to BLUENOSE, could also be PLUVIOUS. I had _ LU_ _ O _ _, and I actually had written in PLUVIOUS at first. BRILLIANT construction!

bougeotte said...

Thanks Bob and Sethg for the info. X-mas has always been very low key in our household which makes it much less stressful.
Anonymous, I thought pluvious pertained to rain. Good word though.

Anonymous said...


You probably know by now but, if you don't, ROUE and MOUE don't rhyme.

It's MU and ROO-A.

Unknown said...

X-mas is the word before day,as in xmas day ie. CHRISTMAS DAY.

Unknown said...

Forget the caps in Christmas day.I did not mean to shout.

MBG said...

@ Norman

Guess I should have expressed myself more clearly. I love HH's puzzles not because I find them easy, but because they're almost always so very clever and so much fun. I've been doing the Sunday Boston Globe puzzle for years, and HH's always take me much longer to complete than do those of Cox and Rathvon, the alternating constructors. Today's puzzle was one of his easier ones, and lots of fun. His puzzles just make me smile.

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments about the lack of an abbreviation signal, I wondered if Xmas really is an abbreviation. My first reaction is yes, of course. But apparently there's the tiniest bit of varying interpretations. This from American Heritage Dictionary:

USAGE NOTE: Xmas has been used for hundreds of years in religious writing, where the X represents a Greek chi, the first letter of , “Christ.” In this use it is parallel to other forms like Xtian, “Christian.” But people unaware of the Greek origin of this X often mistakenly interpret Xmas as an informal shortening pronounced (Greek letters here which I can't reproduce). Many therefore frown upon the term Xmas because it seems to them a commercial convenience that omits Christ from Christmas.


Linda G said...

Well, phooey...that's what I get for trying to read the dictionary without my glasses! I just looked again (with them on) and see that it is, indeed, roo-a.

kratsman, thanks for the information on Xmas. I went to Catholic school for of the nuns hated the word Xmas and said that it wasn't Mr. X's was Christ's. That's always been in the back of my mind, but now I know what's behind it. Chi...can't believe I never saw that before.

Term Papers said...

I also love this puzzle! Love the theme, love the theme answers, love much of the nontheme fill.