Monday, January 14, 2008

Tuesday, January 15 - Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke

Stella Daily and Bruce Venzke pair up for another puzzle. This time, though, they skipped the puns that made many of us groan on Sunday.

The theme is revealed at 71A: This puzzle's theme (soaps). The theme answers are multiword answers...the first word of each is the name of a brand of soap.

17A: Joie de vivre (Zest for life). I don't speak French, except for that lovely expression. It looks beautiful, and it sounds beautiful...even when I say it.

63A: Speaking manner (Tone of voice).

11D: Lofty place for an academic (Ivory tower).

29D: Its academy is in New London, Conn. (Coast Guard).

I remember something about each of these brands...either how they looked or how they smelled, with one exception. I remember everything about Ivory, the soap I grew up using...99 and 44/100% pure. The truth is, it's a pretty caustic soap, and I wouldn't use it today. Tone, on the other hand, was made with cocoa butter...I remember using that during my teen years.

All of the theme phrases were good and haven't appeared in the puzzle on a regular basis...if they have at all. Other interesting fill:

14A: Singer Davis with the 1998 hit "32 Flavors" (Alana). I'm not familiar with the song. I don't recall her, either, but her name came to mind for some reason.

20A: Accomplish (achieve)...always good to have a V in the grid.

21A: Star-related (astral). I'm glad to see it referring to a real star as opposed to a celebrity...or a celebrity who's fallen. Nice tie-in with 54D: Super stars (novas).

23A: Prank player (rascal). I especially love its cross with 9D: "Our Gang" kid (Alfalfa)...that Little Rascal.

26A: "South Park" kid (Kyle). I've never seen the show...only got his name from crosses. The only other South Park kid I know is Kenny, and that's from a puzzle several months ago.

31A: Speed-happy driver (leadfoot). That would not be me.

33A: Book in which the first Passover occurred (Exodus).

44A: Singer Pinza (Ezio). Another one I needed crosses to get.

46A: Popular setting for a wedding (gazebo). And how cool is it that Z appears in consecutive words in that row? There's also a noteworthy cross at 42D: First drug approved to treat AIDS (AZT)...short for azidothymidine.

47A: Fantastically wonderful (to die for). That's how Scar describes the surprise waiting for his nephew, Simba, in "The Lion King." Poor Mufasa dies trying to save Simba, but we all know that Scar gets his in the end.

51A: Daughter of Czar Nicholas I or II (Olga)...crosses again.

53A: Arctic bird (puffin). This is a sign that used to be posted in my office...back in the days when people could actually smoke in an office building.

57A: Diner sign filler (neon gas).

6D: Lombardy province or its capital (Varese). A tough word for a Tuesday puzzle, but the crosses made it gettable.

45D: 90210, for Beverly Hills (zip code).

49D: Significant (of note).

Several crossword favorites in this one...1A: Some charity fundraisers (galas), 11A: Org. with a code (IRS), 19A: Lab eggs (ova), 36A: Middle-earth meanie (orc), 66A: Go wrong (err), 69A: Newsman Koppel (Ted), 70A: Fix, as laces (reties), 8D: CBS forensic drama (CSI), 25D: Kerfuffles (ados), 28D: Highway toll unit (axle), 34D: Preowned (used), 37D: Singer McEntire (Reba), 51D: Four duos (octet) and 52D: Peter of "M" (Lorre).

55A: Newswoman Katie (Couric). I've always admired Katie Couric...for her strength during her husband's illness and her courage after his death (and her sister's). Here's a reason to just plain like her.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

This one was very easy for a Tuesday - I didn't even think to Google.

I missed the theme answer because I put in the correct plural for "nova" which is "novae" but, c'eat la vie.

wendy said...

I was concerned when I saw the constructors' names because I absolutely loathed Sunday's puzzle, but this was enjoyable; very nice fill and cluing for a Tuesday.

Laughed at PUFFIN - I used to work with a real hard-ass kind of guy who had a soft spot for these creatures and had them all over his wall.

Also laughed at LEAD FOOT because I *am* one, unfortunately. Bad feature of a Type A personality. I'm trying to be more sedate in my old age ;)

Interesting you mention IVORY's caustic quality - that's so true, and I can't really understand the disconnect between how harsh the soap is compared to its marketing image. You'd think it would have gone by the boards by now. Really though, I'm finding more and more commercial soaps too hard on my skin - for bathing, that is; I use other concoctions for my face.

When I saw TO DIE FOR I thought about the insanely funny Nicole Kidman - Joaquin Phoenix - Matt Dillon movie. Everything about that flick is so wrong, but it works on every level.

Anyone seen AZT in the puzzle before? That was a new one on me.

Anonymous said...

this was a good puzzle...did not get the theme until the last word when I looked back at the long answers....did this puzzle have every letter in the alphabet?

bougeotte said...

Interesting puzzle. I was with Bob, I didn't get the theme until the end.
Wendy- I loved "To Die For". I thought it was one of Nicole Kidman's best roles.

Linda G said...

Based on the recommendations of Wendy and Bougeotte, I guess I'd better see "To Die For."

Bob, I don't recall there being a Q in the puzzle, but I don't have it handy to check it.

Wendy, AZT is new to me...but I've only been doing these (after a 20-year absence) for a year and a half. It's interesting what getting older does to Type A...I'm almost mellow.

Anonymous...c'eat la vie was too funny ; )

Anonymous said...

right you are Linda there was no'Q"
Wendy, never saw AZT in the puzzle before but knew it from general news information that has managed to stick in my brain all these years!!!

wendy said...

Re: AZT - I did know it too but was surprised to see an AIDS clue, I guess. I can't recall seeing the disease being referred to previously. Not that it shouldn't be, just that it seemed unusual.

MBG said...

Thought this one was very easy. I laughed at leadfoot, and for some reason I love the word kerfuffle. It just makes me grin. And I'm always happy to see the USCG get a mention. My dad was a Coastie during WWII. They're an amazing, dedicated group of men and women who work hard to keep us safe on the water.

Here's another recommendation for To Die For. Nicole Kidman was superb in it.

I grew up on Ivory soap too, Linda. It smelled good but it was harsh. No soap for me these days, just Cetaphil and all kinds of potions and lotions to keep Father Time at bay.

Cheers from a reformed leadfoot. Well, mostly reformed. ;)