Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wednesday, January 30 - Peter A. Collins

Wednesday's puzzle by Peter Collins felt Thursday-tough in a few spots. The theme was easy enough, though...as were the theme answers. But did anyone else think it seemed like an Easter theme?

Hidden in the puzzle (and revealed at 36-, 38- and 40-Across)...are a HALF / DOZEN / EGGS.

17A: Fraternity parties (keggers). The only theme answer that didn't come easily to me. I could only think of toga parties...because of Animal House, not personal recollection.

18A: Ankle-to-waist wear (legging). When I got this one...one of several gimmes...I noticed the three G's. Thought that was just a coincidence at the time.

19A: Harpist's progression (arpeggio). Again, my piano lessons have proven to be valuable in solving crossword puzzles.

55A: 1957 Buddy Holly hit (Peggy Sue). By this time, I'd caught on. This one would have been a gimme anyway.

57A: Extreme poverty (beggary). I've worked with this population for five years, and I've never heard that expression. It was easy enough to guess. The cross at 46D: Hungarian (Magyar) was one of the Thursday-tough answers that I didn't know.

59A: "Eat your __!" (mom's order) (veggies). I don't think my mother ever said that, and I'm sure I didn't. We had to taste everything, but nothing was forced. I grew up trying everything...and disliking very few foods. I even like Brussels sprouts and liver.

A few favorites:

1A: Choice of colors (palette)...a gimme on 1A is always nice.

16A: Native New Yorkers (Oneidas).

22A: Pancho and the Cisco Kid, e.g. (amigos).

33A: 1960s-'80s Red Sox great, informally (Yaz). Now this is real sports knowledge...and I know all about him. I did have to check the spelling of his last name, though, to be sure I had it right. I learned about Carl Yastrzemski from the same friend who got me doing the New York Times puzzles in the 70s. Here he is in his younger days. I can't believe he's almost 70 now.

47A: Yemen's capital (Sana'a). This isn't the first time we've had this, but I still needed a couple of crosses.

51A: Coolest, in rap slang (illest). I'm proud to say that I know zero about rap.

63A: Tropical woe (malaria). It's not every day you see malaria in a puzzle. JimH can probably tell you how many times. Those computer guys can do everything.

64A: Fighting words (en garde)...not its first appearance.

8D: "The Wizard of Oz" scarecrow portrayer (Bolger). I had to think for a few minutes on this one. Bert Lahr appears quite often, but this may be a first.

10D: Irish exclamation (begorra). Why did I think that had an H at the end?

31D: Summation signs (sigmas).

42D: Castle fortification (rampart).

47D: Nancy's pal, in the comics (Sluggo).

48D: Sour brew (alegar). Another one I remember from past puzzles.

54D: Wrinkly fruit (ugli). I've commented on this in the past and posted this picture at least once. It's too cute...or so ugly (ugli) that it's cute.

If I counted correctly, G appeared 19 times in the grid...seven of them as doubles. I like seeing Yaz above dozen...each sharing a Z with 20D: Turning gray (grizzling). Thank heavens for my Thursday appointment with Rob...or I'd be doing that!

Some of the answers that eluded me:

8A: Charlotte hoopsters (Bobcats)...got it from crosses.

44A: Global financial org. (IMF). Fortunately, all of its crosses were doable...including 30D: Driver (engine) and 35D: Comparable to a pig (as fat).

1D: Nuclear power since 1998: Abbr. (Pak). I was going somewhere else with that one.

6D: Univ. of Maryland athletes (Terps). What am I missing? Okay...it's short for the Terrapins. Never heard of them.

46D: Hungarian (Magyar). I already said this...but it bears repeating.

52D: Some mil. defenses (ABMs). Anti ballistic missiles, I guess.

58D: Gangbanger's gun (gat). I know even less about guns than I do about sports...or rap. And that's just fine with me.

Because I had the acrosses in the northeast, I didn't see the clue for 12D: "__, I do believe I failed you" (opening of a 1998 hit) (Adia). When I read it, though, I didn't think I knew the song. I checked it out and discovered it was a song I liked...I just hadn't paid attention to the lyrics. Here's Sarah McLachlan singing it. What a beautiful voice.

That's it for tonight. Here's the (100% accurate, I think) grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the plug :)

MALARIA has infected my NYT database three times. You can see the list here: www.xwordinfo.com/Word.aspx?word=MALARIA

PS, thanks for the Adia link. I didn't know the song but I love it!

Anonymous said...

Linda, I think that you missed today's theme...long clue half dozen eggs and the word egg appears in six answeres..17, 18, 19,55,57 and 59 across.
I did not like gat for gangbangers Gun because GAT is archaic and gangbanner is not....overall a very enjoyable puzzle...a bit difficult but fun

Anonymous said...

Linda I apologize...I re-read your blog and you did note the EGG words...when I scanned the gird I did not see your usual highlighting of the themed answers...I just started typing and did not realize my mistake until after I posted!!!Please accept my apology

MBG said...

On the easy side for a Thursday puzzle, but with a few places that caused some hesitation. I never saw the theme until i read your blog, Linda. Never heard of Adia (lovely song), but got it from the crosses. Simpson names always give me trouble, but got Apu also from crosses. It took me a bit to dredge up Sluggo too. That was one of JimH's crossword "aha" moments. It just bubbled up out of nowhere.

It was nice to see Yaz in the puzzle. In Boston we happily saw a lot of him this past season, as the Sox were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1967 "Impossible Dream" team.

Loved seeing an old favorite, Yves Montand, over whose singing I swooned over many years ago, and especially liked that he was right next to his wife, Simone Signoret's film, I Sent A Letter To My Love.

Linda, I like liver and Brussels sprouts too - just not in the same meal. ;)

MBG said...

Did I say Thursday puzzle? Egad! I'm so frazzled I don't even know what day it is. ;)

Ben said...

I agree with the comment about GAT. I was certain of it since MALARIA was clear and BEGGARY seemed to fit in with the eggy theme. But I kept thinking it couldn't be GAT, which seems to have left us in the 20's. I don't think there were gang bangers in the 20's.

Thank heavens I visited Hungary once, though, or I would never know MAGYAR.

Rex Parker said...

Why would you be "proud" to be completely ignorant of rap? Or of anything, for that matter? If I claimed to be "proud" to know nothing about opera, readers would (rightly) have my head.

I find it depressing that someone as insightful as you would laud your own ignorance. I assume you are white, but even if you are not, denigrating a predominantly black form of expression in this way is particularly troubling.

Maybe I'm just sensitive because the Clinton campaign has basically been whispering "he's a [offensive word for black man deleted]" about Obama to anyone who would listen for the past few weeks in an attempt to tap into the worst ideas and fears that whites have about blacks. Disgusting.

Anyway, I'm sure you meant no offense. Nor do I mean any.


Linda G said...

On a regular basis, I claim to know little to nothing about sports, geography...and opera, among other things. I have never claimed...in this blog or elsewhere...to be an expert solver or a know-it-all. As any regular reader knows, I occasionally have wrong answers in the grid. I know there are readers who especially enjoy the noncompetitive spirit of this blog.

I don't think of rap as predominantly black...I think of it as predominantly young...which I'm not. By "proud" I simply meant that I'm not trying to act young. Because the style doesn't suit me or interest me, I don't care to know the names of rap artists or their songs.

I grew up in south Florida during a time when schools were segregated. Hell, water fountains and bathrooms were! Talk about disgusting!

I am not biased...nor am I a bigot. Everyone who knows me knows that...and anyone who reads this blog could have inferred that.

Anonymous said...

well said Linda!!!!...perhaps the US would be a nicer place if we all did not try and read an insult to every word uttered without first considering the person who said/wrote it

Anonymous said...

Hey, Rex, lighten up. I saw Linda's tongue firmly in her cheek over rap.
Seems to me there's a phoney war going on over popular vrs. classical culture -- you guys are winning so don't get so snarly about us losers. Its the triumph of ephemeral trivia over lasting value IMOO, but so what? I keep doing the puzz.
I expect you are right about the Clinton whispering campaign over colour, which I agree is disgusting. Six weeks later it is on the verge of becoming a shouting campaign. If the RNC Swiftboat Team gets to go after Obama it will become a screaming rant. Deal with it.

(But I don't want you all moving to Vancouver!)

cornbread hell said...

nice rebuttal to what i consider an uncalled for, arrogant rant.