Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thursday, February 28 - Matt Ginsberg

With his most recent puzzle, Matt Ginsberg became one of my top three favorite constructors. With this one, he's moved up to the top two...right up there with Mike Nothnagel.

This was such an enjoyable solve...tough in several spots, but ultimately doable. It's the first Thursday I've finished in some time without resorting to Dogpile.

The theme was fun...contradicting meanings for the same word.

19A: Begin operating or stop operating (go off).

20A: Confirmation or uncertainty (reservation).

30A: Unchanged or novel (original).

38A: Words of praise or words of condemnation (nothing is better).

45A: Approve or penalize (sanction).

55A: Easy to see or impossible to see (transparent).

60A: Entangle or disentangle (ravel).

1D: Last under use or erode under use (wear) favorite.

13D: Remaining or gone (left).

52D: Add to or remove from (trim).

59D: Move gracefully or move clumsily (trip).

Fun...just plain fun. I particularly liked the longer nontheme answers:

5D: Grounds for legal action (gravamen). I can't believe that word came to me so easily after all these years.

8D: Revealing garment (minidress).

36D: "No nation is permitted to live in __ with impunity": Jefferson (ignorance). A president can, but not a nation.

40D: Gotham (Big Apple). I wonder if that took anyone else as long to see...I had most of the letters in place, but I was looking for a single word.

Other things I struggled with:

37A: Discussion spots (fora)...putting an S at the end really fouled up 33D: Shenanigans (larks).

42A: TV's Kojak (Theo). I didn't even know he had a first name.

48A: Willie Mays and teammates (Giants). I should have known that...but I needed several letters before I could coax it out of the recesses of my brain.

64A: Comedic title role for Renée Zellweger, 2000 (Irene). I don't think I saw that. While she's a favorite, I can only take Jim Carrey in small doses.

68A: Olaf's girlfriend in Lemony Snicket books (Esme). Neither of the girls were interested in the books...maybe they were too old for them. Anyway, I needed crosses to get her name...her beautiful name.

2D: "Hurlyburly" playwright David (Rabe). Not familiar with either the play or the man.

41D: Dr. __ Hahn of "Grey's Anatomy" (Erica). I haven't seen the show...and sexistly assumed I was looking for the name of a man.

46D: Twinings competitor (Tetley). All I have in my pantry is Celestial Seasonings...which was no help. 50A: Deborah nominated for six Academy Awards (Kerr) gave me the E as the second letter, but I had to go through the alphabet to come up with the answer.

Favorites include:

16A: Dodger All-Star pitcher Eric (Gagne)...don't know him, but I like the name.

35A: Repeated setting for Georges Seurat paintings (Seine)...good guess.

43A: Respectful refusal (no sir).

4D: "Great" czar (Peter I). I knew we were looking at a Roman numeral for the ending because of 27A: Belief in a life of harmony with nature (taoism).

6D: Gary Burghoff role of TV and film (Radar).

9D: It might be spiked (eggnog).

10D: Jiang's husband (Mao).

28D: Welcome to paradise? (aloha). It's probably time for another Hawaii picture. I'll see what I can find in the next couple of days.

31D: Away from the office (not in)...followed by the equally amusing 32D: Don't exist (aren't).

51D: "O, sing to the Lord a new song," for one (Psalm).

53D: Fabled slacker (hare).

I don't remember the last time I finished a post this early...I may even be in bed by 10:00 tonight. I could sure use some beauty sleep.

The American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (ACPT) is just a couple of days away. I'm really pulling for two former contestants this year...Al Sanders (a Colorado neighbor whose time has come) and fellow blogger Orange...who placed fifth (or thereabouts) a couple of years ago. I'll be with them in spirit...but I'll be here at Madness holding down the blogging fort. JimH will also be there, so I won't be able to challenge him to find crossword stats for a few days.

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

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Matt Ginsberg said...

Hey Linda:

Sorry to infer from your post on Orange's blog that you won't be in Brooklyn. I would have looked forward to meeting you, and I'm very flattered that you enjoy my work!

Matt Ginsberg

MBG said...

Nice puzzle! Hard but doable. No googling for me tonight either. The hardest answer for me was GRAVAMEN. I had never heard term before, but it came from the crosses. The only quibble I have with the puzzle is that Eric GAGNE is no longer a Dodger, he was with the Red Sox last season.


Anonymous said...

Great write-up Linda. I just loved this puzzle, too, (thanks, Matt) and I'm on a roll this week. Of course I always say that and then get slammed on Friday and Saturday. But hope reigns eternal.

Anonymous said...

That was a great puzzle, truly enjoyable. Once I caught on, I imagined Matt G keeping track of the theme answers in a notebook, and little moments of joy when he caught another one of these..what? What are they? Surely there's a term for words/phrases with multiple meanings, two of which are opposites (or nearly so). It's probably obvious, but it's not coming to me, though I am pretty sure it's not GRAVAMEN, which could be the longest answer I have ever completed purely from crosses.

Linda, is the picture the actress from "Grey's..."? Can't place it.


coachjdc said...

I also got gravamen from the crosses, but it had me scratching my head.

Anonymous said...

Good puzzle..unlike the rest of you I needed Google to finish...Linda your comment about ignorance and presidents can also be applied to congress....Annielee..right you are about Gagne..was a Ranger before a Red Sox and now a Brewer...In have never seen Trim used to add on unless it is Christmas and Ravel to disentangle not in my vocab..unravel...and only recent converts to a cause would be that I have gotten that out of my system I can read the news!

wendy said...

Definitely agree that Matt's puzzles, looking back on all of them you've got in the labels, are well worth the time and very enjoyable. Now that I've been doing the puzzle daily for 15 months or so, I've started to give myself the right to bail on a puzzle if I don't seem to care about the challenge presented to me. Matt seems to have a good handle on how to keep me engaged.

Great comment on the Jefferson quote. Soon it'll all be over ... just counting the days.

It's Renee Zellweger week at Madness! (I wonder what she wore to the Oscars ... no, just kidding!) Don't forget to watch Down With Love, everyone, per my comment of the other day. You will not regret it.

Yes, Kojak was THEO. His captain often called him by his first name, as did the women in his life. God I loved that show! I had a mad crush on Det. Bobby Crocker. And Telly Savalas' brother, George, also starred in the show as Det. Stavros. Must look to see if it's on DVD.

Linda G said...

Looks as though this was a much-loved puzzle. As you said, Wendy, Matt can hold one's interest. I hope he comes back to read all of your comments.

karmasatre, the photo is of Dr. Erica Hahn...I couldn't find one of her in doctor garb, but it is from the show.

Off to the salt mines...

Matt Ginsberg said...

I do read the comments, and they make me smile. :) But I should concede that I send Will a lot of junk as well, which he wisely passes on. So if you like my work, he should get a lot of the credit!

MBG said...

@ Bob

So the Sox got rid of Gagne? I haven't been paying attention. I'm not sorry to see him go, hope he does better in Milwaukee.

People who sew often trim something they're making with braid, piping etc.

I agree with you about ravel/unravel.


I've seen Down With Love and enjoyed it very much. But I'm still partial to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day films it parodies though. They were nice comedies, if a bit silly by today's standards.


I think such words are called contranyms
I had no idea there were so many, though.


I also liked your comment about Jefferson's quote. Like Wendy, I'm counting the days.

MBG said...

I just saw on Rex's blog that those words are also called antagonyms. Wonder which is the most commonly used term?

Anonymous said...

@linda, wendy, anna -- Re. counting the days, I think we're at 327 (till the end of the ignorance). I'd like to have a streaming counter/clock on my screen so I could watch them lapse, but I'm content with singing a Don Henley song to myself: "The End of the Innocence", changing the last word to Ignorance. That and working for my candidate.

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