Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sunday, March 2 - Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach

It was nice to finish a puzzle after yesterday's disaster. The title...Forward Thinking...wasn't much help to me. I ended up with a few theme answers that made absolutely no sense... 1A: Offer for an R.J. Reynolds brand? (Kool-Bid). I had all of the downs, and I knew they were that answer had to be right. But WTF? After getting another couple theme answers, it finally dawned on me...we were to replace one letter in an in-the-language phrase with the next letter in the alphabet. So, Kool-Aid became Kool-Bid...and so on.

The other theme answers:

29A: Papa pad? (Daddyshack)...Caddyshack before the forward thinking.

38A: Canola and sunflower oil? (good fats). It took me forever to see that the original phrase was good eats.

41A: Best fraternity pledge tormentor? (star hazer)...stargazer. At this point, I began to guess part of the this case, hazer.

52A: Not the most exciting school athletes? (JV drips). Another one I didn't get immediately...IV drips. In retrospect, this was one of the funniest answers.

56A: Social gathering with the Rockettes? (leg party). Party was easy enough to guess, and it wasn't long before leg took the place of keg.

68A: Got sober? (nixed drinks). I filled in drinks immediately, and nixed (rather than mixed) was right behind.

83A: C.I.A. noggins? (spy beans). Soy beans...jeez, I just saw that.

85A: Hit boxer John with a haymaker? (pop Ruiz). Okay, I get pop quiz...but I don't get the rest of it.

93A: Fog in Zurich? (Swiss mist). Swiss it.

96A: How-to films for a dairy farm? (milk DVDs). Milk Duds...too funny.

104A: Side view of salmon? (lox profile)...for low profile.

126A: Transcribe some Dickens? (copy Boz). Copy boy? I guess so.

I just checked out The New York Times Crossword in Gothic to see what Donald had to say about the theme. Looks like I missed something big...the swapped letters are in alphabetical order. We started with changing A to B...and ended up changing Y to Z.

Patrick and Tony, you two are just too clever for me.

I sure enjoyed having so many gimmes in the nontheme answers. 12A: 1970 Simon & Garfunkel hit (Cecilia), 19A: Away from a teaching post (on leave), 28A: Top of a platter (Side A)...didn't catch me on it this time, 37A: Sporty Mazda (Miata) friend Bev has one, 45A: Jack who said "Just the facts, ma'am" (Webb), 59A: "Like a Rock" singer Bob (Seger), 61A: Cosmetician Lauder and others (Estees), 76A: The lion in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (Aslan), 89A: "Damien" subtitle (Omen II), 116A: Facial growths (goatees), 10D: Nabber's cry (gotcha), 11D: Rather, informally (sorta), 78D: Canned meat brand (SPAM), 98D: Bread for tacos? (dinero) and 99D: Plywood layer (veneer).

Favorite clues include 23A: Cube holder (ice tray), 24A: IUD part (intra), 32A: Composes (calms), 63A: Waste maker (haste), 91A: Head set (eyes), 2D: Enough, for some (once), 16D: The King's "princess" (Lisa Marie), 45D: Locks on a dome (wig), 58D: Plane part (Y axis), 86D: Zoo feature, in England (zed) and 97D: Fife player (Knotts).

There were some things I didn't them from crosses...25A: Realm of Otto von Bismarck (Prussia), 122A: Ice Cube né __ Jackson (O'Shea), 123A: It started around 1100 B.C. (Iron Age), 43D: Lukas of "Witness" (Haas), 80D: Christina in the 2005 revival of "Sweet Charity" (Applegate)...actually guessed that with only a couple letters in place, so I must have heard of her, 106D: Mandela's native tongue (Xhosa) and 107D: Hijacked cruise ship Achille _ (Lauro).

Elaine is hanging in there. Thanks again for all of the good wishes. We disconnected our home phone because of unwanted calls, and I never answer unknown calls on my cell phone. I hope that will do the trick. It looks as though she won't be getting any of her personal belongings back...fortunately, she didn't leave anything really valuable behind. But she's looking for work here, and she needed some suitable clothes. Our shopping day was fun...and a huge success.

[Update: Keep your fingers crossed. As of last night, Howard Barkin, a guest blogger and commenter here at Madness, is in second place at ACPT. Howard is an all-around nice guy...and an ace solver to boot. Way to go, Howard!]

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

I got the gimmick after a few fill-ins -- but had trouble with some of the definitions. The obscurity of some of those definitions seems gratuitous. A little greater transparency would not hurt at all. After awhile you look for the hidden or punned meanings, but again, many seem like the creators are over-reaching in trying to be clever but only succeed in being too cute for words!

SethG said...

Got it right away from DADDY SHACK. And agree about the over-reaching.

Also, I'm pretty sure that, like "play it again, Sam" and "beam me up, Scotty", Jack Webb didn't actually say "Just the facts, ma'am".

Bill from NJ said...

I discovered the theme, darkly. from NIXEDDRINKS. Stumbled around to a solve without really knowing what I was doing. BTW, Linda, John Ruiz is a professional boxer of little repute.

wendy said...

Meh. I liked it (in parts) and didn't like it. I'm ready for a puzzle that makes me smile!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Pop Ruiz: to hit the boxer John Ruiz. I don't know what a hay maker is although I imagine it means to knock unconscious??


I completed the puzzle without Googling but for 2 squares JVD-i-s. Googled stipe as I had sti-e but was clueless. After the p filled in drips but it looked all wrong until I checked here. I too missed the fact that the entire alphabet from begining to end was either replaced or the replacement. WOw pretty difficult to construct.

Anonymous said...

hi. Thanks for the nice write-up. This was one of the hardest themes we've done, and NIXEDDRINKS was the first entry. An alternative we considered for RUIZ was RUIZMASTER and JAMACAMERA.

And it was really fun having a puzzle out during the tourney, too. After that and winning the E division, I'm off to buy a lottery ticket!


Anonymous said...

hi. Thanks for the nice write-up. This was one of the hardest themes we've done, and NIXEDDRINKS was the first entry. An alternative we considered for RUIZ was RUIZMASTER and the symmetrical JAMACAMERA.

And it was really fun having a puzzle out during the tourney, too. After that and winning the E division, I'm off to buy a lottery ticket!


Anonymous said...

Oops. Only one lottery ticket.

Linda G said...

I'm glad we got the haymaker straightened out...I wanted something to do with BALER.

As I said, these two are amazing. To think that one entry could spawn such a feat of construction...

Howard B said...

Aw, thanks Linda! For what it's worth, I had a great time all weekend, and met some more great people (blog posters included) along the way. I'll say it again - if you have any doubts about whether to come to the tournament, don't be insecure about rankings etc. - people don't judge you there based on that, and even if the puzzles tear you up, it's just a great experience to share your hobby (passion, mania, whatever works for you) with other like-minded souls.

So next year, if you can make it, come on down!

Time for me to lose consciousness for a while. All the best.

Howard B said...

Whoops, in my haze I forgot - Congrats Patrick on your performance, and on that fun Sunday puzzle, which I finally got to attack while on the train ride home.

Torbach said...

Hi everyone - Just wanted to chime in too: late getting back home as we took a 5 hour detour to return our daughter (who competed this weekend as well) to college in Pennsylvania!

Patrick said it all: thanks for the comments - and it was a true honor and treat to have a puzzle out on the big weekend! Also, hats off to all attendees of the ACPT - experts, novices and curious much fun!

Happy puzzling,
Tony Orbach

cornbread hell said...

cool theme. i didn't get how to switch several of them before coming here. and also missed the alphabetical thing.

am so out of touch i didn't realize the tournament had already happened. i take it you didn't go? but ava, i bet your fans were sorely disappointed.