Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunday, March 23 - Robert W. Harris wasn't much of a sabbatical, but maybe some people (Type A?) can't be away from a passion for very long.

I missed writing. I missed hearing from you. And I loved the Sunday puzzle.

Robert W. Harris isn't a familiar name, but I didn't bother to Google's a common name, so I might not find the right guy. His puzzle, COMMON INTERESTS has eight theme answers...all clever, all funny, all excellent.

24A: Electrical engineers and news anchors? (current events).

26A: World travelers and wine connoisseurs? (exotic ports).

44A: Geologists and music video producers? (rock bands).

52A: College students and mattress testers? (spring breaks).

82A: Old West outlaws and aspiring thespians? (stage coaches).

89A: Beat-era musicians and orthopedists? (hip joints).

110A: Fort Knox officials and pop singers? (gold records).

113A: Comedians and parade directors? (straight lines).

I don't remember when the theme dawned on me...certainly not immediately, though. After an initial run through the clues, I had maybe a dozen answers. Once the theme connected, it was much easier to guess those nice, long answers, which opened things up nicely.

Not a one of the theme answers seemed forced...and not a groaner in the bunch.
Several of the clues were Sunday deceptive, as they should be. My favorites, most of which tripped me up initially:

1A: Track figure (tipster)...not hurdler.

12A: Nautical line (tow rope). I was trying for something more exotic...maybe a technical term used by the Navy.

30A: Some Millers (Lites). The capital M should have tipped me off, but I didn't get it until I had a couple of letters in place.

47A: Congestion site (sinus). I don't know why I didn't think about a traffic-related answer...maybe because my allergies already know it's spring.

61A: Under (sedated).

119A: Lettered top (dreidel)...not sweater.

122A: Activity in which spelling counts? (sorcery).

Other favorites include:

23A: Home of the newspaper Haaretz (Tel Aviv)...thank you, crosses.

42A: Classic Hans Christian Andersen story, with "The" (Red Shoes).

59A: Robert who introduced the term "cell" to biology (Hooke). Most of the crosses were gettable. I guessed the second O...was clueless about 54D: Gangster's gun (Roscoe).

60A: Where the antihelix is (ear)...had no idea, but I'd better remember it.

67A: Despicable sort (cur). Had cad for the longest time...finally gave it up.

85A: Bit of gridiron equipment (knee pad).

96A: Home of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Maine). I didn't have a clue, but the I and the E allowed for a good guess. It's a gorgeous place...I had a hard time choosing a picture.

100A: Champ just before 36-Down (Ashe)...tied to [1976-80 Wimbledon champ] (Borg)...two of my favorites. Here's Arthur Ashe in 1975. He was an incredible man, and his death was such a tragic loss.

2D: Kept from home (in exile).

7D: Answer (RSVP)...tough clue for an easy answer.

5D: Walter __, author of "The Hustler" (Tevis). Wouldn't have gotten it but for the crosses.

12D: For all to play, in music (tutti). I guess that's how they came up with tutti frutti...all fruits.

32D: Stepped aside, in court (recused). That was always one of my favorite words in the courtroom.

52D: Much smaller now (shrunk). Reminds me of the silly movie.

74D: Religious pilgrimage (Hadj). I can never remember how to spell it and usually have to rely on the crosses.

84D: "Essential" things (oils)...wouldn't have guessed that without a couple of letters in place.

96D: You can say that again (mantra).

97D: Lacking scruples (amoral).

There were several answers that I only know because they were in previous puzzles...and I managed to remember them.

36A: Oriole or Blue Jay, for short (ALer)...not that we've had that exact clue, but I knew what they wanted.

46A: Meal crumb (ort).

11D: Boulogne-__-Mer, France (Sur).

18D: Car with an innovative "rolling dome" speedometer (Edsel). A five-letter model often indicates Edsel...but not always.

25D: Honcho (nabob).

75D: Rebounds and steals (stats).

80D: Fruit-flavored soda (Nehi). Of course, I knew Nehi before, but I'd never seen it in written form so many times. Mostly I heard Radar talk about it.

90D: Certain chamber group (octet). Octets and nonets appear rather often, either in singular or plural form.

There were some unfamiliar words that I was able to get because of crosses. In addition to those mentioned above:

72A: The Gamecocks of the Southeastern Conf. (USC).

78A: Wallop (baste). I know baste from cooking and sewing because I've done both. I've never walloped anyone.

104A: U.N. chief __ Ki-moon (Ban).

109A: Shak. is its most-quoted writer (OED). I would never have come up with that.

120A: Set out (sallied). Not in my vocabulary.

1D: Like a guardian (tutelar). I might think that was wrong, but the Applet accepted my puzzle.

10D: Craggy peaks (tors). Have we had that before and I just don't remember?

15D: Cambodian money (Riel).

That's it for tonight. I'm going to sally forth to the kitchen to get dinner going. Three more weeks (give or take a few days) and tax season will be over. It's been a long one, and Don is just worn out. But things are good on the home front, and that's a huge relief.

Happy Easter to you and yours. And while it's not about the chocolate, enjoy that part of it anyway.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow. It feels so good to write that again!

Linda G


DONALD said...

Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

Sallied goes with forth, as in "she sallied forth into the wilderness but eventually the prodigal poster returned to the blogosphere."

Donald beat me to it. Welcome back!

Orange said...

So, what, you quit blogging just to fish for compliments and heartfelt farewells, and then you return a week later? No more heartfelt pleas for you, missy! :-)

Easter is all about the chocolate. My husband went shopping at 11 p.m. tonight (three hours after we returned from Florida) to grocery- and Easter-basket-shop. He bought a whole bag of mini Kit-Kats! Am feeling more holidayish already.

TORS have been in crosswords for eons. Most of your craggy clues will lead you there.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you in an unslacktive mode!

Loved the puzzle, though it seemed to take quite a while for a Sunday...several of the sections took their own sweet time opening up. I was about to give up in the BAN FEDS FALSER area until I realilzed ACHEy was probably just a word in that C&W song, and ACHED finally gave me FEDS. I enjoyed the clever theme and a lot of the cluing, e.g. "you can say that again" for MANTRA. Never heard of The Red Shoes, just "Red Shoe Diaries". I guess I'm just a cultural Tutti.

Looks like JimH has started his mini-bio on you, it will be fun when he turns his focus onto the Bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back -- you were certainly missed. Hope mini vacation was what you hoped for.

Puzzle was easy enough except for top right. Tutelar defeated me as did exotic ports. Had to look at your answers to get them -- am glad to visit your blog.

wendy said...

Hey, long time no talk to! ;) Who said a sabbatical had to last a long time? My dictionary says it's "a year OR SHORTER period of absence for study, rest or travel ... a recurring period of rest ... " Etc. The emphasis being on rest.

Brain death has set in here - could barely crack the regular fill for this, much less the themery. I did get a few of the latter after a while but tired of it quickly. My new year's resolution on this area of my life was to work a puzzle until it became un-fun and then throw it away. There's a second NYT puzzle today that I haven't tried yet, though. Did you do?

Anonymous said...

I have a little secret. I refuse to bookmark any of the other NYT crossword blogs. I always come here and click through. Imagine my delight when I clicked on the bookmark and saw your wonderful take on the puzzle.

That NE corner took me forever! First I had Flagman as 1A then decided it must be pace car. When I got 2D In exile and Piloters (not aviated) I could see it.

Welcome back!

Linda G said...

And I thought no one would even see this post. Thanks for the warm welcome. Despite what her Orangeness said, I seriously didn't do it for the attention ; )

Which is not to say I wasn't wooed, through comments and private emails. KarmaSartre's song was pretty compelling...see previous post if you haven't already.

JimH, nice use of the word in a sentence...such a wordmaster.

Wendy, the definition clears things up a bit. And, as I said elsewhere, it is (and I hope will always be) a woman's prerogative to change her mind ; )

jimd, thanks for sharing your secret. I won't tell a soul.

Anonymous said...

@wendy -- I did (almost) the second puzzle. Between using ink and the smooth paper in the magazine section, I have a bit of a mess going. Can someone spoil me with a spoiler on 44-across? Thanks. (or 29 down would do...).

By the way, there's a paragraph on Donald's site today which is a sort of lesson in comparative religion, very worthwhile.

Ulrich said...

@karmasartre: I don't want to be a complete spoiler, so here are hints: think of the military division and a part of N. Europe (in case you're still interested). BTW I had to google to figure out 32D.

Linda G said...

I downloaded the second Sunday puzzle after reading Wendy's's a bear, no?

I'm at least halfway through and took a break to get dinner going. I'm heading back to it now and may have to come back and read the last spoiler.

Linda G said...

That break was just what I needed to finish things up. It helped that I was able to guess the saying with what I had in place (listed them in order at the bottom, complete with blanks), so that gave me a leg up on several answers. If anyone wants to see the grid, let me know and I'll include it tonight.

NYTAnonimo said...

Welcome back-glad the sabbatical was short! Here is today's crossword designer Linda. This was a joint family solving effort and we still had to resort to One Across to complete the upper left and lower right corners!

Linda G said...

nytanonimo, thanks for the link. I just sent Robert an email to let him know that he's a big part of the reason I came back so soon ; )

cornbread hell said...

glad to see you back in real time, linda. i'm off to the past to tell you how great it is to have you there, too.

Howard B said...

Welcome back! :) Guess that it was just an itty-bittical sabbatical.

Haven't been commenting much anywhere myself... life gets in the way sometimes, I know. Happy Easter, by the way!