Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday, March 13 - Alan Arbesfeld

Hoo-boy...this theme took me some time to figure out. Since I wasn't getting too many answers, I was pretty sure we were looking at a rebus (or cram-a-lot) of some sort.

Double letters within one square...and it all came together quite nicely.

17A: "Scram!" (buzz off), crossing at 3D: Half of a showy display? (razzle) and 14D: Like some oil rigs (offshore).

18A: Practice area, of a sort (putting green) of the best of the bunch...crossing at 7D: Kennel club rejects (mutts), 9D: Overwhelm (boggle) and 11D: Lee Van __ (spaghetti western actor) (Cleef).

28A: "Black rat" as opposed to "Rattus rattus" (common name), crossing at 21D: Eponym of a classic Minnesota-brewed beer (Hamm) and 26D: __ time (in no). Hamm was my tip-off.

36A: Biblical patriarch whose name means "he will laugh" (Isaac), crossing at 31D: TV's Jack and kin (Paars).

41A: Radical Hoffman (Abbie), crossing at 33D: Robot in "Forbidden Planet" (Robby). Abbie would have been another tip-off, except I spelled it Abbe for too long.

46A: Northeast, on a map (u pp e rr ight), crossing with 38D: Spice holder (pepper box) and 43D: Misses the mark (errs). I had top right until I figured out the theme...and I never would have guessed pepper box. Thank goodness for its cross at 67A: Lawless role (Xena).

59A: Directories (address books), crossing at 55D: Less conventional (odder), 46D: Amherst campus, briefly (U Mass) and 56D: Blackmore heroine (Doone).

62A: Bygone women's magazine (McCalls), crossing at 58D: Stops on a sales rep's rte. (accts) and 52D: Last place (cellar). This corner really had me fouled up. Because I had appts, rather than accts, I couldn't come up with the name of a magazine to save my soul.

At that point, I declared the puzzle finished and checked out that nasty little corner at JimH's blog.

I think Alan Arbesfeld's idea was brilliant, and he pulled it off pretty well. It may be asking too much to expect that no double letters would appear in separate squares...1A: Factory seconds: Abbr. (irrs), 23A: __ Snider, frontman for rock's Twisted Sister (Dee) 63A: Sharp (keen) and 53D: Seconds: Abbr. (assts).

Other noteworthy fill includes 24A: Once-in-a-lifetime traveler (Haji), 54A: Silk fabric for scarves (foulard), 12D: Cigarette brand that sponsored "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Kent), 25D: Bump (jostle) and 28D: Grammy winner Winans (CeCe)...although I wasn't sure if it would be CeCe or BeBe.

Don mentioned that 66A: Himmel und __ (traditional German potato dish) (erde) actually translates to heaven and earth. I'm sure there's a story behind that.

I definitely don't get 37D: Job for Hercule Poirot (CAS)...what am I missing?

I missed a golden opportunity yesterday...the perfect segue at 30A: Concluding appearance (swan song). I don't know how long it will be, but for the time being, Madness is signing off. I've neglected some pretty important things to keep this blog going. I will miss it, and I will miss many of you. [UPDATE for those of you in Syndication Land. The sabbatical was short-lived...I missed all of you too much. Check out the links in the sidebar for the next week or so...but come back to Madness soon!]

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you later.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Monsieur Poirot is French, as is CAS which means case. Not a super KEEN clue, I thought.

MBG said...

Nice tough puzzle!

I didn't care for the Poirot clue either, since M. Poirot is a charcter in books written in English by an English author.

It took me until ROBBY Robot crossed ABBIE Hoffman to get the idea. After that it went fairly quickly all except for the NW where, for the life of me I could not see RAZZLE, and UNLASH eluded me.

Linda, I'm very sorry to see you go, but I certainly understand. Real life must take precedence! I'll miss you. Be well and happy.


Anonymous said...

@Jimh -- I think he was Belgian (French speaking).

@lindaG -- I've lately come to find Madness to be a great combo of insightful and level-headed. Bad luck for me, I do hope you return, and good luck taking care of the more important things.

Bill from NJ said...

I got the theme where ROBBY/ABBIE and the puzzle fell from there . . . almost.

I, too, came a cropper in the SE because I couldn't think of a defunct womens' magazine and an error at 51D. I had INAWE and didn't want to come off it so I finally called the puzzle finished and came here only to find you had similar problems.

Great minds, etc

Bill from NJ said...

I missed your final paragraph and I will wiss you, too.

Good luck with everything

Bill Haddick

Anonymous said...

Linda, with your new found time, try some rabbit, pasties and other delights! :-)

You will be missed!

coachjdc said...

CAS threw me too. (boo)
Linda, best wishes & hope you return.


Linda G said...

Writing that last paragraph was tough...reading your good wishes tougher still.

Please don't delete Madness from your Favorites list...and I hope you'll come by and say hello now and then. I'll put up a "Closed" sign tonight, but you can always leave comments there.

Thank you all...from the bottom of my heart.

- Linda

Anonymous said...

As you know I have been a fairly frequent commenter on this site for a while. In a strange way I have come to think of you as a friend. One that I can't wait to hear from every day.

I hope that life settles down to the point that you can begin blogging again. But if not I wish you much peace and happiness. Take care.
Jim Dedmon

DONALD said...

You'll be back! -- in the meantime, we'll all miss the most human voice in the crossword blogosphere!

Anonymous said...

Hercule Poirot was Belgian, not French. Regardless, he was assumed to speak French. Now that you are stopping, perhaps I can post my frequent gripe about the NYTimes crossword---the use of references to comic strips in a newspaper that carries no comic strips. Several such references this week, including Sgt. Snorkel's dog.
I too will miss your blog---it was my last resort when "putingren" does not come to my brains. Please come back some time. Lucy

wendy said...

Linda, I've been so busy the past 2 days I haven't had a chance to even check in here much less do the puzzles; a fellow commenter sent me a private email that you were signing off! Boo hooo!!! Oh, how I will miss your daily words and pictures! Unacceptable! But I know you wouldn't do it unless you felt you had to. I'll talk to you later for sure ...

Norrin2 said...

Sorry to see you sign off, but I can certainly understand why. Keep in touch and keep crosswording.

Anonymous said...

Linda, Like Wendy I have been busy for the past 10 or so days...I too have thought of you as a friend and the other commenters as part of an extended family....I will miss your blog and the exchange of information that takes place here in a very cordial of wishes to you and your family...I will keep you on my favorites list

Anonymous said...

Donald said "...we'll all miss the most human voice in the crossword blogosphere." I second that!

I enjoy reading the crossword blogs, but they must take an extraordinary amount of time, effort, and discipline (none of which I have in any perceivable amount).

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Linda G.
Sorry to see this blog go! I've come to rely on it when I'm really stuck for a clue.
Hope you find the time to come back soon or perhaps someone else can run it in your absence.
Good Luck in your endeavors

Linda G said...

You guys...

Thanks for your concern and good wishes. I've received a couple of personal emails as well, and I'm very touched by your collective thoughtfulness.

I realize how much a part of my life this blog (and all of you) have become, and I don't imagine I'll stay away for too long.

Thank much.

Unknown said...

I don't think I have posted here, but I come often to read your take on the puzzles. I wish you well and look forward to your return. Take care.

Orange said...

Awww...insert frowny-face emoticon here. Sorry that the vagaries of life are pulling you away from your blog, where you've built a warm community. I hope you'll have enough time to keep puzzling and perhaps stop by the other blogs to say "boo" from time to time. And if not, that you'll still carve out some good leisure time for yourself, because you've got to have that.

Linda, you'll be missed!