Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thursday, May 29 - John Farmer

Gettin' DOWN with John Farmer...what a way to spend a Wednesday evening!

While I managed to figure out that I was dealing with a rebus, I originally didn't limit it to DOWN...had ACROSS in a couple of the squares. When I couldn't make sense of some of the crosses, I finally got it straightened out.

[UPDATE: I didn't really get it straightened out. See JimH's blog for an explanation...and read the right words into the blathering that follows!]

The theme answers...all good ones:

1A: First clue (one D[own]). This was the site of one of my ACROSS mistakes...since I always read 1A before 1D. Its cross at 4D: Jazz/blues monthly (D[own] Beat) was one that didn't make any sense with ACROSS in place.

18A: Spans, as a river (stretches D[own]). Again, stretches ACROSS made perfect sense, although 13D: Hit the skids didn't...until I changed go ACROSS hill to go D[own]hill.

35A: Relocate from one side to the other (move D[own]town). Another ACROSS mistake here...made obvious by 26D: Master (get D[own] pat).

[Well, wonder ACROSS made sense in so many of the answers!]

58A: Facing one's house from a short distance away, say (D[own] the street), crossing at 39D: Scorn (look D[own] on).

68A: Transect (cut D[own]), with 45D: Inverted (upside D[own]).

I definitely need to brush up on my political facts...couldn't remember 10A: Secretary of state after Muskie (Haig) until I had a few letters in place. In fact, I didn't even remember that Muskie had been a Secretary of Jimmy Carter's cabinet.

I had a minor mix-up with tonight's featured connected cluing...27A: With 22-Across, order at a tiki bar (Mai / Tai). I had them switched, so the crosses were a bit difficult. Once I realized the error, I got 8D: Celt of NW France (Breton) and 11D: Handy guide for a walking tour (area map).

I spent years attending an Episcopal church, so I immediately knew 2D: Church vestibule (narthex) looks so good in the puzzle. I also nailed 1D: Faux fat (Olestra). Western Colorado was part of the test market for Lay's fat-free chips made with Olestra. They caused serious gastric distress in some people...I had no problem, though, and thought they were pretty tasty.

I really liked the clue at 21D: A Baldwin. Nope, not Alec or any of his brothers. In fact, it's the only Baldwin I'd want in my house...a gorgeous Baldwin piano.

Other favorites:

25A: Ancient square (Agora).

29A: "Coming to America" co-star (Arsenio Hall). I didn't know that but managed to get it with a couple of letters in place.

33A: __ Scamander, pseudonym of J. K. Rowling (Newt). Didn't know that.

39A: Title girl in a 2002 Disney film (Lilo). This was about the time the girls thought they were too old for Disney, so I didn't see it.

52A: Quarterback Rodney (Peete)...only because of crosses.

57A: St. Clare's birthplace (Assisi). We've had this more than once...St. Francis is more well known, but St. Clare holds her own in the New York Times.

63A: City on the Oka (Orel).

64A: Non __ (not so much, in music) (tanto).

7D: Sci-fi debut of 1921 (R.U.R.)...only because I've seen it in a puzzle.

9D: Doha dweller (Qatari).

40D: Like some fertility lab techniques (in vitro)...interesting cross at 51A: Some modern donations (ova).

41D: Hide in a closet? (leather)...probably my favorite clue.

49D: Stab in the back (betray). Eveb when I had BETR*Y, it still took some time to see it.

57D: "This is not __" (warning label) (a toy)...although it should have read "This bag is not __"...

Good one, John. I'm frequently frustrated by rebus puzzles, but I thoroughly enjoyed solving this one.

Here's the grid...

...and I'll see you tomorrow.

Linda G


Anonymous said...

Very tough puzzle...

How can you be "too old" for Disney movies? I'm in my 30s and still love going to see them!!!

Anonymous said...


35A Could work both ways with "across" and "down" since both words are dead center in the puzzle.


Anonymous said...

Linda, I did the same with One Down. I loved the process of getting the Rebus right...and it took some doing. I didn't know Narthex, and would have guessed it's in the throat or is some part of a complex insect.

MBG said...

Loved this puzzle. It took a while to get the trick of the rebus, but I got there eventually. Very clever. I love it when a puzzle makes me work hard.

I got stuck for a bit trying to fit a Baldwin boy into 21D. Like you, Linda, I much prefer the PIANO, and 1D OLESTRA was the first word I filled in.

Anonymous said...

Tricky puzzle. I'm sure Mr. Farmer is laughing with glee at all the consternation he causes. Just sick, if you ask me :)

Linda G said...

Tricky? Jim, that's putting it mildly! Seriously, though, John Farmer is a genius to have pulled off a puzzle like this one. In retrospect, even if I'd fully grasped the theme, I'm not sure I could have worded it in a way that readers would have understood what I was saying.

Looking forward to Friday's puzzle ; )

Anonymous said...

On the down clues the rebus stands for down. on the across clues, it stands for across. Chicago Sun Times just ran this puzzle today for the NYT puzzle section.