SATURDAY, Mar. 31, 2007 - John Duschatko

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Solving time: I won't be posting my times any more...
THEME: 7D: With 27-Down and others like 10-Across and others (CONTINUED ON THE NEXT / LINE) - 10 answers run off the end of the puzzle and continue on the next line

I should not attempt to do irregular puzzles like this late at night, especially after consuming an entire bag of chips and something like a pound of guacamole. And a beer. I returned home from a screening of Orson Welles's Lady from Shanghai (during which I almost fell asleep despite the movie's goodness), and sort of poked at the puzzle for a while before finally settling down in bed and tackling the puzzle in earnest. I can't say the experience was terribly enjoyable, though I was briefly happy to finally "get" what the hell was going on. The trick (which I've seen before, and should have picked up more quickly) involved a seemingly normal Across clue that was followed by another Across clue that was simply a dash: "-". I think I last saw this cluing strategy in the Giant "H" puzzle a few months back, where answers traversed the black space formed by a Giant "H" in the middle of the puzzle grid. Anyhoo...

The "continued" answers include:

  • 10A [with 14A]: Freddy Krueger and others (slas / hers) => SLASHERS
  • 16A [with 17A]: Continental locales (airp / orts) => AIRPORTS

[side note: I had the NW corner, including HERS and ORTS, without having any idea how HERS and ORTS (perfectly good words) could be the answers to "-"]

  • 19A [with 20A]: Sell short (unde / restimates) => UNDERESTIMATES
  • 24A [with 25A]: Musician with the first record formally certified as a million-seller (Glenn M / iller) => GLENN MILLER (I had GLENN MERCER at first ... wtf?)
  • 34A [with 38A]: Jacquerie (upri / sing) => UPRISING (totally new word to me: between my decent French and my wife's Historian-ness, we came up with nothing)
  • 40A [with 41A]: One who shakes in a kitchen, maybe (seas / oner) => SEASONER (I kind of like how often these answers break into parts that are themselves actual words)
  • 45A [with 46A]: Like Oedipus's marriage (prede / stined) => PREDESTINED
  • 54A [with 59A]: Hamstrings (incapacit / ates) => INCAPACITATES
  • 61A [with 62A]: Mulling (rumi / nant) => RUMINANT
  • 64A [with 65A]: Crepe paper feature (crin / kles) => CRINKLES

The "C" in CRINKLES was the last square I filled in. I had WRINKLES and I asked Sandy, "Do you understand how 55D: Dict. label could be ARWH?? I don' t get it." She was no help. Part of me wanted to leave it, figuring it was some Saturday crap I just didn't know. Then I looked for the weakest link, which turned out to be the "W," and tada: CRINKLES.

If I never see SPERM in the puzzle again (13D: Kind of bank), it will be too soon. Not too happy about LAIN - 26D: Been intimate (with) - either. Seriously, SPERM + LAIN + "Oedipus's marriage" = me grossed out.

Please explain 24D: '00's, now (grads) to me. I think it has something to do with this decade, but ... it's not making any sense to me.

I was so thrilled to see Toots SHOR (1D: Famed host near Broadway) in the puzzle again, if only because this is the second time I've gotten to use his name since I learned it, from a puzzle, something like 6 months ago. I will put him on the Pantheon nominee list if this frequency trend continues.

FERMI (5D: Tiny distance unit) has to be the most versatile name in all of science. I find that his name is the best guess to any potentially physics-related question. He is to science crossword clues what Henry Fonda was to the Entertainment category in the original "Trivial Pursuit." In the 80's, all those Entertainment clues were oriented toward an era way before my own, and my sister and I took to answering all Entertainment questions we didn't know (most) with "Henry Fonda!?" Sometimes we were right. (Speaking of Entertainment, didn't know IRENE - 48D: Godfrey's woman in "My Man Godfrey" - but could infer it easily enough) Best thing I ever learned from "Trivial Pursuit": "Who betrayed Norway to the Nazis?" => Vidkun Quisling. We cried laughing over how completely, ridiculously obscure that answer was (to a couple of teenagers in the 80's). It became emblematic of all esoterica. I've since learned that Quisling's not That obscure, and that Quisling even got his own noun, quisling (lower-case), meaning, of course, "traitor."

Not much else in this puzzle is thrilling me, though I did like the cleverly clued ABEAM (6D: At three or nine o'clock), the split IPSO / FACTO (25D: With 5-Across phrase of clarification), which took me a while to get, and EBOOK (15A: Modern library offering), which, along with 51D: "Green _____" ("Acres"), was one of the few true gimmes in the puzzle. Also enjoyed the relatively obscure gaming answers 8D: Pari-mutuel machine (tote) and 44A: Card game with a bank (faro). I also have a certain affection for SPANK (46D: Severely outscore, slangily), having nothing to do with severely outscoring. Had forgotten that Drago's first name was IVAN (54D: _____ Drago, "Rocky IV" villain) - never saw the movie, but it was pretty iconic in my youth. Was that the "Rocky" movie with James Brown's "Living in America" as its anthem? Yes. Glorious, mid-80's, Soviet-hating jingoism. That is how I like to remember my high school days.

Lastly, did Shakespeare name his famous Forest of ARDEN after his mother? Seems weirdly Freudian. Discuss.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

26 comments:

? 10:19 AM  

I interpreted "00's" as college GRADS of the class of 2000...wonder if they refer to themselves as "zeroes"?

barrywep 10:19 AM  

Finally, I can explain something to Rex. I believe '00's refers to the class of 2000 who are now grads> This, combined with Orange's observation that Duschatko's last puzzle appeared in 2000, leads me to think Will had this one on the shelf for awhile. It should have stayed there. It took me 54 damn minutes.

barrywep 10:23 AM  

BTW it looks like Shakespeare's mother was named after the forest:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_of_Arden
What does that do to your Freudian/oedipal theories?

JC66 11:11 AM  

I originally thought '00's might have something to do with James Bond, but finally realized it referred to the class of 2000.

Got ARCH from the crosses, but have no idea what this refers to. Can someone help?

Norm 11:54 AM  

Arch = archaic I think.

DONALD 12:24 PM  

or Architecture...

Linda G 12:34 PM  

I don't think I would have figured out this theme without a little help from the Fiend. Nothing was making sense, so I took a peek at her blog (love that she does the puzzle at night). I only read enough to get the theme, then worked on it for too long. Picked it up with my morning coffee and finished all but a couple of entries in dead center.

SPERM was one of the first words I got, although I dearly wanted it to be SWISS (ick!). The only other gimme was EBOOK. I knew crepe paper had CRINKLES and was stymied by what else they were looking for. Hah!

I thought the '00' referred to spies, or maybe to hundred dollar bills. And I started college in 2000.

I'll be onto this theme if I ever see it again.

barrywep 1:49 PM  

Linda G:
I always send the Fiend a dollar via the link on her blog whenever she helps me understand something> It's a lot cheaper than using the NYT 900 line.

Wendy 2:09 PM  

I just checked my dictionary and yes, ARCH is for archaic. The word "label" was unfamiliar in that context, but that is indeed what those usage designations are called in the dictionary industry.

This puzzle was impossible. The only answer I could get on my own to start was ERIE, and that only because the Ft. Erie entrance into Canada from Buffalo is the one I take, and I had to assume a battle had taken place there. I was worried that the puzzle had some sort of slasher movie theme at first, which almost made me set it aside in despair.

I'm always amazed at how many times I can fail to recognize the answer for a often recurring clue. One such example is Marc Antony's love. How many times has that answer been AMOR; how many times have I tried to make it CLEO, even though that's obviously not correct cluing-gimmick-wise?

I thought 'OO's had to do with something of a binary nature, failing to notice that there were two apostrophes there, not one.

Will all of these mental gymnastics help us ward off dementia in our later years? I have to hope so.

Orange 3:32 PM  

You know, I thought I read that the NYT had finally quit making decades look like possessives with the second apostrophe. I prefer the '00s.

Eric 3:52 PM  

Sometimes I almost don't want to get as good at solving as, say, Barrywep. But as all signs point to my maintaining the obsession, I can see the day, probably years from now, when I'll too be aggravated that a Saturday puzzle took 54 minutes to solve. But as for now, I am fairly basking in nailing this sucker in about 3 hours of cumulative effort! Humorous miss-fill: for too long, I tried to make SOUS CHEF work instead of SEASONER. Don't ask me why. Once I got the gimmick of pathologically inappropriate hyphenation, I finally saw the light.

Linda G 5:32 PM  

Thank you, Eric. I'd be doing cartwheels if I'd completed it in 54 minutes. Truth is, I don't have a clue how long it took. There are some things (many things, I'd guess) that I never want to know.

barrywep 7:19 PM  

Yes Linda and Eric,
But you are not the 137th (or was it 138th?)greatest crossword solver in the universe. I have a reputation to uphold.

Eric 7:33 PM  

Oh, Mr. Barry, don't get me wrong -- from my distant and humble vantage point as the 508th greatest crossword solver in the universe, I can well imagine the weighty responsibilities that accompany such admirable standing.

Linda G 7:47 PM  

Well, I obviously didn't know I was in such admirable company! I'm glad I don't have such a reputation ; )

Ultra Vi 11:04 PM  

My kind of puzzle!! I love ones that are (relatively) easy once the theme is understood. My first clue to the theme was knowing that 61A: Musing simply HAD to be RUMINANT. Don't ask why I knew that.

However, it may be time to brush up on my knowledge of Canadian forts. :(

Too bad the applet (at least on my aged laptop) couldn't reproduce the puzzle as seen in the actual newspaper. In print, the continuations of words were simply blank spaces (no clue numbers there), making the puzzle look much more impenetrable to start.

u v 11:08 PM  

P.S. Hey, did I read that correctly? You have a fondness for SPANKing?!!

DONALD 12:18 AM  

Careful!

Steven 8:26 AM  

@orange: here it refers to a specific year, not the decade, so perhaps the difference in punctuation. (?)

In the print version, there were no " - " clues, and it was all the harder to figure out what was going on!

Wendy 10:49 AM  

Vi - I was going to let that SPANKing mention of Rex's pass, but I did guffaw when I read it the first time around. Entirely in keeping, IMOO and if I may be so bold as to suggest it, with his prior observation that when he sees THON, he thinks of THONg ;);)
When will we see the puzzle where the theme is all double-entendres?

mmpo 9:30 AM  

Boy, what a bear! A few months ago, nay, a few weeks ago, I think I would have walked away from this one. It just seemed so inpenetrable. But when you're hooked, you're hooked, so I kept at it until I got my first breakthrough, which came from Jacquerie: UPRISING. I was still looking for possibilities of multiple letters in a single square, and when I couldn't come up with any way to finish "I SING" to describe humming (mm-hmm, mm-hmm), it came to me.
INCAPACITATES, RUMINANT, CRINKLES, PREDESTINED and SEASONER quickly followed. SLASHERS and UNDERESTIMATES were not long in coming (though a quirk of the online crossword application meant that I inserted an extra letter without noticing and momentarily thought that UNDERSTIMATES wouldn't fit)
About GRADS, which also came quickly but that I refused to accept...doesn't the term "grad" expire when you go out and get a real job? Hmm? (I sing wordlessly--no, too long).
STEER. I should get clues like this more quickly by now. Looked for a verb for the longest time...STEER west, young man?
Gym amenity. First tried CHALK for some reason. Then, when I had AU, attempted CAULK. Hmm. Talc, ok, chalk, sure, but caulk?
I too wrote in and erased CLEO about half a dozen times. I think that one will stick now!
Finally, despite getting the theme about a third of the way through my solving time, CONTINUED ON NEXT LINE evaded me until the bitter end. I wanted to make it CONTINUING STORY LINE or some such.
Once SAUNA came to me, I was able to put FARO back (like CLEO, this one also came and went many times--my favorite wrong answer being FLOO), and the rest fell into place.

"Thank you for playing, your solution has been submitted" just seems a bit inadequate when you've managed to finish a puzzle like this one...

Kim 11:25 AM  

Six weeks later here.
In the Dallas Morning News edition of the puzzle, it wasn't '00's now -- it was clued as "alumni". Isn't that weird and a much easier clue.

Rex Parker 11:28 AM  

Hurray for that re-cluing. I just replied to another reader who tried to explain the logic of the original clue, which I understood but did not approve of. This new clue is perhaps too easy, but makes more sense, so yay.

RP

jae 4:41 PM  

Also six weeks out. The San Diego paper left the 00s in for 21D, so that was the last part of the puzzle for me (I too had CLEO too long.) The theme/trick was definiately harder to decipher with no numbers and no "-"s. I was about to give up on this one when I gave in and googled jacquerie. Uprising jumped out at me and I finished all but the center (CLEO problem) pretty quickly. I also had NW done correctly before catching on the the theme. Now if I can just remember this trick for the next time it comes up!

WWPierre 3:32 AM  

I still had some tea left in the second cup when I finished this, with no outside help, (mind you, it was cold enough to gulp.)

It was GLEN MILLER who gave me the hint of the theme. I can't remember running across a theme quite like this before. I had MONSTERS for 10a for a while, and EMAIL for EBOOK.

"Jacquerie" for UPRISING is a word I have never run across before.

I too was beguiled by CLIO, especially when I knew that all gyms must have a SCALE. (not that I have ever visited one.) our shower room has a coin operated scale from a drug store that I bought for $100 thirty years ago.

Wendy said:
"Will all of these mental gymnastics help us ward off dementia in our later years? I have to hope so." To which I say a hearty AMEN.

How does one get his rank in the crossword solving world, anyway?

Me Again 3:37 AM  

Oh yeah, I wanted to mention that I thought this puzzle a tad racy today, what with "LAIN with" SPERM, and Oedipus.

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