THURSDAY, Mar. 22, 2007 - Karen M. Tracey

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Solving time: untimed, but very fast, possibly my fastest Thursday ever - maybe 6 minutes?
THEME: "Case closed!" - four theme answers all have "Case closed!" as their clue. The answers are as follows:

17A: "End of discussion!"
24A: "I've heard enough!"
41A: "Not another word!"
54A: "We're done talking!"

This puzzle could have been harder. That is about my only complaint. The long colloquial expressions in the theme answers are all really lively, and while some of the non-theme fill was mysterious to me, the vast majority of it was quite good, with a couple of stellar clue / answer pairings. Today is Thursday, so a necessarily short entry. Sorry, Karen.

The mysteries:

1D: "Good-night _____" (old TV sign-off) (Chet) - A bit before my time. This was part of the sign off on the "Huntley-Brinkley Report," NBC's news program from 1956-1970. The full sign-off was "Good night, Chet" - "Good night, David. And good night for NBC News." I somehow thought the answer was going to involve Carol Burnett or George Burns or some comedian. Not sure why.

28D: Lifeboat crane (davit) - looks terribly made-up. The "V" was the very last letter I entered because despite my love for diners and coffee (I can almost taste the Stamford IHOP fare), it took a long time for the "V" cross, JAVAS (36A: Orders of "draw one" at a diner), to come to me. Do waitresses really speak like this any more? If so, tell me where, because I will totally go there, especially if the waitress looks / acts like Flo or the cook / owner / manager wears a crazy white beanie like Mel did.

Anyone remember Mel's last name?! I didn't 'til I saw it just now while trolling for the above pic. SHARPLES! Great name.

56A: Subject of some Thomas Moore poetry (Erin)
49A: Irish oath (begorrah)

Oh how I love the Irish! Grrrr. My first mistake was reading "Thomas MORE" for "Thomas Moore" and thinking "what the hell else did he write besides Utopia?" The mystery with BEGORRAH wasn't so much the answer as how to spell it, especially the end of it. I mistakenly had ALTS for HGTS at 53D: Elevs., so had an "A" and not an "H" in the final position, plus I had nothing in the penultimate position, as nothing was making sense for the cross, 52D: Constitution: Abbr. (anat.) (one of the few answers in the puzzle that I don't like). To counter the Irish presence in the grid, I'm glad that the puzzle was willing to crack out the 60A: British guns (stens). Take that, Seamus! (I am totally joking, so please no angry, drunken emails, thanks).

58A: Homme d'_____ (etat) - I know of the "Coup," not the "Homme." I assume it just means "statesman" or something close to that. Someone will enlighten me.

Kwik Kakes
  • 21A: Player with the first retired number in baseball (Gehrig) - new baseball knowledge for me
  • 23A: Common time to start on a trip (dawn) - I , however, will be starting my trip (to Stamford) in the early afternoon, after my new dermatologist finishes checking me from head to toe for skin cancer! Because that's how I prepare for All my various tournaments.
  • 35A: "What _____" (1996 Sublime hit) ("I Got") - my absolute favorite clue in the grid. None of this ["_____ Rhythm"] crap. I think Sublime's lead singer died of a heroin overdose, but this song, "What I Got," is one of the brighter spots in the mid-90s music landscape. This answer is also part of a trio of first-person partials in the grid, including also 16A: "___ Dancer" (1973 Nureyev documentary) ("I am a") and 24D: "Look what _____!" ("I did")
  • 38A: Castellaneta, the voice of Homer on "The Simpsons" (Dan) - Sadly for this "Simpsons" fan, I never even saw this clue. Ms. Tracey knows what I like (although the clue could have been Shortz's). She is rapidly approaching David Quarfoot as grooviest, most Rex-pleasing constructor (and not just because she has said nice things about this blog publicly ... though that doesn't hurt). So get cracking Mr. Quarfoot. Less math-teaching, more puzzles for Rex.
  • 61A: "The Secret of NIMH" figures (rats) - one of my wife's favorite books, and thus a gimme.
  • 25D: Unlikely steakhouse patron (vegan) - nice way to clue this. VEGANs will not eat steak, it's true. They will also not eat an OMELET (46A: Dish you might flip over)
  • 34D: Jason of the N.B.A. (Kidd)
  • 48D: N.H.L.'er Nystrom (Eric)
  • 4D: Tricky tennis stroke (drop shot) - with GEHRIG (above) these answers make for a very sporty puzzle overall.
  • 23D: Remove (detach) - so easy and yet I just stared at DET-C- for what seemed like ever
  • 10A: Dracula's inspiration (Vlad) - The Impaler! Best historical nickname Ever!
  • 10D: Companion of Brahma and Shiva (Vishnu) - intersecting VLAD at the "V," and giving the grid a cool, multi-cultural look while also creating a death-dealing / universe-preserving dyad.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

Non-crossword add-on:

Chris Ware animation from new Showtime version of "This American Life"

14 comments:

mmpo 11:22 AM  

Not a lot to say, except "here I am in the present!" (I've submitted some commments six weeks late.) I thought I was attached to the pencil-and-newsprint solving experience, but as it turns out, I like doing the puzzle on line.

Homme d'├ętat --> statesman (yes)

1D: "Good-night _____" (old TV sign-off)
Not before my time, but certainly not the first good-night sign off to come to mind...
"Good night, and good luck," of course..."Good night, John Boy"...
"Good night, Dick"--yes, that must be it! And remember "Very interesting...but stupid?" Still stupid, still funny. Goldie Hawn was so cute and bubbly on that show (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In).

Good night, Rex...

DONALD 11:45 AM  

Seamus -- Heaney, Davey-Fitzpatrick, McCauley, Berkeley, McCaffrey, McStebbins, McGarvey, or just any Irishman? I guess the latter -- ERIN BEGORRAH!

Ultra Vi 1:55 PM  

Welcome, mmpo! One can really get addicted to retrieving the online puzzles (the minute they are available)!

Just a note to all Stamford-bound subjects of Rex - I hope to meet all of you there! Of course I won't recognize anyone so will hope to somehow ferret you out. Oh! You will know me because I will most likely be one of the slowest solvers. As you turn in your puzzles, just scan the room for me, still sitting there trying to get letter after letter. (I am nearly a full foot shorter than Rex, if that helps.)

And Amy, perhaps I can touch the hem of your coat or something. You will undoubtedly be one of the best there.

Good luck, everyone!

Tom the Dog 3:31 PM  

Sure, Vlad "the Impaler" is awesome. But I've also always enjoyed Ethelred "the Unready."

And I DID know Mel's last name. Used to love that show. Which shows how young I was when I watched it, because it's really awful.

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Rex's mother's live-in man-friend ex-glassblower type-person wishes His Majesty great fortune and joy on His Stamford quest.

mellocat 5:03 PM  

Heh, didn't realize my mention of your blog being entertaining would pay off so quickly! I'm barely coherent at the moment, having started my (driving) trip from NC to NY well before dawn this morning, but wanted to say thanks for the nice comments. Most of the clues you have to thank WS for -- I was actually trying for an ealy-week puzzle when I made this one. Glad you liked it! (Though your take on what you don't like is always entertaining too.)

Rex Parker 8:08 PM  

Hey,

I'll be curious, and possibly happy, to meet many of you at Stamford, so you may, if you wish, email me (see sidebar) and let me know you're coming, who you are, how to recognize you, etc. I'll be at the so-called "Cru" dinner on Friday night at Le Marriott. Later I will be doing Norwegian crosswords, apparently, and drinking. Drinking, for sure.

See many of you very soon. For the rest of you, this blog will continue as usual, but publishing times will be unpredictable on Saturday and Sunday.

RP

DONALD 10:51 PM  

Have a great time everybody, wish I could check it out (I'm just across the LI Sound) but look forward to the the Rex report!

Good luck!

Anonymous 10:59 PM  

Linda G here -- good luck to all of you. Wish I could have made it there this year.

JC66 12:36 AM  

The George Burns & Gracie Allen TV show always finished with a duologue which ended with George puffing on his cigar & declaring "say goodnight, Gracie."

Catherine 2:06 PM  

Totally not fair when I guessed BEGORRAH, used google to check, and got not.a.thing. that seemed to make that Irish. So I started changing things. It's all google's fault!

As for Stamford... man, I am jealous of all you going. Getting to Stamford would mean being home (I'm from Darien), and I could see family and friends. Alas.

[I love that I just wrote that as if you are going there tomorrow, not 6 weeks ago + tomorrow.]

WWPierre 8:16 PM  

6 weeks late here, as usual.

I remember "Good night CHET", and "Good night Dick" and I even remember "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are."

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002051/bio

imtzar 12:39 AM  

wwpierre, oui! nous sommes en accord! I hope you check in to learn that I was convinced that "Say good-night Dick.": "Good-night DICK" had to be right, although the clue of "Old TV..." left me a bit, um, fatigued. Rowen & Martin's Laugh-in may be "old" to host Rex, but not so much to me, considering I remember hearing & watching the Huntley/ Brinkley signoff in my much younger years!

WWPierre 1:39 PM  

Imtzar,

Heh, it might be a receptacle to you, but it's a socket to me. :)

After I read Rex's comments, and whether or not I post, I always refresh my bookmark to the current puzzle. I wonder how many people actually see this six week later stuff.

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