TUESDAY, Mar. 4, 2008 - Kevin Donovan (TACO ALTERNATIVE)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: "THAT'S A WRAP" (62A: Director's cry ... or a statement about 17-Across and 11- and 29-Down)

Ah, a supremely easy puzzle with mercifully few elements to discuss. Just what I need after a day or so of double-time blogging. Today's puzzle felt slightly easier than yesterday's - a couple of weird clues, but those were more bark than bite ... only one answer I truly didn't know, and that one was easy to get from crosses. So, all in all, a good palate cleanser for people returning from a weekend of spicy, spicy puzzles.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Glam rocker's accessory (feather boa) - got this very quickly, perhaps too quickly for someone who has never been a huge fan of glam rock and never cross-dressed with any regularity.
  • 11D: Transparent packaging material (cellophane) - I did this whole puzzle without realizing there was a theme. Didn't stop to think about how CELLOPHANE might be like a FEATHER BOA. It's one thing to wrap yourself in a FEATHER BOA, quite another to wrap yourself in CELLOPHANE, and still another to wrap yourself in a ...
  • 29D: Taco alternative (beef fajita) - here's the one problem with this theme. You WRAP the BOA and the CELLOPHANE around stuff, but in a BEEF FAJITA (or any FAJITA) it's the tortilla that does the WRAPping. You can't WRAP a BEEF FAJITA around anything. It is a complete, free-standing WRAP job, whereas BOAs and CELLOPHANE are dependent. They need an object to wrap. My wife raised another question - why BEEF FAJITA? If the clue is [Taco alternative], wouldn't the more appropriate answer be FAJITA. I'm sure there's a "Where's the BEEF?" joke to be made here, somewhere. The point is - BEEF is tacked on here. Superfluous, clue-wise. It's a nice phrase, though: BEEFFAJITA. Double-E, Double-F. Very nice.
Pop culture haters will be pleased to know that the only answer in today's puzzle that did not come to me readily comes from the world of pop culture (albeit my parents' pop culture, not mine): 54A: "Mr. _____ risin'" (classic Doors lyric) ("Mojo"). I know a few Doors songs and yet for some reason I cannot place this lyric. Any meaning MOJO might have had in my mind has been replaced by its one and only meaning for me now: it's the name of the helper monkey Homer gets in order to help him be even lazier than he already is, only MOJO learns his master's habits far too well and nearly kills himself with beer, bad diet, and inactivity. It's funny, I swear. It ends with a bloated, ailing MOJO lying on his back, typing onto a keyboard that's been held up for him. A simulated computer voice then says: "Pray for MOJO." Doors Schmoors. [Coincidentally, I just got a nice write-up over at a site called "The Math Mojo Chronicles" - thanks, Brian]

  • 16A: Staff note (memo) - threw me. Was thinking musical notes.
  • 20A: The "F" in the equation "F = ma" (Force) - shorthand for Newton's second law of motion. If F = ma, then what = pa?
  • 50A: Like trees on a prairie (sparse) - much better than the original clue, [Like hairs on some balding guy's head]
  • 55A: One always on the lookout for a deal (narc) - Clever clue. This answer also makes me think of "The Simpsons," but this time, I'll spare you the details.
  • 65A: Flood preventer (levee) - despite the New Orleans disaster, this word will always make me think first and foremost of Led Zeppelin.
  • 68A: Play to the back of the audience (emote) - shouldn't you always play to them? I mean, they paid for tickets too. Are they supposed to Not hear you, and just guess at what you're saying?
  • 1D: Sailor's hook (gaff) - familiar, but not familiar enough. Needed crosses.
  • 4D: Moneybags types (fat cats) - My comic book store is called "Fat Cat Books." You will never see anything like a "moneybags type" in there (except maybe Scrooge McDuck). You will, however, see at least one very fat cat.
  • 12D: Color meaning "caution" on 13-Down (amber)
  • 13D: See 12-Down (roads) - as wife said, AMBER is more on signs and signals than on ROADS per se, but if the ROAD is a metonym for the whole traffic system, then, yeah, OK.
  • 18D: Guitar _____ (hit video game series) (Hero) - got it easy, but I have to say, I do Not understand the appeal. If I don't kill someone or beat someone in a sporting event, how is it a video game?
  • 26D: They're uplifting (bras) - They sure are.
  • 34D: Stereotypical tattoo (Mom) - the answer that made me change A-ONE to ACME (32A: Tiptop)
  • 40D: Long-gone bird (dodo) - one of many great bird names. See also MOA, KEA, EMU, SORA ...
  • 53D: Wedding band, maybe (octet) - had the "O" and thought ".... O-RING?" Wife got it easily off the same "O."
  • 56D: Polite way to interrupt someone (ahem) - we decided that the word "polite" should be in quotation marks here, in that it's not really polite. It's faux-polite. It's a bit pushy, actually, and implies negligence in the part of the person being interrupted. A truly polite person would simply say "Excuse me..."
  • 60D: Watering holes (spas) - wanted SALOON or OASIS. Neither fit.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


PhillySolver 9:23 AM  

Good old Tuesday puzzles Did anyone meet Kevin Donavan at the ACPT? Anyway, nice puzzle, thanks. I was struck by how many words started with the letter A (16 or so) and about 14 contained the letter A. I am sure it isn't a theme, but I can't quite wrap my head around it.

I hope the NRA does not get angry with us for using a puzzle that has UNLOADS on top of AMMO.

As to MOJO, wasn't that a theme in one of the Mike Myers movies? I am sure he EMOTEd on the subject.

treedweller 9:25 AM  

Mr. Mojo Risin is from "Riders on the Storm." Fun factoid: this phrase is an anagram of "Jim Morrison".

As for "emote", isn't that what makes stage acting different from screen acting? You have to emote more to be understood by the back of the house, whereas on screen you will look like a fool if you go too far that direction.

Jim in NYC 9:33 AM  

However ungracious it seems for me to say this, SLED for "sleigh" (22A), and SCAR for "remnant of a tattoo removal, maybe" (10A) were just too easy. 22A was almost a homonym, not just a synonym; and seems to me the 10A clue was intended as a statement against tattooing, not seriously as a clue.

NJPhil 9:36 AM  

How can Led Zepplin be part of your pop culture & The Doors be part of your Parents?

And Mojo is way to important to be relegated to the Simpson Universe. It's masculinity at it's core

DONALD 9:47 AM  

I'm trying to imagine the sad motivation for removal of a MOM tattoo with a resulting SCAR!

Jim in Chicago 10:13 AM  

For some reason I tanked in the SW (appropriate placement for Beef Fajita, BTW) but recovered in the end. When I look at my comnpleted puzzle it all seems very easy, so I can't explain why I struggled a bit.

A few questions today.

I've always thought of CUMIN as a spice, not an herb, although a little googling (aka, research) shows that it is an "herb spice" so there you go!

This week seems to be "you can have any number of people form a band for any random event" week. I can't find it back, but know we just had NONET, and now we have an OCTET playing for a wedding.

I guess the SPAS, in their original form, were watering holes, so I've give the author that one, even though I don't think that many people still go to a spa to "take the water" but instead to get things like mud baths and seaweed wraps.

Bill D 10:15 AM  

I bought my first AM-FM radio (a 5-pound "portable") so I could hear the long version of "Light My Fire"; "The Doors" was my first LP purchase, and in my freshman dorm the usual weekend activity was a non-stop Hearts tournament accompanied by all the Doors' albums on the floor stacked up on the TA's "changer" - so I'll broach no dissin' of the Doors! Thanks for the anagram, Treedweller - it was new to me!

Still recovering from Friday and Saturday, I welcomed this Tuesday puzzle. I had very little trouble with this one (FEIGN took me a while, but the grid beat PUT ON out of me; got CELLOPHANE and FEATHER BOA immediately) yet it still takes me almost ten minutes to fill in even my easiest grids. This is why I could never be successful in a tournament - I'm too meticulous (read anal-retentive) to go fast.

Got to dust off some Doors vinyl and drift off...

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I guess I don't know of any Glam rockers. FEATHERBOW? FEATHERBRA? It wasn't until I erased CURRY (CUMIN) that it fell into place.

Guess I would have been 700th in Brooklyn!

Orange 10:22 AM  

Levee takes you to Led Zeppelin? It takes me straight to Don McLean's "American Pie."

Al Sanders 10:29 AM  

Actually, "Mr. Mojo Risin" is from "L. A. Woman". Loved the tidbit about that being an anagram of Jim Morrison. I'd never realized that before.

PhillySolver 10:36 AM  

@ al sanders

Thanks Al, I just listened to Riders on the Storm and thought my mojo had been stolen!

jae 10:45 AM  

Nice Tuesday puzzle. Had the same AONE-MOM-ACME experience. Thanks for the L.A. Woman correction Al, I've been going over Riders in my head trying to find the MOJO lyric, and yes, Austin Powers losing his MOJO was the plot of the second movie in the series. Add me to the levee = American Pie memory, an amazing song.

ArtLvr 10:46 AM  

There's another NEWT!

I see a rcession sub-theme too -- DEBTOR ABHORS FATCAT'S YENS, UNLOADS BOOZE, RUES RATES... what a DRAG!


Rikki 10:47 AM  

Very nice little Tuesday puzzle, thank you, Kevin Donovan, though I was a little bleary-eyed last night when I did it. Read Italian for Indian and had basil for cumin for a moment. When cumin became obvious, I wondered who uses cumin in Italian cooking. Uh... oh, Indian. I have the same beef with beef fajita as a wrap. It's only a wrap if you choose to make a wrap with your tortilla. But it's a small nit for a tasty Tuesday puzzle.

Favorite: they're uplifting/bras. I liked seeing Ezra in there. In London they have plaques on the buildings showing where famous people lived, and I used to walk by Ezra Pound's house on my way to a great little bakery.

I'm with Bill D and hearts and the Doors. Great "mood" music for long nights of playing cards and partaking of herbs that weren't spices instead of studying. Thought Val Kilmer nailed Morrison in the movie. Now I have Riders on the Storm and America Pie running around in my head!

Rex, you are much taller in pictures than here. So, hmmm, you don't cross-dress with any regularity? But you have cross-dressed? Now that's a picture I'd like to see.

ArtLvr 10:51 AM  

p.s. to Treedweller -- Do these anagrams just leap out at you, or do you search for them? Quite amazing!

PuzzleGirl 10:52 AM  

Nice, easy Tuesday. I fell into the CURRY/CUMIN trap and the AWAKE/ARISE trap and the A-ONE/ACME trap, but ... hey wait. Maybe it wasn't a nice, easy Tuesday. Just kidding, all those traps were easy to fix with crosses. Has anyone else noticed that the A-ONE trap seems to appearing regularly these days? Or maybe it's just me.

Orange: I'm with you (in the Chevy, at the levee, even though it's dry).

jim in chicago: Spices and herbs are different? (Can you tell I suck at cooking?)

As for Mr. Mojo Risin': I'm not a Doors fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I know this song. Well, not the whole song, just the "Mr. Mojo Risin'" part. I couldn't find a sample on iTunes, but I did find this poorly lit video of some apparently drunk people singing along to it, if you want to hear it. (I'm guessing it will be a "d'oh" moment for you.)

Hope my linking technique is better today....

Damon G. 11:34 AM  

I also think the BEEF part of BEEFFAJITA is a bit contrived, but it is nice fill.

I don't see any problem with the theme (in re to Rex's dependent/independent wrap comments). It's just three different things that we refer to as wraps: certain neck-wear, tortilla sandwiches, and certain food packaging. It's more about what we call these things than what they actually do.

Does your NARC-Simpsons connection come from the Hullabalooza episode?

Rex Parker 11:35 AM  




Jim in Chicago 11:55 AM  

Puzzlegirl, I do think of herbs and spices as different. Spices, generally, are berries like cloves, nutmeg, CUMIN, pepper, etc. Herbs are leafy things (fresh or dried) like parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  



I agree that boas are wraps, like capes or stoles are wraps: it's chilly dear could you get my wrap please?

Cellophane is cellophane-wrap and fajitas are wraps too.

Jim in NYC 12:02 PM  

Congratulations to Al S. on his fine performance at the ACPT.

karmasartre 12:28 PM  

re. Anagrams -- there is a link at A.Word.A.Day for an anagram engine, a very nifty tool. Go to wordsmith(dot)org, click site map, click "Interent Anagram Server". (There is a more direct route). Not sure if the Jim Morrison one is in their Anagram Hall of Fame.

doc John 12:30 PM  

A nice puzzle for a Tuesday. I'm OK with Fajita being called a wrap because here in CA wrap-type sandwiches (anything wrapped in a tortilla) are very popular and a fajita is just another kind of them.

That Mr. Mojo Risin is an anagram of Jim Morrison is actually fairly common knowledge. Not sure where I picked it up but I do know that I didn't come up with it all by myself!

Not sure why Rex's rock knowledge extends to Zep but not to The Doors...

And speaking of Zep, they're going to be the star of the new Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach. Their biggest (155 ft, multi-loop) coaster is to be called "Led Zeppelin-The Ride" and feature a Zep soundtrack during the actual ride. I think the song to be used is "Rock n Roll" but I'm not 100% sure of that. There's also going to be a Moody Blues ride, too.

And speaking of rides, I'm off to Disneyland!

PuzzleGirl 12:33 PM  

@jim in chicago: Thanks for getting "Mr. Mojo Risin'" out of my head. Onto "Scarborough Fair" now....

Pete M 12:34 PM  

L.A. Woman

parshutr 12:42 PM  

I loved this puzzle, because it was so uncrosswordy. No REO, ORT, or the rest of that memorized odd junk.
ETAL was a fave, and there were more tempting red herrings. Gentle was correct, but I had to undo subtle to get it.
As I get [slightly] better at this, I find myself switching strategies from going through and filling in blanks with certainties to just starting NW and working it more serendipitously.
These are fun.
Now for the weekly Classic...

Austin 12:47 PM  

I would posit that if F = ma, and you take the F to mean female, as in mothers are female, then it would follow that M = pa ...

Karen 12:54 PM  

Doesn't pa=pennsylvania?

I had FEINT for FEIGN until I wanted to clan up.

Chip Ahoy 12:59 PM  

Sweet. A nice little momentary diversion from 24/7/366 Hillary/Obama obsession. (Does anybody know of a good hair restorer?) I like the way the theme entries have apparently nothing whatever in common until the very end, with the end being at the proper place for an ending. That way you get to go, "Doh! Kevin Donovan, you wild and crazy guy. Thank you." It's comforting to know when NYT is down to their last 100 employees they'll still have the crossword puzzles.

Bill D 1:03 PM  

docjohn said: "There's also going to be a Moody Blues ride, too."

A SEESAW, no doubt, or perhaps an ASTRAL 'PLANE...

doc John 1:10 PM  

LOL. Actually, I think it's a dark ride (an indoor-type like a lot of those at the Disney parks). It will be called "Nights in White Satin-The Ride". So it will probably have all that and more. See the press release below:

Moody Blues Ride

ThaPyngwyn 1:12 PM  

Was I alone in going with "METAL" for 53D? Depending on what you're talking about, that could be a wedding band, too. That, and a misspelled "BEEFBURITO" for 29D had me messed up for a while.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Hey there Rex. It's Christina from the sunday puzzle. I do have to say I was quite pleased to finally have made it in. I didn't think I would due to the fact that my name is so long.And that it seems like if your name isnt "Eva"or "ava" or "Erle Stanley Gardner" it wouldn't happen.I read your blog everyday after I finish my puzzle.So I just wanted to say thanks for your humorous insights....

Rex Parker 1:46 PM  


When "Keith Richards" commented at my site a few weeks back, I had to accept that that was probably a fake. But today, I'm going to choose to believe that you are, in fact, Christina Applegate, and I'm going to fawn all over you. Actually, I'm not sure how one does that online without coming across really creepy. I'm just thrilled.


PS my wife says I should make you send proof, like a pic of you holding today's completed puzzle. I suggested that was a little much.

jls 1:55 PM  

re: "play to the back of the house." for me this suggests "project," since "emote" is a word which -- rightly or not -- carries the negative connotation of bad acting. howsomever... "project" has too many letters -- and dontcha hate it when that happens? ;-)

and rex, ditto on the "aone" to "acme" transition. sorry not to have seen you this year. i visited on friday night, but had to withdraw from the competition because "life" intervened. and don't i hate it when *that* happens?!

all best --


Rex Parker 1:59 PM  

Janie! I knew there was something missing from this year's tourney. Sorry to miss you. I'll be in NYC a few times this coming year for various reasons. Maybe we can have lunch or something. Why I'm telling you all this in public, I don't know.


emjo 2:03 PM  

this might be ill placed, but! epiphany- special edition ACPT puzzle drawings. to come in the next week or so...

Noam D. Elkies 2:52 PM  

The clue Tiptop for 32A:ACME is actually a two-way trap: I had not A??E but AC?? so my first guess was ACES...


Greg 3:22 PM  

For anyone who doesn't know (and Rex, I apologize if you've already mentioned this), you can do the puzzles from this year's ACPT online ($20 fee) and time yourself to see how you stack up against all the contestants, as well as against the other online solvers! I enjoyed them all immensely, but I'm also glad to be back to a more reasonable amount of puzzles in one day! :-)
Thanks to you and your wife, Rex, for the insights and perspectives on the tournament!
I'm still annoyed I was not able to compete this year despite being 5 blocks away, but I will make sure I compete next year and hope to meet you all then!

rick 3:26 PM  

Levee takes me to Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie.

Catherine K 3:29 PM  

2D - Good old faithful OREO is back again!

@Christina from the Sunday Crossword - Got your name immediately from the clue. Loving Samantha Who?!

41A Guitarist's Guitar = AXE. I don't get it. Someone please explain!

Greg 3:34 PM  

@Catherine K: Axe is a type of guitar (bass, I think) which is shaped like an axe. Gene simmons played one, I think. They're popular with heavy metal bands!

Rex Parker 3:56 PM  

I think AXE is a general slang term for guitar.

My best friend is begging me to ask for an autographed photo of Christina Applegate, so I'm asking. I'd be exceedingly grateful. I'll repeat the request in tomorrow's post, and then I swear - no more public swooning / harassment. Don't want to scare away the nice celebrities.


PS if you are famous in any way, shape, or form, and you read this blog with any regularity, you should take it for granted that I want an autographed picture of you. I'm lookin' at you, Bill Kristol!

chefbea 4:02 PM  

isn't tortilla the wrap that is used to make a burritto?
Was a great write up of the tornament on your wife's blog rex.

ArtLvr 4:12 PM  

@ Karmasartre --

Delighted with the wordsmith dot org website! Thanks ever so much for your pointer to the neat anagrams... I expect I'll go nuts there, now and again.

You are "Ark-Master, R.A."! (R.A. = Royal Academician)


PuzzleGirl 4:55 PM  

@chefbea: I don't know who is responsible for it, but several years ago many eateries started referring to burritos as "wraps." They also started filling tortillas with many things that have no business inside tortillas (sandwich fixings, primarily) and calling them "wraps." This all happened much to the chagrin of many (including me, in case you couldn't tell).

Greg 4:58 PM  

@puzzlegirl: you're absolutely right on the whole "wrap" issue, which brings to mind a questino I had regarding words coming to mean something more generic, i.e. how "xerox" is now a common word in our lexicon for a photocopy, or "kleenex" is for facial tissue, and even "google" has become for searching the web...
Does anyone know if (I am almost certain that there is and that I used to know it) there is a word to describe a brand-name which has become a generic word in the everyday language?

NJPhil 5:02 PM  

Sax players also frequently refer to their instrument as an Axe, so it transcends mere guitars.

PuzzleGirl 5:12 PM  

@greg: Apparently, it's called a synecdoche.

PuzzleGirl 5:14 PM  

Rex: You're right that AXE is a general, slang term, but I believe it's primarily used to refer to an electric guitar, and not an acoustic. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

karmasartre 5:15 PM  

@greg -- I think the word is Genericide.

@artlvr -- Yes, AWAD is fun site for word-lovers. Thanks for running "karmasartre", I've never done my "own" name.

@greg -- Is there a word to describe people who start thinking of themselves by their blog name?

treedweller 5:37 PM  

Well, quite a bit of development on the Doors front while I was out working today.

Thanks for the correction, Al--not sure why I went to "Riders" but, in my defense, the mojo risin part is kind of off in its own world compared to the rest of the song. I wish I had gotten it right, as I would have preferred to have "LA Woman" stuck in my head all day. In either case, I think I mostly would have kept hearing that same phrase over and over.

As to the anagram, I'm like Doc John--a guy I used to work with told me about it before I was ever much of a Doors fan.

mac 6:04 PM  

@greg: the one that comes to mind is "hoover", but that's in England, and these days "zwiffer". How about "rotoroot"?
Orange, I adore "American Pie", and thought of it immediately.

Big Lefty 7:26 PM  

Rex, thanks for the Led Zeppelin link. When The Levee Breaks ... memorable. As for The Doors, Love Her Madly was indeed a hit but even I'm not that old. ;)

Fun and easy puzzle. Now, just as was to close this comment, my 16 year old yells to his 13 year old brother, "PLAY GUITAR HERO!!" They love it. Me? Wouldn't ever.

mr. markus risin 7:26 PM  

levee makes me think about taxes... or maybe it's because April is right around the corner...

billnutt 7:45 PM  

Rex, CONGRATULATIONS on your vaulting to 55th place! Wonderful news. I'm holding off on checking out your blog report until I get the puzzles in the mail.

LA Woman, LA Woman, you're my woman.... At the very end of the the studio version of the song, Ray Manzarek plays the riff from the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" on the organ, for some reason.

For the past couple of years, I have my students research the Mississippi River Flood of 1927. I always play Memphis Minnie's original version of "When the Levee Breaks" and compare it to the Zeppelin version. Pretty cool. Oh, and there's a KILLER version of that song by the late blues guitarist John Campbell.

I was POSITIVE that you'd have used a pic of Tim Curry from the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW in connection with FEATHERBOA. Ah, well...

Nobody's mentioned that ISIS is also the name of a song by Bob Dylan from the DESIRE album. "I married Isis on the fifth day of May/But I could not hold on to her very long."

Sigh - maybe next year I'll be able to get to Brooklyn (land of my mother's birth) for the tournament.

ArtLvr 7:54 PM  

@ mr markus r-- Yes, but the modern spelling is "levy" for a tax (though you can probably spell it any way you wish as April arrives)... Note both levy and levee come from the French: lever = "to raise". Arrgh! That's no joke.


ArtLvr 7:59 PM  

@puzzlegirl -- loved the link for "synecdoche". It didn't mention "copyright-infringement" as another possible definition, however!


Anonymous 8:22 PM  

Feather Boa = Ziggy Stardust/Bowie
Mojo = Doors
Axe = Guitar
Levee = Led Zepplin
Smashes + Axe = The Who
Ace (Freeley) = Kiss
Ezra = Better than Ezra

Guitar Hero?

And you're telling me this puzzle was about wraps?


Fergus 8:26 PM  

"Took a little downer about an hour ago ..."

Getting back to the medium question from a few days ago, I chose to do the puzzle with a fountain pen today. Does this constitute a new medium? Sadly, I could answer both ways.

I don't know what it is in other states but there's an AMBER ALERT in California for when the authorities are issuing a general alert for the capture of the vehicle associated with some rather serious offense. I know the clue was about "caution" but I couldn't help thinking that this was what the clues were about.

Stumbling block for me was due to 6D since I wanted to spell the Places to park KERBS. The verb is Curb, and so, I see, is the noun. Enough other time spent in other English-speaking countries that I just let the spell-checker do its thing -- and yet that doesn't work with any authority when entering letters in the grid.

Bill from NJ 10:30 PM  

Once I got past CURRY for CUMIN and AONE for ACME, this fell pretty quickly.

AXE is generally reserved for electric rather than acoustic guitars for unknown (to me) reasons.

I always think of Pink Floyd's song
"Careful with that Axe, Eugene" when I hear the term

Addie Loggins 10:32 PM  

@greg: They're called "genericized trademarks," but I've also heard them referred to as "universal names" and "wonder brands." Google, Kleenex, Jello, Rollerblades, etc. And a few not as well known as genericized: Aspirin, Thermos, Velcro, Styrofoam, Astroturf, Crock pot, Popsicle, "fridge" (this is short for "Fridgidaire," not "refrigerator").

Fergus 2:17 AM  

Anyone listening late?

Despise LA as one might, it has become a worldly city. With as much to offer as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong, only you have to drive.

Greg 9:05 AM  

Thank you both very much for the enlightenment! It is learning such as this which made me initially get into crossword and other puzzles! :-)
Happy Puzzling!

Bill D 10:34 AM  

My favorite "wonder brand" is Da-Glo Flourescent Paint. It often appears in puzzles as Day-Glo or even Day Glow.

Eric 4:04 PM  

@Fergie: Is that what you hear? I've always heard "Just got into town about an hour ago... (took a look around see which way the wind blows)."

Prune 5:59 PM  

When my other half and I finish a puzzle with unresolved grumps, I come here to justify our mean-spirited feelings. :-)

Thanks to everyone for upholding our complaints about amber on roads and tacos that somehow default to beef filling.

I'll accept the theme -- I've seen plenty of food vendors that use WRAP to refer to any rolled-up offering (esp. a thin carb layer blanketing the other ingredients). However, BEEF FAJITA adds an egregious, unclued ingredient to the answer -- and I charge both the creator and editor with a service fault on this one.

Similarly, I charge a fault on the ROADS => AMBER linkage. I'll happily accept ambiguous clues, but when there is a much better fit for a particular interpretation, I expect the clue to give me some satisfaction with the constructor's interpretation: a pun, perhaps.

With ROADS => AMBER, I have a problem because amber on a road (the physical surface) has a distinct meaning of its own. In the USA, it signifies traffic traveling in a direction other than your own: center dividing line, pedestrian safety island, etc.

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