MONDAY, Jul. 28, 2008 -- Roger Baiocchi (GIVERS AND RECEIVERS OF ALIMONY / DYE IN TEMPORARY TATTOOS)
Monday, July 28, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy-medium
Hi, everybody. PuzzleGirl here, still broadcasting from the lovely, although somewhat rustic, Nosara, Costa Rica. Hey, I've got wireless Internet, so I'm not complaining. Today I hope to answer the question that seems to be on everyone's mind: "What do you mean 'blog a crossword puzzle'?!" Seriously. My parents have houseguests and my mom was bragging to them about me having this blogging gig, which is Totally Cute and I can't tell you how much I Love it. But, you know, people who don't read this blog every day have a hard time wrapping their heads around what it is we actually do here. A lot of people pick up a crossword puzzle every once in a while and finish it or not finish it, and when they're done they put it down and forget about it. I know. It doesn't make any sense to me either.
Other people -- like us -- have a completely different experience. Like many of you, I'm sure, I found this blog when I had given up on a puzzle and was Googling for an answer I just couldn't come up with on my own. I loved Rex's writing so much that I started to pop in every once in a while, but it seemed like some days it was hard to keep up. And I hate it when I can't keep up. So I started doing the puzzle every day and checking in here every day. Then I saw Word Play and it was pretty much all over. I was hooked. (Does it bother anyone else that some places the movie is referred to as "Word Play" and others as "Wordplay"? I thought so.) So AddieLoggins and I went to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in February where we met Rex, Orange, PhillySolver, and a bunch of other awesome people who seemed to be just about as nerdy as I am (I'm not going to speak for Addie). When I got home, I started to look at the other crossword blogs, JimH's and Orange's and … oh my God! Some days there are, like, six other puzzles I could be solving and reading about. I'm gonna need a spreadsheet!
You get the idea. I guess this is just like anything else people are interested in. Once you're into it, there's a Lot to talk about and, thanks to the Internet, you can make it a small part of your life or a big part of your life depending on the size of that part of your brain that obsesses about stuff. That part of my brain is, apparently, relatively large. (I'm pretty sure I just got an Amen from PuzzleHusband.) But enough about me, let's see what I think about the puzzle.
THEME: Site-Specific (72A) -- Each theme answer is a phrase that refers to a specific location.
- 1A/21A: Begin from scratch (start at square one)
- 41A: Move into the limelight (take center stage)
- 59A/73A: Be beaten by the rest of the field (end up in last place)
Although we all seem to have wildly different opinions on this every time it comes up, it seems to me that there aren't too many of the old standbys in this puzzle. ERIE, AHOY, ESE, OMEN, EPA, OMIT, AGEE. I don't know, does MANX count? How about STAT, DYNE, and IRAQI? Possibly OHIO and LEES. But that's it. That's all I'm giving you. The rest of the fill was good for the most part and occasionally awesome.
- 18A: Tailless cat (Manx). This breed originated on the Isle of Man (not the ISLE of Wight: 25D).
- 26A: Number of a magazine (issue). Today we get a nice, straightforward Monday clue.
- 45A: Once did (used to). Have you ever heard someone say they "used to could" do something? Bizarre.
- 47A: Element of a doctrine (tenet). Also, former director of the CIA George.
- 51A: Recreation center posting (rules). I was stuck on activities, dances, classes.
- 66A: Lets or sublets (rents). I kept skipping right over "lets" and reading "sublets" as a noun, so that slowed me down a little.
- 70A: Peeved, after "in" (a snit). Now this is a phrase I might actually use. (As opposed to "in a pet," which seems to come up relatively frequently in the puzzle, and which I would never use.)
- 3D: Extremely well-behaved child (angel). I have heard from a variety of sources that my children are angels when I'm not around.
- 8D: Nasal congestion locale (sinus). Eeewww.
- 9D: Sam Houston served as its president, senator and governor (Texas). What in the Sam Houston could I possibly have to say about this one?
- 28D: Unit of force (dyne). Memorize it. You'll need it again.
- 30D: Cleanser whose name comes from Greek myth (Ajax). Note to self: After you learn the Hebrew months and the European rivers, get a grip on Greek mythology.
- 31D: High-priced seating area (loge). Not to be confused with luge. Two totally different things.
- 32D: Performers Peggy and Pinky (Lees). When I was in high school, I was in most of the music groups. In the pops choir, we had a "solo night" two or three times a year. One of my fondest memories of my grandfather is how he went on and on after one solo night about how much I reminded him of Peggy Lee when he saw me up there on that stage.
- 38D: Nix, presidentially (veto). When my eye scanned "Nix" and "president" all I could think of was Nixon. And all the words that sprang to mind were inappropriate for the puzzle.
- 52D: Tilts (lists) and 54D: Tilt (slant). Nice.
- 19A: Emulate a mob (riot). I always think of a crowd at, say, a concert as a mob. In my experience, though, there is very rarely rioting involved on those occasions. Except at that one Guns N' Roses show.
- 65A: It's "catchy" (snag). A little too cutesy for my taste.
- 71A: 7-6, 2-6, 6-4, e.g. (sets). This makes no sense to me at all. Those numbers represent the scores of the sets, not the sets themselves.
- 42D: Such a jokester (cutup). Not sure what the "such" adds to this clue.
- 59D: What modest people lack (egos). I guess if you define ego as an inflated sense of self-worth, this clue/answer pair works. I don't know. That's a pretty narrow definition for a Monday.
- 6A: Heart of the matter (gist). Good word.
- 36A: Woodsy (sylvan). Pennsylvania means, literally, "Penn's woods." Huh. I bet you people in Pennsylvania already knew that.
- 40A: Coffee, in slang (joe). My favorite slang word for coffee. I just wish the clue had been "Coffee, slangily."
- 10D: Lurch from side to side (careen). Awesome word.
- 53D: Ho-hum feeling (ennui). Definitely not a ho-hum word.
I better sign off for now. The monkeys get up pretty early around here. And if the monkeys ain't sleepin', ain't nobody sleepin'. Hope to see you all back here tomorrow.
Pura Vida, PuzzleGirl