TUESDAY, Jul. 29, 2008 -- David Kwong and Emily Halpern ("Casablana" star, informally / GIBBONS OF TV TALK / ATOLL MAKEUP)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Relative difficulty: Easy
It was Poker Night here tonight and when the game finally broke up (one guy leaving with pretty much all the money and another guy promising he wouldn't be back next week) I had some technical difficulties, so I'm way behind schedule. Plus I'm exhausted -- from, ya know, reading, eating, and lazing around the pool all day -- so I'm going to get straight to the puzzle and who knows what I'll say?
THEME: Mediocrity -- Theme answers are phrases that include the word "great," but substitute a word that means … something less than great.
- 17A: Mediocre F. Scott Fitzgerald novel? (The Decent Gatsby)
- 27A: Mediocre place to scuba? (Good Barrier Reef)
- 49A: Mediocre Steve McQueen film? (The Not Bad Escape)
- 65A: Mediocre Jerry Lee Lewis hit? (Okay Balls of Fire)
Bullet points (cuz that's how I roll):
- 1A: "Casablanca" star, informally (Bogie). I think I've been watching too much golf, because I really wanted to spell it "bogey."
- 16A: Bejeweled topper (tiara). Every once in a while I see an otherwise normally clad young woman wearing a tiara in public. I always wonder if that's her go-to fashion accessory or if she lost a bet or what.
- 21A: Gibbons of TV talk (Leeza). Couldn't find the clip, but this reminded me of the Sports Night episode where Casey McCall (Peter Krause's character) goes on a blind date with a woman whose name is spelled "Lisa" but pronounced "Leeza." He has a truly cringe-worthy conversation with her about how is ex-wife's name is also Lisa, but "pronounced the normal way." What's really weird though, is that in "Six Feet Under," Peter Krause's character has an ex-girlfriend named Lisa who comes back into his life and he eventually marries her, and in "Dirty Sexy Money" his character's wife's name is Lisa. What's up with that?
- 38A: Atoll makeup (coral). I've seen the word "atoll" in the puzzle before, so today I decided, as a gift to you, I would finally look it up. You're welcome. Turns out an atoll is "a ring-shaped ribbon reef enclosing a lagoon in the center." The term was popularized by Charles Darwin who, of course, wrote On the Origin of Species, which my dad is actually reading right now. We're not sure what's wrong with him.
- 41A: Quick-witted (sharp). I had the S here and I knew it was a word that shared a bunch of letters with "smart" but wasn't "smart." Weird.
- 69A: Barbie's beau (Ken). Did you know Ken has a last name? It's Carson. The weird thing is that I was going to tell you about how, for some reason, Ken always makes me think of Nancy Drew's boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. And Nancy's father's name is Carson Drew. Eerie.
- 73A: Hose material (nylon). Is this just referring to pantyhose or are garden hoses made out of nylon too?
- 1D: "Little Women" woman (Beth). Someday I will have a puzzle published with BETH as one of the answers and I guarantee you right now that I'm cluing it in relation to the Kiss song and not to "Little Women." Not that there's anything wrong with "Little Women." Or anything particularly right with Kiss.
- 4D: "For sure!" ("Indeed"). This word sounds best if you can also refer to the person you're talking to as "my friend." For example: Person A: Wow, that Peter Criss can really sing. Person B: Indeed he can, my friend. Indeed he can.
- 5D: Suffix with journal (ese). Huh? I had no idea this was a thing. Or rather, I've always chuckled at the phenomenon of journalese but I didn't know it had a name. Some funny stuff here.
- 11D: Scope out, pre-heist (case). As in "case the joint." Speaking of heists, if you liked Ocean's Eleven and haven't seen Ocean's Thirteen yet … what are you waiting for? Go rent it now. It's awesome.
- 18D: Items of apparel for Dracula (cloaks). Don't like the plural here.
- 26D: _____ welder (arc). Whatever you say.
- 28D: First name in book clubs (Oprah). You know what's weird about my grandmother? She hates Oprah. I don't know why but she can't stand the woman. If Oprah's name comes up in conversation, Grandma scoffs and rolls her eyes and mumbles under her breath. I've seen Oprah in situations where I thought she was really, really good but I can't get over the fact that she puts herself on the cover of her magazine every freakin' month.
- 33D: "All My Children" vixen (Erica). I heart Susan Lucci.
- 40D: Roget's listings (synonyms). Weren't we just talking about Frank Caliendo the other day? He does a bit in which President Bush says that synonym is his favorite flavor.
- 45D: Alley _____ (oop). I haven't really been into basketball much in the last few years (like, since the Magic-Bird era), but there's nothing prettier in basketball than the alley oop.
- 67D: One of a snorkeler's pair (fin). The second time PuzzleHusband and I came down here to Costa Rica we had been married about seven months. PH went out boogie boarding and got caught by a wave so big that he lost his fins and his wedding ring! At that point in time, my dad had managed to hang onto his wedding ring for 34 years, an observation I made several times that day. And, yeah, I've made it a few times since then too.
Pura Vida, PuzzleGirl