1920s-'60s Tennessee congressman B. Carroll - SATURDAY, April 11 - K.M. Tracey (Feature of 1925 opera Wozzeck / Historical decorum disdainer)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Word of the Day: ROSE APPLE, Syzygium is a genus of flowering plants that belongs to the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. The genus comprises about 1100 species, and has a native range that extends from Africa and Madagascar through southern Asia east through the Pacific. Its highest levels of diversity occur from Malaysia to northeastern Australia, where many species are very poorly known and many more have not been described taxonomically. ... [A] few [species] produce edible fruit that are eaten fresh or used in jams and jellies.... (Wikipedia)
Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here trying to keep things rolling while Rex is off in a tropical paradise. Actually, right now he's probably in an airport somewhere and if it's in Miami, chances are he just went through a door that took him out of the secure part of the airport and is right now, at this minute, trying to figure out how to get back through and wondering how the heck that happened. Not that that's ever happened to me.
So the kids are on Spring Break this week and it's been a loooong week. PuzzleHusband has a big thing going on at work so he's been leaving in the morning before I wake up and not coming home until after I'm already asleep, which means I've been single-parenting it this week. I honestly don't know how single parents do it. So the weather was kind of yucky today and PuzzleSon's neck has been hurting him so he didn't want to go swimming again, so we just hung around the house all day. The kids have decided that they want to learn to sing so they can audition for "American Idol" when they're old enough. PuzzleSon is particularly interested in the fact that there's a 16-year-old girl on the show right now who "must be missing a lot of school!" So they spent the whole day — and I mean the whoooole day — singing along to our Tivo'd episode of the "Top 9" doing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." They promised to keep practicing tomorrow. There's no way that song will find its way back out of my head until, I'd say, 2011. Luckily for me, it's a pretty good song (and the "Idol" contestants did a nice job with it). Hey, you know what? I'm going to let you judge for yourself:
Okay, okay, the puzzle. Have you done today's L.A. Times puzzle yet? The first thing I noticed about this grid was how cool it looked — and how similar to the LAT grid!
Speaking of the L.A. Times puzzle, you know there's a new blog about it, right? Check it out!
The second thing I noticed was Karen Tracey's name — yay! I think of Karen's puzzles, in general, as really smooth. What some commenters here call "tough but fair." And that's exactly what you want your late-week NYT, right? I blew through most of the left side of this puzzle and then came to a screeching halt. I say "most of" the left side, because that NW corner gave me a lot of trouble, despite the gimmes at 14A: SACAJAWEA (Her face began to circulate in 2000), 21A: ARNAZ ("Holiday in Havana" star, 1949), 1D: ASADA (Carne ___ (roasted beef dish)), and 3D: U. CONN. (Big East b-ball powerhouse). Seems like that should have been enough to make it fall, right? Wrong. For the longest time I thought Babar might be Mongolian for "hero" — you know, maybe that's why the elephant was given that name? I know. I was reaching there. But that kept ATONALITY (17A: Feature of the 1925 opera "Wozzeck") completely hidden from me for a long time. I actually had to Google both 6D: Child actor Carl who played Alfalfa (SWITZER) and 19A: "Lucrezia Borgia" composer (DONIZETTI) before I could make that corner fall. I'd like to believe I would have cracked it on my own had I let it sit overnight, but with the pressure to blog, I just didn't have that luxury.
- 5A: Equal measures?: Abbr. (TSPS). This one also contributed to my problems in the NW corner. At first I had nths, thinking that it just meant ... well, I don't know. I can't even make sense of it now. Because of the word "measures" in the clue, I did keep thinking teaspoons but couldn't figure out what that had to do with "equal." D'oh!
- 9A: Undercroft (CRYPT). Never heard this word before. Undercroft, that is. I've heard of crypt.
- 20A: 1920s-'60s Tennessee congressman B. Carroll ___ (REECE). I looked him up to see if there's any reason I would/should know him and ... nothing. Okay, he served in the House longer than anyone else in Tennessee history, but I'm guessing if you're not from Tennessee that's not a piece of knowledge that easily retainable. (And definitely not inferable. I mean if it was someone named Jackson or Gore or, I don't know, Parton or Presley — something you might associate with Tennessee.)
- 22A: A Buddhist might be found in one (ZEN STATE). My first thoughts were temple and ashram. Once I got the -EN, I was hoping it would be ZEN-something, but it still took a while to appear.
- 28A: Clip (SCISSOR). Ooh, that one hurts a little.
- 32A: Enters gradually (SEEPS IN). I had slips in at first, but realized that would be more like entering unobtrusively, not gradually.
- 36A: Historical decorum disdainer (FLAPPER). Okay, this is funny. First I had slapper, thinking someone who disdained decorum would slap an offending party, then realized, no, in that case the decorum disdainer would be the slappee, so I changed it to that. Eventually found my way to FLAPPER.
- 38A: Outdated communications (TELEXES). Way back in the old days....
- 39A: Dramatic exhalation (SIGH). PuzzleDad and I used to have a kind of contest to see who could make the longest, most pathetic sounding sigh. He usually won.
- 44A: "Something to Talk About" Grammy winner, 1991 (RAITT). That's a great one, but here's my favorite Bonnie Raitt song:
- 49A: Bum (MOOCH). Both words mean "to borrow."
- 52A: Gut flora (ECOLI). I'm not going to say anything about this one.
- 53A: Gut reaction? (DIGESTION). Or this one. Hello! Breakfast test!
- 57A: Gershwin title character (BESS). As in "Porgy & ..."
- 58A: Musical score abbr. (CRES.). Crescendo.
- 4D: "Lost" actress Raymonde (TANIA). She plays Alex, the daughter of that nutty French woman and Ben Linus. Wait? Was she really his daughter? I watch that show religiously, and after every single episode I go, "What just happened?" It's very confusing is what I'm saying.
- 5D: Related thing (TALE). Ooh, this one was tough for me to get too. I was thinking it meant "a thing that's related to something else," but it really means, "a thing that you would relate to (i.e., tell) someone else." Tricky!
- 11D: Musical accompaniment to many a comedic chase scene (YAKETY SAX). Oh sure, why not?
- 13D: River near Hadrian's Wall (TYNE). Again with the rivers!
- 15D: Adds spice to (JAZZES UP). Nice jazzy entry.
- 25D: Some a cappella music (MOTETS). I had notet at first, which isn't actually, ya know, a word. I was thinking nonet but already had that first T in there. Oops.
- 30D: On one's game (IN A GROOVE). And a nice groovy entry!
- 37D: Drumbeat (RUBADUB). I don't really know what this means. I put it on my list to look up so I could talk about in this write-up but now it's late and I'm exhausted. If you know what this means, please enlighten us in the comments!
- 51D: Bucolic backdrops (LEAS). Bucolic is one of those words that doesn't sound like what it means. I think it's too close to colic to make me put it in the "pleasant" category.