SUNDAY, April 12, 2009 — Eric Berlin (Historic Scottish county / Amy of "Field of Dreams" / Eyeball covering / Newsman Huntley)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Theme: "Fitting In" — Ten sets of the letters PEGS are arranged in a square with each letter circled. The two-part reveal is:
Hey, everyone. PuzzleGirl with you again for your Sunday puzzling pleasure. Everybody having a good weekend so far? I'm about ready for Spring "Break" to be over. Unfortunately, the kids are off Monday too. What's up with that? Well, at least most of their friends will be back from their various trips by then so maybe we can find something fun to do that doesn't involve me entertaining them. (Or them entertaining me — again ... and again — with the Journey song.) We actually have had a lot of fun this week, it's just exhausting is all. Looking forward to what my mother-in-law calls my "Special Angela Time" next week.
So, the puzzle. I had quite a bit of trouble finding traction today. I was pretty much all over the place for a while. The first place I actually started to feel like I could drop in a few answers and build on them was down in the SE corner where [114A: Rehnquist's successor] John ROBERTS was a gimme and I wasn't going to be distracted by all of our recent Ramos talk but instead zeroed right in on SLOE GIN as the [119A: Fizz ingredient] in question.
Once I finally grokked the theme, it helped somewhat, but it also caused some confusion, primarily due to my ... stupidity. As embarrassing as it is to admit, GERI, [118A: Spice Girl Halliwell], was a gimme. So I knew the first two letters of [122A: Many unread messages] had to be S and P but, for some reason, I didn't get that they had to be in that order. So I entered PSAs, which truly makes no sense at all and was easily fixable to the correct SPAM. Other problems included [20A: AARP part: Abbr.], where I kept thinking AARP stood for Association for the Advancement of Retired People. I know. I can't believe I'm admitting this publicly either, but there you are. There's only one skater named Brian I can come up with on my own and the "1987" in the clue really doesn't help me differentiate between Boitano (the one I know) and ORSER (the one I don't know). Boitano won Olympic Gold in 1988, but he was a U.S. National Champion in 1987, so that proves ... nothing really because his name still has too many damn letters to fit in this puzzle. Oh, hey, look at this! Wikipedia tells me that Orser won Worlds in 1987 beating Boitano. Boitano beat Orser in both 1986 and 1988. So I guess they were rivals. I know some of you out there are going, "Oh man. PuzzleGirl really needs to pay more attention. This is all so obvious. Why does she embarrass herself like this??" Okay, I'll move on.
Okay, here's another really dumb answer from me. I entered Plato for COSTA [36A: _____ del Sol]. I don't even know what that means. And I don't know how many times I've seen "My Cousin Vinny," but they must have all been a long time ago because I didn't have any idea Marisa Tomei's character was named MONA (63A). I had M--A and thought "Mira? That could be right!" Uh, no, it couldn't. Thankfully, my first guess on [42A: Epitome of simplicity] was completely reasonable. I guessed pie. That makes sense, right? Sure, but it's still not ABC. Similarly, I guessed fins for [77A: Fivers], though the correct answer is ABES. I also entered Cap'n for CAPT. at 99A ["Aye, aye!" hearer: Abbr.] But that sorted itself out eventually. Alright, enough of my screw-ups, what else can we talk about?
- 23A: Felt suspicion (MISGAVE). I'm sorry, but this just — I don't even know where to start with this.
- 34A: Give up, slangily (PUNT). I love this use of this word.
- 41A: "Law & Order: ___" (SVU). I always have to think about whether this is SVU or SUV.
- 46A: 1976 top 10 hit for Hall & Oates (SHE'S GONE). I was just playing this song for the kids today. Ya know, hoping for a little more variety in the future.
- 50A: Bright spot in the night sky (DOG STAR). This is the common name for the star Sirius, which is part of the constellation Canis Major ("Big Dog" in English). I had never noticed before but Sirius XM Radio has a dog with an eye shaped like a star in their logo.
- 59A: Punk rock club activity (SLAM DANCE). This is the same thing as moshing, right? My friend Rachel and I were at a show in Baltimore one time (Candlebox, I think) and were up pretty near the stage. A young woman in front of us was asking everyone around her: "Are you gonna mosh? Are you gonna mosh? 'Cuz if you're gonna mosh...."
- 61A: Catch (RUB). As in "There's the rub." It's from Hamlet.
- 62A: You are: Sp. (ERES). We had a long discussion not too long ago about how there are two verbs meaning "to be" in Spanish: ser and estar. ERES is the second-person form of ser.
- 64A: Word repeated before "go away" (RAIN). Oh good: an opportunity to include one of my favorite songs of all time. (No, it's not all "American Idol" at the PuzzleHouse.)
- 71A: Word with chair or street (EASY). I am So Bad at these types of clues.
- 73A: First name in '50s comedy (DESI). He seems to be getting a lot of play these days.
- 78A: Layered rock (GNEISS). This word just looks all kindsa wrong. I learned it from crosswords.
- 83A: Eyeball covering (SCLERA). Speaking of looking wrong.
- 89A: "Farewell, ___" (Dylan song popularized by Joan Baez) (ANGELINA). Okay, here's the thing. I'm not a big fan of Joan Baez, but I am a big fan of singers doing Dylan covers. So here's one of my favorites.
- 96A: Horseshoers' tools (RASPS). Didn't have a clue.
- 112A: Org. for singles? (USTA). The United States Tennis Association.
- 116A: Good time for suntanning (NOON). I read this as "Good name for suntanning" and had no idea what that could possibly mean. Man it sucks getting old.
- 120A: Tech. school (INST). Did anybody think "poly?"
- 6D: End of a ballade (ENVOI). This is a short stanza at the end of a poem that addresses the poem's audience, typically commenting on the preceding poem. Wikipedia tells me "The envoi first appears in the songs of the medieval trouvères and troubadours; they developed as addresses to the poet's beloved or to a friend or patron.
- 7D: Cause of a limp (GAME LEG). I'm sure I've heard this before but I have no idea where. With the G and the M in place I thought, "It can't be gimp. That would be completely inappropriate!"
- 8D: Son of Venus (AMOR). Ah, Cupid.
- 9D: Something D.C. does not have (SEN). Do you all know that the motto on the license plates in D.C. is "Taxation Without Representation." I always thought that was kind of ... sassy.
- 14D: Key opening? (OH SAY). The first words to the U.S. National Anthem, written by Francis Scott Key.
- 15D: Vintage cars (REOS).
- 19D: Game pursuer (TERRIER). No idea.
- 33D: 1936 Oscar-winning title role for Paul Muni (PASTEUR). Out of only 25 films this guy appeared in, he was nominated for Oscars in five of them. That's a pretty good average!
- 41D: Best-selling novelist about whom Gore Vidal said "She doesn't write, she types!" (SUSANN). Valley of the Dolls is one of those books I keep thinking I should have read by now.
- 42D: Lacking a key (ATONAL). Again with the atonality!
- 43D: Game with balls (BOCCIE). I prefer the other two spellings: Bocci, and Bocce.
- 47D: Really ought to (HAD BEST). Sounds kind of quaint. Old-fashioned. I like it.
- 48D: End of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 9/23/1806 (ST. LOUIS). Just visited St. Louis for the first time last month. Would like to go back sometime during baseball season.
- 58D: Historic Scottish county (ARGYLL). Raise your hand if you wanted Argyle.
- 60D: Amy of "Field of Dreams" (MADIGAN). This was a gimme for me. I think I paid pretty close attention to this movie because it was based on the book by W. P. Kinsella, Kinsella being my mother's maiden name. I'm pretty sure that makes me cousins with Kevin Costner.
- 70D: Buildings on some bases (HANGARS). I took PuzzleDaughter to a birthday party at the bowling alley on an army base recently, so that's all I could think of. Bowling alley.
- 90D: Patriarch of a tribe of Israel (EPHRAIM). The name means "double fruitfulness." Wow.