TUESDAY, Aug 11, 2009 — Brother of Nintendo's Mario / Game to 31 / Source of an oil used in aromatherapy
Monday, August 10, 2009
Constructor: Oliver Hill
THEME: FRENCH (52D: Word that can precede the starts of 20-, 28-, 46- and 57-Across) — First word of each theme answer is something that can be described as French.
Word of the Day: SETI (58D: Alien-seeking program: Abbr.)
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for extraterrestrial life. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for electromagnetic transmissions from civilizations on distant planets. The United States government contributed to earlier SETI projects, but recent work has been primarily funded by private sources.-----
There are great challenges in searching across the sky for a first transmission that could be characterized as intelligent, since its direction, spectrum and method of communication are all unknown beforehand. SETI projects necessarily make assumptions to narrow the search, and thus no exhaustive search has so far been conducted. (Wikipedia)
Hey, everyone! PuzzleGirl here filling in while Rex does ... I don't know, something else today. I guess I didn't really get the details. But, who cares really? It's me and you! You and me! Hanging out talking about puzzles! What could be better? I mean, besides Rex being here....
I'm pretty sure this is a smooth puzzle, but I was irritated while solving because the AcrossLite version wasn't available on the New York Times website, so I had to use the applet, which ... seriously. We can put a man on the moon but we can't invent a crossword puzzle applet that doesn't completely suck? What's up with that?? So the puzzle was ... did I mention how much the applet sucks? I did? Okay. Um, the puzzle was very nice. Some good cluing, smooth fill, a couple things tripped me up but that's because I was doing acrosses only since It's Basically Impossible To Navigate The Stupid Applet Effectively. So I entered aglow for AGRIN (15A: Beaming) (and, frankly, aglow is a much better word). Then I entered ovoid for OVATE (24: Ellipsoidal). I considered eerie but went with SCARY, which turned out to be right at 32A: Like Stephen King novels. Ooh, speaking of scary. I have a story that's kinda scary, but ends up being quite funny because everything works out okay. PuzzleKids are visiting their grandmother this week in New Mexico. They flew out there all by themselves! (That's not the scary part.)
So Friday night, PuzzleSon wakes up in the middle of the night ... standing in the building's parking lot. Wearing only his underwear and holding onto a Webkinz (a penguin named Happy, Jr.). He sleep-walked (slept-walked?) out of the building and into the parking lot. He woke up because he was cold! Can you imagine?! So, he's trying to get back into the building and finally finds a door propped open with a rock. He goes back up to the third floor but while he's banging on the door trying to wake Grandma up, he's also trying to hide from people going in and out of another apartment on the hall because he's embarrassed that he's only in his underwear. Poor Little Guy! Well, it all turned out okay and, according to PuzzleSon, "Grandma put something really big in front of the door," so it shouldn't happen again. Whew! (By the way, he would kill me if he knew I was telling this story, so let's just keep it between us, hmm?)
What? I didn't give you the theme answers yet? Well, here ya go:
- DRESSING UP (20A: Pre-costume ball activity)
- HORN-RIMMED (28A: Like Buddy Holly's glasses)
- FRIES AN EGG (46A: Prepares part of breakfast, say)
- "KISS ME, KATE" (57A: Cole Porter musical that's a play within a play)
- 4A: Brother of Nintendos' Mario (LUIGI). Sadly, a gimme for me. In my own defense, though, I think the reason I remember this guy's name is because it's the same as a pizza place I really like in New York.
- 23A: Salt Lake City team (UTES). Oh, this was another problem for me because I entered Jazz without even thinking about it.
- 25A: Uses rubber on (ERASES). I ... could not figure out what was going on here.
- 38A: Patient care grp. (DEATH PANEL). Just kidding. That would be a proposed patient care group. The one that exists now is the HMO.
- 39A: Angry cry to a vampire (DIE). I think this one is stretching it a little bit. But maybe that's just because my first guess was fie. Like, I don't know, a Shakespearean vampire?
- 55A: Figure in red (DEBT). Started out with loss here. Wow, I had a lot more missteps than I thought!
- 64A: $2 on the gray mare, e.g. (WAGER). She ain't what she used to be.
- 2D: "... ___ a fever" (STARVE). I thought it was feed a fever.
- 28D: Western omelet need (HAM). Also needed for the Western sandwich, which I'm pretty sure exists.
- 59D: Common street name (MAIN). With only ??IN in place, this looked all kindsa wrong. I was trying to think of a tree but couldn't come up with anything that fit.
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