Former Buffalo Bills great Don / SUN 10-24-10 / The Altar / 1960s chess champion Mikhail / Seven-line poem
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: "Risky Business" — Casino puns. Also: Burt Bacharach.
Word of the Day: OROZCO (31D: "The Epic of American Civilization" muralist) —
José Clemente Orozco (November 23, 1883 – September 7, 1949) was a Mexican social realist painter, who specialized in bold murals that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and others. Orozco was the most complex of the Mexican muralists, fond of the theme of human suffering, but less realistic and more fascinated by machines than Rivera. Mostly influenced by Symbolism, he was also a genre painter and lithographer. Between 1922 and 1948, Orozco painted murals in Mexico City, Orizaba, Claremont, California, New York City, Hanover, New Hampshire, Guadalajara, Jalisco, and Jiquilpan, Michoacán. His drawings and paintings are exhibited by the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City, and the Orozco Workshop-Museum in Guadalajara. Orozco was known for being a politically committed artist. He promoted the political causes of peasants and workers. (wikipedia)
- 22A: London-based place to play the ponies? (OTB IN ENGLAND). "Oh to be in England" is the first line of Home Thoughts from Abroad, by Browning. Not to be confused with Home Thoughts from ABOARD (1D: "All ___!"), which is pretty boring since most boards can't think.
- 30A: J. D. Salinger character's favorite game? (HOLD 'EM CAULFIELD). By a far stretch the most awesome of the theme entries, and I don't think I'm just saying that because I play hold 'em and love Salinger. Wouldn't surprise me at all to learn this was the seed entry.
Not my favorite clue, though--Hold 'em Caulfield sounds more like a nickname for the guy who plays the game than the game itself, though the clue references the game.
- 48A: Game played with dice set on fire? (CRAPS SUZETTE). Flambé! Tasty, when it's the crêpe. Less so when it's taken literally. Perhaps 99A: Actress Langdon (SUEANE)'s original name was SUZETTE before she made up a shortened form?
- 64A: One-armed bandits? (SLOTS OF LUCK). Without the question mark, this would be a perfectly fine clue for SLOTS.
- 71A: Relative of a bingo caller? (KENO SPEAKER). A puzzle I blogged about here last year included JOHN MAYNARD KEYNOTES as its central theme answer. It was clued incorrectly, referencing the economist instead of the boat captain. The economist's speeches were JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES KEYNOTES.
- 88A: Card game played Reynolds's way? (BURT BACCARAT). Heh, he said Reynolds's. This was the first theme entry I got. Everything I know about baccarat I learned from Ian Fleming novels. Did you know Burt Bacharach wrote the score for Casino Royale? The 1967 version--in the new one, with Daniel Craig, they play hold 'em instead of baccarat.
- 105A: "Please consider playing the wheel again"? (DON'T ROULETTE OUT) I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. After thinking about it for a while after I finished the puzzle, I at least figured out that it's a play on "Don't rule it out."
- 118A: Pot with a pile of chips? (STAKE PLATTER) I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean, but I assume it's a play on "steak platter". Is a platter a kind of pot?
- 18A: One of the Three B's (BACH). The others are BURT and ARACH.
- 21A: Film festival name since 1990 (SUNDANCE). This was named after Robert Redford's character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
- 25A: Street bordering New York's Stuvesant Town (AVENUE C). As opposed to a different Stuyvesant Town. Do I have to tell you how many songs BB wrote for Avenue Q? C also 16D: Flashlight battery (C CELL).
- 29A: Laughing (RIANT). This is apparently a word.
- 38A: Donut shape (TOROID) is from a different root than 70A: Participants in an annual run (TOROS). I really wanted the latter to be a turkey trot of some sort.
- ROT STAC SCOTTO TAC. I really wanted these to be words of some sort.
- 114A: Split personality? (CROATIAN). This makes a lot more sense if you know that Split is a city in Croatia. I, for example, did not know that.
- 3D: TV character with dancing baby hallucinations (BEETS).
- 9D: L overseer (CTA). The Chicago Transit Authority runs the elevated trains.
- 20D: N.B.A. star nicknamed the Candy Man (ODOM) is Lamar Odom, not Sammy Davis Jr.
- 43D: Rock band with an inventor's name (TESLA). So 111A: Alphabetically first inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (ABBA) is, among other things, the Hebrew word for father. When I was in 3rd grade, before I actually knew anything about music, I used to confuse them with Black Sabbath.
- 46D: Tropical menace (ANACONDA). I actually tried to fit GOLCONDA at one point for 123A: Vine-covered colonnade (PERGOLA). This makes me think of Sir Mix-A-Lot, but I'll spare you the link. Same for 90D: Smooth operator (ROUE) and Sade.
- 57D: Give for free (COMP). Say, in a casino. Or maybe tickets to a Bacharach show.
- 72D: Hall & Oats, e.g. (POP DUO). Burt Bacharach, on the other hand, is often a solo act. Pop is also the 11 seed in the Women's division at this week's USA Ultimate Club Championship tournament.
- 95D: Trial of the century defendant (LOEB). Of the last century. When I think of Loeb, I think of her wedding for some reason. I was not there.
- 98D: "Shanghai Express" actor (OLAND) is old.
- 76D: Coach Dick in the N.F.L. Hall of Fame (LEBEAU). My best and worst moments in solving the puzzle, which you should feel free to skip over if you hate football. This totally threw me off, because Dick LeBeau was inducted into the Hall of Fame just this year for (at least officially) his accomplishments during his 14-year playing career (for the Lions, Rex's team), not for his 36+ years as a coach or his 50+ years in the league. He's currently the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, my team, about whom I pride myself on knowing everything that's important to know. I know who he is, of course, so I'm totally embarrassed by how long it took me to come up with his name when I had something like LEBxxU in place.
And since we're on halls of fame, because I can, here's audio from Myron Cope, the Steelers' radio color commentator from before I was born until just before his death a few years ago. (When he passed away, my parents called at 6am to make sure I heard the news from them.) He's the only football commentator in the National Radio Hall of Fame.
I'm currently cat-sitting for Thelma and Louise, but when they go back home I'm planning to get a cat and name him Myron. I can't watch the following video without getting chills, and if you grew up with me or spent any significant time in Pittsburgh in the same era, I'm guessing you can't either.
My towel and I will be at McGovern's for the Miami game, today at 107D: Common time for a duel (NOON). Feel free to stop by and say hi!
- @alexword Crossword Butler 1.3 is out. I'm told you will want to have it before getting tomorrow's LAT. http://alexboisvert.com/crosswordbutler/
- @TraceyParadiso If I don't get to bed soon I'll oversleep-and my husband will finish the#NYTimes Sunday #crossword before I'm even out of bed!
- @sophizle Ethical dilemma: lady sitting next to me on bus has one of her crossword answers wrong #sophieschoice
- @SlinkySparkles We have ACTUAL worksheets for our burlesque trip to Ironbridge!!! With colouring and a crossword! We have the best stage manager ever!!! Yay
Signed, SethG, Royal Vizier of CrossWorld
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