Old AMC Car / SUN 10-7--12 / Belgian river / Writer Ernie / Director Jean- Goddard / Salsa ingredient / Gold units / Shallow Jack Black Film / He-man's nickname / Sackcloth material / Jump on the ice / Basketball shooting game / Runner's unit / Actor Claude of Lobo / Moundsman Dave / 1992 Liv Ullmann film / Striped safari sight / Illustrator's shortcut / Rodeo rope / Actress Mazar
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Constructor: Zoe Wheeler
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: Space Invasion — Familiar phrases with "ET" inserted to produce far less familiar phrases
Word of the Day: Hop-o' (__-my-thumb) —
"Hop-o'-My-Thumb", also known as "Little Thumbling" (French: Le Petit Poucet), was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. It is Aarne-Thompson type 327B, the small boy defeats the ogre. This type of fairy tale, in the French oral tradition, is often combined with motifs from the type 327A, similar to Hansel and Gretel; one such tale is The Lost Children. (Wikipedia)Errata: 15D: Good "Wheel" buy for WHERE'S THE BEEF (AN E) – After publishing today's post, the comments made it clear I wasn't the only one seeing weird characters in this clue. The above is what it should say. The punctuation didn't output correctly in the PUZ file, at least. (added 9:01am EDT)
• • •Only a few sticking points in this otherwise straightforward Sunday puzzle. I've never heard of Hop'-o-My-Thumb, so I put SUCK, not knowing if that was a phrase, like "Well, bless my soul!" Maybe if you're really frightened of something, you could say, "Well, suck my thumb!"? Even having now looked up the answer, HOPO just looks weird. I want it to be HOBO.
Speaking of hobos, I'm Tyler Clark, camping overnight here on the blog, filling in while the master is away for the weekend. I'm honored to fill in on a Sunday, as I'm assuming it's this blog's most visited day of the week. Rest assured, I will do my best to provide a post replete with fresh, witty banter and amusing YouTube videos to help you waste a Sunday morning you wish you were spending more productively.
One thing I look for in guest bloggers is an admission that they came up against the same challenges that crossword mortals such as myself faced, helping me feel better about my solving skills when I still can't seem to consistently solve a Monday in under 5:30 or a Sunday in less than 30 minutes. So I'll try to lay myself open for as much ridicule as possible.
The theme is "Space Invaders," which are Extra Terrestrials, abbreviated as E.T. and then inserted into familiar phrases, as follows.
- 23A: Old AMC car that came fully loaded? (HORNET OF PLENTY) I wanted this to be Gremlin.
- 30A: Good locale for adoptions? (BIRTH MARKET) Got off to a rough start here when I put down TONSUL as in CONSUL rather than TONSIL (1D: Lump in the throat)
- 39A: Ammo that's still on the store shelf? (SITTING BULLET) I wanted Raging Bullet. I don't know why, I just did.
- 53A: Some bleating? (RACKET OF LAMB) I knew this was going to include LAMB when I first read the clue, but I didn't know the theme at that point, so I had to come back to it later.
- 63A: Excitement over some presidential elections? (CABINET FEVER) This was the first theme answer I got, probably because I watched the debate Wednesday night and have been working on a website for the local county Board of Elections.
- 74A: Avoid a scalping? (ESCAPE HATCHET) I wanted HAIR or BALD or something like that.
- 87A: ID for a certain band member? (TRUMPET CARD) I fell for the trap and looked for GUITAR or BASS. In fact, I think I actually had DRUMMER CARD filled in before I knew the theme.
- 95A: Earth, in "Independence Day"? (PLANET OF ATTACK) Combined with CABINET FEVER, seeing PLANET helped me figure out the puzzle's theme.
I was certain that BOOTEE (101A: Infant's shoe) was spelled BOOTIE. It appears, from some Googling, that BOOTEE is the preferred spelling (Wikipedia lists BOOTIE as an alternate spelling). I don't have to like it or take it lying down, you know like having a NAP (91A: Go out for a while?) on a HAMMOCK (77D: Good place to 91-Across).
(Not for the faint of heart or small children.)REATA (88D: Rodeo rope), so TOE LOOP (93A: Jump on the ice) was one of the very last things I sorted out. Two other crosses didn't help: We've already discussed HOPO. SMOKES (81A: Lights up) should have been obvious, but SOLA (81A: Alone, as a female on stage) didn't want to go. Technically, having a B.A. in Musicology, I could have/should have sleuthed this one out. I know that SOLO is masculine, SOLI is plural, and therefore SOLA would be feminine, but have you ever seen this in print? I think I would have felt better about its inclusion if the clue had been as obscure as the word (see picture on right, and imagine if the clue had been "Japanese work originally conceived by Naoki Hisaya"). Annoying, yes, but at least you'd know it was going to be hard/esoteric.
ADIA (80A: 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit) - relatively common to frequent solvers; Jackie GLEASON (26A: Minnesota Fats's player in "The Hustler") - I only knew Newman was in this & I've only seen clips from The Honeymooners and wanted to spell his name GLEESON; PYLE (28A: Writer Ernie) - not to be confused with Private Gomer; SHERE (43A: __ Khan [villain in "The Jungle Book"]) - which I also forgot how to spell; LUC (49A: Director Jean-__ Godard) - which I was sure couldn't be right because wasn't I getting confused with Captain Jean-Luc Picard?; HAL (71A: "Shallow __" [Jack Black film]) - otherwise known as "2001" villian; Britney SPEARS (104A "... Baby One More Time" singer) - whom we will not speak of; ROGERS (2D: Dancer Ginger) - she beat out Humorist Will for this; AKINS (32D: Actor Claude of "Lobo") - whose name I can now only associate with Rep. Todd Akin of questionable biological learning; STIEB (36D: Moundsman Dave) - of the Toronto Blue Jays; IONA (40D: College in New Rochelle, N.Y.) - which I apparently still don't have memorized despite having solved roughly 1,000 puzzles a year for the last 3-4 years; SOFIE (45D: 1992 Liv Ullmann film) - I've got nothing for this one; CASCA (63D: Brutus abettor) - he struck the first blow in Caesar's assassination, which leads us to ET TU (57A: Dying words, in Shakespeare); BALE (65D: Christian of "The Dark Knight Rises") - also in Shakespeare, see Kenneth Branagh's excellent Henry V; and DEBI (92D: Actress Mazar) - not a name I know well, but I recognize her from the classic "So I Married An Axe Murderer." Wow, I'm exhausted.
- 69A: Many-banded displays? (PARADES) — Love this clue. Of course, I was thinking of kinds of striped snakes, as opposed to marching bands.
- 72A: He-man's nickname (MUSCLES) — Here I had the "CLES" at the end and thought it might be some lesser known alternate to HERCULES. So, I started running through options, such as PERICLES, even though that (a) doesn't fit and (b) doesn't make sense.
- 79A: "Grease" singer (VALLI) — This led me to John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, but it didn't take too long to remember that the title song is sung by Frankie Valli, of The Four Seasons fame (not to be confused with Rudy Vallée of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" fame)
- 78A: Sackcloth material (HEMP) — I did not know this.
- 86A: Feds (G-MEN) – Know your G-MEN (FBI) from your T-MEN (IRS).
- 98A: __ hours (OFFICE) – If TELEPORT (73D: Use a futuristic mode of transit) had come sooner, this might have been easier.
- 5D: Sticking point? (QUAGMIRE) – TRANQ (1A: Downer, for short) helped me get the Q, but this didn't fall for quite a while.
- 20A: Big break (SCHISM) – This is a weird word to look at in the abstract.
- 39D: Shrew (SCOLD) – Apparently this works as both verb and noun, but I just don't use the word Shrew very often.
- 42D: Accepted as true (BOUGHT) – Stared at the B and tried to Believe that Belief must work.
- 47D: Be constructive? (ERECT) – Wanted BUILD here until EWERS (47A: Pitchers) and TEC (67A: Gumshoe) set me straight.
- 59D: Bathroom fixture (BIDET) – Also the victim of many erasures. Started with S from errant SASH which should have been BATH (59A: It may be drawn at night).
- 66D: Providing of questions for answers on "Jeopardy!," e.g. (FORMAT) – This is just a weirdly worded clue, and it took forever to fall into place.
- 96D: Eastern drama (NOH) – If you haven't seen this one before, tuck it away. You'll see it again.
Signed, Tyler Clark, Fan of CrossWorld