1968 hit song spawned 1978 movie 1981 TV show / MON 8-17-15 / Gucci alternative / Bit of textspeak unshortened / Mysteries starting with Tower Treasure House on Cliff / Pueblo brick /
Monday, August 17, 2015
Constructor: Andrea Carla Michaels
Relative difficulty: tiny bit tougher than your average Monday, but I've been drinking, so...
THEME: HARDY HAR HAR — first parts of the first three themers represent someone LAUGHING OUT LOUD (65A: Bit of textspeak, unshortened ... or a hint to the starts of 17-, 27- and 49-Across)
- HARDY BOYS SERIES (17A: Mysteries starting with "The Tower Treasure" and "The House on the Cliff")
- "HARPER VALLEY PTA" (27A: 1968 hit song that spawned a 1978 movie and a 1981 TV show)
- HARVARD GRADUATE (49A: Crimson alumnus) — pretty sure she meant "Crimson alumna"; she is one, after all
Roman numerals, the numeric system used in ancient Rome, employs combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet to signify values. The numbers 1 to 10 can be expressed in Roman numerals as follows:
The Roman numeral system is a cousin of Etruscan numerals. Use of Roman numerals continued after the decline of the Roman Empire. From the 14th century on, Roman numerals began to be replaced in most contexts by more convenient Hindu-Arabic numerals; however, this process was gradual, and the use of Roman numerals in some minor applications continues to this day. (wikipedia)
- I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X.
• • •
I can't really believe that "HARDY BOYS SERIES" (?!?!?) is a thing—by which I mean "a decent stand-alone answer"; the SERIES part feels forced—but it's Monday, so why not be a little loopy, if only to liven things up a bit? "Unshortening" LOL is kind of interesting, and the fact that all themers are 15s adds another unexpected (i.e. unMondaylike) dimension to the puzzle, so that's OK. The fill is living in the past, once again. Mostly short and old and boring. But I've seen much worse, for sure.
["And he can see no reasons 'cause there are no reasons..."]
[I like being in New York *this* much...]
[Brayden, me, Lena, in the opening credits of our new TV show, probably about lawyers]
The next day was the tourney. It was a gorgeous sunny Saturday and we got up early to blog the Saturday crossword in a crappy little Starbucks with Lena and her boyfriend Brayden (which, if you read last Saturday's write-up, you already know). Then we headed up to All Souls Church (home of the tourney), but not before dropping in on Oren's Daily Roast coffee shop, because ... well, Starbucks didn't cut it, and also, OREN! It's just so crossword-ish, I couldn't not go there on tourney day. The basement of All Souls was jammed—biggest attendance Lollapuzzoola has ever had at something over 200 competitors (!?). It's always overwhelming trying to say hi to all my friends and acquaintances and blog readers. Never enough time. But a great joy nonetheless. This year I decided to compete in the Pairs division (w/ my wife), which was fun even though we didn't win. I thought we just had to beat Karen von Haam and her mom, but there was this other couple that we didn't know about who had won the Pairs division the previous two years (Julian Ochrymowych & Marcia Hearst), and so even though my wife and I blew past Karen and her mom on the wicked hard Puzzle 4 and stayed ahead of them through the 5th and final puzzle, we still only came in 2nd, and (much to my chagrin) there is No Hardware for 2nd place in the Pairs division. Not even steak knives. Boooo! I want my trophy, Brian Cimmet!
[Adesina Koiki (of "A Lot of Sports Talk") strikes a quintessential solver pose]
The puzzles were great. I mean, great. The easy ones, the brutal ones, all so thoughtful, so polished, so funny. Renewed my faith that crosswords can be awesome. Constructors were Patrick Blindauer, Anna Schechtman, Mike Nothnagel, joon pahk, Doug Peterson, and (for the final puzzle) Kevin Der. Final puzzle was back-breaking. Three of the very fastest solvers in the country solved it on stage, and only one of them actually finished—with less than 10 seconds to go, Francis Heaney pulled it out. Very exciting (moreso in the room than on video, but here's a taste anyway):
Then I had a lovely dinner out at Candle Cafe where I'm 73% sure Jonathan Franzen was at a nearby table, although it could've been just another bespectacled guy in his '50s. Then a long walk home because after a day of sitting and crossword-stressing and stress-eating, we needed it. Next day was the Blue Jays/Yankees game at Yankee Stadium after a nice morning walking around the Madison/30th area. Coffee at Birch Coffee where a nice man brought the his dog ("it's not mine, I'm dogsitting") in and chatted us up and when he found out where we were from cried, "Oh, BingHAMton ... with the balloons!" This was technically correct, as the annual SpiedieFest & Balloon Rally (a Binghamton summer staple) had just happened. "I read about it in 'Time Out New York.'" ANYway, went to the game with a bunch of folks and the Jays beat the Yankees, who couldn't score to save their lives and who were shut out at home two days in a row for the first time in like a billion years. Group of raucous, drunken Jays fans were the most entertaining part of the game. Still, there was beer, and a bright green field, and my friends, so the day was not a waste.
[Superfriends! Also dorks.]
[Penelope and Erik in the classic back-to-back defensive gelato-eating posture]
And that was my weekend. Nice leisurely Monday morning walk up to Grand Central, where I saw the fabulous Rachel Dratch (and tried not to stare/squeal in admiration) and also saw a yoga / athletic-wear commercial of some kind being filmed. Lots of different kinds of lean, muscular people standing around waiting for their turn on camera while an assistant kept adjusting and readjusting and rereadjusting the yoga mat in the middle of the station as the sunlight shifted. Nice leisurely train ride up the Hudson. Nice lunch with friend in Beacon (where I weirdly saw a member of my department walking along the sidewalk), then back across the river to Cornwall to retrieve our car and drive home. So, the upshot is, the tourney rules, NYC rules, people are nice, puzzles can be great if you treat them right, the Flatiron Building is beautiful at sunset, train rides along the Hudson are oddly soothing, and if you don't go to Lollapuzzoola next year (or Indie 500 in DC next May/June—a similarly entertaining and professionally-run tourney), then I don't know what to say. You better have a good excuse.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
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