MONDAY, Dec. 4, 2006 - Richard Chisholm

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Solving time: 4:33

THEME: Cruz / Cruise / Crews - three long theme answers all end with these homonyms

I would have loved to see Cutting Crew here - if only their name had been plural. Anyone? Cutting Crew? Anyone? They had one big hit twenty years ago. And it goes a little something like this:

(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight (#1 for two weeks in 1987)

I keep looking for something I can't get
Broken hearts lie all around me
And I don't see an easy way out of this
Her diary, it sits on the bedside table
The curtains are closed, the cat's in the cradle [nice Vonnegut reference]
Who would've thought that a boy like me could come to this [here I would tell my student that "this" has no clear antecedent]

Oh, I just died in your arms tonight [the "little death," presumably]
It must've been something you said, [wow, doesn't take much]
I just died in your arms tonight
Oh, I just died in your arms tonight
It must've been some kind of kiss
I should've walked away, I should've walked away

Is there any just cause for feeling like this
On the surface I'm a name on a list
I try to be discreet [not 'discrete'], but then blow it again
I've lost and found, it's my final mistake
She's loving by proxy, no give and all take [surely the only time 'proxy' has been used in a pop song]
'Cause I've been thrilled to fantasy one too many times [OK now you're just making phrases up]


It was a long hot night
She made it easy, she made it feel right
But now it's over, the moment is gone
I followed my hands, not my head,
I know I was wrong [I'm a little concerned ... did he kill her?]

There are those who know this song from being a young person in the 80s, those who know it from a great SNL parody a few years back, and those (the majority of you, I'm guessing) who don't know it at all. I would direct you to, but you will find only hair-care specialists - unless that's what the band's doing now to make a living. I'll look into this.


Done very quickly for me - with enough time to enter an Incorrectly Filled Grid, fix it, and still get in well under 5 minutes (good, for me). Should have checked my crosses! Stupid can't-make-up-his-mind-how-to-spell-his-own-damned-name OLAV tacked a good 20 seconds onto my time. Luckily I knew enough French to figure out that 8D: With: Fr. was not AFEC.

20A (THEME): "Sahara" co-star, 2005 (Penelope Cruz)

Look, if you're going to do us the favor of avoiding Tom Cruise in this puzzle, why not go all the way and Not Name Anyone Affiliated With Him. PENELOPE CRUZ co-starred with Crazy Cruise in the ill-conceived Vanilla Sky. I believe the CRUIZES were an item, for a while. Something about her face freaks me out. Not sure why. There are only two PENELOPEs I care anything about. I'm married to one, and Odysseus is married to the other.

9A: Vice president Spiro (Agnew)
10D: Codger (geezer)

For some reason I am really digging these crosses. AGNEW was something of a GEEZER. An evil GEEZER. I believe my mother still owns a Watergate-era watch that features a caricature of AGNEW. The clock hands are his hands. Oh yeah, this is it right here (or some very close likeness of it): Mom, if you're listening, if you still have this, I claim it - none of this giving-it-to-my-sister crap. She already has all the good furniture, china, etc. Plus she lives next door to you. You gotta give me Something. Why not start with this watch? Love, your son.

63A: "Puppy Love" singer Paul (Anka)

Like Enya, Paul ANKA is doing everything to get himself into the Pantheon. Given that this is at least the third time I've seen him since I started this website, I'm going to have to give him real consideration. I may have to have an Enya/ANKA showdown. "Two will enter the ring, only one will leave!" Yes, that sounds good. And I'll have you, the viewer, vote by texting "ENYA" or "ANKA" on your cell phone to a special Cingular wireless number ... it'll be fun. I've also got my eye on 2D: Aggressive, as a personality (Type-A), who also seems to be hanging around the grid an awful lot.

50A: Italian city on the Adriatic (Trieste)

Kind of tough Monday answer. I barely know this city. I think 66A: Ship's petty officer, informally (bos'n) is a bit iffy for a Monday, too. Actually, I just hate the way it looks in the grid, all ... well, wrong and what not. Over in the SW corner, I really wish EATEN and ANNIE would trade places so that the corner would read, from top to bottom: MOTHS EATEN ANNIE (they have!? awesome!). Also nice that ORPHAN (47D) and ANNIE are in the grid together. Nice touch. No SANDY, though. Only SHADY (42A), Sandy's evil twin. What a bitch.

6D: Act on a sudden itching for a hitching (elope)
5D: Become lenient (on) [go soft]
21D: Guffaws (laughs)

ELOPE + GO SOFT + LAUGHS = worst honeymoon ever.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 6:07 PM  

What? No comments yet?

I suspect the Cutting Crew song elided the real facts, which involved GO SOFT and LAUGHS, so the narrator died of shame in those cruel, mocking arms. Indeed, he should've walked away.

Rex Parker 7:35 PM  

Don't know if that was a sincere question, but, remember, you asked for it:

"Jessie is a friend,
yeah, I know he's been
a good friend of mine
But lately something's changed
that ain't hard to define
Jessie's got himself a girl
and I want to make her mine
And she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body,
I just know it
Yeah 'n' he's holding her
in his arms late,
late at night

You know, I wish that I had Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman like that
I play along with the charade,
there doesn't seem to be
a reason to change
You know, I feel so dirty
when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her,
but the point is probably MOOT

'Cos she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body,
I just know it
And he's holding her
in his arms late, late at night

Like Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
Where can I find a woman,
where can I find a woman like that
And I'm lookin' in the mirror all the time,
wondering what she don't see in me
I've been funny,
I've been cool with the lines
Ain't that the way
love supposed to be
Tell me, where can I find a woman like that
You know, I wish that I had Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl
I want Jessie's girl,
where can I find a woman like that, like
Jessie's girl,
I wish that I had Jessie's girl,
I want,
I want Jessie's girl

Rex Parker 7:44 PM  

PS thank you both for being the only people in the crossword universe willing to indulge my little excursion into minor 80s pop music.

In parting (for the day), allow me to present the lyrics to the Cutting Crew song Howard cited, "I've Been In Love Before" - if only because they make the lyrics to "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight" seem eloquent and lucid by comparison:

Catch my breath, close my eyes
Don't believe a word
Things she said, overheard
Something wrong inside [my thoughts exactly]
Once you won't admit it, then you know you're in it
I've been in love before
I've been in love before
The hardest part is when you're in it
I've been in love before
I've been in love before
Just one touch, just one look
A dangerous dance
One small word can make me feel
Like running away
You can't say you're in it, no, until you reach the limit
I've been in love...

Orange 11:42 PM  

You know why Jessie's girl doesn't like him? Because he's creepy.

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

Your confusion over DESICCANT in Sunday's puzzle might be solved here:

The little bags you pictured aren't used for medications or things you'd swallow, as they cause dusting. Capsules or canisters are used for those kind of uses.


Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Why does that guy from Cutting Crew have his jacket half off? I don't remember that particular fad from 1987. Or was it just some American thing?

Rex Parker 12:44 PM  

He wasn't quite ready for the shot and got caught in the middle of removing his jacket - when they got the pictures back and noticed the half-off jacket, they mistakenly believed that it looked cool. My question is: why did they think it a good idea to do a publicity shot in front of a non-descript garage at a remote storage facility? Maybe that's where they lived. Times were hard ... their hair was too big to be new wave, but not big enough to make them a Big Hair band. 1987 killed more than its share of would-be artists. Someday I will regale you with my lengthy and well-researched theory about how 1987 was the beginning of the driest, most horrible 5-year period in pop music history.

Orange 5:24 PM  

Wasn't there a Journey video filmed almost entirely in front of a warehouse?

And is it not possible that the Cutting Crew was a Jacket-Cutting Crew?

Howard B 5:56 PM  

You know, Jessie's Girl is a really creepy song. Something else I had forgotten or repressed. Thanks!

I think by 1988 most people who owned a Cutting Crew album (CD?) had decided to give their music collection a crewcut, and so they and their jackets were never heard from again, except occasionally over the supermarket muzak system.

Rex Parker 7:38 PM  

"Separate Ways" by Journey, yes. I can see / hear it now. Thanks for that. That was from Frontiers (1983). I'm more of an Escape (1981) man, myself.

I enjoyed "Jesse's Girl" as a kid. Probably because I was a kid and did not understand what grown-up love was supposed to be, and how it could be very wrong.

Linda G 9:30 PM  

I was so proud of myself getting this one in ten minutes -- but you way beat me. Not proper grammar, I know, but what the hell, and none of my professors would ever recognize me here. I just heard Cutting Crew's song the other day and was wondering about the rest of the lyrics -- thanks for solving that mystery. What's the (probably only) 1990-ish song that has the word exhumed in it?

Rex Parker 9:48 PM  

EXHUMED? I give. What is it?

Linda G 11:01 PM  

It was a Dan Fogelberg song, Make Love Stay. I'd seen him in concert in Kansas City and he commented that there would probably never be another song with the word. Here it is in part...

Moments fleet taste sweet within the rapture
When precious flesh is greedily consumed
But mystery's a thing not easily captured
And once deceased not easily exhumed

This makes me feel a little better about taking twice as long to finish the puzzle -- or four times longer toward the end of the week. Mostly it just makes me feel older.

None of my friends are into the NYT puzzle, nor is my husband (although he's helpful with history and Latin), so I always enjoy reading what you have to say. Some of my laugh out loud moments come from your blog. Thanks.

Rex Parker 8:12 AM  

O dear god I know this song! Didn't think I did, then found it on iTunes. Not a pleasant flashback. Very, very jarring, considering the song I had on iTunes just before I switched was "The Island," by the Decemberists ... which is a crazy, Mammoth, organ-bespattered, Jethro-Tull-esque throwback of a song. Who writes 12.5-minute songs (anymore)? Anyway, "exhumed," nice.

Thanks for the kind comments. Glad you enjoy the blog.

Speaking of which... gotta get to it.


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