MONDAY, Feb. 19, 2007 - Andrea C. Michaels

Monday, February 19, 2007

Solving time: 3:51

THEME: X-Y-X - three-word phrases, wherein the third word is a repetition of the first word, e.g. 20A: 007's introduction (Bond, James Bond)

An easy and rather listless theme, though I do like BOND, JAMES BOND as an answer. Did I mention how great the new Bond is? A very bad HOMBRE (1D: Man of La Mancha). The other two theme answers are:

36A: Embroidered sampler phrase (Home Sweet Home)
54A: Repeatedly (time after time)

For the record, these two answers could have been clued in a way far more entertaining to yours truly, which is to say, via 1980's pop music. Let's see, for 36A, how 'bout [Motley Crüe anthem] and for 54A, [Cyndi Lauper ballad]. If only some some novelty act had recorded a song in the 80's about James Bond, I could have hit the recluing Jackpot.

1A: "Survivor" shelter (hut)

Two things. First of all, I wouldn't call what most of them live in HUTs - HUT implies a far more completed and somewhat less porous structure than anything I've seen on "Survivor." Second, my wife can tell you if I'm correct about HUTS because she is a ... devotee ... of the show. Every season I vow not to get dragged back in to "Survivor" drama, but then inevitably, about mid-season, I'm getting roped in. So far, in this new season, I'm staying strong. But it's probably just a matter of time before it sucks me in and TAINTS (3D: Contaminates) my very soul, once more.

12A: October birthstone (Opal)

Here's something weird. I know this answer because my stepsister's birthday is in October, and for some reason the fact that OPAL was her birthstone has somehow stuck in my head. I could not tell you the birthstone of anyone else in my family. In fact, I'm hard pressed to name any other birthstones. Oooh, I think TOPAZ is one. BERYL? SARD? Seriously, I know birthstones like I know European rivers.

23A: Dustin's role in "Midnight Cowboy"

Really wish I'd actually seen this clue, as I love this movie. I like to say variations on "Hey, I'm walkin' here!" when crossing the street in front of impatient cars, or just generally walking around, anywhere, to whoever will listen. There's a nice little movie pile-up going in the NW, with RATSO just underneath BOND, JAMES BOND and intersecting JODIE (21D: "Panic Room" actress Foster). Speaking of Panic Room, I am very excited to see the new movie by "Panic Room" director [insert name here]: Zodiac. I normally hate serial killer movies, but this one has three great actors in it (Robert Downey, Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mark Ruffalo), and the movie seems to have a sense of humor, so I'm in. Other "actors" in the puzzle include Britney Spears (10D: Britney Spears's "_____ Slave 4 U" (I'm a) - one of the least savory clues of all time), Gwyneth Paltrow (56D: Gwyneth Paltrow title role (Emma)) and HOMER Simpson (39D: "The Simpsons" dad), star of the upcoming The Simpsons Movie, opening this July. WILLARD was a movie about a creepy rat guy - who is actually much more pleasant to think about than the guy this clue actually references: 38D: Weatherman Scott.

A few more notes before I leave this one alone: 17A: The year 1052 (MLII) is one of the laziest, weakest clues ever. Couldn't you have found some pope or emperor or something to clue it to. It's like you just gave up. I've actually never seen a Roman numeral clued so literally and directly. The Northeast, or "Bangor," section of the grid gave me much grief for a Monday. First of all, AMBIT!?! (7A: Circumference) - that's some fancy fill for a Monday. Had to get several letter from crosses before it ever occurred to me. Second, TOM!?!?! (11D: Mr. Turkey). TOM intersects AMBIT at the "T," so you can see my dilemma. When I saw [Mr. Turkey], my mind went to two places - first, advertising: I thought maybe there was a "Mr. Turkey" the same way there was a "Mr. Coffee" or "Mr. Clean." Second - Bodybuilding! Is there a "Mr. Turkey" the way there's a "Mr. Universe" or whatever? Who is from Turkey who is famous enough to be in a Monday puzzle? Answer: nobody. You call a male turkey a TOM. I am pretty sure that unless you are high or writing a children's book, you do not call him "mister." Hey, speaking of bodybuilding, wasn't Charles ATLAS (50A: Map book) a bodybuilder? Score, nice segue, Rex. The word AURAL (61A: Hearing-related) appears in the advertising literature for an on-campus talk today. Despite the fact that the talk somehow involves the awesome Stevie Wonder song "Livin' for the City," I am not going. That's just the kind of colleague I am: lazy. Actually, when people start subjecting Stevie to the deadening, dehumanizing, and smugly posturing language of contemporary theory ... well that is the kind of BAD DREAM (9D: Nightmare) I could do without. I'm gonna put Stevie on right now, and pay him proper reverence: awed silence, with occasional bouncing to the rhythm. After that, some Dr. DRE (29A: Hip-hop doc?), then maybe a Beethoven OVERTURE (37D: Orchestral intro) just to cool things down, and then full day's work (write read write read write etc.).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 10:52 AM  

"Hey, I'm bloggin' here!"

Linda G 11:03 AM  

Super easy puzzle. I came in at under five minutes doing the paper and pencil thing. For reasons I can't understand, I'm way slow on the computer -- I switch from across to down without realizing it, then look at the wrong clue. Frustrating...

I am very proud to say that I have never seen an episode of Survivor.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Rex, you had me laughing out loud at your Mr. Turkey tangent. Great blog, even on a slow puzzle day.

A thank you to Donald for your vote of confidence - indeed, viola-playing is my profession (and my passion).

And a question for Rex - if the moniker Rex Parker is a combination of Rex Morgan, MD and Judge Parker, as I suspect, how will we recognize you at the ACPT? !! (Pardon me if you really are RP.)

Rex Parker 11:54 AM  

O my god, you're really going to the tournament!? Cool. You will be able to recognize me easily. I am a pale nerd (that probably narrows it down to 98% of the contestants). I am also 6'3", which, according to statistics, narrows it down to about 1% of the room. Lastly, on some day, if not all days, I am likely to be wearing my Homer Simpson "I AM SO SMRT" hooded sweatshirt. I like to solve with the hood up - makes me feel comfortable and focused. Also makes me feel like Rocky and / or Rabbit from 8 Mile.


PS a professional violist! Know any good violist jokes? I have a cellist friend who sure does. Perhaps he can share one... here's one I like:

Q: What's the difference between a violin and a viola?

1. The viola burns longer.
2. The viola holds more beer.
3. You can tune the violin.


Q: What's the difference between a viola and an onion?

A: No one cries when you cut up a viola.


Q: What's the difference between a washing machine and a violist?

A: Vibrato.

For more viola jokes, please go here:

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Some of us have figured out who Rex really is. It wasn't hard if you remember all the clues he's given since September.

Didn't know about the height giveaway but at 4'10" I can relate to it.

I envy your attendance at ACPT. Hope to see you all there in 2008.

Thanks for the viola jokes. I'll pass them on. Don't remember the difference between viola and violin, though (daughter played violin). Viola smaller? Fewer strings?

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

Some of us haven't been reading the blog since September...

Ouch on the viola jokes; sadly, there's always a little truth in humor, which is why they can hurt.

Dear Anon - the viola is actually bigger than the violin, with a lower and richer, more voluptuous (yet mellow!) tone. It's often used in crossword puzzles as an answer to "chamber music instrument," as opposed to "orchestra section."

I think the ACPT sounds like a total gas. Will definitely go, although I must miss segments due to my own concerts that weekend.

Anonymous 1:14 PM  

As Rex Parker, he lies a lot about things that might give away his true identity (and other things for all I know). Be on guard.

A Different Anonymous

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Homer's "I AM SO SMRT" shirt is hilarious. It reminds me of this one.


Anonymous 4:01 PM  

I was going to send this to you directly, but it seems blog related: in celebration of Pancake Tuesday (yes, this is historically accurate, people made pancakes to use up their fat before Lent) you can get free pancakes at IHOP (they request a donation to sponsor Children's Miracle network or another local charity).

Have you scouted out the IHOP nearest the ACPT?

Indeed, be on guard for Rex at the IHOP -- he'll be the one reaching across the table with his fork asking, "Are you going to finish those?"

Anonymous 8:41 PM  


Try this on for size:

Be there or be square!

Howard B 10:20 PM  

ACPTIHOP - there's a theme answer from hell. There should be a 'secret' unofficial ACPT IHOP meeting... they'll never know what hit 'em. (There's one a couple miles from the Marriott, if I'm not mistaken. Not conveniently walkable, but certainly drivable).

Oh, the Monday puzzle was fun and relaxing. The Britney Spears clue creeped me out just a tad, as well.

Finally, enjoy your pancakes tomorrow. C'mon, it's for a good cause - we all must do our part.

Anonymous 10:45 PM  

We used to have an IHOP in Westport, CT, just down the road from the ACPT, but it changed owners or something - they shingled the roof in GREEN tiles, and changed the name to Westport Pancake House, so now we call it the WEHOP. Don't know if they're giving away pancakes tomorrow...

C zar 10:51 PM  

Being a bald, obnoxious ex-drunk never helped my career or got me on the morning news.

AMBIT - rare to see a word I don't know on a Monday. Good thing the crosses were pretty easy.

MLII - 1052 must have been a slow year for news. Wikipedia has no events listed. King Philip I of France and Saint Hugh of Grenoble were born, Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno was assassinated, Prince Vladimir of Novgorod and Count Hugh II of Ponthieu died. So maybe this could have been clued 14 years before William conquered England.

There's no IHOP in Westport anymore!? Remember eating there and Chubby Lane's as a kid.

Anonymous 11:20 PM  

1052 -- The year Edward the Confessor began building Westminster Abbey. (From "The Timetables of History")

Sure. I knew that.

C zar 4:50 PM  

Appears that a lot happened in 1052, at least according to The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Anonymous 10:45 PM  

Will changed my ORBIT to AMBIT and that whole corner, so I didn't even know what AMBIT was/meant...and it was MY puzzle!
And just for the record, my original clue for TIMEAFTERTIME was the CYndi Lauper have no idea how much gets changed in the mix! ANd yet, I have to take the flak for Britney SPears whom I once did a whole puzzle about (BRITNEYSPEARS anagrams into PRESBYTERIANS and BESTINPRAYERS
thanks for the comments!
andrea carla michaels

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