FRIDAY, Mar. 23, 2007 - Manny Nosowsky

Friday, March 23, 2007

Solving time: too long
THEME: long answers that eluded me for ridiculous amounts of time (or, none)

Running out the door, almost literally, so Mr. N's amazing puzzle gets short shrift. I had to cancel my dermatologist's appt because I have so much ticky tacky organizational crap to deal with before I hit the road in the early afternoon. So ... I hope that funny looking mole doesn't mutate over the weekend (I'm Kidding ... I have no such mole, though my dad did once, and it was malignant ... he's OK now ... but you see why I have to get checked ... and I'm telling you this why?)

Sahra really wanted to see "the big puzzles" from the final round of the tournament, so I showed her the very end of Wordplay this morning before school. She was very interested in who would win - "looks like Trip's winning!" - and was Especially curious about Al's empty boxes fiasco at the end (in case you haven't seen it, guy who finishes first doesn't double-check his grid and leaves two squares blank, squandering a sure victory). It was so weird to be able to say to her "I'm going to be in that room tomorrow." She keeps saying "I hope you win" despite my many assurances to her that I will not. Her mom: "It's like karate ... you just do your best." Sahra, to me: "... but what if you win?" Me: "That's not going to happen, honey. Maybe someday, but not now." Sahra: "Oh ... I hope you win." Etc. She looked all over the house today for a good luck charm, and somehow decided on a feather she found on the street many months ago, I think. It's awfully beat-up, but I'll be damned if I'm going to spurn Any good luck charm handed to me by a beautiful, earnest six-year-old girl. So I'll be the one with the ratty gray feather. And possibly my squishy Krusty the Klown toy. No crossword clothing of any kind - though I do have this weird desire to try to get Will Shortz to sign my Partridge Family "Crossword Puzzle" album. Maybe another year.

1A: Moguls on a ski run (bumps) - damn it, I was thinking it was a trick question, with a different meaning of "moguls," but no. Just BUMPS. Why even have "on a ski run" there???

6A: Gimcrack (whim wham) - words that went through my mind: HOOHA, THINGAMAJIG, BAUBLE, TRINKET, and such and such. Never heard of WHIM WHAM, but it's a nice phrase (it's not one word, is it?)

20A: Vikings, e.g. (NFC team) - this is a great answer, because you start out thinking Norsemen, and then you get football, but of course your first answer is NFL TEAM, which thus prevents you from seeing the very long 21D: "Enough joking around!" ("Can the comedy!") for a while because instead of a "C" you've got an "L" in the first position. A beautifully orchestrated little trap.

26A: _____ -humanité (lèse) - Yesterday it was ETAT clued via "Homme d'_____" instead of "Coup d'_____" and now its LESE clued via "-humanité" instead of "-majesté." Good example of how nutso cluing often hides a very common, or at least familiar, answer.

23A: Stoker of literature (Bram) - Gimme! Another Dracula-related answer (see yesterday's VLAD). Still, I would have liked to see an answer here where "Stoker" meant "one who stokes." Any good "stokers of literature" you can think of?

31A: Really succeeds (goes to the top) - Waterloo! I had GOES TO THE -O- and could not think of a thing, which from where I'm sitting right now seems Impossible. But it's true. Without the "P" here, LIPREAD (26D: Not hear a single word?) remained impossible for me to see for very long. That LIPREAD clue is great, by the way.

34A: Spans (stretches across) - as in "This answer STRETCHES ACROSS the entire grid," which it does, right ACROSS the middle. Clever.

44A: _____ Galerie (Manhattan art museum) (Neue) - One of maybe five words I know in German. DANKE, NEIN, EINE, HAUS ... and I'm done.

45A: Christmas entree (goose) - I've only ever seen this in Dickens's A Christmas Carol, but nonetheless I guessed correctly, and this answer saved me when the bottom half of the puzzle was a vast wasteland.

47A: Means (of) (dint) - "Oh no you DINT!"

49A: Hoydens (tomboys) - @#$#-ing awesome word, and I'm so proud of myself that the synonym TOMBOYS came to me almost instantly. For other things you might not want to call a woman, see 3D: Femme fatale (man-eater): "Watch out boy / She'll chew you up." Man, I am so playing that song right Now on my iTunes.

52A: Sweet wine (muscatel)
24D: Light, white wine (moselle) - wine names routinely kill me (see the recent RETSINA!) and these two ... their horrid little twins. MOSELLE is the evil twin, in that I Really didn't know that one, whereas I'd heard of MUSCATEL from the song "Red, Red Wine" by The Replacements (not the Neil Diamond / UB40 song, but a much harder rock song). Paul Westerberg shouts about lots of different kinds of alcohol in that one.

54A: Pitcher Don of 1950's-60's Cubs (Elston) - New to me.

58A: "Acoustic guitar" or "push lawn mower" (retronym) - hot hot HOT. Best answer in the grid. I struggled over it for a while, and the struggle was worth it. Word "retro" shows up in another clue, though - 1D: Some retro chairs (bean bags) - is that legal? Usually grid and clues don't share words.

5D: Priory of ____, group in "The Da Vinci Code" (Sion) - probably a gimme for half of America, but not for me. I've avoided this book like the plague that it is.

9D: Teacher, in dialect (marm) - great word.

33D: Parlor piece, for short? (tat) - puzzle was well over before I understood what the hell this meant. But when I figured it out - it's short for TATTOO - I had to concede its greatness.

45D: Were friendly (got on) - I hope I can say that you tournament-going people "were friendly" when this weekend is over. I'm out of here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 10:51 AM  

"Stoker of literature" would be a funny clue for Savonarola, the book burning priest of Renaissance Florence.

For more Christmas goose literary action, see Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."


Anonymous 12:00 PM  

Were more than friendly - GOT IT ON

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

"Too long," as in 22minutes instead of 16?...(I always marvel at how you can tear your hair out over a puzzle, Rex, then post a time that is two-to-three times faster than mine--when I found the puzzle fairly easy! I don't actually bother timing myself dilligently, as I evidently inhabit another dimension...maybe this is why I can't keep up with the mail that comes to my house either. And by the way, thank you, Ultra Vi, for your words of welcome. I was glad to hear from another slow solver...maybe that will encourage me to consider attending a tournament in another year, as I'm sure I would meet some very interesting people who share this quirky interest with me...
Anyhoo...well, there are two words that I learned from this puzzle in one fell swoop: gimcrack and whim-wham (not to mention gewgaw, the listed synonym for gimcrack at gimcrackery, which would make a great title for a book about crosswords!)

I got sidetracked momentarily with CUT the comedy.

Even this French-to-English translator was unfamiliar with lèse-humanité. Turns out that lèse-majesté is an actual entry in Le Petit Robert (standard French dictionary), whereas lèse-humanité is only an example illustrating the entry lèse-...which is a legalese term.

Pitcher Don...Drysdale springs to mind. Wrong team, though.

I found the "the" in HAVE THE SAYSO a bit odd and thought it must be something else for quite some time...

Not hear a single word --> LIPREAD
I got this fairly quickly, but it still strikes me as wrong. If you don't hear someone, it doesn't mean you can necessarily read their lips, and if you read someone's lips, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't hear a single word!

Military Command--> A TEASE? Huh?...Oh.

BUMPS-->well, at least the clue didn't refer to Fergie and the song that prompted me to remark, "that's just bad writing." Oh right, that's lumps and humps...there must be some bumps in there, too,

All right, then, back to work...

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

The main character in "Fahrenheit 451" was quite a "stoker" of literature.

DONALD 1:33 PM  

Pi, pie, Pei!

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

OK, I must call foul on tomboy/hoyden. Even defines it as "a girl of saucy, boisterous, or carefree behavior." "Saucy" comes first for a reason -- Hoyden is a character in a Restoration comedy called The Relapse, and a "Hoyden character" is by implication a lusty flirt -- rambunctious, sure, but boyish?

Anonymous 1:04 AM  

Good luck in Stamford, Rex. I think that is (or is near) Mo Vaughn's hometown. See you when you get back to Confluence.


Rex Parker 5:24 PM  

Just catching up on comments from while I was away, and I have to say: I missed you guys. Reading your various random, often insightful, often ridiculous comments makes me very happy. I didn't get a chance to digest this Friday puzzle fully because of hitting the road for CT. Speaking of which, I can't waste my writing energy on Comments right now...


Rex Parker 5:36 PM  

PS I didn't even see your comment at first, Shaun. Maybe HOYDENS have gotten more into sports in recent ... centuries.

PPS - GOT IT ON made me laugh quite hard. As did mmpo's reference to Lovely Lady Lumps (check it out!). And thanks to whose of you who wrote in (two of you) with other "Stokers of literature." Both good answers.


Anonymous 12:56 PM  

I think that "Tat" is a word referring to lace. To tat is to make lace.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

BTW - I just bookmarked your blog. Got to it when I was freaking out over "retronym," so I googled "Acoustic guitar" and "Push lawn mower" and found your site.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Looks like our paper's puzzle is a week behind.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Checking in from tardy syndication land. This puzzle so engrossed me that I forgot to pour the first cup of tea. (drinking it now). I ended up with one mistake; Like Rex, I have avoided "The DaVinci Code" like the plague, so I had BUMPZ and ZION. Made sense to me, assuming that snowboarders talk like skateboarders.

For some reason, the Vancouver Sun credited this puzzle to Karen M. Tracey. Long answers always daunt me; When, very early on, I got STRETCHES ACROSS, I thought, "Karen M. Tracey, I love you!" then, just when the panic was rising, (God, I'll never finish this one!) there she was, chiding me with WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?. But it wasn't her at all!

I got the MUSCATEL right away, and MOSELLE with just a few crosses, but "Stoker of literature" had me wondering, "who was the guy who was feeding the boilers on the Mary Deare?"

I fell into the NFL trap, as well, so CAN THE COMEDY was the last long answer I got, allowing me to learn that "Hoydens" are TOMBOYS. Then Shaun elaborates, making me wish I had met more hoydens in my youth.

GOOSE was a gimme, we generally have it at Christmas, Hanne, my wife of 35 years being Danish.

Drinking second cup of tea now, wondering why I spend so much time writing stuff that will possibly never be read.

Rex Parker 3:25 PM  


Your comments are always read, at least by me, and probably by many others, as my statcounter says many many people are checking my site for 6-wks-ago answers on a regular basis ...


Anonymous 4:52 PM or "kewl" I suppose. :)

Rex, you have made my day.

Anonymous 8:51 PM  

Either I'm getting better or this puzzle was easier than the last few Friday ones. Shaun, Thanks for the background on hoyden (I remembered it from a past puzzle) and thanks Rex for the tat explanation. I also thought it had something to do with tatting. Tatoo is much more satisfying.

Unknown 9:53 PM  

The Oregonian also credited Karen M Tracy with today's puzzle. I didn't know it was really a Manny Nosowsky until now. That explains why I flew through it ("flew" in my sense of the word, which is nothing like Rex's and some of the others'). I love Manny's wide open grids. I remember the first one I ever did. It had a clue "Hungry person's hyperbole". My eyes hit that clue first and I gleefully filled in ICOULDEATAHORSE -- and I was off! Speaking of which, Happy Derby Day tomorrow.

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