THURSDAY, Mar. 29, 2007 - David J. Kahn

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Solving time: 8:20
THEME: All the DIANEs in the world - 4 theme answers are all full names of women named DIANE, each with a different spelling:

  • 36A: Big city mayor-turned-U.S. Senator (Dianne Feinstein)
  • 15D: "Gorillas in the Mist" researcher (Dian Fossey)
  • 20D: "My Dog Skip" (Diane Lane)
  • 22D: Walter Matthau's love interest in "Out to Sea" (Dyan Cannon)
Thursday Morning - so it's time for another speed recap, or as I like to call it...


Today's theme: People in the Puzzle
  • 1A: Game with an annual world championship, first held in Tokyo in 1977 (Othello) - OK, so this isn't clued as a "person," but I'm including it anyway. Honestly, I haven't laid eyes on an Othello game since I was about 10 (shortly after the first world championship, apparently). Maybe C zar will write about this entry in his Shakespeare & the NYT crossword blog today...
  • 13A: Errol Flynn portrayer in "The Aviator" (Jude Law) - I saw this movie, liked this movie, and do not remember Jude Law's being in this movie.
  • 16A: Mouseketeers name (Annette) - Gimme, though I waited for some crosses just to be sure. Merl Reagle was making various off-hand references to ANNETTE's full name during his color commentary on the B and A finals at this past weekend's Tournament. Something about having fun with a cello.
  • 17A: "The Good Girl" star, 2002 (Aniston) - Super Gimme, though I've never seen the movie. This was the first answer I filled in. ANISTON was also in Office Space, which you should see, if not memorize.
  • 19A: Emperor nicknamed "Little Greek" (Hadrian) - ONASSIS fit, but was wrong.
  • 34A: Great-grandson of Marc Antony (Nero) - More Klassical History...
  • 35A: Trombonist Winding (Kai) - Parents were high or hated him from the moment of his birth. I guess he's lucky he got into tromboning, because with that name, you could have an entirely different, far less respectable sort of performing career.
  • 41A: Harry _____, Gene Hackman role in "The Conversation" (Caul) - Hot! One of the best movies of the 70's. Very prescient. All about the culture of surveillance. Set in S.F.
  • 60A: "God bless us every one!" speaker (Tiny Tim) - ["Tiptoe ... through the tulips!" singer] or [Ukelelist of note] would have worked better for me
  • 1D: Norwegian king of A.D. 1000 (Olaf I) - Only question you ever need to ask yourself with Norwegian king clues: OLAF or OLAV?
  • 10D: Andy Warhol subject (Mao) - ANISTON gave me the "O" which made the answer here "O"bvious. Other Warhol subjects of not include Marilyn and Soup Can, neither of which fit.
  • 28D: _____ Tin Tin (Rin) - "Rin Tin Tin was a movie star. I just have a slide show" - Al Gore
  • 30D: Contemporary of Gehry and Meier (Pei) - He and EERO are really dueling hard for the "Most Ubiquitous [does ubiquity admit to degrees of relativity?] Architect in Puzzleland" Award.
  • 50D: "Fear Street" series author (Stine) - As in "R. L. STINE." The "Goosebumps" guy apparently writes for older kids as well. I had no idea. Maybe because my kid is not an older kid.
  • 61D: Photographer Goldin (Nan) - There is also a NAN Talese. That is all I know about NANs. Whoa! Her photos can get ... racy. Avert your eyes if you are ... sensitive.

Speaking of entries ... my two favorite entries of the day are:

EAT DIRT (37D: Be humbled)


PIG / IN A POKE (57D: With 63-Across, unseen purchase)

The word ONE repeats in the grid, albeit once in singular and once in plural form.

ONE ALL (7D: Common soccer score)


TEN ONES (65A: Change for a sawbuck)

Lastly, I had "Prince Valiant" on the brain (it happens) and so had ARN (Valiant's son) for AWN (11D: Bristle). And I'm not familiar with the use of HYPO to mean 56D: Injection. To me, the HYPO is the whole injecting apparatus, not the name of the act it performs. If you follow. On that trifle, I bid you good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 10:26 AM  

I tried to be less cautious today, even devil-may-care, so I had all kinds of errors that tripped me up. Count in for LEAVE IN, DST for EDT, eat crow for EAT DIRT, tenspot for TEN ONES and les for UNE. And maybe it's a girl thang, but I'd never heard of Othello the game. I kept staring at it, feeling it was so wrong, yet knowing all the crosses (eventually) were right. I did have to look it up.

The Conversation - a masterpiece of a movie. The most inspired use of sound effects I've ever encountered. I was literally put under a spell from the first few minutes ... see it!

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Agree with eat crow. On what planet does eat dirt mean "be humbled"? Better clue would have been "custom in some African cultures".

Linda G 11:03 AM  

Also had EATCROW. EATDIRT sounds more like an EATMYSHORTS thing than a humility thing.

Quite the titillating photo. Didn't know that until I enlarged it a little, though. Should put my glasses on to blog.

Forgot to mention yesterday -- the photo of AVA was hot, hot, hot. The woman was gorgeous. And I agree that it's time to stop cluing her vis-a-vis her exes.

barrywep 11:30 AM  

I don't know NAN Goldin or Talese. Bring back the classics: NAN the Bobbsey twin.

I think of EAT DIRT as what the bully makes you do while holding your head to the ground--a humbling experience indeed.

Alex S. 12:12 PM  

Each of the Diane's was a gimme for me from the clue (my father-in-law is in Out to Sea so that's the only reason I'm even familiar with that one).

Jude Law, Aniston, Hadrian, Caul, Tiny Tim, Mao, Pei, Stine, Post It, and Rin Tin Tin were all also gimmes from the clue.

With what seemed like half the grid filled in from the pass through the clues it is therfore very frustrating that it still took me almost 20 minutes to finish was the easiest Thursday ever for me.

The southeast got screwed up and took me quite a while to straighten out. For some reason I thought a sawbuck was $20 so I had put in TWO TENS and SW got messed up by EAT CROW.

Orange 12:29 PM  

Did I say yesterday that, yes, Ava Gardner should be clued with respect to her body of work and not the men she associated with? If not, I meant to. Contructors and editors, please take note.

A friend of mine had Othello in seventh grade, and that's about the last time I ever played it. It's still out there, though, isn't it?

Rex Parker 1:57 PM  

Barry - thank you for mentioning the Bobbsey Twin, whom I'd forgotten. I now know three NANs, officially.

Why is the game called "Othello" - is it a racial thing? The pieces are Black and White, right? Or is it a strategy thing, where you have to be all Iago-esque (there's a word for you) in order to win?

EAT DIRT is a great phrase, but yes, "be humbled" or however it was clued seeme awfully euphemistic. It's a phrase that sounds like it should be followed by "... scumbag!"


Anonymous 2:13 PM  

I do recall something like "eat dirt and die."


Anonymous 2:26 PM  

I prefer garlic NAN.

Orange 2:27 PM  

Except it's not dirt in the usual phrase...

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

The wonderful German film "The Lives of Others" is a modern counterpart to "The Conversation." I saw the movie (in the '70s) and was still unsure of CAUL but the crossings were gimmes for me.

DONALD 3:04 PM  

Oh oh...keep it clean!

Campesite 3:22 PM  

Screen presence is a strange thing: Jude Law was invisible in The Aviator, but Cindy Williams (Shirl) actually makes a minor mark in The Conversation.

Rex Parker 3:36 PM  

... as does Harrison Ford, not to mention my beloved Teri Garr.

Cindy Williams should have had a bigger career.


Anonymous 5:38 PM  

Rex: I did the exact same as you "arn" for "awn"....and I was even saying proudly to myself "this one comes up a lot I KNOW this one" which I do but still "r" instead of "w."

Even more ironic -- I have trouble remembering PV's son (always want to put "Ari" or "Ara" in there)....when it came up as a clue AGAIN this week I swore it would never happen again~ Tada -- now I can't get it off my mind.

Then, since I didn't have "Othello" was trying to make "baskets" some kind of crate or cart.....which didn't fit since I had EDT but still I wanted to do it.


Anonymous 5:44 PM  

I had an iteration of Othello on my Mac LCII called...Iago. It was very sinister.

I read an article in the Times over the summer about NetFlix that prominently featured The Conversation and how NetFlix gives old, lesser-known moves like that a new lease on life through their whole recommendation system. NetFlix has about 60,000 titles, and every day about 35-40,000 of them are rented. I thought it would be about 5000 at most, but I was wrong.

barrywep 6:03 PM  

Does Mrs. Parker know about you and Teri Garr?

Anonymous 6:57 PM  

Barry -- I'll hazard a guess that Mrs. Rex is so honored and in awe to be living with the "166th Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe" that these little Teri Garr comments won't phase her.

I hope Mr. Rex is helping to clean up the kitchen and picking up his dirty laundry -- b/c those things can be deal breakers.

Anonymous 7:11 PM  

Jude Law - HOT!
Ukuleles - HOT!
Pigs in pokes and unicorns - WOW

This was one fun, colorful puzzle. A nice break from rehearsing Beethoven...

Anonymous 7:24 PM  

I have it on good authority that she is Ms. Davenport (her maiden name I assume) rather than Mrs. Rex. ;^)

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

Never blogged before I found yours a few weeks ago. Now I read yours every day! You usually have me laughing out loud, speshlly love the pics. Yes, I had "eat crow" too, and so couldn't finish the puzzle. OOOOh, garlic nan -- thats absolutely excellent. I hate names, so not a fun puzzle for me.

Anonymous 8:35 PM  

ps I so badly wanted 1A to be "jai alai" -- finally, for once, being clued separately (respectably), instead of being clued half(ass)wise and so being relegated to the category of lame crosswordese (and perhaps candidacy for The Pantheon)

DONALD 7:09 PM  

Dian, Dyan, Diane, Dianne, etc.

Today's puzzle has the spectacle of DIANNE FEINSTEIN running across the middle of the grid and intersecting three shorter down entries, DYAN CANNON, DIANE LANE, and DIAN FOSSEY comprising the theme of four first-name homonyms, but the quartet are just the main celebrities of this construction which also include JUDE LAW, ANNETTE Funicello, Jennifer ANISTON, RIN Tin Tin as answers; Gene Hackman, Walter Matthau, Errol Flynn and Andy Warhol as clues -- and if that ukulele master TINY TIM ever uttered ""God bless us every one!" he could be included. Animals, mythical and real, abound -- UNICORN, PIG IN A POKE, Gorillas, A DEER and an ELF. That trio of architects, Gehry, Meier and PEI (lots of pi, pie, Pei this month) make an appearance, photographer NAN Goldin, author R. L. STINE, along with rulers OLAF I, NERO, MAO, Marc Anthony (think Egypt) -- and finally, a quote from Judas Iscariot "Is IT I, Lord?" -- Jeez!

It was OK.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Nice puzzle. About the clue for 59 down (Recommended Daily Amounts): shouldn't the spelling be dietician (with a C)?

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Hi, it's me, writing from six weeks in the future (or the past, whatever). Possibly no one will read this, but I just wanted to say I really liked this puzzle. I can't always finish a Thursday puzzle unaided (sans Google), but this one was pretty easy. I got pig in a poke without any crossing letters. Rather proud of that!

Rex Parker 12:01 PM  

Thursday is a major hurdle in a solver's career? If you can do a Thursday unaided, you can probably do a Sunday unaided, leaving just Friday and Saturday, which are genuinely difficult (and difficulter). So good for you, Rhonda.


PS R.D.A. = Recommended Daily Allowance

PPS "Dietitian" = 3.46 million Google hits, while "dietician" = 1.95 million. For what that's worth.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Today's puzzle was a one cupper for me. As usual I scoped out the north, and ANNETTE was the only possible that came to mind, but I preferred to get a cross or two before committing.
(I take commitment seriously)

I then skipped to the S/E and entered SHOT for "injection" When that failed to produce any crosses, I looked about for another place to start a wedge, and found NOSY, which led me to a gimme, DIAN FOSSEY, and I was off to the races. SHOT was no problem as soon as I got TINY TIM, a gimme.

When I was done, I had a blank at the crossing of DIANE LANE and CAUL. figured it was probably an "L" but might just be a "K".

As usual, I panicked at all the names, but, even though I pay little attention to pop culture, I must be absorbing it through osmosis, (or in the supermarket checkout line) as, except for the blank noted above, they all emerged from the grid by inference.

I am definitely going to rent "The Conversation" Gene Hackman is such a good actor.

Anonymous 11:56 PM  

This one took me longer than it should of. First, because I held on to eat crow for way to long and second because I've never heard of othello. Having AGILE for a while as the answer for "Like a ballerina" didn't help the NE problem either.

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Othello came to me early in an epiphany, with only the final "O" as an aid (although I suspected the initial O for Olaf_). I was so proud of myself.

I had "TwoAbes" for "Change of a sawbuck" for the longest time. I still like it, keeping with the "gangsters' colorful nicknames for money" theme of "sawbucks" and "CNotes". "TenOnes" is so mundane.

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