TUESDAY, Mar. 6, 2007 - Paula Gamache

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Solving time: 5:30 (on paper)
THEME: 50A: "You're on!" ... and a hint to answering the seven starred clues ("It's a deal!") - each of seven starred clues is a phrase beginning with a word that describes a kind of DEAL, e.g. 42A: *What the nouveau riche have (new money) ["New Deal"] and 37D: *Words after "Been there" ("done that") ["Done Deal"]

[late addendum - this is what I get for typing the grid in on Across Lite and not at the NYT applet (which checks my work): I accidentally reproduced my initial mistake of BLUR for BLOB at 1A. My apologies]

Not my favorite theme style, and the theme clues and answers felt a little weak at times, but Ms. Gamache got a surprisingly large number of DEALS into the grid, which was amusing: liked BUM, RAW, DONE, and NEW - but FAIR, BIG, and GOOD are kind of lackluster. Rest of the puzzle was easy, with a few exceptions. Today's commentary is very short, because it's colder than Satan's balls here in far upstate NY (and if you've read Inferno, you know how cold that is) and so everyone BUT ME gets to stay home from school. ERGO (51D: As a result), there's too much to be attended to for me to be sitting here for any significant period of time whining / gushing about crosswords this morning. Alas.

1A: Out-of-focus image, say (blob) - I would not "say" this. I would (and did) "say" BLUR, which is a far more reasonable answer. The BLOB is a creature from a horror movie starring Steve McQueen.

44A: Commotions (hoohas) - I have to challenge! And to say that for a word that is (as one commenter recently noted) slang for "vagina," this word is getting far too much face time (!!?). I was trying to cram BROOHAHA in there (which, by the way, is not something you want to do to your HOOHA - am I right, ladies?) - I'm making myself laugh this morning, at any rate.

It's a bit lame that we have two words for "commotion" in today's puzzle; first ADO (8D: Hubbub - how many silly words is too many for one puzzle!?) and then HOOHAS. Adding to the lameness is the presence of HOOHAS less inbred but still ugly cousin, HAHAS (55A: Laughs).

50D: Chain restaurant with a blue roof (IHOP) - do I like IHOP because it's in the crossword so much, or do I like crosswords because they are so full of IHOP. Scientists will be able to tell us, someday. All I know is that on Saturday, Mar. 24, I plan to be writing at least part of my blog from the Stamford, CT IHOP. Gotta procure a laptop with wifi capabilities AND a digital camera for easy uploading of the many IHOP photos I will surely take.

26D: Patty Duke's son Sean (Astin) - Wow. I did not know this. I mean, I got this easily, but I never put his ASTIN and her former Patty Duke ASTIN together. Live and learn. ASTIN was a hobbit:

36A: Sport of horse racing, with "the" ("turf") - ??? New to me. You play football on TURF. You might order "Surf and TURF" at your local steakhouse eatery family fun place. I guess that since horse racing, like boxing, is a totally dated and unexciting non-sport, I'm just not up on the lingo. I do like horse racing and boxing when they are featured in films noirs. Otherwise, meh. Speaking of film noir, I do like SHIV (11D: Switchblade, slangily) as a word, in general.

9D: *Cutting it can bring tears to the eyes (raw onion)
22A: Martini garnishes (olives)

I nearly cried foul here when, on seeing the initial "O" in 22A, I thought "they're gonna cross RAW ONION with ONIONS!? Is that legal?!" No, it isn't. Not sure why my mind went to ONIONS and not the far more common OLIVES? Maybe precisely because of the proximity of RAW ONION. I take OLIVES in my martinis, for the record, in case anyone is thinking of buying me a drink at Stamford - and if you're not thinking of it, well, you should.

37A: Subject of the 2004 biopic "Beyond the Sea" (Darin)
38A: Teri of "Young Frankenstein" (Garr)

I leave you with these two puzzle neighbors, both of whom I love love love. "More" by Bobby Darin is one of the most perfect popular songs ever - makes me instantly happy. And Teri GARR, as you know if you've been reading me long, is a long-time celebrity crush of mine. So so cute and funny. I learned something about speed solving today, and that is, it can make you a very bad reader of clues. I took one glance at 37A, saw "sea" in the title, figured it was something about sailing or a shipwreck or something nautical, and immediately moved on. If I'd taken a Friday approach and actually thought for two seconds, it would have been a gimme. Take us out, Bobby.

"More than the greatest love the world has known / This is the love that I give to you alone"


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Tuesday - quick and fun! I loved this puzzle for nestling IHOP between ATE and STALE (though I am certain that IHOP would never serve a stale stack of hotcakes). Also loved seeing HOOHAS and HAHAS in this one - a comment on recent blog commentary? And ROSIN, my favorite (because I love baseball as well as music). ROSIN could have been clued in a musical way - "Cake in a violin case" or "Bower's need," which would have been tricky because of the many ways to read "bower." And RITA, Meter Maid, great Beatles song, and then Rod CAREW, great baseball player.

All in all, a good time. And Rex, I will buy you a martini any time for keeping all of us so entertained.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Being of an older generation (or spending too much time in bars), some things are common knowledge:

Olives = martini
Onions = gibson

They're on me, when you're in the big apple.

You probably did know that Patty Duke's husband was John Astin of Addams Family fame.

Thanks for the daily entertainment.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

Why leave "blur" when the answer is "BLOB" which also renders "BIGSTUFF" to equal BIG deal? I mean, that's the deal!

C zar 12:06 PM  

Rex is gettin pretty racy! I'm also
a Teri Garr fan:
Frankenstein: What knockers.
Inga: Oh, thank you doctor.
- Young Frankenstein
(that's Fronkensteen)

Alex S. 12:42 PM  

Good thing this was the second recent appearance of "hooha" in the puzzle, otherwise I would have had the same problem this time that I had last time.

I've just simply never heard the word used in this way. Sadly, it appears my vocabulary is still solidly rooted in the world of inexplicably horny 12-year-olds.

I had no idea that Patty Duke and John Astin had been married (I knew that Sean Astin was John Astin's son, though).

Saddest of all is that I solved the puzzle completely (in a good time for me) but still couldn't figure out what the theme was. How "ITS A DEAL" tied into the theme words. Now I feel stupid.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Wow, you guys are really rubbing Rex's previously explored ignorance of John Astin in his virtual face. Nails back, ladies!

sonofdad 1:25 PM  

I always think of shivs in the context of knives that prisoners make from innocuous household objects. In fact, I didn't know that shiv had a meaning other than a non-metal prison shank until last night. I'd like to see shiv clued as "A sharpened toothbrush, say," or something related to prison. It would really make my day, for some reason.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Out in So. Dak. they do say HOOHA to mean something like "much ado," but I find it a challenge to keep a straight face nonetheless.

Anonymous 5:35 PM  

King of CrossWorld:

If the criterion for the solution of a puzzle is the complete and correct entry of all squares, you are now in your ninth hour of puzzlement, e.g.:


Anonymous 5:45 PM  

During her marriage to John Astin she was known professionally as Patty Duke Astin -- later dropped the Astin, as Farrah Fawcett-Majors dropped Majors after that union was dissolved. Loved her in "The Miracle Workers" -- Patty, not Farrah.

Rex Parker 6:23 PM  

To those who are pointing out mistakes in today's grid,

Please, try actually Reading the blog entry before you comment on it. Perhaps the errors you seek to point out have already been noted and explained. Perhaps I blogged the very word in question, thus making it very evident that I in fact had the right answer (BLOB) when solving, but carelessly typed the wrong one (BLUR) when entering the puzzle into the grid for publication (which I do, every single day, as a courtesy to you, at absolutely no charge). Perhaps I even went so far as to Apologize for the mis-entered grid. Perhaps.


Orange 6:41 PM  

You tell 'em, Rex! This crossword bloggin' is hard work.

And I'm not being snarky, either. I know first-hand what a time commitment it is.

I just did a Paula Gamache puzzle in a book of NY Sun crosswords: [Ado] clues HOOHA.

Anonymous 6:44 PM  

So the incorrect entry cannot be corrected? There will be some who look at those answers only and wonder why or what.

Rex Parker 7:24 PM  

I want to write "Paula loves her HOOHA," but something just won't let me.


Anonymous 7:25 PM  

Dear Rex,

You deserve (not deterge) two martinis for all you go through to help us hapless solvers. Please carry on.

Anonymous 7:33 PM  

Anyone getting in for free to look at someone else's filled in NYT crossword puzzle should quote unquote Trust But Verify.

Rex's blog is ... what's that word? FREE

He does all the work and does not deserve to be chided.

Take it back!

One of the Freeloading Anons

Anonymous 7:46 PM  

I think you can pay to get the solution from NYT. If an error appears in their solution, complaints are justified.

Anonymous 8:29 PM  

To Anonymous:

"Chiding" is your word, "curiousity" was the motivation for the question -- simply wondering why in this world of sophisticated electronics, the grid cannot be corrected to reflect the actual answer.

Orange 11:20 PM  

Please—allow me to answer this one. Why can't the grid be corrected? Because each blog post probably takes Rex an hour or more of his time, and he has a job and a family and a life that—and I'm just guessing here—do not revolve around providing ways for people to cheat on crosswords for free. Sure, it'd only take five minutes to do it. (Nobody's stopping anyone else from doing just that!) Plus, there's another blog that posts the confirmed answer grid each day. The information is out there if you know where to look.

(Yo, Rex—you should add an Amazon honor box so people coasting along on your answer grids can reimburse you for your time, efforts, ill temper, and wit.)

Sorry. I must be a little glowery tonight.

Linda G 11:50 PM  

Didn't even start today's puzzle until 9:30 p.m. It was a long day.

Rex, there are many of us who appreciate everything that you put into this endeavor. The next time you're in Colorado, a stack of pancakes with a martini chaser are on me ;-)

Rex Parker 9:36 AM  

With apologies to all involved, I have deleted the last four or so posts - the exchange had ceased to be relevant to the blog, and I won't allow this Comments section to deteriorate into anything resembling snide carping of a non-good-humored nature. Take it elsewhere.

Your leader,

Anonymous 4:02 AM  

No matter -- the entry should be corrected, especially since you are in the educational field!

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