WEDNESDAY, Apr. 4, 2007 - Bette Sue Cohen

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy to Medium

THEME: H2O - four theme answers all "celebrity" water names, and the theme is revealed at 36D: Theme of this puzzle (H2O)

I have "HTO" in the grid because when I do the puzzle on the applet (at the NYT on-line site), I always enter the first letter of whatever word or number is supposed to go into any rebus square. Would have amended it to "2" but, as usual, the NYT site froze on me when I clicked DONE, and I could not be bothered to retype the grid, so I just grabbed what I had.

The watery celebrities are:

  • 20A: Captain Renault player in "Casablanca" (Claude Rains) - I would have spelled his name RAINES
  • 11D: "Enter Talking" autobiographer (Joan Rivers)
  • 29D: Singer with the 1984 hit "Caribbean Queen" (Billy Ocean) - mmmm, high school
  • 57A: Oscar nominee for "Pinky," 1949 (Ethel Waters) - best wrong answer of the year: I had Ethel MERMAN (it fits the theme!!!!)
1A: Musical marks (ties) - any relation to yesterday's SLURS?

1D: 1 on the Mohs scale (talc) - now the crossword taught me what the Mohs scale was many months ago (measuring mineral hardness), but I did not learn what the various numbers signified. I guessed SOFT here at first.

2D: One on a pedestal (idol) - Last night's episode (read my write-up here) kind of sucked, but at this point it doesn't really matter because there's a sizeable buffer of terribleness between the singers I like and the person who will get kicked off the show tonight.

4D: Break down and then draw in (seduce) - possibly the hottest clue ever written.

25A: Actor Epps (Omar) - Ubiquitous, and used for both his last and first name. He's this century's Paul Anka.

37A: Nancy who married Ronald Reagan (Davis) - blanked on this. DAVIS is not a memorable name, somehow. Plus, Nancy DAVIS ... sounds like somebody who is already famous for something else, though I can't think who that would be. Clearly I'm just confused.

40A: When clocks are changed back from D.S.T. in the fall (at 2 a.m.) - I had TWO AM written in here, but then figured that the theme of this puzzle (36D) could not possibly be HOO. ONE AM would have give me HEO. So I had to rethink the center of this puzzle completely. Thankfully, I already had Joan RIVERS in place, and so the H20 theme jumped out at me, giving me AT 2 AM for the Across. And that was that.

50A: Like some stares (glassy) - vivid answer. Usually stares are ICY. GLASSY is more colorful ... and more alarming. Easy to read ICY, hard to read GLASSY.

68A: Jay Gould railroad (Erie) - I have no idea what this clue means, but add this to the 1000+ ways to clue ERIE list. Stephen Jay Gould was a famous anthropologist. He was also once on an episode of "The Simpsons."

12D: Hodgpodge (olio) - I just love the word. The evil twin of OLEO.

27D: U.S. Grant's given first name (Hiram)
28D: _____ Rogers St. John (Adela) - the west coast of the grid is an obscure names extravaganza. I don't even know who this ADELA person is. Wow, cool, she was a "girl reporter" from the 20's and 30's, as well as a silent movie screenwriter and a host of other stuff.

46D: He directed Marlon (Elia) - my first thought: KEENEN IVORY? Sadly, no. The clue meant Marlon BRANDO, and thus the answer is ELIA Kazan. ELIA also often comes in [Lamb alias] flavor.

56D: Certain iPod (mini) - nice fakeout. I had NANO.

60D: Bookie's worry (raid) - also, insect's worry. I had ODDS.

63D: Never, in Nuremberg (nie) - always nice to pick up a little foreign language instruction in my daily puzzle. I'll had this to the "4 German Words I Know" list, thus changing the name of said list.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


barrywep 10:21 AM  

UH OH, now I am worried, we are getting the same wrong answers:
Nancy DAVIS was a gimmee, although when I saw the Time cover it looked like Nancy Pelosi to me. I wonder if they use the same plastic surgeon?

Alex S. 10:24 AM  

Jay Gould was one of the railroad wealthy Robber Barons of the 19th century.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

TIES - in music. Not surprised to see this after all that SLURring yesterday. A tie is exactly the same as a slur, except that it joins two or more identical pitches, essentially altering the duration of one note, where slurs connect two or more different pitches. TIES on the viola mean that you don't have to move as fast. Um, good.

Rex, thank you for reminding me about ELIA/Lamb! I had already forgotten that pairing. memory...

For some stares, I first had GLARES, but GLASSY is lots more interesting. I am feeling a bit glassy-eyed this morning, now that you mention it.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

I had NANO too!

I laughed out loud at BILLY OCEAN. Those of you who watch Everyone Hates Chris (Chris Rock's fabulous show about his childhood) will know why. The sister character is obsessed with Billy Ocean and a recent episode concerned her thwarted attempts to join his fan club.

IMOO, CD ROM is now officially overexposed. The weakness of the clue suggests they know it, too.

Linda G 11:46 AM  

UNPC totally threw me. Nothing about an abbreviation in the clue. Couldn't think along the PROAM line for 7D, and UN-C just meant nothing to me.

Very clever the way 2 was at the center of the puzzle. Also had TWOAM first.

Campesite 12:34 PM  

I, too, though the 2 in the center was clever.

Had there been a Pantheon back in the day, IDI surely would have been a member (my apologies if he is indeed currently a member). I like that he came back with an updated, albeit a gimme, clue.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

I too first wrote in Ethel Merman (a mannish mermaid?)

Why did I want the stare to be "steely?" It made sense at the time.
Ongoing threads...
Just watched the Alanis Morissette Lady Lumps video. Thanks to...campesite. I loved it and laughed throughout. I started that thread, by the way, and would like that information to be mentioned at my memorial service after I'm gone...
Slurs, ties and oompah bands...Ultra Vi, have a look at my late post on yesterday's puzzle on the matter of wind players and slurring--and if you ever come to Montreal as a guest soloist, be sure and let me know (come to think of it, the MSO did perform a viola concerto some time in the past two or three years...must have been before the I really am wandering from the purport of this blog...). Sorry! Signing off.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

mmpo -

Yes, I saw your post. Are you a trombonist? Otherwise, how would you be so familiar with the subtleties of legato playing on low brass?

I'll probably never be a guest soloist - chamber music is more my milieu. But perhaps your concerto soloist was Rivka Golani Erdesz (very famous Canadian violist, originally from Israel), an ex of my viola maker, Otto Erdesz. She must have been SEDUCEd by the gorgeous sound of his instruments. Or vice versa.

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

I play trombone, yes. Strictly amateur--and more jazz than...legit. :)
As it turns out, the soloist was Neal Gripp, principal violist of the OSM (orchestre symphonique de montréal), playing the concerto for viola and orchestra by William Walton.
And that's probably enough about that! If you feel like carrying on this conversation, it's probably strayed far enough from crossworld that we should probably take it off line! You can use this email: (No offense will be taken if you don't contact me. But if you have anything to add, I think it's time to move off line.)

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

Aren't odds a bookie's friend?

Anonymous 10:25 PM  

Thanks for the "merman" link to Wikipedia! I about laughed up my spleen at the 17th century illustration -- this merman looks like a bearded dragon that is eating its way through a rotten Osage orange. No wonder all the mer-chicks were maids...

xwd_fiend 5:45 AM  

Solved this puzzle on a whim, passing through a central London station on a work trip and picking up an IHT. Solved it in about 20-25 minutes, which is pretty good for me - my best NYT attempt is just over 8 minutes for the Tuesday puzzle in the Wordplay book.

With more work journeys in the pipeline (Thu and Fri) this week, will see how I fare with a couple of tougher ones.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Hi All, checking in from the past.
This was a one-cupper.

First fill I got was ADZE. I have 3 of them, and one handle which fits all. Never used them. I like my ankles too much.

Got led astray in the east by GOES MAD. I had GOES APE.

Knew that TALC was on the bottom of the Mohs scale. Diamond is 10.

I have been working on Bill Clinton's puzzle on and off for a couple of days now. Not keeping track of beverages. Looks like I have about 80% filled. I am at the point where I need to google discographies.

Anonymous 8:53 PM  

I have finished the Cathy Millhauser/Bill Clinton puzzle. I can't find the blog on it. Anyone have a hint for me?

Waxy in Montreal 11:14 PM  

Interestingly, ELIA crossing ETHELWATERS is quite clever as Kazan also directed "Pinky".

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