WEDNESDAY, May 30, 2007 - Mike Nothnagel

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: TIMOTHY LEARY (53A: Speaker of the catchphrase that starts 20-, 27- and 47-Across)

Worst Nothnagel puzzle Ever! HA ha, I'm just kidding, this one was good. LEARY has been all over the puzzle lately (well, twice this past month, at least), and now, here he is, with his full name, ruling over his own interplanetary puzzle domain. There was something vaguely outer-spacey about this puzzle, with ORBIT (isn't that where LEARY's ashes are now: in ORBIT around the Earth?) (28D: Go around and around) and the first theme answer, TURN ON AN AXIS (20A: Revolve). I really wish LSD had been in the puzzle; it would have accompanied DAZE (69A: Stun) so nicely. Or maybe the YETI (17A: Himalayan legend) and N SYNC (32A: "Bye Bye Bye" boy band) are part of some drug-induced vision that the puzzle is trying to conjure up. Who knows?

The Theme, clearly expressed in RED:

  • 27A: "Don't miss the next episode..." ("Tune in tomorrow...")
  • 20A: Revolve (turn on an axis)
  • 47A: Become a recluse, perhaps (drop out of sight)
My favorite part of the puzzle was 37A: Start of many a pickup line ("Hey baby..."), both because the words LIE (41A: Tall tale) and ABED (34A: Sleeping, say) are immediately to the right of it, and because I imagine that the guy follows HEY BABY with some outrageous claim about himself (perhaps something along the lines of "I'm really good friends with Tom SNYDER - 25D: Talk show host Tom), and when the girl doubts him, he exclaims, perhaps drunkenly, "IT'S TRUE!" (23A: "Honest!").

I do not like the word TOILETS (52A: Rest stop features) in my puzzle. I can handle all kinds of near-profanity and sexual innuendo, but TOILETS, no. There's not a ton to say about the non-theme fill. There are a pair of answers in the NE that I like a lot, one because it's exotic and unusual (SUMATRA - 10D: Indonesian island crossed by the Equator), and the other because it's educational (KNOX - 11D: The "K" in James K. Polk - love those K's). I like the mixed message sent by the intersection of TUNE IN TOMORROW and "See IT NOW" (23D: Edward R. Murrow's "See _____"). And lastly, as a counterpoint to the drug-addled theme of the puzzle, I enjoy the simple, "Dennis the Menace"-like pleasures of LILYPAD (46D: Frog's perch) and POPOVER (43D: Light muffin).

That's all. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Jim in Chicago 10:14 AM  

Wow - no comments yet, but I sort of understand. This was a WEDNESDAY puzzle? I just started filling in the NW and worked my way to the SE without really stopping to think. Seemed like a Monday to me. In my book absolutely nothing exciting enough to comment on.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

I think we depleted our stock of things to say about Timothy Leary yesterday.
I like WRY and RYES flanking the northern section of the puzzle.

Linda G 10:45 AM  

Well, I said it was the best Nothnagel puzzle ever. Now he'll like me better than you ; )

Too funny that we had the Leary discussion yesterday, and he's the star of today's puzzle.

Rex, you and I both commented on lilypad and popover in the same sentence. And we both did red. Okay, we're back to the great minds thing.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I didn't like "punny" for Groucho's wit. Also took exception to "okd.'

Unknown 11:46 AM  

Apropos of nothing, I just wanted to thank Rex and all of you for being here. Since I found Rex's blog and everyone's witty comments, my solving skills have improved dramatically and I have even gotten the hang of doing the puzzle timed and on-line. Of course, the real achievement will come when I can do the Saturday puzzle Google-free.....

Alex S. 12:02 PM  

I did this one in 7:04, about 10 seconds of which was spent finding the empty square after my first submit.

I don't know if I've ever done a Monday that fast.

I don't know if I like really easy puzzles (it kind of feels like getting excited about doing a second graders math homework in record time) but for once it was nice to feel like a speed demon (or at least by my standards).

Definitely a little tired of Timothy Leary.

(Just returned from five days at Yosemite. Decided against getting some guest commenters during my absence.)

ScottK 12:02 PM  

I was also a bit miffed with the Groucho cluing for PUNNY. His humor was based more on double entendres, not puns.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

I had UBOAT instead of ABOMB (22D: "Weapon in 1940s headlines") for a while. That threw me off for a bit.

Campesite 12:22 PM  

Linda, I love that you cited just yesterday the exact quote from the puzzle today.
I think it was just a few weeks ago there was a flurry of Groucho-isms in this space, such as...
"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Scott, how is a double entendre not a pun?

Anonymous 1:17 PM  

This may be the easiest puzzle I've ever done. Not saying I didn't *like* it, but it seemed much more like a Monday to me. Or I'm getting really good! ;)

Because I'm still in mourning that Joey Fatone came in second in the Dancing with the Stars competition, I was glad to see NSYNC, a band I couldn't have named the members of two months ago.

And what rock did Tom SNYDER crawl out from under?

Best clue: "_____ and whose army?"
I wonder who originated that saying.

Anonymous 2:47 PM  

I originally had "phew" instead of "whew" for one across until I quickly got all of the SW corner and knew I had to change pry to wry.

Also had "hey babe" before I corrected it to "hey baby."

ScottK 4:05 PM  

mmpo: A pun consists of a rhyming word or homophone substituted for a word in familiar phrase, with risible results. My father loves these; one of his jokes involves the patriarch Benjamin, who remained invincible as long as he kept his long hair. If it was ever cut, however, he would be transformed into a Grecian urn. Thus the old adage, "A Benny Shaved is a Benny Urned."

A double entendre, however, is a sentence or phrase that can be understood in two ways. Typical Grouchoisms involve a double entendre and a punchline that casts it in a different light: "Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I'll never know."

"She got her good looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon."

"Marriage is a fine institution. But who wants to live in an institution?"

"Why, a five year old boy could understand this. Somebody send for a five year old boy."

dr_mickhead 7:54 PM  

Did anyone else have 'LEYKIS' for talk show host Tom for a minute? I'm guessing no--it takes a fairly low-brow mind to go there, but the 'Y' was in the same place and it fooled me for a bit!

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

Aaahhh...this puzzle reminds me of the good old days - that brief period between the invention of the birth control pill and the discovery of the AIDS virus.

Back then, "HEY, BABY" wasn't so much a pick-up line as the way any female was addressed. (You addressed a guy by saying, "Hey, man.") After that you'd go to someone's PAD, LIE around, perhaps on ABED, but more likely on a mattress on the floor or slouched across a beanbag chair. You might TURN ON, and you'd definintely TUNE OUT. It didn't really matter what you did - it was all cooool, baby.

Anonymous 12:29 AM  

With the appearance of OLIVE (a shade of green) in the grid, did no one care to rekindle the Great Celery Debate? Heck, I took LILYPAD as a veiled reference to the guest star (Kermit) of the particular blog of said infamous theme (It Aint Easy Bein Green)

Anonymous 1:03 AM  

Well, Scott, that tells me where you're coming from, but I don't think the meaning of pun is that narrow in general usage. On the contrary, I think pun is somewhat broader than double entendre, but includes double entendre. That is, a double entendre is a pun, but a pun is not necessarily a double entendre.

Anonymous 1:28 AM  

Thursdays is weird... what's with the backwards stuff? Grr.

ScottK 8:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Rex, I can't believe you brought up the outer-spacy theme & NSynce in the same paragraph w/out mentioning the other connection: Lance Bass wants to be an astronaut!!!

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

6WL ::::::

Easy yet enjoyable. If I hadn't gone on a paranoid journey about "Put chips in a pot" (26A), thinking microchips and flower pot and spies and wires and ending up with BUG instead of the obvious BET, It would have sailed. Chips aren't microphones, I know, I know.

I must be of the same era as Ultra Vi (post the pill / pre-AIDS), when hot tubs were used as god intended...

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

Weird for a Wednesday even 6WL.

Easier than most Mondays! But are we being setup for a Thursday stunner?

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

All easy except I originally had shew for 1A and then when I decided that 1D (like some humor) must not be sly but dry, I changed that answer to Dhew! I thought "come on, no one says dhew!" Wry completely escaped me! Aggh!

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