Jan 30, 2008

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008 Philip J. Anderson

Theme: Places with embedded famous names

21A: Place for bandleader Les?: Brownsville (TX)
52A: Place for singer Anita: Bakersfield (CA)
3D: Place for actor Brad: Pittsburgh (PA)
30D: Place for pitcher Cy: Youngstown (OH)

First, I have a question for you. Do you know if we have own Star Tribune editor for this crossword or is this also a syndicated crossword like the New York Times? Are you guys all doing the Star Tribune crossword?

If you did last Sunday's crossword (Jan 27, Josiah Breward, People Persons), you might also have noticed the several variations with the spelling of the answers, like the Swiss City on the Rhine answer(Basel instead of Basel), Encircle (Girt instead of Gird), Experts (Mavins instead of Mavens), which caused problems for quite a few solvers. I want to make a suggestion that they add the words like "variation" or "alternative spelling" or some hints in the clues.

I emailed Star Tribune Editor Will Tacy asking for the contact person, no answer. My email was probably junked. Then I called him yesterday morning and left a message. Again no feedback. I am so disappointed. And they gave away the Homer Hankies only to new subscribers who signed up on the spots during Twins Fest last Saturday. A Twins Fest is not complete without a Homer Hanky! What's going on with them?

Anyway, I digressed.

I like Wednesday crosswords. I think my first cheat-free crossword will be a Wednesday, or a Tuesday. Monday is always tough for me. I sailed through smoothly until I stumbled upon the very heart of the crossword.

I had no idea what to put for 29D: Subarctic forest (TAIGA), I did not know the meaning of 38A: Anabaptist sect (AMISH). Somehow I was thinking of a rare insect. There was a family of 4 or 5 Amish people selling homemade organic jams (I adore their raspberry jam), jellies, homegrown tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, apples, pumpkins, etc, at Annandale Flea Market. They had a very rustic cabin booth. Nice people. Oh, 34D: Indian colonialists (SAHIB) is also too hard for me.


1A: Dog food brand: ALPO. Purina Alpo. Dave Lee of WCCO approves this message/line!

15A: Sharpen: HONE. Saw John Edwards last night. He has honed in on his Corporate Greed message. It was -15F, almost unbearable with the brutal windchill. But people sweat inside, the place was packed. His hair did look like a $400 cut, impeccable, not as thick as it looked on TV though.

19A: Publicized Cuban refugee: ELIAN (GONZALEZ). What a nightmare for Janet Leno.

21A: Place for bandleader Les? Brownsville. Had no idea who Les Brown was. But easily inferable from the down clues.

49A: 1944 Physics Nobelist: RABI, Isidor Isaac Rabi. The name for 1943 Physicist Nobelist: OTTO (Stern)

63A: Japanese deer: SIKA. Did not know this. It's small, reddish deer native to Japan.

66A: Polanski film: TESS. Inferable. I say, drop the charges. The young girl has forgiven him, hasn't she?

Down Clues:

5D: Singer Dinah: SHORE. Great golfer. The current LPGA major Kraft Nabisco used to be called Dihah Shore.

8D: Snakes: MEANDERS

27D: "Rouen Cathedral" painter: MONET. I tend to confuse him with MANET.

29D: Subarctic forest: TAIGA. Have to remember this little simple word.

30D: Place for pitcher Cy? Youngstown. Our Cy Young is gone this morning, dealt to the Mets. Johan Santana pitched the very first baseball game I watched. He was not very good then. But he has been brilliant in the past several years. Mr. Forbes #107 Pohlad Got My Goat.

31D: "Seascape" playwright: Albee (Edward). "Seascape" won Pulitzer in 1974.

32D: Alcoholic hone beverages: MEADS. I wonder how & why honey is fermented. Natural honey seems perfectly sweet to me.

34D: Indian colonialists: SAHIB. Indian names tend to have this silent "h". Gandhi, Nehru, Sahib. I always want to spell Gandhi to be Ghandi.

61D: _ Choy (Chinese vegetable): Bok. These Cantonese spelling is very annoying. When you go to China, ask for Bai Cai.

Have a great day!

C. C.


matt said...

Thanks, this helped me a lot.

Tide said...

I thought the Nobel physicist was Bohr, why is this so damn hard?

C. C. said...

I am glad I could be of any help Matt. Thanks for the comment.

Tide, I just found out the elder Bohr won Nobel Physics in 1922, and his son won in 1975.


Jess said...

Hah, cool. Stumbled on your blog today while working on a puzzle from yesterday.

My university syndicates puzzles in our 4 day a week "daily" paper.

Hadn't realized who we syndicate from until today.

Neils Bohr is a common answer, and the more well-known physics prize winner. (And, as a Chem grad student, the one I think of the most by default!)

C. C. said...

Thanks for the reply Jess.

C. C.

Orange said...

C.C., I swung by here after I got your e-mail this evening. I dug around on the internet and learned that the Star Tribune crossword is the syndicated Universal crossword edited by Timothy Parker. It is...not good. An obscure word like SIKA is not something that any educated American would be expected to know. I don't know it, and I wrote a book about conquering crosswords! RABI is also pretty darned obscure, as is OTTO Stern. A Wednesday puzzle that hurls junk like this at the solver is, well, junky.

What I would recommend for you, C.C., is to visit the Puzzle Pointers page and head straight for the Creators Syndicate Newsday crossword (you can solve online at the puzzle page, or print out a PDF to solve on paper(. The Saturday puzzle is wicked and themeless, and the Friday puzzle is moderately tough. But the Monday and Tuesday puzzles are pretty easy, with straightforward themes—and they don't contain crap like SIKA and RABI. There will be some words that are far more common in crosswords than in life, but not woefully obscure stuff. I think it'd be much easier to finish a Monday Newsday crossword than to fight your way through anything like today's Universal/Star Tribune puzzle!

C. C. said...


Thanks for stopping by.

One good point about being new to crossword is that I don't even know "Sika" is an obscure word. I just figured that it was something I never heard of but most of other solvers already knew.

The line above our crossword says TMS Daily Crossword. Maybe it's not updated. So many things went astray after the new private firm took over the newspaper. I don't read their editorial any more.

I will stick to their crossword for a while, out of old habit, with lots of Liquid Paper. But I will definitely try the Newsday puzzle next Monday, today's Stanley Newman's is too hard for me.

C. C.

Orange said...

I hope you enjoy the Newsday puzzle more than this one! My hunch is that you'll find it much more rewarding to solve the Newsday, and you'll be able to do more of it without Googling. There'll be some words that are obscure outside of crosswords, but none that, like SIKA, are obscure inside crosswords!