Feb 23, 2008

Saturday, Feb 23, 2008 Josiah Breward

Theme: NO

I often find a themeless puzzle more intimidating. You can not take a wild guess at some quotation/quip, or spot a bogey-par-birdie or the broken-heart pattern and fill in lots of blanks. This themeless is a true test of your range of knowledge and solving ability. I am just not up for it.

But I am getting better, I used to really like lots of s, es, ed, er, est, ing in the clues, now I don't. I've learned that that was bad and lazy construction.

Today I spent about 35 minutes on the puzzle before I started googling. I did not know 27A: "Punking out" Group (RAMONES). I never heard of the Ramones. I kept thinking of Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd. I did not know the Artis of the NBA (GILMORE), and never heard of ALWORTH (39D: Lance of the NFL). That gave me lots of trouble in the lower middle part.

OK, here are the across entries

1A: Territory's future, perhaps: STATEHOOD

10A: Knight's mail: ARMOR. I got this from the down clues. I was baffled after I reviewed my finished puzzle and could not understand why armor was a mail. Then found out that mail has another meaning of "flexible armor of interlinked rings'.

15A: Long-time New Yorker cartoonist: PETER ARNO. Never heard of him. Got it from down clues. He had a great quote: "Tell me about yourself - your struggles, your dreams, your telephone number."

16A: Use a razor: SHAVE

17A: Peculiar deviations: ANOMALIES

20A: Lillian or Dorothy: GISH. They are pretty sisters. Wow, I found out that Lillian lived until 99 years old.

23A: Pique performance: SNIT

24A: Madame Curie: MARIE

25A:Gillette blade: ATRA

27A: "Punking Out" group: RAMONES. See here for more information. I don't think I want to listen to their music. I just don't like rock, punk, or rap. OK, one exception. I like Pink's Let's get the Party Started.

30A: Viewing twins?: SEEING DOUBLE

32A: Selling feature: ASSET

35A: Highland hillsides: BRAES. Anther repeat offender.

36A: Repeatedly: TIME AND AGAIN

43A: Staggering: REELING

44A: Commercial bits: ADS

47A: Canasta combination: MELD. Did not know this one, in fact, I did not know the meaning of Canasta. It's a card game.

49A: Singer Lou: RAWLS. Frank Sinatra said he had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." He was once called "The funkiest man alive". I figure Samuel Jackson must love his music.

50A: From _ to stern: STEM. From one end to another.

51A: Man or Capri: ISLE

53A: Earth model: GLOBE. I botched this one. I was trapped into thinking that earth model might refer to a Korean car model. Could not get any assistance from the down clues.

54A: Wading bird: STILT. Never heard of this bird. The only wading birds I know are Egret, heron and crane.

56A: Like wind and rain: EROSIONAL

58A: Saw's cutters: TEETH

59A: Most peculiar: STRANGEST

60A: Spindrift: SPRAY. I was imaging cotton being processed and lots of fiber drifting.

61A: Rabble: THE MASSES. I got _ _ _ masses, then I thought the constructor was looking for a Latin word which means lower class people. Did not even think of putting a "the" there. Besides, I did not know the NBA/NFL guys' name, so could not get any help from the down clues.

Down entries:

1D: Scanty: SPARSE

2D: Renter: TENANT

4D: Entice: TEMPT

6D: Kubrick's computer: HAL. Learned this from doing crossword.

7D: Artful paper-folding: ORIGAMI. My Grandma was very good at this.

8D: Long golf club: ONE IRON. When I started playing golf in 2001, the only clubs I used were 7-iron & my putter. I used it for drive, fairway/rough shot, bunker shot & chip.

9D: Flopping in London: DOSSING. Sleeping. Unknown to me. I did not even know "flop" can mean sleep, not to mention the British word for it.

10D: One Wednesday: ASH

11D: Valerie Harper sitcom: RHODA

12D: Most easterly Prairie Province: MANITOBA

13D: Use veto power: OVERRULE. Star Tribune cover page this morning: Pawlenty veto sets up fight over transportation bill. Lots of rumors are swirling around that our Governor Tim Pawlenty will be McCain's running mate.

14D: Says over: RESTATES

21D: Listen to: HEED. I put "hear" first, then corrected myself quickly.

24D: Astronaut Jemison: MAE. First black woman to travel in space.

27D: Make roof repairs: RETAR

28D: Edna Ferber novel: SO BIG. She won Pulitzer for this book.

30D: Bishopric: SEE

31D: Container with a tap: URN

32D: Followers on an ancient Greek theory: ATOMISTS. Unknown to me. I wanted it to be Sto__ists, you know, like stoic something. That's the only greek theory I knew.

33D: Evade: SIDESTEP

34D: More rank: SMELLIER. Like a rank cigar, having an offensive strong smell.

37D: Soft-toy stuff: NERF

38D: Mommie's last name?: DEAREST. I was thinking of the Scarlett's nanny in Gone with the Wind. I thought she called her Mommie. Did not know that Mommie Dearest was a book, written by Joan Crawford's daughter.

39D: Lance of the NFL: ALWORTH. Unknown to me. Even if he is in Hall-of-Fame.

40D: Artis of the NBA: GILMORE. Nicknamed "A-Train". I know the "Big Train" Walter Johnson. I ruined my Walter Johnson bobblehead by using Mr. Eraser to clean a small blemish on his lower left chin. My God, the blemish was gone, but his chin became horribly white. Just awful!

41D: Response to a ques.: ANS

44D: Expiates: ATONES

45D: Cheapen: DEBASE

46D: Refines ore: SMELTS. The word in my mind was "Assay". Did not know that besides fish, "smelt" can mean refine metal by fusing.

48D: Mississippi triangle: DELTA

50D: Works hard: SLOGS. That's how I do my puzzle every day.

53D: Actress Lollobrigida: GINA. Vaguely remembered her name.

55D: "Hallowed by _ name...": THY

57D: Nunn or Donaldson: SAM. Gimme for me. Thought you might like this tidbit that I lifted from Wikipedia:

"On August 2, 2006, during the last White House Press conference in the briefing room before undergoing major renovations, Donaldson shouted, "Mr. President, should Mel Gibson be forgiven?", referencing reports of the actor/producer's alleged anti-Semitic remarks.

Bush laughed and looked up to see who had asked the question. Bush joked, "Is that Sam Donaldson? Forget it ... you're a 'has-been'! We don't have to answer has-beens' questions." To which Donaldson retorted "It's better to be a has-been than a never-was!"

I don't think Bush came back with an equally sparkling repartee. I never saw the interview, but I could picture him grinning his way out, jaw agape. God, that smirk!

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

C. C.


Crockett1947 said...

I think you have a typo in 12D. It should be MANITOBA, and since you have SHAVE for 16A, I'm certain it's just a typo. Have a fantastic week-end!!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Thanks for pointing it out. I've corrected it.

You too, have a good weekend.

C. C.

Anonymous said...

There was also a movie called "Mommie Dearest" based on the book. Faye Dunaway starred as Joan Crawford. She looked so much like her it was eerie. I believe it came out in the early 1980's. The most memorable scene is Joan's tirade about wire hangers! I believe it was panned by critics but I thought it wasn't too bad..

C.C. Burnikel said...

I never saw the movie or read the book.

Didn't Betti Davis' daughter also write a tell-all book?

I just finished Patti Davis' book "A Long Good-bye". It's interesting to see how she changed from the years of angry youth ("The Way I see it" ) into an absolutely adoring daughter.

C. C.

jw said...

Thanks for explaining about the armor and the mail. I couldn't figure that one out until I came across your blog while I was googling for answers. I enjoy reading all your comments and appreciate your honesty. Looking forward to Monday's puzzle because Sunday's is too hard for me. Have a good weekend.

C.C. Burnikel said...


Thanks for leaving a comment here.

Hope you will try Sunday soon.

C. C.

Anonymous said...

HAL was the computer in Kubrick's "2001: A Space Oddysey" which controlled the manned Jupiter space probe. It had a definite personality, and it was a challenge to overcome its control. HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed Algorithmic Computer)

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous at 5:49pm

Thanks so much for the information.

I never knew that Hal is an abbreviation. Always thought it's just a simple name.

C. C.

Orange said...

I sure hope that ALWORTH and DOSSING had gettable crossings. C.C., I don't see the TMS puzzle, just your posts—so I don't know if the words that even I find to be really obscure have easy crossings, or if sometimes two obscure answers cross each other and give you an impossible square. Impossible crossings make people madder than just about anything else in a crossword.

C.C. Burnikel said...


Alworth can be inferred if I knew Singer Lou (Rawls). I did not.

Dossing can be inferred if I knew the Ramones and the Gish sisters. I did not.

Maybe this did not pose too much trouble for other solvers, I don't now. I am not feeling like I am making progress lately.

C. C.

Katherine said...

I got 'em all today except the lower right hand corner! Yeaaa! Then you filled in the blanks for me. Didn't know "danse" macabre.

C.C. Burnikel said...


Come back to today (Feb 27), you are lost in "Time".

C. C.

Anonymous said...

I'm working this puzzle from The Omaha World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska. I ran across your site two days ago while Googleing a hard one and am using it to check my answers and fill in the seemingly impossible blanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a ton! Saved my day. I do this crossword from Mumbai India (Times of India)and some of the Hall-Of- Fame names are not known to me.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous @11:49pm,
You are more than welcome. Wow, that's such a long lag. We did that puzzle on Feb 23 Saturday.