Feb 2, 2008

Saturday Feb 2, 2008 Matthew Higgins

Theme: NONE

With the exception of REEVE for 44A: Superman in movies, this puzzle has no mention of any pop culture stuff. All those obscure authors/bands/singers/old actors/actresses are taking today off.

I stumbled on 1A: the Jewish sect immediately. I penned in a few with authority, inked a few with hesitation, and gratefully filled in a few "S", "ED", "ER" lots of "ING"s .

Have you noticed that there are 5 clues ending with ING:

27A: Lamenting loudly: ULULATING

30A: Supposing: REPUTING

52A: Directing: GUIDING

6D: Beginning: INCEPTION. I was wrong to put "ing" here.

8D: Donning official vestments: ROBING.

A nightmarish struggle. But I was smart enough to realize that this war was not worth fighting for. I shifted to cheat gear (Thank you Larry Page & Sergey Brin) quickly.

Here is a quick recap:

1A: Memebers of a Jewish sect: HASIDIM. Hasid is the single form. Strange plural form. This word "Hasid" looks very wrong.

8A: Even more isolated: REMOTER. Shouldn't it be More Remote?

15A: Surpassed: OUTDONE

16A: Chrysolite: OLIVINE. Too technical for me.

17A: Divide into three equal parts: TRISECT

18A: Emotional stability: BALANCE. That's what Britney Spears needs now. It's not fun to watch her stumble any more. It has become a tragedy.

19A: Dry, as wine: SEC

23A: Jab: POKE

25A: Dried Plum: PRUNE. I love dried dates. After they are dried, plums becomes prune, grapes become raisin, dates are still dates. That's consistency. No flip-flop.

26A: Right on maps: EAST

27A: Lamenting loudly: ULULATING. Unknown to me. This word looks very loud and noisy.

29A: Abalone eater: OTTER. So many ways to clue this creature.

30A: Supposing: REPUTING. I put POSITING first.

31A: Formal, informally: DRESSY

32A: Inventor of catchphrases: SLOGANEER. Mission Accomplished?

34A: Upolu resident: SAMOAN. Apia is the capital.

37A: Resound: RESONATE.

42A: City of the Temple Mount: JERUSALEM

45A: " Clair de __": LUNE. French for "Moonlight". I don't know whether refers to the poem or the Broadway play here.

47A: Short-legged, long-eared hounds: BASSETS

50A: Roughly vehement: VIOLENT

54A: Tract of farmland: ACREAGE

55A: Anticipatory payment: ADVANCE

56A Took up again: RESUMED

57A: Inland passages for oceangoing ships: SEAWAYS

Down Clues:

1D: Impetuous person: HOT SPUR. I never heard my husband used this word before.

2D: Halo: AUREOLE. I know Aura. Aureole can also be spelled as Aureola. Let's be prepared in case the crossword editor decides to trick us with a variation next time.

3D: Robbery at gunpoint: STICK UP

5D: Activist: DOER

6D: Beginning: INCEPTION. I was trapped to put an "ING" at the end.

7D: Stamping, in a way: METERING. Why? Can anyone explain this to me please?

9D: Fill with high spirits: ELATE

10D: Wire measures: MILS. Dictionary says it's "a unit of length equal to 0.001 of an inch (0.0254 mm), used in measuring the diameter of wires." I will forget it soon I think.

11D: Caesar's eggs: OVA. The singular form for Latin egg is ovum.

12D: Old-time soldiers' headgear: TIN HAT

13D: Contains in a box: ENCASES

14D: Opposite of launch: RE-ENTRY

21D: Denim overalls: DUNGAREES. The singular form "Dungaree" refers to the denim fabric. It's also a Hindu Goddess.

24D: Cleverly evasive: ELUSORY

26D: Perpetual: ETERNAL.

31D: State of inactivity: DESUETUDE. I put in INERTNESS initially. Here is the explanation of the word.

33D: Banned war weapon: NERVE GAS

34D: Urn with a tap: SAMOVAR. Saw this word before. Russian teapot. Here is the look.

35D: Cupidity: AVARICE. Greed.

36D: Trusted teacher: MENTORS

38D: Corundum: ALUMINA. Unknown to me.

39D: Period of occupancy: TENANCY. I was thinking of a different occupancy period, like "Occupied Japan", "Meiji Period", or something like that.

40D: Comes forth: EMERGES

42D: Made witty remarks: JESTED

44D: Scope: RANGE

47D: Smile broadly: BEAM. I put GRIN first.

48D: Hindu Deity: SIVA. Also, DEVA, KAMA, RAMA. At least, Hindu Gods have short names, those Greek Gods, or Roman Gods all have fancy long names.

51D: Romanian currency: LEU. Never heard of it. "The subdivision of leu is the ban, pl. bani, meaning both "money" and "coin".

53D: European crow: DAW. I don't like any kind of crow. Did not even bother to check how they look like.

Have a great weekend.

One more thing to blog: My husband bowled 747 last night, his 5th 700 series this year.

C. C.


Orange said...

Crikey, that is one crappy bunch of answers! Really, the advice I had for you yesterday, in a comment on Wednesday's post, stands. You'd have to get the Newsday crossword online rather than in your morning newspaper, but I really do think you'd find it much more rewarding. The sorts of answers you see in this Strib/Universal puzzle are the sorts of words that Will Shortz tries to keep to a scanty minimum in the NYT crossword, and that the other leading crossword editors also shy away from. (DAW and LEU, for example.)

The clues look dreadful, too. [Upolu resident] is awfully obscure; [Apia resident] would at least call on crosswordy knowledge of Samoa's capital. One mineral is fine, but two (OLIVINE and ALUMINA) is overkill.

An abundance of words formed by adding suffixes, prefixes, and word endings is also a marker of a not-so-great puzzle. REMOTER? ROBING and REPUTING? Blech.

Running mail through a postage meter rather than sticking a stamp on it is METERING it.

C. C. said...

Hi Orange,

Thanks for the explanation on "metering".

Most of the time I love "s, es, er, est, ing". They make the puzzles easier for me.

But when 4 or 5 'ing's appeared this morning, even I, as a novice solver who doesn't possess adequate understanding of the construction of the crossword, felt surprised.

I like your characterization of Olivine and Alumina as overkill. I wonder what those visitors think of Upolu resident, Daw, Leu, Remoter, esp remoter, which bothers me a lot. I am also curious to know what they view of this syndicated crossword as a whole. But they are very quiet.

I will start the Newsday puzzle next Monday. Then I can compare and contrast. Right now, my mind is brainwashed by this crossword editor. If he clues Sika as a Swiss Company founded in 1910, I won't even complain. I will just chalk it up to my lack of knowledege on construction cements.

Blogging has made me to think. And I am very thankful for your advice. It's very kind of you to take time and help a newcomer.

C. C.