Jun 2, 2008

Monday June 2, 2008 John Underwood

Theme: BLOW UP

17A: Blow up: EXAGGERATE

29A: Blow up: EXPLODE

40A: Blow up: ENLARGE

47A: Blow up: INFLATE

63A: Blow up: HIT THE ROOF

J'accuse! Too many yawn-provoking identical clues. Please don't expose the puzzle title in the clues any more! Please don't deprive me of the fun to analyze and ferret out the theme. Plus, I want to understand John Underwood's original thinking process in creating these 5 different theme entries.

This puzzle really has some ZIP (32D: Nada). It is one letter J away from a pangram (with all 26 letters of the alphabet in one grid). But, Flaubert, who was famous for his "le mot Juste", would be very impressed with how this constructor sprinkled his "Madame Bovary" in this puzzle.

Let's see, in what EMMA (10A: Mme. Bovary) considered to to be the FINEST (51A: Superlatively superior) days of her life, her husband Charles, who did not really care too much about TATTY (52D: Shabby) curtains, often thought he was the luckiest man on earth, to come back home with a warm meal on the table, no matter how late he returned from work. He often took off his FROCK (37A: Dress ) coat, ate in greater comfort and recited to EMMA the names of the people he had met during his rounds.

But his conversation was too boring for EMMA. She craved to belong to the ELITE (36D: In crowd). Sadly she found a HERO (57D: Leander's love) in the rake Rodolphe, who OGLE(D) (50D: Undress with one's eyes) EMMA at his first visit to the Bovary's and decided to seduce her. And you could imagine the TREMOR (24A: Nervous thrill) she experienced during this adulterous affair. But of course, she was mercilessly deserted and eventually reencountered Léon when she and Charles attended an OPERA (1D: Highbrow entertainment). Alas, Léon grew disenchanted with EMMA when her attention started to AFFECT (s) (44D: Bears upon) his work. There are some arguments about the symbolic purple STOLE (55D: Simple wrap) that EMMA found comforting. I think it refers to the priest and the spiritual awakening.

Sorry for the babbling. I just love this novel. Here we go:


5A: Skin of a noodle?: SCALP. Very creative clue.

14A: Stick for hopping: POGO. Also the title of a comic strip. Here is a good one: We have met the enemy and he is us.

15A: Fifer's drum: TABOR. I had no idea. Is it a gimme to you?

19A: Young troublemaker: PUNK. You've go to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya PUNK?

20A: Bureaucracy: RED TAPE

21A: 48D just clear the bottom: AWEIGH. Dictionary says it's "(of an anchor) just free of the bottom; atrip". I had no idea. AWEIGH ANCHOR (48D: Boat holder) is not a familiar nautical term to me.

23A: Ore analysis: ASSAY

27A: Washington, the prez: GEO. What?? Who calls him so?

32A: Zorro's marks: ZEES. I like this clue.

39A: Smarts stats: IQS. Another great clue.

43A: Post-larval: PUPAL. Hmm, LAP UP anagrammed.

46A: Unskilled laborer: PEON

53A: "Einstein on the Beach" composer: GLASS (Philip). I did not know him. Just learned this morning that Philip GLASS is Ira GLASS (This American Life)'s father's first cousin.

57A: Domestic sci.: HOME EC (Home Economics)

67A: Like Humpty Dumpty: OVATE

70A: Change color again: REDYE. And 25D: Changes title: RENAMES. Two RE prefixes is too much for me.


2D: Curses: POXES. I only knew POX as the smallpox.


6D: Proofreaders' symbol: CARET. The inverted V.

9D: Signal enhance: PRE-AMP. Want Pamper?

10D: Type of penguin: EMPEROR. Great parallel with MING (12D: __ the Merciless). I had never heard of the "Flash Gordon" comic or movie, so I had no idea who the evil EMPEROR MING was. MING is always a Chinese Dynasty to me of course, and Yao MING. The character looks like this. The left part means sun, the right part means moon, together, it means bright.

13D: Egyptian life symbol: ANKH. The Egyptian cross. I tend to confuse ANKH with ANKE (Huber of tennis). In yesterday's puzzle, ATON was clued as Egyptian god of sun.

18D: Motown's Marvin: GAYE. I think I am scarred by this tough puzzle. Need some tender Healing from GAYE.

22D: Author of "A Man in Full": WOLFE (Tom). His books are too thick for me to read. I can hardly hold "The Bonfire of the Vanities" in my hand. Anyway, "A Man in Full" is about a real estate mogul in ATLANTA (60A: CDC location) during the city's economic booms in the 1990s, according to Wikipedia.

34D: Distant beginning?: EQUI. Equidistant (equally distant).

34D: Armchair athletes channel: ESPN

36D: "Dallas" role: ELLIE. Got it this time.

46D: North Star: POLARIS. POLARIS Industries is a manufacturer of ATVs and snowmobile based here in MN.



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. & fellow DFs - thought this was a typical Monday puzzle, google-free with help from a couple perps.
C.C., 'Geo' is George, abbreviated. Should've been clued as such.
Hope everyone has an outstanding day - sunny and 80s here today.

Bill said...

Good Morning, Made it back after a hectic few days.
Not TOO bad except for 11, 12, and 13d. Had no idea. Had to call Mr. Google (so, what else is new?)
And, even tho I got 24a, I never thought of a TREMOR as a Nervous Thrill".
Yeah, 27a could have been clued a little better. [like....1st prez (to his friends)]
But, I'll take the results and move on to tomorrow.

lois said...

Good morning CC & Dennis & DF's: Good puzzle for me too. Thank you CC for the links...and I 'hit the roof' with that Marvin Gaye song. Will go the gym shortly. Loved 50D...It's better to be looked over than overlooked.

Enjoy this gorgeous day.

Katherine said...

Good morning CC, and gang! I was waiting for you. I got up at 5:00! I did good one this one, but I could not get "aweigh". I liked all the links.
CC, from yesterday, the Litchis looked delicious. Are they some kind of berry? And you should get the Robert Plant Alison Krauss CD. The whole thing is sooooo good.
Have a good day everyone.

Katherine said...

OOPs, another typo, I hate that. I meant to say I did good on this one. LOL

Anonymous said...

Bonjour, Chin Chin!
Nice meeting you yesterday. Thanks for letting me know "Diaraby".

I only filled in 1/3 of the grid, but I will keep on trying.

Dick said...

Good morning cc etal. Not a bad one today and finished rather quickly except for the NE corner. I put pest in for 19A which caused some problems in that area. I tried to force Pghpens (Pittsburgh Pens) for 10D and then tried will win but I am afraid none of this is to be this year.

15A Tabor is a repeat but it may have been in a NYT puzzle. I get the puzzles mixed at times.

Cc do you have any explanation for yesterdays Fagin/Fagen debacle?

C.C. Burnikel said...

RE: GEO (27A). The clue "Prez" is an abbreviation. So it should be sufficient. But I've never heard of any George being called GEO in daily conversation.

"Raising Sun" is on my wish list.

Anonymous said...

"Anchor's Aweigh" is the US Navy's official song (and I think the school song for the Naval Academy) here at this link:
Re: 2D - "A pox on you" is an antiquated form of a common curse

Jeanne said...

Morning all, slept a little later than normal and was having some difficulty with the puzzle. Decided to put it aside, have more coffee, clear my head, then tackled it the second go round. Always thought of tremor in the negative, not as a thrill. Didn't like that clue.

Barry G. said...

Hey, folks!

Had a devil of a time accessing the page this morning. Kept getting an error.

Anyway, a couple of false starts for me this morning (had DIRT instead of DOPE for 30D and RHO instead of PHI for 42A), but everything worked itself out in the end. Personally, I felt that 27A was very badly clued. I mean, I got it, but "Prez" is slang, whereas "Geo" is an abbreviation. So the clue should have been, "Washington, the pres." to indicate that the answer was an abbreviation.

MH said...

Good morning all. I've been in Detroit for the past week and not able to participate. But I'm back today. This was a quick one for me although for some reason I couldn't get Wolfe, frock, and echo and ended up googling for Wolfe. I thought it was a pretty good puzzle even though the theme was obvious. Good weather out here in N. Calif.

MH said...

Oops, forgot to mention that the Dirty Harry quote should be "You have to ask yourself: 'Do *you* feel lucky?' Well, do you punk?" This was said when no one knew for sure whether Harry had fired 5 or 6 times meaning that he might have an empty gun or one bullet left.

C.C. Burnikel said...

FAGEN was incorrectly clued in yesterday's puzzle. It should be "Steely Dan member".

Blogger said it had very high page load times earlier today. The server errors lasted almost 2 hours I think. OK now.

I was wondering where you had been.
"Do I feel lucky?" Do you?

Dick said...

Welcome back mh. I was wondering what happened to you.

NYTAnonimo said...

Here is that scene mh. I had the same trouble accessing this site barry. Tabor being played on the far left in this video c.c.. I thought GEO should've been clued better too. Hope you all have a good week.

NYTAnonimo said...

You beat me to it c.c.!

Richard said...

Hello, C.C.

I have been enjoying your blog for some time now. You are, of course, a language genius to have gotten so intimately into English and this culture in such a short time.

Ming the Merciless was one of my favorites as a kid, with those great big collars surrounding the back of his head. Even better was his evil daughter, Princess Aura. Usually braless, she was so much hotter than the goody two-shoes Dale Arden.

Anonymous said...

"Fie and a pox on you" was an old middle -ages curse...that`s how I knew "pox' was a curse...

Dennis said...

Richard, that's outstanding! I thought I was the only one that noticed Princess Aura's, uh, freedom.
Welcome back, mh; good to see you again.

carol said...

Hi C.C. and everyone: Not too tough this morning.
Barry: I got the same error message several times.

C.C.: Thanks for letting us know about the server error.

I thought 52D was odd..guess I never heard of "tatty" as another word for shabby..tattered would have been better.

Funny, Lois didn't mention feeling a "tremor" when reading "enlarge" and "inflate"...maybe when she gets back from the gym. :)

Dick said...

Carol that's funny. You are a bad influence on an already bad girl. I must admit the same thought did cross my mind about the tremor.

carol said...

Dick, you know the saying:"birds of a feather..." and something about certain types of minds floating down a "waste water channel". We'll wait and see what happens. :)

lois said...

Carol you are a hoot! I did get kind of excited when I read those words, but the'main' 'tremor' happened with the action of the 'pogo' followed by 'explode'. The Marvin Gaye link rocketed me off into space like a 'polaris' missile. I had to get 'aweigh' to the gym before the 'wolfe' in me attacked the cable man with Cox. Everybody is 'safer' now. It's no longer an 'onus', more like an 'on 'im'. No 'troika's or threesomes today!

melissa bee said...

good afternoon c.c. and d.f.'s,

unraveled this one in between patients but had to consult mr. google for a few blank spots. did not know ming the merciless, nor echo for narcissus' lover.

i liked all the x's, with 2 k's and a z and q, even. also dug the skin of a noodle? clue. 53a 'glass' reminded me of yesterday's nytimes puzzle, which was called 'spyglass,' with a graphic to draw in upon solving. anyone do that one?

@kathryn & c.c., 'raising sand' was my favorite album released last year .. i've practically worn mine out.

@c.c., i totally agree, i've known many a george and have *never* heard any of them called 'geo.'

coincidentally i just watched 'anchors aweigh' a week ago, the film with frank sinatra and gene kelly. it contains the famous scene of kelly dancing with jerry, the animated mouse.

@mh, welcome back.

C.C. Burnikel said...

I forgot to answer your question regarding "litchie" earlier. Yes, it's a kind of berry. The shell is very brittle, and it tastes very sweet and juicy. Overeating litchies can result in severe throat problem.

Chris in LA,
I don't think I will forget "ANCHOR's AWEIGH" now. Thank you for the link.

This past 7-year has been a long itch! Thank you for the "freedom" information on Princess Aura. Very interesting!

Carol, Bill et al,
I've personally experienced this nervous thrill TREMOR before, several times. So no complaint from me today.

You seem to be able to "Me Talking Pretty" every day "When You Are Engulfed in Flames".

No NYT Sunday for me. Too tough. I can only handle Mondays and a few Tuesdays. 5A: SCALP might appear on the Clever Clue of the Month shortlist this month. It's an original I think. How I want a JOY or JEALOUSY in this puzzle! I've never solved a pangram grid before.

Have you read "Madam Bovary" before? You can find several words in today's grid in Chapter 7 alone. Quite an ECHO.

Anonymous said...

21A Anchors Away-Thought everyone knew the Navy Anthem.

Old Salt

Enjoy yur blog.

Crockett1947 said...

Good afternoon, everyone. Had errands to run early, so I'm late getting my post up today. Smooth sailing on this one. Too bad there wasn't a "J" word in there somewhere! I think the GEO is acceptable for President Washington because almost no one used their full name in signatures back then and most all of the signatures I've seen have been GEO.

lois said...

CC: David Sedaris is one of my favorites. As far as ...engulfed in flames? I know where I'm headin', so I'm just going to enjoy the hell out of the ride!

carol said...

Lois, are you going in a "hand-cart" or being driven there by a "beast in a "yoke" ? Perhaps you are just going to ASSay the situation- whichever it is, it will cause a "tremor" down there!! :) You'll put new meaning in "the Devil made me do it"!! ;)

melissa bee said...

@lois, one of my favorite bumper stickers: 'i hope i have as much fun in hell as i'm having getting there.'

lois said...

Carol: Funny girl! Geraldine and I are of the same mind all right, but usually the angels bail me out. Guess I am being bad! Who knew? Although I have been told that on occasion.

As far as choice in transportation?
A 'hand-cart' is way too tame for me (but will work in a pinch, meaning if all else fails, handle it yourself). Much prefer the 'beast'though. Will wait and see who volunteers. I'm taking names now! I may have to have auditions or practice sessions. We'll see how it goes...or comes.

lois said...

Melissa: Truer words were never spoken (or written)! Carpe diem!.. and whoever is cutest.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Re your comments @ 3:15pm, who are the other favorites?

Dick said...

Lois I could practice all night. When do we start?

Dr. Dad said...

Well, well, well. I see things haven't changed here. Same dysfunctional group with some new members who are fitting right in. Welcome to all of them.

Haven't had time to do the online crossword (I don't really like those anyway) with all the meetings and projects going on here in Bollywood. This is the first time I have had a chance to go back and read some of the comments. Hope to get back into the swing when I get back to the States.

I know Princess Aura too. She was played by Ornella Muti in the movie version that had Sam J. Jones as Flash. If you think Aura looked good in the comics, etc. Think about Ornella portraying her!!! Ornella Muti

Dr. Dad

lois said...

CC: I'll watch, read or listen to anything by these people: Dave Barry and Dave Chapelle crack me up, and so do Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart. On another level, Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall are cute. and I love Garrison Keillor (just saw him in VaBeach May 20). Erma Bombeck and Bob Hope are timeless. Funny stuff!

Dick: You are hilarious and such a player! You are just bound and determined to stay 'in the box'! I haven't had a good match since Marilyn Monroe died, but you may test my stamina. You've been 'in the box' since the ballgame a while back. But you are ON! Practice starts as soon as you are UP to it. I'm always ready. I'll have my people call your people.

Mr. Corcoran said...

salut cici et al. I loved your riff on Mme Bovary...bravo!
lois--drole, drole, tres drole, comme d'habitude! You get my French I'm sure!
tatty--tell me someone made that one up!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Great to hear from you again. Do you enjoy the ragas there?

I love the Old Scout too.

Happy to hear that you liked the EMMA riff.

Anonymous said...

If you want to earn money and wants to fulfill your financial dream, Premier Financial Alliance is here for you. You do not need to spend money. Just you can join our professional company with nominal fees and you can work together and earn more than what you may have expected. This Financial Alliance has a lot more than you may have expected.