Wall Street Journal, 4/2/10

“Pole Dance” by Patrick Blindauer -  11:07

Good morning everyone. Jeffrey here. In case you missed it, please read Amy’s announcement in the previous post. I’ll have more to say about this over the next few days. For now, let’s talk about today’s Wall Street Journal puzzle by Patrick Blindauer.

 wsj apr 2 10

The title is “Pole Dance” and I must confess I didn’t figure out the theme until after I had solved the whole thing. Pole refers to the North (N) and South (S) poles and the dance is to flip all N’s to S’s and vice versa in the theme answers.

Theme answers:

23A. [Gave Bambi a bad review?] – “Passed the buck” becomes PANNED THE BUCK
38A. [Career path for a petty officer?] – “Bonus track” becomes BO’SUN TRACK. Boatswain (pronounced and abbreviated bos’n): The warrant officer (noncommissioned officer) in charge of equipment such as ropes, sails, et cetera. One of the oldest ranks in the navy, it dates back to at least 1040. I know this term from HMS Pinafore.
49A. [Rules concerning cold cases?] – “Front lawn” becomes FROST LAWS. Double switch here.
58A. [Hipster who's a quipster?] – “Pussy cat” becomes PUNNY CAT. A punny clue to boot.
68A. [Support for the sympathetic?] – “Charity case” becomes CHARITY CANE. I may need one of these in the coming days.
76A. [Conflict between truly identical twins?] – “Close combat” becomes CLONE COMBAT.
89A. [Impertinent Hockey Hall of Famer Neely?] – “Nanny cam” becomes SASSY CAM. I’m guessing many of you didn’t know Cam Neely, but you must admit nanny to sassy is awesome.
98A. [Lass who's hard to please?] – “Funny Girl” become FUSSY GIRL. “Funny Girl” star Barbra Streisand may be fussy at times.
108A. [Endeavor for Enya?] – “Sewage tank” becomes NEW AGE TASK. Wow. This may be the most original switcheroo ever.
125A. [Painted ponies from Michigan?] –  “Detroit Piston” becomes DETROIT PINTOS.
92D. [Offer?] – “Annannis” becomes ASSASSIN. Ok, not a theme answer but how cool would that have been?

That still leaves 10(!) theme answers. Great stuff.

Other stuff:

1A. ["Just one and heartburn's done!" sloganeer] – PEPCID. Who doesn’t love an acid reflux reference at 1 across?
7A. [Atlantic island group owned by Portugal] – AZORES. Owned? Do you think we can scrape up enough money to buy them and hold the ACPT there?
13A. [Tooth trouble] – ABSCESS. Who doesn’t love to think about dental pain on the top row?
21A. [Sister of Venus] – SERENA Williams.
30A. [Home of Goodyear's headquarters] – OHIO/35D. [Home of Goodyear's headquarters] – AKRON. Founded in 1898.
33A. [Dead meat] – CARCASS. This may be the cause of your heartburn and tooth trouble.
36A. [Rotgut] – HOOCH. This may be the cause of your heartburn and tooth trouble.
47A. [Dr. Zhivago] – YURI
64A. [Cry of feigned innocence] – MOI. Miss Piggy!
65A. [Subject of Weird Al's "The White Stuff"] – OREO
72A. [Word from the Algonquian for "white dog"] – OPOSSUM. I didn’t o-know that.
75A. [1962 Paul Anka hit] – ESO BESO
85A. [Syr. neighbor] – LEB. I put ISR. So did you.
87A. [___ Abner] – LI’L
96A. [Pommes frites additive] – SEL.  That would French fries with salt. Et du ketchup?
115A. ["Breaking ___ Hard to Do"] – UP IS. Do you prefer the fast or the slow version?
123A. [She, reflexively] – HERSELF. Miss Piggy?
9D. [Saturn or Mercury] – ORB. Car? God? No, orb.
12D. [Barneys rival] – SAKS. Fred is Barney’s friend, not rival.
14D. [Owies] – BOOBOOS. Bamm Bamm is Barney’s son. Boo Boo is Yogi Bear’s friend. This concludes the Hanna-Barbera portion of our puzzle.
31D. [Esteem, abroad] – HONOUR. How else would you spell it?
32D. [Needs no more nuking] – IS DONE is answer.
43D. ["___ Mia"] – MAMMA
45D. [Ruby's longtime husband] – OSSIE Davis was married to Ruby Dee for over 50 years.
50D. [Stephen Sondheim has eight] – TONYS
53D. [Time piece?] – O’CLOCK. I did o-know this.
63D. [Drill bit?] – AT EASE. Not a tease.
71D. [Newark mayor Booker] – CORY. Um, ok. Now I know.
88D. [Singer Rimes] – LEANN
110D. [Mahalia's milieu] – GOSPEL

Thanks, Patrick for a fun puzzle. See you guys tomorrow.

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8 Responses to Wall Street Journal, 4/2/10

  1. Solved it. Had no idea what the theme was. I thought “Dance” signaled anagrams. Good stuff.

  2. Beth Willenborg says:

    Same experience…solved it but couldn’t figure out the theme! Thanks.

  3. ArtLvr says:

    Me too, many thanks… I knew of Mayor Cory Booker only because he was on TV the other evening, celebrating the month of March this year as the first month since 1966 in which there was not a single murder in Newark. Not a random statistic — he described all the programs put in place in recent years to achieve this milestone. Wishing him many happy returns of the murder-free month!

  4. LARRY says:

    Got all except 52A (calc calculation). I had VEL (for velocity); this made 53D ECLOCK, which didn’t phase me a bit since I have an Eclock in the lower right-hand corner of my computer monitor. I know it’s something of a stretch, but not for a Blindauer puzzle.

  5. Karen says:

    I thought the theme was ‘flip the N’s and S’s around a 45 degree pole’. I like your theme much better. SASSYCAM was my last answer, since I didn’t know DALASI or Mr. Cam.

  6. Joseph Tomczyk says:

    These theme things often have me wondering why I’m spending my mentality in pursuing answers which aren’t very educational and this one especially so.

    Reading Amy’s sign-off, I appreciate what-all she’s done during her five years of making crosswords multi-media — whose ‘blog help us remember new things we learn’ — and hope it’s been fulfilling for her.

    Further relating today’s theme, whereas Amy is a quarter-Pole I as a full-PolAm grew-up in Detroit, NORTH of Jeffrey’s (a.k.a. Crosscan) Canada, and look forward to him as our “bloug houst” – beginning with today’s 31D Esteem, abroad = HONOUR.

  7. janie says:

    late to the party here, but… that was one laugh-out-loud write-up, jeffrey. made my morning!

    understood some of the swap-outs, but not the full range. appreciate the puzzle’s gimmick far more now that i see what patrick was doing. somehow i was seeing only one swap or the other, so that i wasn’t “getting” the fill that had both letters changed. d’oh…

    fave clues: [van gogh's home, briefly] for ARLES, [drill bit?] for AT EASE, and the anagrammy/rhymey [looks on smug mugs] for SMIRKS.

    thx, patrick for the sly puzzle and jeffrey, for the playful play-by-play!

    ;-)

  8. emmbeegee says:

    Anyone else notice the 55A clue typo?

    I work on these puzzles with my fiancee. Usually they take us the whole week, so we are not awesome puzzlers, but something about this one rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t get the key until i read this blog and now that i get it, it still doesn’t sit with me right. Changing Sassy Cam into Nanny Cam doesn’t make any more sense. I knew Cam Neely (bruins fan), but that didn’t help me. I don’t know, maybe I am just not up to it.

    The best clue in my opinion was “offer?” – Assassin, my fiancee finally figured that one out…

    Anyone else think that the “Acuff” clue was Amy? That worked with Kyra as well, but it screwed me up. I guess my mind just goes towards beautiful high jumpers instead of old country singers…

    Thanks for the write up. I am new to your blog, but i really enjoy seeing what you point out.

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