“Friends in Low Places” by Harvey Estes – 19:36
Hi everybody. Despite being on a top secret mission in deepest darkest Ontario, I’m here for your blogging pleasure. After all, if I miss too many, the Fiend Executive might start to notice and dock my pay.
I wore my Crosswords LA t-shirt for the first time today and it appears to have magical powers. I checked into my hotel room and waiting for me were 2 mini-packs of OREO cookies. Awesome. Thank you, Crossword Gods. Ok, let’s get to this week’s Wall Street Journal crossword.
“Friends in Low Places” is by Harvey Estes. It took me forever to get the almost too-clever theme, which is taking “PAL” out of phrases in the top of the grid and adding it to phrases in the bottom of the grid. I only noticed the addition of PAL while solving and kept trying to add it to the top answers.
23A. [Fighter pilot from an English town?] – BUCKINGHAM [PAL]ACE
36A. [Anxiety about roads through mountains?] – CAR[PAL] TUNNEL SYNDROME
54A. [Theological basis of "Father Knows Best"?] – PA[PAL] INFALLIBILITY
79A. [Song about one young man's truly burning desire?] – A BOY NAPALMED SUE [eww](A Boy Named Sue)
94A. [One ogling a woman in a Chevy?] – IMPALA GIRL WATCHER (I’m a Girl Watcher)
116A. [Tea Party movement members?] – THE PALIN CROWD (The In Crowd). Seed entry?
1A. [Like a serving of eels, perhaps] – JELLIED. NW was the last to fall, as I couldn’t get 1-across.
20A. [Glass-walled enclosures] – AQUARIA. I know it’s right but I always think it should be aquariums.
27A. [Lost cause] – GONER. “Lost” is soon a goner; I never watched it.
30A. [Brad Garrett sitcom "___ Death"] – TIL. Don’t watch this either. Is it still on?
32A. [Baldwin's TV co-star] – FEY. This I watch.
45A. [Mark Antony was his great-grandfather] – NERO. New fact to me.
48A. [Feminist princess of opera] – IDA. Not my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan. How about some “Mikado”?
72A. [Activist Brockovich] – ERIN. As opposed to any other noted Brockovich’s?
77A. [1973 album featuring the song "Photograph"] - RINGO
114A. [Its national anthem is "Maamme"] – FINLAND. From the classic musical?
124A. [Greasy spoon dare] – EAT HERE. “Dare” seems odd.
1D. [Sci-fi crime lord] – JABBA. Should not have taken me as long as it did.
4D. [Chad and Albert] – LAKES. Was thinking Lowe. Who is Albert Lowe?
10D. [Instrument with finger holes] – OCARINA. Hated word that got me in my first ACPT. Never again.
42D. [Victim of recession] – HAIR LINE. Why are you looking at me?
47D. ["Hold On Tight" band] – ELO
2D. [President who served a month in office] – HARRISON. Today we learn that Garfield and Harrison share three letters.
58D. [1983 role for Barbra] – YENTL
68D. [Painter Schiele] – EGON. Who?
71D. ["Turn! Turn! Turn!" songwriter] – SEEGER
113D. [Cab Calloway specialty] – SCAT
Overall, a clever theme that just didn’t grab me. How about you?