Monday, 12/20/10

LAT 2:51
NYT 2:43
CS 5:53 (Evad)
BEQ 6:24

Donna Hoke’s New York Times crossword

12/20/10 NY Times crossword answers

12/20/10 NY Times crossword answers 1220

Five animals’ things, nonliterally, make up the theme: CAT’S CRADLE, “Well, I’ll be a MONKEY’S UNCLE,” a DOG’S AGE, ELEPHANT’S EAR, and the LION’S SHARE. All five beasts are mammals, and I’m having trouble thinking of many other “{animal}’s {thing}” phrases. Bird’s-eye view doesn’t quite fit. Snake’s belly wants “lower than a” to precede it. Ooh! I know! Horse’s ass. That one fits the theme perfectly.

I feel young and dewy every time there’s a clue like [Farmer-turned-con man in a 1960s sitcom]. Never heard of MR. HANEY because I’m simply too young. A 44-year-old doesn’t get all that many opportunities to feel too young for things, so I’ll take it. Not sure what this crooked farmer’s doing in a Monday puzzle, though. Googling…okay, he’s a Green Acres character. I don’t think we’re all expected to know the names of non-lead characters in 40-year-old TV shows.

There may be just as many people grousing about the inclusion of [1960s-'70s R&B singer MarilynMcCOO at 5-Across. If you don’t know her name, go listen to her duet with husband Billy Davis, “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (to Be in My Show)”. And while you’re in the ’70s R&B duet groove, enjoy Peaches & Herb’s “Reunited.”

Gary Cee’s Los Angeles Times crossword

12/20/10 LA Times crossword answers

12/20/10 LA Times crossword answers

The constructor interprets the phrase AHEAD OF / THE GAME (38a/40a) by assembling a foursome of two-word phrases in which both words can appear “ahead of” the word game:

  • 17a. [Miniature data storage device] is a MEMORY CARD. Memory game, card game.
  • 24a. [Teen group sleepover] clues PAJAMA PARTY. The Pajama Game, party game. Is there a generic “pajama game”?
  • 47a. WORD-PERFECT is clued as [Like an actor who doesn't miss a line]. I’m more familiar with that as the old word-processing software. Whoa! It still exists, for the Windows platform. There is nobody reading this blog who doesn’t like word games. Perfect game is a baseball term and has nothing to do with exceptionally majestic wild turkeys.
  • 60a. [Bobby Vee hit with the line "I come bouncing back to you"] is a mysterious (to me) clue for RUBBER BALL. Rubber game…that’s a bridge term, isn’t it? Also baseball. Speaking of which: ball game.

Nothing too thrilling here, but a functional theme that takes up a fair amount of real estate in the grid.

Ten more clues:

  • 35a. [Itzhak Perlman's instrument] is the VIOLIN.
  • 46a. [Digs for] clues SEEKS. Clue feels a tad awkward to me.
  • 66a. [Occupied, as a desk] clues the two-word verb phrase SAT AT. I’ll bet some people went with TAKEN.
  • 1d. [It gives you gas] refers to a PUMP at the gas station.
  • 6d. [Pop-up path] is the ARC traveled by a certain baseball. (Dang, there’s a lot of baseball strewn throughout this puzzle.) No relation to pop-up ads.
  • 9d. [Beast that grew two heads every time it lost one] is Greek mythology’s HYDRA.
  • 11d. Great entry! LOVER’S LANE is [Where romantic couples park].
  • 22d. ["Silas Marner" foundling] is EPPIE. Also the nickname of Ann Landers: Esther “Eppie” Lederer. Dear Abby was Pauline “Popo” Lederer.
  • 28d. [Pop your pop might have liked] is NEHI soda. It came in grape, orange, and maybe a red flavor.
  • 29d. Another terrific answer: DEEP FREEZE is clued with [Suspended animation].

Updated Monday morning:

Martin Ashwood-Smith’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Four of a Kind”—Evad’s review

cs1220 The “four” of “Four of a Kind” in this puzzle are ACEs, all found dead center in four 15-letter entries:

  • My favorite entry is the pick up line YOUR PLACE OR MINE?.
  • Next up is the 1957 movie, (The) THREE FACES OF EVE. It was then unknown Joanne Woodward‘s first of many roles for which she would be nominated for an Academy Award, but the only one for which she would win the prestigious honor.
  • Our third ace can be found in EPSOM RACE COURSE. I cry foul on this one–its full name is Epsom Downs.
  • The fourth ace is found in the name of the nearest (but not the brightest) star in the night sky, PROXIMA CENTAURI, a mere 4.2 light years away.

The fill around these four entries was pretty straightforward–60 theme letters in a 15×15 grid is a lot to keep in place. In our encroaching E- lingo, E-DATE is a new one to me. What does a “chat room appointment” actually mean? Is it an appointment set with someone in a chat room to meet in person sometime or is it an agreement to meet virtually in that particular chat room at some later time? Not a big fan of the partial A MAP; too bad it’s not a common form of the latin verb “to love.” And if I don’t run across HET UP again in a crossword, it would be no great loss. I did enjoy RIPOSTE (“Witty comeback”), an entry that seems pretty uncommon to crosswords.

Brendan Quigley’s blog crossword, “Themeless Monday”

Region capture 25So, Brendan says the two middle entries of the long stacks were his seed entries. I sure hope the two are entirely unrelated, as the sentence “MICHELLE MALKIN, I LIKE YOUR STYLE” is anathema to me.

Favorite answers/clues:

  • 15a. [Just before deadline] clues AT THE LAST MINUTE. No, wait, that’s the wrong answer. It’s IN THE NICK OF TIME, but my original answer is also 15 letters long.
  • 3d. [Former Prince percussionist/singer who had a 1984 hit "The Glamorous Life"] is SHEILA E. Not to be confused with the Latinate plural of Sheila, Sheilae.
  • 11d. If you SKIP TOWN, you might [Get out under cover of night].
  • 32d. LAILA ALI, daughter of Muhammad Ali, is the [Boxer on season 4 of "Dancing With the Stars"].
  • 35d. [Stabs in the back, perhaps] clues USES but I like the clue because it reminds me of the Monsters Inside Me episode we watched the other day. Did you know that the male bedbug perpetrates “traumatic insemination” on the female by stabbing her in the abdomen with his, uh, appendage? True story. So if you didn’t already loathe bedbugs, now there is feminist justification for finding bedbugs repulsive.

The rest of the puzzle…eh, I am not finding much to love. ECH TEK RAF SNES ISAS SOO OYE ENATE? I would love the MARS BAR if such a thing were available to me. Wikipedia tells me that while the U.S. version turned into Snickers Almond (yum!) back in 2002, this year the Mars Bar name returned to the U.S. market—but only in Walmart. What the hell? Outside of Walmart, Mars Bar is exclusively a foreign candy bar.

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5 Responses to Monday, 12/20/10

  1. Pat Buttram’s portrayal of MR. HANEY was one of the most famous roles in 1960s TV sitcoms, so I think its inclusion fair.

    Thanks for linking those disco era classics, Amy! :-)

  2. D_Blackwell says:

    Staying with what appears to be a ‘possessive plural’ requirement for this one, I’ve let my mind wander through the animal kingdom:

    TIGER’S EYE(9), WOLF’S LAIR(9), CAT’S MEOW(8), RAT’S ASS, FROG’S LEGS(9), SNAIL’S PACE(10), BIRD’S NEST(9), BEE’S KNEES(9), HEN’S TEETH(9), CROW’S FEET(9), CROW’S NEST(9), SOW’S EAR, HORSE’S ASS(9), CAT’S PAJAMAS(11), CAT’S EYE, SHEEP’S CLOTHING, HORNET’S NEST(11), DRAGON’S LAIR(11), DRAGON’S DEN(10), BIRD’S EYE VIEW, A DOG’S LIFE, IN A PIG’S EYE

    Most of these fit pretty well. There are certainly 9s and 11s to be had; a whole nother puzzle’s worth. And there must be others.

  3. joon says:

    MCCOO and MR HANEY? i don’t usually mind feeling young, but i hate feeling dumb on a monday. also, ELEPHANT’S EAR? i mean, yes, i remember that from the TARO clue in the thursday puzzle two weeks ago. but in a vacuum, that’s far from being familiar enough for a monday theme answer.

  4. Doug P says:

    I actually liked MR HANEY as a answer, though he’s a bit tough for a Monday. I’m a couple of years younger than Amy, but most of the shows I know best are from the late ’60s/early ’70s. And I love “Green Acres.” It was a combination of slapstick humor and totally surreal situations. Ahead of its time in many ways.

  5. Meem says:

    Joon: I don’t think it has to do with age. I’m way on the other end of that spectrum and also needed crosses to get McCoo and Mr. Haney. My music tends toward classical/jazz/folk and my tv toward news and sports so those two were off my radar. Agree that this one seemed pitched wrong for a Monday.

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