Author: Alan Arbesfeld
- 17a: 39-Across of 30-Across (TRIANGLE)
- 30a: 39-Across of 46-Across (ALERTING)
- 46a: 39-Across of 61-Across (INTEGRAL)
- 61a: 39-Across of 12-Down (TANGLIER)
- 12d: 39-Across of 38-Down (RELATING)
- 38d: 39-Across of 17-Across (ALTERING)
Not particularly exciting, but not bad. Though TANGLIER feels just a tad "stretchy" to me. Does anyone ever say tanglier? "My hair is much tanglier than yours!". Hmmm...
There is a lot of nice fill and clues in this puzzle, so let's get to it:
- 1a: Crazies (ODDBALLS). Love "oddballs" as a fill word. Oddball was apparently also a comic book superhero. Anyone know the phrase origin of the term? The "odd" part is obvious, but why "balls"? Is it just a random noun, like "an odd duck", or does it refer to some sport or game?
- 19a: Mined-over matter. A nice twist on the ubiquitous ORE.
- 44a: "C'mon, help me out here". (BE A PAL). Nice "in-the-language" phrase.
- 68a: Sticks in the snow? (SKI POLES). I might have skipped the '?'; it is Thursday, after all. Why send up a flare?
- 4d: Thing unhooked during a hook-up? (BRA). Somehow, I don't see this clue showing up in the New York Times puzzle, do you? A little too suggestive for them; just suggestive enough for me. Wonderful! (I'm wondering if I need to add a "lingerie" tag to the blog...). Btw, did you know that "Alan Arbesfeld" anagrams to "Ale and elf bras"?
- 30d: Pinhead dancer (ANGEL). "How many angels can dance on the head of pin?" refers to focusing too much on irrelevant details and often, in the process, missing the big picture entirely. I love the clue because it evokes the Ramones.
- 36d: Deep Throat's org. (FBI). I honestly couldn't remember if it was the FBI, CIA, NSA, or what, but I love the clue because it reminds me of the classic movie. I'm talking, of course, about "All the President's Men", with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. Great film. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)
- 50d: Argo cargo (FLEECE). From Greek mythology. Jason and the Argonauts took their ship, the Argo, in search of the Golden Fleece. Nice clue, which I got immediately.
- 51d: Slip covers (SKIRT). Excellent. And another lingerie clue to boot.
- 53d: Bum rap? (SPANK). Cute.
- 49d: Sonny? (FILIAL). Get it? Like a son. "Son"-ish. Very good.
- 20a: "Superman II" villainess (URSA). I hit this one early on and had UR_A; I wondered for a bit whether there was some rebus action going on here (Ursula, maybe?). But no, it's Ursa. I think I must not have seen this flick, as it's not ringing any bells for me.
- 27a: Benjamin (C-SPOT). C-note and c-spot are often clued as "Benjamins" (Ben Franklin is on the $100 bill). Get used to this clue; you'll see it again.
- 36a: Where Naples is: Abbr. (FLA). You tried EUR, you tried ITA... nope. It's Naples, Florida.
- 41a: Mop & ___ (floor cleaner) (GLO). Is "floor cleaner" really necessary here in a Thursday puzzle? Doesn't mop pretty much suggest floors and cleaning? Still, nothing like a good old product name to help fill those tough corners.
- 59a: Old Testament book (I KINGS). This would have been much less of a problem for me if weren't in the hell sector of the puzzle.
- 1d: Denizens of the deep (OCTOPI). Nice fill, nice clue. Reminds of a memory game when I was young, where you had to repeat a list of ten things that got more and more complicated as you went (One hen, two ducks, three squawking geese, etc.). Number 9 was (and I still remember this): "Nine lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep, who stalk the corners of the cove, all at the same time." Yes, I also know π to 20 places. I'm a total geek.
- 7d: Doozies (LULUS). Like it.
- 8d: Poll closing? (STER). Pollster, hipster, dragster, mobster, spinster... Don't get caught by these.
- 9d: The puck's stopped here, often (CREASE). Very fitting, considering the NHL playoffs are in full swing. (Can hockey be in "full swing", or only baseball? Maybe hockey is full slap.) Anyway, for those who aren't fans, the "crease" is the area just in front of the goal.
- 11d: South American wildcats (OCELOTS). Not only do these creatures start with a vowel, they're pretty cool cats too.
- 24d: Focal point (HUB). Shout-out to people in and around "the Hub" which, for those of you who don't know, is Boston.
- 34d: Terre Haute's river (WABASH). The only thing I know about Terre Haute, besides the fact that it's flat, is that it's the home of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. But, I've heard of the Wabash (more-so in the context of trains than rivers) so it wasn't a hard fill.
- 43d: Prefaced (LED INTO). Nice fill that would have been much more appreciated if it hadn't been in the tough SW.
- 47d: Grapple with, in dialect (RASSLE). I was trying to parse this as something to do with linguistics. But no, it's the backwoods form of "wrestle". Now, I am almost certain that I've heard "wanna rassle" on some old TV show from my childhood (Leave it to Beaver? The Waltons? Lassie?). Someone help me out here. Please.
- 57d: Company that has its ups and downs (OTIS). The elevator company, of course.
- 66a: How some plays are performed (IN ONE ACT). I'm not that up on drama, so maybe someone can explain this. Isn't a play written in one or more acts? Are there plays that are written for multiple acts but performed in only one? Any drama majors out there? Please comment and fill us in.
Suns of Bitches:
Tons of names in this one, and very little to say about them except that four of them were packed into the SW corner around two words that no clues other than that they were anagrams of TRIANGLE.
- LOM (45d: Herbert of the "Pink Panther" films).
- NOL (31d: Lon of Cambodia).
- LEN (37d: He played Sweeney on Broadway). Len Cariou. I thought it was LON Cheney... shows you what I know. Note that this entry crosses at the 'E' with:
- BELLI (42a: Ruby's attorney), making this a classic "guess the vowel" crossing, for me. I suppose the fact that "Lon" showed up in the clue for 31d should have been an indicator that LON was wrong for 37d, but I didn't notice that at the time.
- LORI (54a: Peru prisoner Berenson).
- EDNAS (52a: Mystery writer Buchanan and others).
- LEO (64d: Character in "The Producers" who sings "I Wanna Be a Producer").
- AYN (5d: Novelist Rand). This is the only one of the bunch that I could fill in with no crossings.
- DARREN (2D: "Sex and the City" creator Star).
- BROWNE (33a: Hägar the Horrible cartoonist). I didn't know this one (I don't typically read past Dilbert and Doonesbury), but it's a common enough name that it was easy to get from the crossings. Now Jackson Browne I would have gotten right away. But hey, here's a crossword bonus: according to the link to this Hägar picture, he's carrying an épée!
- 21d White of the eye (SCLERA). I should know this, but I didn't; and
- 28d First rank (PRIMACY). I started with PRIVATE, then went to PRIMARY before finally settling on the correct answer.
All in all, a little name heavy for me. Especially in the SW.
Thanks for listening.
- Pete M.