Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How do you say "Thursday" in Greek?











The Thursday New York Sun puzzle is "A Tale of Jimmy The Greek" by Anthony J. Salvia. You can download this puzzle and join in on the fun for free here.

The real Jimmy the Greek was a gambler and bookie in Las Vegas, who somehow parlayed that into a career as a sportscaster on CBS. He was controversial from the get-go and was eventually fired for making some racially insensitive (not to mention stupid) remarks on Martin Luther King's birthday! I know this is a Greek themed puzzle with gambling seasoning, but I don't think this guy deserves to be the star of a New York Sun crossword puzzle. And I don't think he should have his picture up here either, so I'm hanging the Greek flag instead.



Anyway, here's how the tale goes:


17A: Jimmy the Greek was feeling blue because, he said IOTABUNDLE.

25A: So Jimmy went to Vegas, hoping to win it all back in a GAMMASTUDPOKER

42A: As luck would have it, Jimmy was DELTAFULLHOUSE

57A: Suddenly, for Jimmy things never LOOKEDBETA

Until an ace fell out of his KAPPA and he had to go on the LAMBDA NU RHOchelle.

(Okay, I made that last one up, as if you couldn't tell.)


If you know anything about the Greek alphabet (and if you've been doing crosswords for any length of time you should) you probably didn't have any trouble with this one. I actually finished it in a lot less time than it took me to do the Wednesday puzzle and that almost never happens.


Which is not to say that I didn't blank on some clues. I did, and the one I blanked on the longest was this one:

3D: Gulch Biter TOTO The word gulch made me think of Western landscapes, the word "biter" (since I was already thinking Western) made me think of "oater" -- maybe a "biter" is an "oater" that's not very good. Stupid, I know, but it took me a while and a couple of T's to think of Elmira Gulch, the old biddy who dognaps Dorothy Gale's Cairn terrier in one of the greatest movies ever made "The Wizard of Oz."


Elmira Gulch was played by Margaret Hamilton, who also played the Wicked Witch of the West. And even though she’s only in the movie for 12 minutes she’s scared the heck out of several generations of kids. But somehow nothing much happened for her after that, she went back to playing character parts and never got big again until she played Cora the innkeeper on a series of Maxwell House Coffee commercials. You can read more about Margaret Hamilton, see her guest star in The Addams Family and other shows, watch outtakes from TV appearances (The "Gunsmoke" one was so funny it made me choke on the smoked almond I happened to be snacking on) and even watch some bloopers from The Wizard of Oz here.


I'm a big fan of Dr. Seuss and it's nice to see one of his lesser-known creations make a cameo"61A: The Big ____" (Dr. Seuss short story) BRAG


I also9 liked 36D: Egbert Souse portrayer in "The Bank Dick" WCFIELDS. Fields became famous for portraying irascible characters with Dickensian names like Larson E. Whipsnade and Mahatma Kane Jeeves.


One quibble: 21A: Leader of the "Centerfold" band JGEILS. Yeah, I know the band is named after him, but Peter Wolf is generally considered to be the leader of the J Geils Band.


Supposedly Sun crossword editor Peter Gordon has vowed to never use the same clue twice, so it's interesting to see how his constructors clue words that pop up all the time, like EMU, here clued as Fast food source? (39A) . I've seen a lot of emus -- in crosswords anyway -- but I didn't know people ate them. How could you eat something with a face like this?

6 comments:

Matt M. said...

I just realized that the Sun puzzles are posted now through May 18th! I suppose this makes up for the Sun-less Monday this week.

Now I just have to show some retraint....

Rex Parker said...

Thank you for the TOTO explanation. I had major trouble up there in the NW, and then, moreso, in the SE.

rp

Norrin2 said...

Wow, it's cool that the puzzles are posted through 5-18, and there's not much chance of me getting ahead of myself, not the way Byron Walden's Friday 4-27 puzzle is kicking my coccyx.

Linda G said...

Robert, I thought about replying to your book club question here to be sure you'd see it. Posted it where you asked it.

I've only done one Sun puzzle this week, but I'm glad it wasn't this one!

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Supposedly Sun crossword editor Peter Gordon has vowed to never use the same clue twice, so it's interesting to see how his constructors clue words that pop up all the time, like EMU, here clued as Fast food source? (39A) . I've seen a lot of emus -- in crosswords anyway -- but I didn't know people ate them. How could you eat something with a face like this?

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