Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Playing Catch-up

Since Monday's Sun puzzle didn't come out til Tuesday afternoon, by which time I should be working on the Wednesday puzzle -- (ever since I started crossword blogging I no longer know what day it is) -- I'm not going to be able to spend as much time on this puzzle as it deserves.
R&B Singles is a very clever puzzle, wherein constructor Pancho Harrison manages to imbed no fewer than seven great rhythm and blues bands in their singular form.

IMPRESSION (17A: Dental mold)
TEMPTATION (59A: "I can resist everything except ____": Oscar Wilde) MIRACLE (4D: _________ on 34th Street)
SUPREME (10D: Utmost)

COASTER (43D: Item under a glass to protect a table.)
PLATTER (45D; Serving Tray)

and my favorite just because you'd think there was no way to singularize Four Tops:
(39A: Table that seats two couples, in restaurant jargon) which of course is a FOURTOP.

Great as this puzzle is, I can't help but wonder -- Couldn't they have squeezed in Dickens hero (PIP)?

And now on to Tuesday's puzzle Books That Aren't Spaced Out by Kelsey Blakely. After looking at one across PLATA I thought maybe this was going to be a continuation of Monday's puzzle and we'd be looking for classic R&B groups pronounced with a Boston accent, so that next would be COASTA but this puzzle proved more literary than lyrical. The theme involves three famous books that can change meaning just by eliminating the space between the first word (an A in each case) and the second, so that Kathleen Woodiwiss's "A Rose in Winter" becomes ". . .stopped hibernating early" (Arose in Winter). Cool, huh?

We also get "Abridge Too Far" which is "excessively condense", and Shel Silverstein's classic "A Light in the Attic" only now of course it's about how to "dismount beneath a roof." (Alight in the Attic) . "A Light in the Attic" by the way is number 51 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. Part of what makes humorless prigs uncomfortable about this book is the following poem, which anybody who remembers what it felt like to be a kid will probably get a kick out of:

Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony

There was a girl named Abigail
Who was taking a drive
Through the country
With her parents
When she spied a beautiful sad-eyed
Grey and white pony.
And next to it was a sign
That said,
"Oh," said Abigail,
"May I have th
at pony?
May I please?"

And her parents said,
"No you may not."
And Abigail said,
"But I MUST have that pony."
And her parents said,
"Well, you can't have that pony,
But you can have a nice butter pecan
Ice cream cone when we get home."
And Abigail said,
"I don't want a butter pecan
Ice cream cone,
And her parents said,
"Be quiet and stop nagging--
You're not going to get that pony."
And Abigail began to cry and said,
"If I don't get that pony, I'll die."
And her parents said, "You won't die.
No child has ever died yet from not getting a pony."
And Abigail felt so bad

That when they got home she went to bed,
And she couldn't eat,
And she couldn't sleep,
And her heart was broken,
And she DID die--

All because of a pony
That her parents wouldn't buy.

(This is a good story
To read to your folks
When they won't buy
You something you want.)

Censorship of any kind makes my blood boil. I have n
o problem with a parent who doesn't want their child to read a particular book (and every school in America offers alternate choices), but when they then want to tell me what my child can and cannot read that's when we have a problem. For a while I made it a point to buy my children a copy of every book that was challenged in their school district. Alas, it soon became too expensive to continue.

And before I go try to get back on track with the Wednesday puzzle, I will point out that our old friend AVA reappears in this one (62D: Gardner of "One Touch of Venus") and I had a tough time with 50D: Chagrin because I thought and still think that abash fits the clue better than "abase," and with 44D: Half brother of Tom Sawyer because I misremembered him as Sam instead of SID.


Linda G said...

Well, I never got Monday's puzzle, but it was good to get back on track today.

Yes, nice to see Ava back, especially clued in relation to her acting and not her exes.

Orange said...

Man, I gotta start getting my son into Shel Silverstein. We have Where the Sidewalk Ends, and now he's got the reading and comprehension skills to appreciate the wit fully. I love the kid-lit that's subversive, like Silverstein, Robert Munsch, and Roald Dahl, the stuff that gets prigs' knickers in a twist.

Norrin2 said...

Orange, I'm not familiar with Robert Munsch, but I'm going to check him out. Thanks for the tip.