Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back to the Beach

Wouldn't it be nice if we could have fun, fun, fun all summer long? Well, don't worry baby, in my room I get around on a (web) surfin' safari, and I've bagged a good Wednesday puzzle for you today.

And this time the title makes sense!

First, help me Rhonda, we've got to do the SPOILER WARNING: Don't read any further until you've done today's New York Sun Crossword Puzzle. New York Sun puzzles are every bit as fun and challenging as the more well-known New York Times, and they're indisputably better in one way -- they're free. You can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.

"Beach Boys" is by Gary Steinmehl, and it's all about guys whose last names sound like something you might see at the beach.

20A: Lead singer of the Buzzcocks (PETE SHELLEY) Some of these entries might be a little obscure. I don't think Pete or the Buzzcocks have put out any music since 1993. I'm not even sure if the Buzzcocks are stil buzzing they've broken up and reformed so many times.

28A: 1979 Wimbledon runner-up to Bjorn Borg (ROSCOE TANNER) This might be a tad obscure too unless you're a tennis junkie or an avid Court TV viewer. Tanner's tennis career might be lackluster but his rap sheet is interesting reading. He's spent time in a German jail for refusing to pay child support -- he's been in trouble in Florida and New Jersey for the same reason. In January 2006 he was sentenced to two years in prison for writing a bad check to pay for a boat. He is currently on probation until 2012.

47A: "Under Siege" star (STEVEN SEAGAL) He's not just an actor -- well, movie star, "actor" might be stretching it a bit, his last 13 films have gone straight to video -- he's also a blues singer, an animal rights activist, environmentalist, an energy drink creator, and (he claims) a reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist lama -- but not one of those girly man navel-gazing lamas, but a kick-ass lama.

59A: Operaman portayer on "Weekend Update" (ADAM SANDLER) Not a big Adam Sandler fan. In fact I told my kids that I was never going to watch an Adam Sandler movie. (Learn from my mistakes, don't ever tell your kids you're never going to do something.) Of course they knew that my favorite modern actress is Reese Witherspoon and I wanted to see all of her movies. So what happened? Of course, much to the delight of my offspring, Reese and Adam made a movie together -- "Little Nickie". How did I solve this dilemma? By having the kids holler for me whenever Reese was onscreen. That way I saw all of her contribution to the film and only what could not be avoided of Mr. Sandler.

Other beachy entries include 33D: US Airways Center team (SUNS) 7D: Spanker, e.g. (SAIL) 39D: Hi sign (WAVE) 57A: Spirited? (WET) 54D: Noggin (BLOCK, as in sunblock) and I can tell you just ha
ving come from the beach that Americans are getting bigger but bathing suits are getting smaller and there were ESPIALS (30D: Observations) of ASS (23A: Braying beast) GALORE (A gogo)

I also liked 44A: Old Bailey happening (TRIAL) because it gives me a chance to mention my favorite fictional barrister Rumpole of the Bailey. I wanted to mention him yesterday during the discussion of perukes but couldn't work
him in. Great series of books by John Mortimer, great BBC series starring Leo McKern, and some of the best audiobooks ever -- make sure you get the ones read by McKern.

1A: Brand of saltine (ZESTA) This is Keebler's brand of dry square cracker, presumably what the elves make when they're not busy making cookies. Saltine by the way used to be a trademark of Nabisco, but they lost it when other companies started using the name and Nabisco did not do enough or sue enough to stop them. (A little legal lesson for you. Rumpole would be proud.)

52A: Tirane is its cap. (ALB) I did not know that. But then again all I know about Albania I learned from watching "Cheers"

64A: "Confusion" band (ELO) How many obscure Electric Light Orchestra songs are there? As a fan of this band and of crosswords and palindromes, if I ever saw them in concert I would shout, "Ole, ELO!"

That's all I have for today. See ya Thursday.


Pete M said...

Is there a major ASS theme going on here or what? AMIN, ROVE, ROSCOE TANNER, STEVEN SEAGAL, NERO, AXL, ADAMSANDLER... I don't know much about PETE SHELLEY, but from what I read there may be a backdoor (so-to-speak) tie-in with him too, which gives REAM OUT a little extra punch. We'll leave ELLEN and Jermain DYE out of this... :)

Norrin2 said...

Good point, Pete. It seems like everywhere you look in this puzzle there's at least ONE A. I guess I unwittingly contributed to the Moons over Miami theme myself with that clip, since every Cheers fan remembers when Diane compared Sam Malone to a fat, braying ass.

Austin said...

Whew ... I had troubles with this one today. I had no idea who Pete Shelley or Roscoe Tanner were. I even had the Shelley and the Tanner, oh well.

And for 41D: ("Motley collections"), I had RUGRATS instead of RAGBAGS, so that threw me off for the day.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better, but the only way that's going to happen is if I recognize the theme.

And as for your Adam Sandler avoidance, you might like Punch-Drunk Love. It's a very anti-Adam Sandler movie. No funny voices, and he plays a very real character. It's more a P. T. Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) movie than an Adam Sandler movie. Highly recommended.

Linda G said...

Never even got to the Sun puzzle. Book Club night. Robert, if you ever read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, my book club would love to know your interpretation of the ending.

And I apologize profusely. I completely neglected to mention the two references to GREEN in the NYT puzzle. My bad...