Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Wednesday, May 9th

I'm putting this up early because we're about to get hit with a big storm and I don't want to lose power and not be able to post. So without further ado, here's your 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 good 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.

Mishmosh Pit is by Patrick Blindauer and it’s all about musical instruments puns. So you get 17A: Do the opposite of causing havoc? (WREAKORDER) for recorder, 23A: Gossip on TV? (TUBEBUZZ) for tubas 53A: Have bills from boyfriends? (OWEBOES) You gotta love that one, oboes show up in crosswords all the time but never spelled like that 63A: Decide which home improvement store to go to? (PICKALOWES)

Going down we have 11D: Hurt a “Friends” character? (HARMMONICA) and 29D: Boring cooking method? (DULLSIMMER).

The only other musical reference in the grid is 52D: Gene who played with Benny Goodman (KRUPA), unless we count 1D: Beginning (DAWN) as Tony Orlando’s backup singers and 28D: Tiny, in “Meet the Robinsons” (TREX) as Marc Bolan’s first band and 16A: Connector of wings (HALL) as Oates’s partner, but we better not go there.

Other entries of note:

8D: Monogram of the author of “At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends” (DDE) I think it’s indicative of how short our national attention span has gotten that we used to call presidents by their initials – HST and DDE, JFK and LBJ – but now we just call them by their middle initial – as in W.

36A: Part of TMNT (NINJA) TMNT of course is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, who were a phenomenon in the 80’s and now after several years of laying low are coming out of their shells (so to speak) with a brand new movie out.

I was not familiar with 41A: Element #55 (CESIUM) (Sorry, I haven’t memorized the Periodic Table yet.) But I’ve since learned that cesium is one of those metals like mercury that is liquid at room temperature. It is used mostly in atomic clocks, and Blindauer probably should have put “Var.” as part of his clue since “Caesium” is the preferred spelling.

1A: Robert and Daryl's "Legal eagles" costar (DEBRA) Debra Winger is probably best known for “Urban Cowboy” and “An Officer and a Gentleman” and for being notoriously difficult to work with. Some people remember her as Wonder Girl in the 1970’s TV show “Wonder Woman” with Lynda Carter. But you might not know that Winger served in the Israel Defense Forces, and you probably didn’t recognize her voice as that of E.T.
She was in one of my favorite movies, but you probably wouldn’t recognize her in that either. In “Made in Heaven” Timothy Hutton plays a young man who drowns while saving some kids. In heaven he meets and falls in love with new soul Kelly McGillis. (A lot of the scenes set in Heaven were filmed right here in my hometown Charleston, South Carolina, which seems about right.) Eventually McGillis has to go to Earth and Hutton works out a deal to go back and try to find her. They don’t remember anything about heaven, and he’s only got till his thirtieth birthday to find her or they’ll both be miserable forever. Debra Winger plays a chain-smoking, tough-talking male angel named Emmett.
I seem to be alone in my love for this movie, and admittedly all but the most die-hard romantics are going to find this kinda sappy. But maybe they’ll enjoy the cameos by Tom Petty, Neil Young, Ric Ocasek and novelist Tom Robbins.

62A: Result of a peen to the bean (LUMP) I had the M and I was obviously thinking of a bigger blow cuz I had COMA.

69A: Gummo, for one (MARX) Ah, Gummo, the forgotten Marx Brother. Even though he was the first to go onstage with his brother Julius (Groucho) by the time the brothers got to Broadway and the classic movies Gummo (AKA Milton) had retired from show business. All five Marx Brothers had nicknames of course, and though there is some discrepancy as to how they came about, most likely Julius became Groucho due to his temperament, Adolph became Harpo because of his harp-playing, Leonard became Chico (pronounced Chicko not Cheeko) because he had an eye for the ladies, Gummo because he was a hypochondriac who wore galoshes (known as gumshoes) in all sorts of weather and Herbert was called Zeppo because whenever he showed up to sing, the movie was about to crash and burn like the Hindenburg. (No, I kid Herbert; he actually got his name from Mr. Zippo, a chimpanzee vaudevillian whom he supposedly resembled.)


Rex Parker said...

It took me ForEver to understand the theme. I had WREAK ORDER and HARM MONICA and had No Clue. It was only after getting OWE BEAUS that I saw the musical pun theme - I knew HARM MONICA was a musical pun, but WREAK ORDER meant nothing to me; couldn't hear the instrument buried inside it: Recorder. Aha. "Mishmosh" was a total red herring, in the sense that I was looking for some kind of letter mix-up; then the "mosh pit" part made me think music ... but not the right kind. Pit = Orchestra pit. Ugh - but in a good way. Very, very original and fun.


PS are there really "dulcimers" in orchestra pits? Or "harmonicas," for that matter?

Norrin2 said...

I'm pretty sure that there are about as many harmonicas and dulcimers in an orchestra as there are kazoos. I really don't think there are any recorders either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome review of my word-baby! I hope you like the other ones I've got in the pipeline, too.

Oh - and it's true: you won't find dulcimers in a B'way pit (except for "The Secret Garden"), or a harmonica, either (except from a show like "Big River").


Norrin2 said...

Wow, I guess I need to be more careful with my pronouncements. I said the only non-themed musical clue was Gene KRUPA, which means I overlooked Paul ANKA and the EDGE, not to mention DRUM and SAX.
Luckily my favorite kind of pie is humble.

homer said...

yuuuruuum...humble pie...

Rex Parker said...

Homer, I believe your line is "Mmmm, floor pie." But I guess that would have been a non sequitur.


Linda G said...

Just finished this delightful puzzle.

Had almost all of the Downs so was able to figure out OWEBEAUS. That gave me the theme, and I was on my way.

I might have to skip Thursday's Sun, though. I'm getting so little done, other than puzzles and blogging. I know, I know. What else matters?

Norrin2 said...

I'm starting to worry about you, Linda. Are you about to neglect your puzzles for trivial stuff like work and family? Where are your priorities?

Anonymous said...

<“Caesium” is the preferred spelling>

cesium in U.S., caesium in
U.K., varies elsewhere
neither is preferred