Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Themeless Thursday 6-14

I'm sure he will lose a lot of sleep over this, maybe even hang himself with one of those hideous ties of his, but Francis Heaney is back on my bad side. He initially got on my S list at the ACPT when he turned my wife against crossword puzzles, perhaps forever, with that damned "Joy of Lex" puzzle. But he got back in my good graces with the very impressive "Letterbox Version" puzzle of May 3, 2007. But hoo boy, I'm really not happy with Francis and this Themeless Thursday puzzle right now.

And it's weird because I actually knew 1D: Sam Crawford hit the most of them (TRIPLES) which should have gotten me off to a good start, but then nothing else happened in the NW quadrant for so long, even after I had the rest of the puzzle solved, so I started doubting myself. I changed TRIPLES to DOUBLES, and of course having the wrong answer there didn't help me any. (And maybe it's just sour grapes, and at the risk of sounding pedantic, but I think this clue is poorly worded. Out of all the triples that have been hit since MLB started keeping records Sam Crawford has hit more of them than anybody else, but he didn't hit over 50 per cent of them like this clue makes it sound. I know, I know, the word "the" kinda clouds the issue here. Okay, I said it was sour grapes.)

I'll have more to say about Mr. Heaney right after 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. If you'd like to read about an unbiased head-to-head competition between the Sun and the Times check this out. Or if you'd rather decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.

So, because I knew that 1D was TRIPLES (or maybe DOUBLES) I didn't fall for the trap at 1A: Georgia's Capital. Whatever it was, I knew it wasn't ATLANTA. But knowing what it's not and having no idea what it actually is doesn't help you much. I didn't know 2D: Muslim woman's swimwear (BURQINI) and no wonder; when you do a Google Image search for something and only get 551 images -- and over 540 of them have nothing to do with swimwear or are pix of swimwear that would get you the death penalty in most Muslim countries, you're not dealing with a real bathing suit.

I didn't get 19A: OS interface (PQR) and I still don't. I didn't get 5D: It was added to a news agency's name in 1992 (ITAR) and I still don't. I've never heard of a SAPPER (24D: Plant-puncturing insect) before. And the fact that I had MCKAY at 28D: Iconic sportscaster instead of CARAY hurt me too. In fairness to the despicable Mr. Heaney, 15A: Defer payment, perhaps (RUN A TAB), 3D: Like something's that's going around (IN ORBIT) and 23A: Cons' foes (LIBS) are diabolical, but fair, clues that I should have gotten, but with all the wrong answers and insecurity and holes in my knowledge, I just didn't.

So I cheated. I looked up the country of Georgia and their form of currency (which is what I was sure was meant by "capital"), and confidently, albeit shamefacedly, wrote in THE LARI at One Across. That was wrong too -- how many traps can you set at One Across? Let's just say it took a lot more cheating before I got the NW section right.

And it's a shame because I enjoyed and did pretty well on the rest of the puzzle. In early-week puzzles when I have to play the alphabet game to get an answer I tend to mentally skip over the Scrabble letters, but later in the week I start with those letters, and that helped me to get 8A: "What About Bob?" director (FRANK OZ); 16A: Hit song from "Outlandos d'Amour" (ROXANNE); 36D: Split (VAMOOSED) and 12D: "I can say the Lord's Prayer in 10 seconds" speaker (KNIEVEL) (not Evel's main claim to fame) and (my favorite entry today) 37A: It's often followed by 99801 (JUNEAU AK) (because 99801 is the zip code for downtown Juneau, Alaska.)

I also liked:

14D: More seasoned (ZESTIER) 45A: Good name for a tech support worker (MEG)

38D: Mission of Hope? (USO tour)

33A: One using a pile driver (WRESTLER) I originally had HAMMERER.

48A: Brand of gumdrops (DOTS)

and the vaguely pornographic combo 21D: Gets aroused again (REAWAKENS) with 61A: X-rated (OBSCENE)

So until tomorrow (or later if the New York Sun doesn't fix the Friday puzzle, which right now is showing up as "not a puzzle file") I leave you with these words -- Francis Heaney can sit on it!


Linda G said...

No spoiler warning--I almost read too far!

You'd better watch what you say about Francis's ties--I think they're way cool ; )

Back tonight to read after I solve the puzzle.

Francis said...

You can't seriously think THE LARI was an intentional trap at 1-Across. Also: O(PQR)S and ITAR-TASS.

Norrin2 said...

Intentional or not, I fell into it.

"O(PQR)S" Oohhhhhhh, now I get it.

Linda, my apologies for the poorly placed spoiler warning.

Howard B said...

BURQINI was diabolical, and extremely cool. I'd love to drop that word on a Scrabble board someday.
I'm still kicking myself for guessing the wrong side of ITAR-TASS, for not figuring out CARAY, and for JUNEAU AK, which iced the mistake cake nicely. TIU finally put the cherry on top of the whole baked, fluffy monstrosity.
Crazy stuff in there, but it was a fun one.

Rex Parker said...

Explain how "interface" works in that clue. Unless (please tell me this is Not the logic) "inter" means between (which it does...) and "face" somehow refers to O and S which are the "faces" (or outside parts) of the letter string...

Really didn't like this puzzle. Trying to solve CARAY backwards (from bottom up) I too had MCKAY (great minds...). TIU was from outerspace, as was (less so) PRIVATEER (I had a "K" in there for a while though I forget why ... oh right, MCKAY) and the capital of Georgia, whose name I don't even care to retype. Unlike you, I don't think LIBS is fair - I still don't get it. PSEUD is the height of made-up baloney. The KNIEVEL quote was entirely random. No idea SMEAGOL was spelled with a @#$-ing "O". PEELE is a nobody.

Good stuff was JUNEAUAK, FRANKOZ, USOTOUR, and VAMOOSED, among others.

THE LARI, HA ha. That's rich. That would have been the most esoteric trap ever invented.

Norrin2 said...

Rex, I can't explain the "interface" thing either. Your guess is better than anything I could come up with. But I can tell you that Cons are conservatives and libs are liberals.

Puzzleguy said...

I've been in contact with Peter Gordon, and I've been told that there are contingency plans in place in the event that the NY Sun web site fails to rectify the problem with the Friday puzzle.

E-mail me at craigkas atsign myway dot com if you still are unable to access the puzzle on Friday morning, and I'll do what I can to help.

Craig K.

Howard B said...

That interface clue was rough, yeah. Forgot about that since the crossings eventually took care of any other possibilities, so I shrugged (figuratively) and moved on.
Good point, though. Thanks for the backup on TIU, by the way. I could have gone through the alphabet five times and never guessed that sucker.

Would have laid 100 lari on that one that the U would be wrong. Wonder what that's equivalent to in $US?

Norrin2 said...

Yeah, I thought Tiu was one of Wally's friends on "Leave it to Beaver."