Monday, June 04, 2007

A Tuesday Tail

You don't have to be a contortionist to enjoy Sean O.F. Smith's "Turning Tail". A taste for wordplay and the ability to spell a few simple words backwards are all you need.

Let's get started with our new and improved 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.

I think this is only the second Sean O.F. Smith puzzle I've seen, and I liked this one as much as I did the first one. What he's done is taken four common phrases, reversed the spelling in the last word of each and come up with an interesting definition for the resulting new phrase.
Like so:

17A: Bill paid with blood money (VAMPIRE TAB) When it's time to settle up with the bartender for all those bloody Marys.

25A: Prenup demand from someone with religious convictions? (LOVE ME LOVE MY GOD), the weakest of the themed entries IMO. Too many people actually do make this a condition of their marriage acceptance. I prefer my themed entries a bit more off the wall.

Like 46A: Scanty second salsa servings? (ITSY BITSY REDIPS) Love the word "redips" which I've never seen as a noun. I also love the alliterative clue.

59A: What resulted from a levee collapse? (BIG BAD FLOW)

Other entries of interest:

1D: What Dr. Seuss's Mrs. McCave named all 23 of her sons (DAVE). If you want to get off on the right foot with me, start the puzzle with a Seuss reference. Mrs. McCave must have liked the sound of Dave McCave but she soon regretted the decision to christen all of her kids with the same name. Now she wishes she had named one of them

. . . Bodkin Van Horn. And one of them Hoos-Foos.
And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot.
And one Sunny Jim.
And one of them Shadrack.
And one of them Blinkey.
And one of them Stuffy.
And one of them Stinkey.
Another one Putt-Putt.
Another one Moon Face.

Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.

And one of them Ziggy. And one Soggy Muff.
One Buffalo Bill. And one Biffalo Buff.
And one of them Sneepy. And one Weepy Weed.
And one Paris Garters. And one Harris Tweed.

And one of them
Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt.
And one of them Oliver Boliver Butt.

And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate.

I don't know, I think I'd rather be named Dave like all 22 of my brothers than be named Stinkey or Soggy Muff.

21A: In need of a fix (BROKEN)

23A: Semi-homemade cooking" proponent Sandra (LEE) I'd never heard of Ms. Lee, but evidently she's got an empire approaching Martha Stewart-like levels. I only have room for one shortcut-taking TV chef in my life and I'm sticking with Rachael Ray.

16A: He filled his boat with pairs (NOAH) Well, not exactly. God actually told Noah to bring seven of all the clean beasts and two of all the unclean beasts. Evidently fowls are clean because he specifically says to bring seven of all the birds. (Genesis chap 7, verse 2 & 3). I had a duck when I was a kid and that was the most unclean beast I've ever seen. He literally pooped with every step he took. Noah was a God-fearing man and at age 600, too old to argue, but I think I might have (politely) pointed out that maybe two ducks was plenty.
Hell, no ducks. They can swim, can't they? Why do I need ducks on my ark?

4D: Put a fork in (IMPALE) I particularly enjoy the fact that IMPALE intersects VAMPIRE and my favorite movie Dracula Christopher LEE.

10D: Fast and loose, for example (ANTONYMS)
Hey, they are antonyms. How did they come to be linked together?

22D: _____ Lama Ding Dong (RAMA) They don't write'em like that anymore.

37D: Bogart/Bacall film of 1948 (KEY LARGO) Great great movie. If you haven't seen it, stop doing so many crossword puzzles and check it out.

42D: A bases-loaded triple earns you three (RBIS). I had RUNS at first. Both are correct in the baseball sense.

54D: Rosemary's husband in a 1922 Broadway play (ABIE) "Abie's Irish Rose," about the courtship of a Jewish boy and a Catholic girl, was a popular Broadway play in the 1920's and was filmed twice (in 1928 and 1946) but it's likely it would have faded into semi-obscurity were it not for the fact that crossword puzzles won't let it rest.


Pete M said...

And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

This is why Reverend Spooner stopped reading Dr. Seuss to his kids... :)

Anonymous said...

Very punny, feet!

Orange said...

If you want more trash talk about Noah, track down the "Sink or Swim" episode (#321) of public radio's This American Life. The storyteller talks about how Noah was such an a-hole, mean to his kids, an angry drunk, and cruel to bar the people of his village from the ark. Does that sound funny? No, but trust me, it is.

Norrin2 said...

I'll look for that episode of This American Life. Don't know how I missed it; I love that show. Some of Noah's a-holeyness are obvious in the Bible, particularly the mean drunk part. I don't blame him for going on a bender after he got off the ark, but to put a curse on his son who laughed at him when he was laying passed-out buck-naked in the yard, that seems a little harsh.
Pete, your Spoonerism made me LOL. Thanks.

Linda G said...

I did this puzzle this morning instead of going for a walk, doing laundry, or cleaning my desk. But it was so worth it. Easy theme to flush out...once I had VAMPIRE, it was a piece of cake.

Rex Parker said...

I like that IMPALE intersects VAMPIRE and can be parsed: I'M PALE!

And very nice pairing of NOAH and EVAN Almighty, for sure.