Monday, July 16, 2007

Sand, Surf and the Sun

I am back from my vacation, and I had a great time. I want to thank my guest bloggers Linda G., Rex Parker and Howard B. Y'all made my vacation time even more enjoyable, knowing that the Green Genius was in such good hands. You all did a great job and I really appreciate it.

I have to confess to a wry chuckle or two when I saw the Wednesday puzzle and its title "An Atrocious Pun" cuz Rex Parker's disdain for puns is well-documented, and that was a doozy there. BTW, I had heard a variation of that joke before only it was a famous fortune-teller in LA who could predict futures by smelling people's bad breath. In other words, and his business card read "Super California mystic, expert halitosis."

Whoa, even I have to groan at stuff like that. So without further ado, here is 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 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 puzzles check this out. Or if you're ready to decide for yourself you can download this puzzle and join in on the fun here.

"Flight Manual" is from Byron Walden, and he presents us with four phrases having to do with hands (hence the "manual") that start with a word that rhymes with "flight", like so:

20A: Like pickpockets (LIGHT FINGERED) 35A: Stingy (TIGHT FISTED) 42A: Like "northpaws" (RIGHT HANDED) I guess "northpaws" is in quotation marks because nobody actually ever calls right-handers northpaws. (A Gooogle search for "Southpaw" turns up 2.2 million possibilities, for "northpaw" only nine thousand.) I don't know why we call lefties "South paws." My sense of direction is not that great, but it seems to me that left handers are actually "Westpawed" and that the only way one could be a southpaw was if one pitched with one's foot.

53A: Showing extreme fear (WHITE KNUCKLED)

Other entries of interest:

16A: "Stronger than dirt" sloganeer (AJAX) When I was a kid all the Ajax commercials showed a white knight riding around rescuing suburban moms from the horrors of grass stains. He was "stronger than dirt." This line shows up at the tail end of the Doors' classic "Touch Me" supposedly because Jim Morrison thought it resembled the Ajax music and he was mad at his bandmates for considering selling "Light My Fire" for use in a Buick commercial.

18A: Best Supporting Actor for "Hannah and Her Sisters" (CAINE) which shows once again why it's important to read your clues carefully even on a Monday. Yeah, it says "actor" but it also says "Hannah" and her "sisters" so I was looking for a female thespian not Michael Caine.

10D: Ending for a how-to book title (MADE EASY) I kept trying to squeeze in "FOR DUMMIES" cuz that's what it seems like every how-to book these days ends with.

28D: Shah Jahan's burial city (AGRA) Every crossworder worth his or her salt knows that the Taj Mahal is in Agra, India. But how many knew the name of the guy that built it -- or more accurately, had 20,000 craftsmen and slaves build it for him in honor of his wife Mumtaz-I-Mahal who died in childbirth. Shah Juhan originally planned to build a similar monument for his own tomb, but his son took the throne and threw Dad in jail. When he eventually died he had to share the Mahal mausoleum with Mumtaz.

39D: Public thanks (SHOUT OUT) That's the word. I want to give my guest bloggers a shout out. Thanks again. Now I'm going to go take a nap and try to rest up from my vacation. See y'all


Howard B said...

Welcome back, hope the sand, sun, and surf were all good to ya.

Linda G said...

It's good to have you back. Guest bloggers never completely fill the void...even when they're as good as yours were ; )

Nice picture. I hope to look that relaxed when I'm on vacation.

Norrin2 said...

Thanks Howard, I'm a little sunburnt and I'm still digging sand out of certain crevices, but no complaints.
Linda, it's good to be back. If you need a guest blogger when you go on your next vacation, let me know.