Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Split Personalities 7/18/07

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.

Split Personalities is from Alan Arbesfeld,
and it's a simple but entertaining Wednesday puzzle. I always like these puzzles that make you look at a word or a phrase you've seen a thousand times in an entirely new way. Here we do it with celebrities, starting with:

20A: Deface a lightweight metal carriage? (MAR TIN LANDAU) Martin Landau is best known for the TV shows "Mission: Impossible" "Space: 1999" and for his Oscar-winning performance as Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood." Interestingly, Landau turned down the role of Spock on "Star Trek", and the man who took that role, Leonard Nimoy, later took Landau's place on "Mission: Impossible." A lower-case landau is a four-wheeled, two-seated carriage with a top made in two parts that may be let down or folded back. I don't think many of them are made of tin.

27A: One-up the duchess? (TOP HER GRACE) Topher Grace played Eric Forman on "That 70's Show" and the black-spider-suited Venom in the movie "Spider-Man 3." You do not want to get me started on the subject of "Spider-Man 3". Suffice it to say I never got over my crush on Gwen Stacy and the film did not do her justice.

47A: Gamble successfully in the back of a moving van? (WIN ON A RYDER) My favorite of the themed entries, because it's the most elaborate and it paints the most vivid mental picture.

53A: Reason the sheetrock expert did a sloppy job? (WALL ACE BEERY) I can hear the young people complaining that they've never heard of Wallace Beery. Well, you should, he was in a thousand movies during the 30's and he's always entertaining to watch. He was in "Grand Hotel" with my favorite actress of all time Greta Garbo and "Dinner at Eight" with the great Jean Harlow. Evidently he was kind of beery, and excessive drinking was the cause of his divorce from Gloria Swanson -- who young people have probably never heard of either.

Other entries of interest:

8D: Ariel the mermaid, e.g. (TEEN) This one messed me up for a good while. I had TOON. I've seen "The Little Mermaid" but I didn't know she was a teen.

Crossing Ariel the TEEN was 15A: Ireland's father (ALEC) referring to Alec Baldwin's daughter by Kim Basinger, Ireland and 18A: Lurk (LIE IN WAIT) which gave me a hard time as well, because I had SEE TO and then SET UP at 10D: Ensure instead of the correct SEW UP.

61D: "____ no hooks" (USE) I used to see this phrase a lot when I worked on the waterfront, usually on bales of cotton or similar delicate goods that they didn't want longshoremen manipulating with those cargo hooks they used on everything else.

29D: Party animal (PINATA) That made me chuckle even though pinatas are not always animals.

66A: Father of a huarizo (LLAMA) Putting to use what we learned from Ogden Nash just yesterday. A huarizo is a cross between a male llama and a female alpaca, also known as llapaca.

67A: Pecker (BEAK) Just a test to see if you can get your mind out of the gutter long enough to answer a simple clue.

10A: Car with a griffin in its logo (SAAB) A griffin? I always thought that was a chicken on an ego trip.55D: Ere you can say Jack Robinson? (ANON) Had it been "Before you can say Jack Robinson" the answer would have been SOON.

That's all for today. See ya Thursday.

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