Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday 8-10--07

This is mildly embarassing to confess, but I didn't figure out the theme of this one until after I finished it.
And here's where I try to make excuses for that.
1.) I'm not used to Friday puzzles being themed and so was not looking for a theme at all. (Except I knew it wasn't a themeless and I stopped a couple of times to say "Hmmm, that's odd phraseology, what could it mean?"
2.) I don't have time for themes, I was flying through the puzzle so fast, looking for a theme would have slowed me down. (Except that my time for a Friday was respectable but not record-shattering. And there were lulls during which picking up on the theme would have helped me.)
3.) The unusual symmetry made me dizzy and I couldn't think straight. (Well, actually I didn't notice anything about the odd symmetry until I was finished the puzzle, either.)

At any rate, as seems obvious to me now, "Switcheroo" by Jim Page involves switching the letters "ER" for "OO" and vice versa wherever they appear in the grid.
Like so:
20A: Place to buy a postseason program? (PLAYOFF BOOTH) Playoff berths are what teams vie for, a ticket to the postseason.

32A: One debuting on "America's Most Wanted"? (THE LATEST PERP) nee "poop".

39A: Outlook of a thug? (HOOD MENTALITY)

53A: Baroness in rags? (TATTERED LADY) And now I think I just figured out why I had such a hard time finding the theme. Once again I started at the botton when I couldn't get 1Across or 1Down, and TATTERED LADY was the first themed entry I got. And it seemed like some sort of odd Friday-level cluing, not anything ahving to do with a switcheroo of come kind. I've probably heard TATTOOED LADY only slightly more than I've heard TATTERED LADY. I guess a tattooed female was a great oddity back when Groucho Marx sang about "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady" but not anymore.

24A: ____ Jinx (Old comic book character) (LIL) (or more correctly LI'L) Li'l Jinx was a little girl who had a hard time walking the straight and narrow and kept getting into trouble. She appeared in Archie Comics forever, usually in one-page gag stories. She was created by a man named Joe Edwards who passed away back in February 2007. Mr. Edwards also created Squoimy the Woim, Cubby the Bear and Bumbie the Bee-tective. All three of these appeared as short features in the first issue of Archie Comics. Some people dismiss Li'l Jinx as nothing more than a female Dennis the Menace, but actually Joe Edwards's strip predates Hank Ketcham's by four years. Maybe Dennis is a male rip-off of Jinx.

25A: "Mr. Magoo" star (NIELSEN) Speaking of cartoon characters, I used to love Mister Magoo, even though almost all of the humor derived from the fact that the poor guy could hardly see, and now that my eyes aren't what they used to be, it might seem less amusing. Maybe the great Jim (Thurston Howell) Backus doing the voiceover had something to do with it too.

30A: Otters eat them (EELS) Why? The old English ballad "Lord Randall" made a big impression on me when I was a kid -- Harry Belafonte's version of it anyway. In that song a young man's sweetheart poisons him by serving him eels -- and the poor guy's mother won't shut up long enough for him to go to bed and die in peace.

44A: Three-vowel word that's a homophone of a fourth vowel. (EAU) Hmm, that's interesting. Never thought of that before.

5D: Rub-out target (STOOLIE) According to the rules of the switcheroo, shouldn't this be STERLIE?

42D: Meet assignment (LANE) That's a swim meet assignment, of course.

66A: Miss Mississippi's curviest parts? (ESSES) Now I remember why I started this puzzle from the bottom right corner. I wanted to see what the answer to this one was.

That's all for today. Have a great weekend.


Orange said...

Robert, the Sun flipflops the themeless day each week—Thursday this week, Friday next week. If the title doesn't say "Themeless Thursday" or "Weekend Warrior," it's got a theme and checking the title can help you figure it out.

There are occasional exceptions to this pattern—around April Fool's Day, Trip Payne has a "Wacky Weekend Warrior," and sometimes Peter tosses us a cryptic or something.

Norrin2 said...

Thanks, Orange, I hadn't noticed that pattern. I remember Trip Payne's wacky puzzle, but don't remember seeing a cryptic.

mellocat said...

Well, I knew there was a theme but couldn't for the life of me figure it out. Came up blank on an alternative Playoff ___, for The Latest ___ I could think of nothing beyond "SCOOP", for ___ Mentality all I could think of was "BUNKER" and I had no idea what to do with TATTERED LADY. Kept pulling up your page and Amy's hoping one of you would put me out of my misery of befuddlement....

Norrin2 said...

Glad I could help, Mellocat. BTW, I very much enjoyed your Saturday NYT puzzle. Addis Ababa is my favorite world capital -- of course I pick my favorite capitals by how fun they are to pronounce.