Thursday, August 23, 2007

Royal Flush

Wow, another mind-blower from Patrick Blindauer. This one took me a while to solve and even longer to figure out what was going on. I could blame it on cranberry juice intoxication since I've been pouring it down trying to flush out this kidney ache -- or caffeine withdrawal since I haven't had any tea or Diet Pepsi today, but truth is it's a tough, fair puzzle -- and if you're smarter than me and tumble onto the theme a little sooner than five minutes after you finish the puzzle, it might help you crack the puzzle a little faster.

Anyway, here all fresh and rested from its one-day vacation is our ever-popular 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 -- No, you know what, they're better. That's right, I said it, the New York Sun's puzzles are better than the New York Times's puzzles, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be Peter Gordon and to keep putting out this superior product and have everybody just blog, blog, blogging and yak, yak, yakking about the Times, Times, Times. Look, if you don't have time for two great puzzles a day, do the better one, do the SUN -- (we now return you to your regularly scheduled spoiler warning) -- 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.

Blindauer has taken all of the cards in the highest natural poker hand and shuffled (anagrammed) them into new phrases.

Starting with the TEN OF SPADES which becomes ONE STEP FADS (17A: Simple crazes?) and moving up to the Jack of Spades or SAFE JOCK PADS )(19A: Gear that keeps an athlete protected?).
The Queen of Spades morphs into FED OPAQUENESS (34A: Cause of difficulty in understanding Ben Bernanke?) and the King is now FAKES DOPINGS (51A: Creates false positives on drug tests?) and the mighty Ace is now an ESCAPED SOFA (54A: What a couch detective looks for?)
I like all these new phrases but they don't lend themselves well to illustration. I looked all the web for a picture of an escaped sofa but found nothing. And I'm sorry, but I am not even going to look for jock pads.
The only other card themed entries I see are 9A: Vide ____ (see before, in Latin) (ANTE) and 58A: Fight (MIX-UP) (another word for shuffle) and I guess 61A: It's corny (TRIX) might slide in, as well. At least I can find a picture for it.

Other entries of interest:

26A: One out of ten (ZERO) That's almost a cryptic crossword clue. As I read it, if you take the digit 1 out of 10 you're left with 0.

39A: Cabal (RING) I had GANG for the longest.

38D: Bud holder? (KEG) Another misstep. I had MUG. That's what I get for thinking small, I guess.

46A: "Baby __ Back" (1992 #1 hit) (GOT)
I am embarrassed to admit that this is where I got my initial toehold on this puzzle.

20A: Noted trio member (EGO) I realize it's got to be something simple that I'm just missing but I've got more curiosity than pride and I admit I don't get this one. What trio is ego a member of?

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


Matt M. said...

I was fortunate enough to figure out the theme mid-solve; I doubt I could have finished this one otherwise. GOT was definitely my first toehold, too. I also initially had MUG, and TUBS instead of JUGS for "Moonshine containers."

As for EGO, Freud would be disappointed in you!

Norrin2 said...

OH, now I get id.
And if you're getting your moonshine in a tub rather than a jug, that's thinking big.

Pete M said...

Escaped sofa?

I especially like Maverick's real name in "Top Gun"... :)

akakii said...

I believe the noted trio that EGO is a member of is ego, superego and id. I was thinking of verb declensions along the lines of amo, amas and amat, but beyond knowing that ego means 'I am' in Latin, I was pretty well stumped.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I got a big laugh from the ROYALFLUSH couple, and the ESCAPEDSOFA in the comments; thanks for that, too!

Special thanks to Peter for helping to hone this one. I initially wanted to use random card anagrams, but the unified hand is much tighter.


altony55 said...

Yes, this was a hard one. But after I read your first sentence about an anagrammed poker hand and glanced at "ten of spades," I made much headway. Thanks for the clue.

Still, I missed some connections:

27 ACROSS Daphnean SHY
60 ACROSS Probability class manipulative DIE
63 ACROSS Music center? ESS
37 DOWN One way street no-no UIE

Can you or anyone else help me make these connections? Muchos thankos.

P.S. With anagrams, crossword clues and the answer SAFEJOCKPADS," all on my mind, when I had to type the letters, "sctro," to enter to submit my comments, I immediately thought of the word, "scrotum." An interesting coincidence, no?

Norrin2 said...

As a matter of fact, Altony, I can help you with all of them.
DAPHNE was a nymph who did not want to do it with Apollo even though he wanted her bad. She decided she would rather be turned into a laurel tree.
DIE is the singular form of dice, which must have something to do in probabilty classes.
ESS is the letter S which is in the center of the word MUSIC. (I knew where they were headed with this one, but had USI for a while, which is also the center of music, looked at another way.
And a UIE is a U-Turn.
Hope this helps.

altony55 said...


Thanks for your help.

That Daphne certainly had an acute case of shyness. Doubtless, there must be a word for her condition.

Your reasoning for DIE is plausible.

As for "ESS" being the center of "music," I've seen this "literalness motif" in other NY Sun crossword clues. I'd usually figure it out, but this one got by me.

As for "UIE" meaning "U-Turn," I'm unsure. While a U-turn is certainly a no-no on a one way street, how is "UIE" a U-turn? Are you thinking "U" as short for U-turn, and "IE" as in "i.e.," to mean "for example"? Is this what you had in mind?

(Actually, "i.e." is Latin for "id est" [did someone mention "id" before?] which means, not "for example," but "that is." However, many people do use "i.e." to mean "for example," though it is incorrect. What these people should use and what is more correct is "e.g." This is Latin for "exempli gratia." And this means "for example.")

Thanks again for your help.

Norrin2 said...

Actually I think UIE is just sort of a slang term for U-turn, as in "We're going the wrong way; hang a uie." It comes up in crosswords occasionally.