Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I got off to a good eight-letter start on this Themeless Thursday by Patrick Berry. "A Christmas Story" is a Yuletide tradition at Chez Green Genius, so I nailed 11D: "Be sure to drink your ____ (coded message in "A Christmas Story") OVALTINE with no problem. Sad to say, I used to be a nicotine addict, so I knew 21A: Cigarettes once pitched by a cartoon penguin (KOOLS). (His name was Willie by the way. He was married to Millie and for a while at least he took Mister Peanut as his fashion mentor and wore a top hat and a monocle.) And I didn't fall for the trap at 7D: There's no B.S. here (ARTS COLLEGE). These gave me my toeholds in the NW, NE and Center portions of the puzzle, respectively.

The only place I got really hung up was on the last Across entry -- 54A: Full of hardships, as a voyage (ODYSSEAN) I had most of it, but not the first letter because although I saw the movie "Breaking Away" many years ago I don't remember any Italian vermouth brands featured in it (35D), although I figured it ended with a vowel and O looked likely. But there was another problem. I had PINE at 48D: Like some air fresheners instead of PINY, so my answer was starting to look like it had something to do with popular crossword destination ODESSA.

Other entries of interest:

14D: Pitcher Mike who got the win in the first and last games of the 2000 World Series. Back in the days when the Yankees used to win World Series titles, winters were especially harsh for me. I hate cold weather and I miss baseball almost as much as I miss sunshine and warmth. But knowing that the hated Yankees are the champs just makes me that much more anxious for Spring. The last time the Bronx Bummers won it all was in the Subway Series against the Mets in 2000. I figured the answer to this clue had to be starting pitcher (and crossword aficionado) Mike MUSSINA, but it was actually set-up man Mike STANTON

Another baseball reference was hidden at 29D: It can be a drag (BUNT) A drag bunt is usually an attempt to get a hit rather than make a sacrifice, so the batter is actually already on his way to first when he hits the ball.

My favorite clue of the day? 13D: It most definitely is not fast food (ESCARGOT) Yep, not only do you never see escargot on the menu at McDoanald's, but snails are notoriously slow animals.

Which reminds me of a joke:

A man is sitting in house one evening, when the doorbell rings.
He goes to the door, opens it, peers out and sees nothing.
He looks down and, in the center of the doormat, he espies a snail. He picks up the snail and tosses it out into the yard.
Some three years later, the doorbell rings one night. He gets up and goes to answer. On the doorstep is the snail.
The snail says, "What the hell was THAT all about?"

19A: "Intermezzo" actress (EDNA BEST) I've seen "Intermezzo" but I don't remember anything about Edna. Maybe because it starred Ingrid Bergman and it's hard for to look at anything else when she's on screen.

32D: Not going with the flow? (AT ANCHOR) gave me a chuckle.

Hey, did you know that the National Hobo Convention starts today in Britt, Iowa, the home of the Hobo Museum? It sounds like tons of fun with the hobo king and queen coronation in City Park, free Mulligan stew, bed races, a polka mass at St. Patrick's Catholic Church (polka mass?) Learn more about it here.

That's all for today. Let's do it again on Friday.


Austin said...

Ouch. This one hurt today. Thankfully got most of the bottom except for ODYSSEAN (I had ODESSEAS). Could not get the top to save my life. Maybe it was because I had KANSAS for TOPEKA, ARRIBA for ANDALE, and SCADS for SWABS. Yeah, that was probably it.

I had a LOT of wrong stuff in this one today and couldn't wrap my mind around it. I think I also had CHAINS instead of CHAPEL of Love, had GETS instead of SEES at 26D, and finally, I had DEFT instead of GIFT for the longest time at 37A.

All around bad day. Not looking forward to tomorrows. lol

kratsman said...

Terrific blog. Keeps me coming back. In addition to your crossword write-ups, I like your other topics, too. Especially liked your open letter to Obama the other day.

In Breaking Away, Cinzano was the name (sponsor) of the Italian racing team in the road race the kid entered. He idolized them; they bushwhacked him.

Norrin2 said...

Those are the ones that get you, Austin. KANSAS and SCADS are both right, and Speedy Gonzales did say "ARRIBA!" so that's right too -- well, not right for the puzzle, but right enough that you're reluctant to erase them. Without giving anything away, I think the Friday puzzle is not as hard as your usual Friday.
Kratsman, thanks, I appreciate it. I remember when those Italians threw the kid off the bicycle but I did not remember their sponsor.

Orange said...

My son and I enjoyed the snail joke.

A friend of mine's husband is a history professor whose area of expertise is hoboes. His dissertation got published as a book and made his career. Hoboes! Speaking of hoboes, if you're not squeamish about the disgusting and want to see a memorable use of the word "hobo," read the Steve, Don't Eat It! tales (Vol. 6 has the hobo mention).

Norrin2 said...

Thanks for the tip, Orange. The Sneeze looks like a really cool blog. I did summon up the nerve to look at that Natto entry. Truly disgusting but hilarious.