Tuesday, September 25, 2007
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
In case you haven't noticed, it's taken me a while to get back into the swing of crossword-blogging after my weekend beach getaway. But this ought to do it. Today we're talking about beer.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy. -- Tom Waits
In Mark Feldman's "Backdraft" the end portion of each themed entry is also the name of a popular brand of beer -- back draft, get it?
Got it. Good. Let's go.
18A: New York's state saltwater fish (STRIPED BASS) Bass is most famous for their pale ale. The first thing you should know about pale ale is that it's not really pale -- well, not like wimpy American beers like Budweiser and Coors, now that's pale. Bass's red triangle logo was Britain's first registered trademark. In recent years Bass was bought out by Coors as part of their effort to bring watered-down beers to every corner of the globe. Bass is not what it used to be.
(BTW, New York's state freshwater fish is the brook trout.)
You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. -- Frank Zappa
23A: Plant also known as beach wormwood (DUSTY MILLER) I had never heard of Dusty Miller. If I'd had to guess, I would have said it was the name of a professional wrestler. In keeping with our alcohol theme, wormwood is what absinthe, the Green Fairy, is made from.
35A: Very rarely (ONCE IN A BLUE MOON) Blue Moon is a wheat beer, with several seasonal variations. It was originally called Bellyslide Belgian White, and I know Mark Feldman is glad they changed the name. Working the word "bellyslide" into an answer can't be easy.
"A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her."
50A: Stringed instrument named after a Greek god (AEOLIAN HARP) Harp used to be part of the Guinness family but they broke up a couple years ago. In Britain now Harp can no longer use the harp logo because that belongs to Guinness -- and Guinness, despite what Budweiser says, is the king of beers.
56A: Outermost part of the sun's atmosphere (SOLAR CORONA) Do you know why gringos stick a lime in their Corona? It's because hops degrade when exposed to light (which is why most beers come in dark bottles) The lime is used to mask the "skunky" aroma of rotten hops. Miller comes in light bottles too, and you should probably put a lime in it too, just so it will have some flavor.
"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."
-- Cliff Clavin
Other entries of interest:
25D: Something that might come to a head. No, not beer, an IDEA.
40D: Tide type (NEAP) For some reason I always want spell this "NEEP".
9D: 1972 biography subtitled "The People's Lawyer" (NADER). At my house, we don't call Ralph Nader the people's lawyer -- my wife doesn't anyway. She calls him the dirty bastard that took enough votes away from Al Gore to put that SOB George the Second into the White House. It took a long time for her to forgive me for voting for Nader in 2000. What can I say, I
was young and naive and idealistic and I voted for who I honestly thought was the best man for the job. (Don't worry I learned my lesson, and in 2004 I voted against W and only incidentally for Kerry.) She really was mad about it. You might say it was the nadir of our relationship. (But then again, you might not.)
32D: Kipling title character (KIM) Kim is my wife's name. Thank you for 14 wonderful years and for forgiving me for voting for Nader.
50D: He's second to Bonds in career home runs (AARON) Don't even get me started.