Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013, Ned White


Loved it. Great start (and finish) with the bookended PUDDYTAT (1A: Carton canary's bane) and MELBLANC (58A: Voice of 1-Across). You know, Dad took me to see Mel Blanc speak at Clark University long ago. He was great. But you knew he would be.

I'm gonna say there was no slop today. Even the threes were enjoyable, from the rare variant ETD (18A: Gate announcement, briefly) to the well-clued URL (54D: It might end in "mil"), and I even remembered ASU (49A: Sun Devil Stadium's sch.)! There was a PILE (1D: Ton) of clever clueing, starting right off with the first down pair of "Ton" and 2D: Ton, e.g. (UNIT). And 8D: It has eight neighbors: Abbr. (TENN) sets one up for the tricky 49D: Mont. neighbor (ALTA). Well, ok, there's the one piece of junk. The clue is tricky (because, come on, who ever thinks of Canada?!), and I suppose that's short for "Alberta," but I've never seen that abbreviation before.

NODUH (32A: "That is so obvious!") was a good one. Frannie exclaimed "They're going there?" when she filled that one in, but we both like that they did. Some side-by-side cryptic-type cluing with 15D: Delta lead-in (CHARLIE) and 9D: Stars and stripes, say (PLURALS), and we liked how the "Stars and stripes" clue paired nicely with 12D: Hammer and sickle holder, maybe (SHED) (Fantastic!). Also, what about 38D: One shot in a cliffhanger? (JREWING). It's all so good. So tight.

It went along smoothly and happily until we ground to a halt in the SW corner. We KNEW that "Pope" was too easy an answer for 46D: John Paul II, e.g., but we couldn't help ourselves, and that really threw a wrench into 55A: Ray Charles's Georgia birthplace (ALBANY), which I kept thinking I should recognize, but which I couldn't see when it was "AP__NY." Finally, we agreed that REORG sounded good for 57A: Inc. magazine topic, and things came together. ALAR (47D: Creator of bad apples?) though? Is that because it tastes bad? I actually tried "Alum" here, influenced, I think, by the Warner Brothers cartoon references. Oh, wait, I just looked it up... it was banned for fears that it caused cancer. Got it.

Strangest trivia fill - DIAN (19A: Longtime model Parkinson of "The Price is Right"). Who knows that?

OK, we could probably go on and on, and I'm sure I missed great clue/answer pairs, but suffice it to say, we thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great vacation-day puzzle!

- Horace


  1. I'll agree with you that this one was excellent. My mother and I solved it together, taking probably about 40 minutes. She got ALTA no problem, saying that's the official abbreviation for the province (she's visited there to go to the Banff Music Festival). PUDDYTAT was excellent, and it took a long time to get to for some reason. I was stuck after trying to shove Sylvester in there. We recognized that POpE and POLE were both possibilities, but that gave us three letters, and then ALBANY fell into place, which was nice in that they didn't choose a NY-centric cluing. We liked YIDDISH as a "bagel source", as well as JEWISHRYE to complete the pairing. And who knew High Society was Grace Kelly's last movie? What a shame to end with that clunker.

  2. Clunker?! That was a fantastic movie. I mean, it was no "Philadelphia Story" --no one can compete with Cary Grant--but how can you go wrong with Sinatra and Der Bingle? Are you a real doctor, or do you just play one on TV?? But, yes, I agree that this is fantastic. Horace, you should always think of O,Canada, when puzzles ask for a neighbor of a northern U.S. state. It's always the adjoining province. Always. I was thinking as I solved this that it really skews old, which puts it right in my wheelhouse. PUTTYTAT, MELBLANC, KELLY, JREWING, even ALAR. Horace, you are right, that SW corner was a bear. It turned for me when I realized that I was going nowhere with "roll call." ROBO was the linchpin that enabled everything else fall into place. Love everything up in that NE corner. HUNTER and ARCADE are terrific with their nearly identical clues. I didn't happen to remember DIAN Parkinson, but I'm betting that Bob Barker would have. Come on down, indeed.

  3. What can I say? I love Philadelphia Story so much that the remake can't match up, although I do love Cole Porter's songs.

  4. Yeah, I thought ALTA must be correct, and yes, I should have thought to look north. It's not like we haven't seen it before - "VT neighbor = QUE," and so forth.

    We had "roll call" first, too, and as for DIAN Parkinson, I don't know if you checked out Rex's blog for this day, but he leads with a picture of her on the cover of Playboy.

    I've never seen High Society, and all I remember of Philadelphia story is a black panther. Wasn't there a panther in that movie? Or two? But a blog is never a blog until there's a flame war in the comments, so go ahead and keep up the ad hominem attacks, et59, and Colum, pay him no mind.

  5. p.s. Frannie tells me I must be thinking of "Bringing Up Baby."