Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014, Ned White


I call this one the "ugly American" puzzle. The grid kind of looks like a hamburger in a bun, and you've got USAUSAUSA (34A: Patriotic chant) right through the middle, with GIMMEGIMMEGIMME (14A: 1979 Abba single) and DOOBEDOOBEDOO (12A: Bit of nonsense famously replacing "strangers in the night") up top. That last, by the way, I do not love. I don't think I've ever seen it spelled that way.

DOUBLEBOGEYED (61A: Got a +2 on) (all I could think of was Google+ !?) had a nice clue, and UNTROD (41D: Not printed up?) was tricky. ARCTURUS (39A: Fourth-brightest star in the sky) made me do a little research. Here are some things that you might find interesting: The three brighter stars are Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri; "Arcturus" means "guardian of the bear" in Greek, which is in reference to its proximity to Ursa Major and Ursa Minor; It might be a binary star; and, it's light was used to start the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Several observatories focussed the star's light onto photovoltaic cells, and the resultant electricity was sent to Chicago, where it automatically activated all the other, regular lights. The idea for this arose because it was thought that the light from Arcturus reaching Earth in 1933 had left Arcturus at the time of the previous Chicago World's Fair, in 1893. (Recent research thinks it would have been 1896, but hey, they were close!) And lastly, if solar energy (and, indeed, stellar energy) has been around that long, why isn't it more prevalent today?!

Interesting, too, about POMPANO (1D: Florida food fish). I am marginally familiar with a Pompano region in Florida, but I didn't know it was named for a fish. Other unknowns were SEGO (4D: One of Utah's state symbols) (a flower, apparently), OMERTA (13D: Code broken by some singers) (it's a mafia code of silence) (... and what if I did know? I ain't sayin' nothin'!), and I'm not terribly familiar with VIRAGOS (38D: Witchy women), thankfully.

Frannie liked EHLE (53D: Actress Jennifer of "Pride and Prejudice") (lots of J.A. this week!), and EBERT (3D: "Your Movie Sucks" author) and CSI (18A: Show with an early episode titled "Crate 'n Burial") had amusing clues, but there was a bit too much MDI, UEY, OER, OSE,... and it seemed too easy for a Friday. It wasn't terrible, but today was no yesterday.

- Horace


  1. 57 mins.
    UNTROD was, indeed, tricky, but after I had a few scattered letters for ARCTURUS, I was able to fill that right in. Thanks for the trivia about it. I starred 27A Littermates compete for them (TEATS) and 7D It helps produce a kitty (TOMCAT) because I thought that Frannie would have liked those, and because the latter was a surprise since one normally thinks of something ante-ish with that type of clue. Also, 42D Container for a round (STEIN) had me for a bit. At first I filled in ShEll, thinking of a bullet. Anyway, a good Friday since I finished it in under an hour.

  2. 18:50, with a major assist from Hope. Likes: KEBAB, REPULSE, EDITMENU, DISMAL. Dislikes: ASP crossed with GASPS. PRESENTARMS went in quickly; I wish the rest of the puzzle had followed likewise. I think HOGAUGE is really meant to be H0GAUGE; I've read elsewhere how this use of letters for numbers is not looked upon kindly. I thought the puzzle was fine overall, but I agree with you Horace: it's no yesterday.

  3. Huygens, SHELL would have been good, too. We'll have to file that idea away. And I, too, thought of "something ante-ish" for the kitty clue.