01.26 Wed

January 26, 2011
Robert A. Doll

Theme: I've Got a Secret — Theme answers are all super-heroes, clued by their secret identities.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Diana Prince's alter ego (WONDER WOMAN).
  • 24A: Peter Parker's alter ego (SPIDER-MAN).
  • 31A: Britt Reid's alter ego (THE GREEN HORNET).
  • 37A: Steve Roger's alter ego (CAPTAIN AMERICA).
  • 48A: Linda Lee Danvers's alter ego (SUPERGIRL)
  • 56A: Reed Richards's alter ego (MR. FANTASTIC).
Hey, folks. This is Doug, filling in for PuzzleGirl. She's been called away to deal with a Girl Scout Cookie emergency. By day, she's a mild-mannered puzzle solver and blogger, but by night, she dons her cape and boots to become...Cookie Mom! Or maybe she's Cookie Mom during the day and a mild-mannered blogger at night. Anyway, she'll be back tomorrow.

I flew through this puzzle like a speeding bullet. I saw the clue for 17A and filled in WONDER WOMAN immediately. Then I went through the rest of the theme entries and got them all with no crossers. Yep, I used to be a major comic book geek. I haven't read a comic in years, but I've still got a few hundred of my old ones sitting in a closet. I suspect some of you non-geeky people had a tough time with this one. The heroes get more obscure as you move from top to bottom. Everyone's heard of Wonder Woman & Spider-Man, but Supergirl & Mr. Fantastic aren't household names. And just so you know, Batman could beat up all six of these heroes without breaking a sweat.

If you enjoyed this puzzle, you might want to solve this one too: Super-Hero Boots. Here's the set-up: The Flash, Batman, Superman, and Aquaman were caught with their boots off when an emergency call came in....

  • 35A: Bite for Mister Ed (OAT). Are you kidding? That horse was a star. Remember when he hit a home run off Sandy Koufax? I hope he ate something better than plain old oats.
  • 45A: "Kubla Khan" river (ALPH). As if there weren't enough real-world rivers in crosswords, there are also a few imaginary ones you need to remember. ALPH usually gets a clue referencing Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan." There's STYX, often clued as "Underworld river" or "Charon's river." And finally LETHE, river of forgetfulness or oblivion.
  • 61A: Bis plus one, to a pharmacist (TER). "Bis" means twice a day and "ter" means three times a day. I think. I'm always a bit hazy on the pharmacy clues.
  • 3D: "General Hospital" actress (ANNA LEE). She played Lila Quartermaine from 1978-2003.
  • 28D: "How now? ___?": Hamlet, before mistakenly slaying Polonius (A RAT). Sorry, I can't embed the video, but there's a great "The Simpsons" version of "Hamlet" here. Polonius: "I hide behind curtains because I have a fear of being stabbed."
  • 29D: Letter after epsilon (ZETA). What's up with Catherine Zeta-Jones's name? I'm thinking about adding a random Greek letter to my name. How does Douglas Omicron-Peterson sound?
  • 50D: 1961 British movie monster (GORGO). I've never heard of this movie, so did a little research on Mr. Gorgo. He's the usual dinosaur/Godzilla-type monster. And here's the exciting part: his mother is named Ogra! If the movie "Gorgo" experiences a sudden surge in popularity, OGRA could become the new go-to entry for crossword constructors. We wouldn't have to rely on OGRE as much as we do now. So please, everyone, add "Gorgo" to your Netflix queues.
  • 53D: Lee who co-created 24-Across (STAN). This is a nice bonus to go along with the comic book theme. Stan Lee is a legend in world of comic books and was also instrumental in the creation of 56-Across and the rest of the Fantastic Four.
  • 58D: Rhine feeder (AAR). Here's an excellent Crosswordese101 lesson on AAR and many other baffling rivers.



Nice writeup, Doug.
I, like you, got all the theme words without any crosses so the fill was a cinch. Solved it like a speeding-bullet.
Thought maybe the KK River was STYX... didn't know ALPH.
What a great invention: erasers.
REALTOR was a gimme because I was one for 10 years after I retired. It's actually a registered trade name and usually mispronounced.

Time to EAT some OATmeal at McD's... it's yummy! Try it.

Sfingi said...

So, This is Tuesday's puzzle. Tuesday they ran Wednesday's by mistake.

I knew almost nothing - not one hero's cover, nor GORGO, nor RAE, nor REE but got all from crosses. That's the way!

Of course Hamlet thought the RAT was his Uncle. But, at least Polonius lived to say his great advice speech.

A bit of yuck fill -Roman numeral (MLI)and direction (NNE) saved by an original clue for OREO.

Rex Parker said...

Nice write-up, PuzzleGirl! ...

GORGO!?!? Sore thumb city. Population 1—well, with ANNA LEE, maybe 2. I would pay to see a movie where those two fight.


SethG said...

What was Ray Parker Jr's alter ego? I got only Spiderman and Anna Lee with no crosses.

Speaking of, I disagree about STAN Lee. He felt extraneous, tied (in the clue) to only 24A, and the double LEE wasn't great. If they wanted him in there, I'd have preferred HONALEE or something for 3D.


GORGO is cute

Rick said...

BID = twice a day and TID= 3 times a day..at least for the last 30 years I've been in the biz.

Anonymous said...

Still chuckling over "lizard with dewlaps" what a great clue!
@John - loved the Gorgo video, esp. the animation.

Doug P said...

@SethG - I didn't notice the STAN Lee/Anna Lee duplication. That is a little clunky. Also 34D is REED, part of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic.

Avg Joe said...

I couldn't get any of the heros past #2 based only on the clues. Had to have a lot of crosses. Apparently my youth wasn't quite as misspent as yours Doug. :-)

How many tried to fit "brown cow" into 28D?

JaxInL.A. said...

Mr. Omicron-Peterson,
Wonder Woman Has beaten the Bat more than once, and the only way he has defeated her is resorting to the gimmick of a virtual reality bullet that tricks her Amazonian body into a never-ending battle, and even then he got the weapon from Ras Al Ghul. Let's keep the record straight here.

Loved the puzzle. How many avenues does a 50-year-old woman with a comics jones have to express all that useless knowledge?

Captain *David* Man said...

I'm not quite the expert that Doug is but pretty damn close. This was a blazingly fast crossword for me. A couple letters were the maximum I needed to fill in the themes. GORGO and ALPH were my items to remember.

Vega said...

I'm tragically *not* a comics joneser, and it was still blazingly fast. Oh man, "high-muck-a-muck" is so good.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else having trouble reading the text that lays over the crossword themed back drop? I like the new look but I can't read it. Especially when I get to the everything else section. The checks interfere with the text and it's just aweful.

Tuttle said...

For the love of all that is sane, don't watch GORGO without a filter. Youtube has the MST3k version. It greatly eases the impact of a bad British Godzilla film.

Of course Bats had some device from somewhere that would defeat WW. His sole "superpower" is being crazy prepared.

mac said...

Yes, Doug, I think I'm a geek in different areas, I needed some crosses, but they all sounded familiar.

I don't mind Roman numerals at all, have found them very helpful at times, but my gripe is with those directional clues/answers. Loved the clue for the Iguanas!

C said...

Super hero themed puzzle, very nice. I want to quibble about the theme a bit, which I normally don't think is a good usage of time, but Mr. Omicron-Peterson's assertion that Batfrickingman could take out Spiderman has set me off.

First, the puzzle is mixing canons, i.e. Spiderman, henceforth Spidey, and Mr. Fantastic are from the Marvel universe and the other pretenders are from the DC universe. Talk about mixing French Laundry menu with Burger King, sheesh.

Second, Batfrickingman has had to be reinvented so many times in order for him to be able to handle a routine super-villain it begs the question "why?" Spidey, on the other hand, has had no such issues and, to boot, is the funnier of the two. I will concede that in the battle of tv theme songs, the two are competitive.

Lastly, thanks to Mr. Omicron-Peterson for an excellent write-up today while pinch hitting for PG. Do not take above rant seriously, nobody puts Spidey in the corner (to quote a movie I have never seen but my wife has 100 times or more)

Rex Parker said...

Spidey is for pimply-faced teens. Batman is for grown-ups.

Doug P said...

One of my friends bought a cheap copy of the DC Role-Playing Game and convinced a few of us to try to play it with him. I was Batman (of course) and figured I could do pretty much anything.

Me: "OK, I've infiltrated the facility and deactivated the bomb."
Friend: "How?"
Me: "I'm Batman. No further explanation required."

It was a short game.

Tuttle said...

Actually C, Captain America is Marvel also although he predates the Stan Lee era. The Green Hornet first appeared on radio in 1936 and has never been in DC or Marvel comics (Holyoke, Dell and Gold Key did publish Green Hornet comics in the 40s, 50s and 60s though).

But now I have to go deep geek on you guys: ANNALEE was the name of a Morlock who appeared in Power Pack and X-Men comics until her death at the hands of Scalphunter during the Mutant Massacre. There's also Infiltration Unit ZETA from Batman comics and the one-shot Spiderman villain The IGUANA(S).

And let's not forget the "whole bunch of AZTECs" from The Tick comics.

CrazyCatLady said...

Not a comic book, or superhero fan, but managed to get all the theme answers with a couple crosses here and there. Didn't know RAE, REE, ALPH, ANNA LEE, SYD and STAN. LIked IGUANAS crossing GORGO. GORGO was Saturday matinee fare (back when it cost 25¢ to get in).

Most memorable Girl Scout cookie fiasco: The Cookie Mom had an ant infestation in her house, but decided not to tell anyone. The girls delivered dozens of boxes of cookies with ants in them. We had to pick them all up and redeliver a week later. What a mess.

John Wolfenden said...

Loved it...a quick solve but not too easy. Good use of original cluing for crosswordese, like "Many, many moons" for EON and "Bite for Mr. Ed" for OAT.

Also some cool words I haven't seen in awhile like IMPETUS, PREEMIE, and of course SYD Barrett.

I work on a show for History Channel but couldn't come up with UFO Hunters until I had most of the crosses.

GORGO is a terrible, terrible name for a monster. Monster movies are not the Brits' strong suit.

NJ Irish said...

@Doug enjoyed the write up and the battle of the superhero followers that ensued. @ Tuttle
really has command of the subject.

I think Captain America was a character on a Golden Girls episode. LOL

@ Anon 8:24 AM
If I check this blog on my BB I have the same problem but it’s fine on my PC

Eric said...

I liked the theme. Not a comics geek, but I read my share as a kid. The only gimme for me was SPIDERMAN, but the only superhero I'd never heard of was MR. FANTASTIC (the name reminds me of a Jefferson Airplane song :-))

CAPTAIN AMERICA shows up in Easy Rider, kind of. That's the name Peter Fonda's character goes by.

@DougP: Liked your RPG story.

You comics geeks will get a kick out of the Comic Book Periodic Table of the Elements. (I discovered that by accident once, while looking for a real Periodic Table. The best of those I've found, by far, is the one at ptable.com. Then, for history and word geeks, there's Elementymology which, instead of the elements' chemical properties, gives you their histories and the etymologies of their names. It won't tell you Yttrium's boiling point or valence, but it does have some pictures of the site owner's trip to Ytterbey, Sweden, where the stuff was discovered.)

Capcha: "gamelist". I kid you not.

C said...

Heh, the wife refers to me as an 8 year old in a grown up body, so I'll take that teen comment and run back to her with evidence to prove her wrong. I knew that Spidey would come to my aid one day.

Comes down to, who do you want to hang out with? The fun guy or the dude whose answer to everything is "I'm Batman."? The "I'm Batman" dude would get pretty boring quick and you would try and ditch him at the 7-11 while buying beer.

@Tuttle, thanks for correcting the Cap portion of my diatribe. I unbelievably left him out of the Marvel universe.

Anonymous said...

The best periodic table is here.

Anonymous said...

Remember, with great power comes great responsibility...to get his name right.
It's Spider-Man.

Eric said...

@Anon 1:33: Sweet!

Sfingi said...

@CrazyCat - how did the ants get into the boxes? They have 3 levels of covering. Once they're opened, sure. I keep my opened stuff in Jumbo Zip-Lock bags. Did she open any of them?

All comic heroes are for teenaged boys. Maybe comic hero-worship and not testosterone is what causes crime and war. Wish I had some - to sell.

@Eric - thanx for geek stuff. I've been using Salks Periodic Table. There're a couple of neat books - Asimov's Building blocks of the Universe, and Primo Levi's unusual short story collection, The Periodic Table. He was a chemist and wrote in Italian (also a holocaust survivor and suicide).

CrazyCatLady said...

@Sfingi - it was back in the 90's so I don't think the packaging was as secure back then. It was weird because there was no sign of ants as you looked at the boxes. As we all know, they are very industrious, little creatures and managed a break in. We had to call all recipients and ask them to open the boxes and inspect. Cookie Mom lived in a brand new Mcmansion out in the "rural" area.

Sfingi said...

@CrazyCat - Utica is a small city, but last year I collected mice (my cat, a great mouser, moved to Baltimore because of Hubster), ants, and injun meal moths. Because I wasn't in the country, I could catch the mice in a "kind" trap and carry them to the Chicken Colonel's dumpster and they couldn't find their way back. But those bugs! Finally tried the Jumbo bags. Worked for all but fruit flies. The varmints are all clever and love our way of life.

JaxInL.A. said...

What is it about the NW lately? Today my "Thick" was denSe, my CHOKE was nasTY, my "pipe joint" was an ell, and I figured that somewhere there was an Emma Moore in entertainment news.  Thus the NW was hopelessly entangled.  

Even after coming here to fix it, I still have something wrong and can't find it. Urgh.  Oh, wait, there it is. SEEMTO not SEEMsO.  Never took Latin.  

Clever theme, got it right away but not fully successfully as noted above. I'm usually a big PB fan but the NW and SE made this a slog for me. All the xwordese that Rex noted didn't help. 

I have lived in Connecticut and Washington, D.C., so I feel for all of you under a blanket of snow.  I'll just gloss over (read gloat about) our warm and pleasant weather in Lotusland. 74 and clear today. 

crack said...

what u have against the boxes they are great