SUNDAY, April 19, 2009 (calendar puzzle) — Sylvia Bursztyn

Theme: Big Category — Puns on words related to big cats.

I'm afraid this is going to be another short write-up. Because this puzzle comes out so late, I don't want to spend a lot of time on it: (a) because I have other things to do today and (b) because anyone who's interested in reading about it is either Googling away or has already checked the blog, so I feel some pressure to get the post up. I'm also trying really hard to make it sound as if the fact that this puzzle left me cold doesn't have anything to do with the lack of attention I plan to give it. How am I doing?

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Warning sign at the big cat sanctuary? (PRIDE LOOSE). I don't know what the original phrase is supposed to be on this one.
  • 25A: Offer to shake, between big cats? (GIVING PAWS). Giving pause.
  • 44A: Sizing up little big cats? (MEASURING CUBS). Measuring cups.
  • 64A: Big cat appendages for the ages? (TIMELESS TAILS). Timeless tales.
  • 85A: Male big cat? (MANE CHARACTER). Main character.
  • 108A: Survey of a big cat? (LEO PROFILE). No idea.
  • 110A: Big cat's vocal power? (ROAR ENERGY). Raw energy?
  • 36D: Dodge a big cat's attack? (ESCAPE CLAWS). Escape clause.
  • 40D: Sketch a big cat? (DRAW THE LION). Draw the line.
  • 1A: Rapper-actor born Tracy Marrow (ICE-T). Nice to have a gimme right at 1 Across.
  • 21A: Isaac's eldest (ESAU). It's good to remember he has a twin: Jacob? Yes, Jacob.
  • 30A: Swiss watch brand (ETERNA). Never heard of it.
  • 31A: Evansville campus (USI). University of Southern Indiana. Ouch.
  • 43A: Legal thing (RES). Latin!
  • 48A: Sacramento arena (ARCO). I hate the way stadiums and arenas have corporate names now. Who's with me?
  • 51A: "Euphuism"-style writer John (LYLY). This answer crossed at the first Y with 39D: Mythical sea menace (SCYLLA), which seems kind of mean. Raise your hand if you had an I there instead of a Y. Scilla and SCYLLA are two different things.
  • 73A: Flustered (DITHERY). This is a word?
  • 79A: Sistine fresco figure (ADAM). More Bible!
  • 80A: Creedence title town (LODI). A know a good bit of CCR music and I think this one is pretty obscure.
  • 84A: Kareem, pre-1971 (LEW). Before changing his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he was known as Lew Alcindor.
  • 90A: Shell game? (OIL). I guess this is like the "game" that the company "Shell Oil" plays? It's not really a game....
  • 116A: Madame de --- (STAEL). Never heard of her. Her birth name was not quite as glamorous: Anne Louise Germaine Necker.
  • 13D: --- "generis" (SUI). More Latin!
  • 17D: Bambi, for one (FAWN). Funny, when I saw 39A: Document disposal device (SHREDDER), the first thing I thought of was Fawn Hall, Oliver North's secretary who admitted to shredding documents during the Iran-Contra affair
  • 29D: An Anderson (LONI). I had Lori at first. But of course she doesn't spell her name that way. At least the famous one that I'm thinking of. I'm sure there are people named Lori Anderson out there too.
  • 34D: Filmdom's Zeffirelli (FRANCO). Hey look! He directed the 1996 film version of Jane EYRE (41D: Thornfield Hall's Jane). I would have preferred to see this answer clued with a reference to Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Who I believe is still dead.
  • 68D: Peaceful (IRENIC). Wanted Edenic or idyllic.
  • 78D: Remote button (REC). Always have to wait for the cross on the last letter here — could be REW (rewind, or, as my kids call it, "fast-backward").
  • 89D: Koln's river (RHEIN). Oh great. It's bad enough I have to know rivers. Now I have to know different ways to spell them?
  • 97D: Idle cohort (PALIN). Eric Idle, Michael Palin.
  • 98D: Oscar nominee Lilia (SKALA). Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Mother Superior in "Lilies of the Field," opposite Sidney Poitier. I hadn't heard of her until I looked it up just now.
Everything Else — 5A: Longs audibly (SIGHS); 10A: Digital displays, for short (LCDS); 14A: Help, to Helmut (HILFE); 19A: Wordless entertainer (MIME); 20A: Lace tip (AGLET); 22A: Malt- --- (OMEAL); 27A: Handwriting (SCRIPT); 28A: Pearlescent (OPALINE); 32A: "Cats" showstopper (MEMORY); 33A: First born? (CAIN); 34A: Explorer dubbed "The Pathfinder" (FRÉMONT); 38A: Betting setting (RENO); 47A: Deli bread (RYE); 50A: It's a loch (NESS); 52A: Unadorned (BARE); 53A: Sea phenomenon (NEAPTIDE); 56A: "Twelfth Night" twin (VIOLA); 58A: One of sequoia's five (VOWEL); 59A: Cop show climax (CAPTURE); 60A: Kind of column (SPINAL); 62A: Decree (FIAT); 63A: Poem of praise (ODE); 67A: "She Done --- Wrong" (HIM); 70A: Dilutes, or deletes (CUTS); 72A: Proportions (RATIOS); 75A: "King of Torts" Melvin (BELLI); 77A: Envy (COVET); 78A: Merchant (RETAILER); 81A: Space (AREA); 83A: Pub portion (PINT); 91A: Uplifted (INSPIRED); 93A: Town near Turin (ASTI); 94A: Heighten (ENHANCE); 96A: Till section (ONES); 97A: Big shrimps (PRAWNS); 99A: DDE opponent (AES); 100A: Hammed it up (EMOTED); 103A: Pre-race pen (PADDOCK); 104A: Fish out of water (MISFIT); 112A: Craze (MANIA); 113A: Analogous (AKIN); 114A: Superman, at birth (KALEL); 115A: It's a gas (NEON); 117A: Big cats' spots (DENS); 118A: Lingers (STAYS); 119A: Phoenician port (TYRE); 1D: Little rascals (IMPS); 2D: Paper sales info (CIRC); 3D: Dubai dignitary (EMIR); 4D: Monotony (TEDIUM); 5D: Kind of cracker (SALTINE); 6D: "Need --- on?" (IGO); 7D: Murk (GLOOM); 8D: Ship in a Longfellow title (HESPERUS); 9D: Ships like Fulton's (STEAMERS); 10D: Shackle (LEGIRON); 11D: Sinise's CBS series (CSINY); 12D: Barry or Brubeck (DAVE); 14D: Impedes (HOGTIES); 15D: Loom (IMPEND); 16D: Drama king (LEAR); 18D: "Born Free" big cat (ELSA); 24D: Derby town (EPSOM); 26D: At hand (NEARBY); 33D: With 58D, San Diego neighbor (CHULA); 35D: Brush up on (REREAD); 37D: Two-wheeler for two (TANDEM); 42D: Rod's partner (REEL); 45D: Envision (SEE); 46D: Crows (GLOATS); 49D: Decide (OPT); 52D: It's a wrap (BOA); 54D: All, in music (TUTTI); 55D: Pupil's place (IRIS); 56D: Pop by (VISIT); 57D: Not --- many words (INSO); 58D: See 33D (VISTA); 60D: Russian language family (SLAVIC); 61D: Townshend or Seeger (PETE); 62D: Move like a butterfly (FLIT); 65D: Wore away (ERODED); 66D: Form a thought (IDEATE); 69D: Plant aka periwinkle (MYRTLE); 71D: Einstein's birthplace (ULM); 74D: With-it (HIP); 75D: Java neighbor (BALI); 76D: Nod neighbor (EDEN); 77D: Rods' partners (CONES); 80D: Texas town (LAREDO); 81D: Illustrations (ARTWORKS); 82D: Wet weather wear (RAINCOAT); 85D: Feldspar or cinnabar (MINERAL); 86D: Sets (HARDENS); 87D: "Take --- song/make it better" (ASAD); 88D: Glossy paints (ENAMELS); 92D: Stew in a crust (POTPIE); 95D: Green light (ASSENT); 100D: Stately trees (ELMS); 101D: Crux (MEAT); 102D: A Chaplin (OONA); 103D: Explorer Zebulon (PIKE); 105D: Eagles' Glenn (FREY); 106D: Stravinsky or Sikorsky (IGOR); 107D: Daly of "Judging Amy" (TYNE); 109D: It's in one year and out the other (FAD); 111D: Marina del --- (REY).


Donna L. said...

I'd guess PRIDE LOOSE is a play on "pried loose."

Orange said...

PuzzleGirl, we rarely see the German spelling RHEIN in the other crosswords, but I always wish it would show up because I studied German back in my salad days.

I don't recall ever seeing SKALA or USI or ETERNA in a puzzle. LYLY looks vaguely familiar, but I can't say whether it's from being an English major or a crossword nut. Unless it's a themeless puzzle that is intended to be very difficult, I wouldn't expect to see more than one or at most two completely unfamiliar (to me) answers. Three or four is beyond the pale.

It's always fun to play the "fix that corner" game and see how hard it would be to pull out an unfamiliar or awkward answer and get smoother fill in that section...but I haven't got the time for that now because I need to blog several puzzles for Crossword Fiend. It's late! (Had to have chocolate-cherry pancakes.)

Badir said...

@PuzzleGirl, I think LEO PROFILE is based on "low profile". Nice visual for "Draw the Line"--I always liked that album cover.

Since I do the _LA_Times_ puzzles in AcrossLite (including this one, thanks to the script Alex posted in comments on it (which I modified last week to work a couple of days after Sunday)), after I changed LYLY to "LILY", thinking the former was too ridiculous, and "SCILLA" might be an alternate spelling, when I didn't get a happy pencil on finishing the puzzle, I changed it back. I hope the grammar of that sentence wasn't too tortuous that you got lost in the forest.

Dan said...

Re: 90A -    game (noun) "3a (3): area of expertise : specialty <comedy is not my game>"

It was easier for me to pull the definition from m-w.com than to try to explain it in my own words.

And you get a big "Amen!" from me in regards to stadiums being named for corporations. Tacky!

~LA Dan

Denise said...

I don't like cats but I love IceT, the actor and the beverage.

I think that buildings should be named for important people who contribute to society -- and I think they should get a name and keep it. Corporations and banks need to do what they're supposed to do -- be corporations and banks.

I live in DC -- The Verizon Center. How crass.

Unknown said...

ccr--oh, Lord...stuck in Lodi again