THURSDAY, April 2, 2009 — Dan Naddor

Theme: Polymorphism — Each theme answer is the definition of a homophone of "poly."

Well, I hope things have settled down here in CrossWorld after the big April Fools' Day shenanigans yesterday. Bloggers on the wrong blogs, commenters making themselves unrecognizable ... and then there was all the yammering on about whipped cream. Stop the madness! Nice to have a solid, not-too-difficult-for-a-Thursday puzzle to contend with this morning. I had some trouble in the Texas area where I hadn't heard of Polly Bergen, wanted scam for SLAY (65A: Knock off), and hint for AURA (62A: Vague quality). Thank God for Nora Roberts. She finally brought clarity to that section like only a romance novelist can. That is to say, coyly, with bare shoulders and super super shiny lipgloss.

Crosswordese 101: Today we're going to talk about AGHA, a word I'd never heard before getting serious about crossword solving. With a clue like today's [Turkish bigwigs], you can bet the answer will be one of three words: AGA, AGHA, or PASHA. Luckily, all three of those words have a different number of letters so you can just plug in the one that fits. Is there a difference between an AGA, an AGHA, and a PASHA. Who cares? I sure don't! I just know they're all clued by taking one word from Group A, one word from Group B, and one word from Group C:

Group A: Old, Former
Group B: Turkish, Ottoman, Muslim, Ankara
Group C: Title, Honorific, Authority, Dignitary, Officer, VIP, Bigwig, Leader

It's like Garanimals: just mix-and-match and you're on your way.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Pauly (COMIC SHORE). I'm thinking "comic" is kind of a stretch here.
  • 20A: Pauley (UCLA PAVILION). I used to think that to have a building named after you, you had to do something remarkable and then people would want to name the building after you as a tribute to your greatness. Now I know that you just have to have a ton of money and you can make your own tribute to your own greatness.
  • 37A: "Paulie" (PARROT MOVIE). Anyone bother to see this flick?
  • 54A: Polly (BERGEN OF FILM). Never heard of her despite her prolific career.
  • 57A: Poly (TECH SCHOOL). Can't say I've ever thought much about this one. I know they have wrestling at Cal Poly and that's about it.
  • 1A: Mark Cuban's NBA team (MAVS). Dallas Mavericks. How did I know this?
  • 5A: Some 35mm cameras (SLRS). Single-lens reflex.
  • 14A: Oscar-winning director Kazan (ELIA). Future Crosswordese 101 lesson.
  • 22A: Words before ghost (SEES A). Ugh.
  • 36A: Closing letter at Oxford? (ZED). It's the way they say "zee" (the last letter of the alphabet) in Great Britain.
  • 39A: Friend of Fidel (CHE). Has the new Che movie come out yet? I think Benicio del Toro is in it. I heart Benicio del Toro.
  • 64A: Philippines' highest peak: Abbr. (MT. APO). If you attended the ACPT this year, it's possible you had several long conversations about this particular peak and it was a gimme for you today.
  • 1D: Snaky-haired monster (MEDUSA). Um, I don't think it was "snaky," I think it was snakes.
  • 2D: Arlo's favorite restaurant (ALICE'S). A Thanksgiving classic.
  • 3D: Part of Roy G. Biv (VIOLET). Roy G. Biv is a mnemonic device used to remember the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
  • 26D: Youth (LAD). Cute that this one is crossing 23A: Any Beatle, e.g. (TEEN IDOL).

  • 28D: Memo words (IN RE). Latin for "In the matter of," this phrase is used in case citations.
  • 32D: Suffix with Capri (-OTE). I guess a Capriote is a person from Capri?
  • 33D: Trans-Siberian Railroad city (OMSK). It's not unusual for the temperature to reach 113F in the summer and -49F in the winter. But the average number of sunny days is more than 300 per year.
  • 34D: Staff member? (NOTE). The question mark means the answer won't have to do with a person who belongs to some sort of working team, but to something else that "belongs to" a different kind of staff. In this case, it's a music staff and the member is a note of music.
  • 46D: Second lightest element (HELIUM). The first lightest is hydrogen.
  • 49D: Tempera painting surface (GESSO). Learned it from crosswords. If you're interested, you can read about it here.
  • 50D: AEC successor (NRC). The Nuclear Regulatory Commission took over the role of oversight of nuclear energy matters and nuclear safety from the Atomic Energy Commission in 1975.
  • 57D: Skye cap (TAM). The Isle of Skye is part of Scotland, where people wear a type of cap (hat) called a tam.
Bye for now. Rex'll take care you tomorrow.

Everything Else — 9A: Volkswagen since 1979 (JETTA); 15A: Amanda of "The Whole Ten Yards" (PEET); 16A: In combat (ATWAR); 17A: Sack dress creator (DIOR); 27A: Columbia River city (ASTORIA); 30A: Cuba libre ingredient (COLA); 31A: Long odds (TENTOONE); 41A: Academic term (SEMESTER); 42A: Mus. key with three sharps (AMAJ); 44A: Wisconsin birthplace of Orson Welles (KENOSHA); 48A: Deli hangings (BOLOGNAS); 53A: Printing gizmo (INKER); 60A: Prefix with -syncratic (IDIO); 61A: Señor's "See ya!" (ADIOS); 63A: Turn bad (SOUR); 66A: "Skip __ Lou": kids' song (TOMY); 4D: City south of Tampa (SARASOTA); 5D: Humane org. (SPCA); 6D: Pope after Benedict IV (LEOV); 7D: Make a payment (REMIT); 8D: Token taker (STILE); 9D: "Juno" director Reitman (JASON); 10D: Kind of food or group (ETHNIC); 11D: Company, so they say (TWO); 12D: Paving material (TAR); 13D: "__ you nuts?" (ARE); 19D: Co. in Paris (CIE); 21D: Kitchen gadgets (PARERS); 24D: Nap (DOZE); 25D: Like the Opry? (OLE); 29D: Tiny power source (ATOM); 35D: Allowing for the possibility that (EVENIF); 37D: Ring loudly (PEAL); 38D: Absolute control, metaphorically (IRONFIST); 39D: Subway alternative (CAB); 40D: Gp. with a co-pay (HMO); 43D: Build a lengthy résumé? (JOBHOP); 45D: Scram (SKIDOO); 47D: Weapons source (ARMORY); 52D: 1988 Olympics city (SEOUL); 56D: "Love the skin you're in" brand (OLAY); 58D: Va. summer hours (EDT); 59D: Cloak-and-dagger org. (CIA).


John said...

I sure hope Rex dosent MULCT when He sees MTAPO!

Eric said...

Looks like you're feeling better. Maybe you sent what you had to Rex's pooch.
Agree, easy Thursday puzzle but entertaining.

SethG said...

I *love* Pauly Shore. Oh wait, AFD was yesterday. And, a sentence I'd have bet I'd never utter: Paulie starred Gena Rowlands, Tony Shalhoub and Cheech Marin.

Jill leaves for Tyumen tomorrow, and early next week she'll take the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Tyumen to Moscow. Omsk is the next major stop to the east of Tyumen. The weather in Tyumen is nice right now; next week it will be the same as in Minneapolis.

I'd love an Alice's Restaurant clue sometime for OBIE.

Sandy said...

Honestly, I found this a little painful. Not having heard of 3 of the theme answers, and barely knowing a 4th (Pauly Shore) and just having given up on figuring out the theme by the time I got to "poly" meant that nothing here was smooth for me.

And, in my accent, (or maybe just in my head) Polly and Pauly sound quite different. But that's just me being foreign, I know.

I did smirk a little at Mt Apo, because, as I gleefully told some of you in our conversations, I got that right at the tournament.

Orange said...

Sandy, it's not just your accent. It's my Midwest accent, too. And the one they used to explain the pronunciations in my dictionary. It's the AH in Polly/poly vs. the AW in Pauly/Paulie/Pauley. I don't have a clue what vowel pronunciation is being used by the folks who say these words the same.

Doug P said...

I pronounce Polly & Pauly the same way, with the AH sound. It appears to be a Western US thing. If anyone's really curious, there's a wikipedia page on the "cot-caught merger":


Thank you, PuzzleGirl, for not including a "funny" Pauly Shore clip in today's writeup!

MTAPO? No comment.

chefbea said...

Never heard of Pauly Shore. I do know Polly Bergen. (was she edgar Bergen's daughter?) Kept looking for Jane Pauly to appear

Joon said...

sandy, this is one of those puzzles where figuring out the theme doesn't help you one bit. but that's not why i dislike these puzzles. the reason i dislike them is that the theme answers are neither legitimate crossword answers (although TECH SCHOOL kind of comes close) nor amusing made-up phrases; instead, they're boring made-up phrases. that's not very fun, at least to me.

hazel said...

The only thing I have to say about this puzzle is that I watched Transsiberian yesterday (with Ben Kingsley and Woody Harrelson) and I liked it - a lot better than this puzzle.

Thought the theme was sort of lame, and in general the puzzle itself wasn't particularly memorable.

@joon - amen!

xyz said...
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xyz said...
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Joon said...

oh, you're a proper solver, all right. i'm just one dude with an opinion. plenty of people enjoy these kinds of puzzles, i'm sure; far be it from me to be a wet blanket. but i would have been more entertained by a puzzle with theme answers PAULEY PAVILION, PAULY SHORE (... okay maybe not that one), POLLY BERGEN, etc. same clever idea, except now the solver gets a) the "aha!" moment, instead of having it all laid out for us in the clues, and b) the opportunity to use the theme to help solve the remaining theme answers. and there'd be none of the "i know what this clue refers to, now how do they want me to word the answer?" angst.

Anonymous said...

This site is great, and I especially appreciate and love the "crosswordese 101" feature. Thanks, and I look forward to reading your commentary every day.

Anonymous said...

Hey Buuuuuuuudy!!!

mac said...

@the redanman:

I think by bullets they mean clues/answers they find extra interesting/annoying/hot/inane and want to mention specifically.

I didn't find this puzzle very interesting, and a little easy for a Thursday. Another Jason, a doze instead of a nap. Did Polly Bergen make jewelry?

I have a big pot of Gesso somewhere. Another something I've given up for puzzles....

Rex Parker said...

God I love that parrot. I went hunting for him as soon as I got the theme. Did you know PARROT and BERGEN have the same number of letters. They shoooooore do.

BERGEN = ????? and that lower part was death. How I got in under 5, and correct, I don't know. Maybe it was knowing the parrot film and really really knowing MTAPO and getting UCLA PAVILION very quickly, very early. All in all, an entertaining romp.


Rex Parker said...

PS "Bullets" = a simple bullet list. Those dots next to the entries - bullets. That's what they're called. Right? I hope so, 'cause I'm not changing.


Ellen said...

@chefbea - Polly Bergen (b. 1930) isn't Edgar Bergen's daughter. His daughter is Candice (b. 1946).

John said...

Right! Murphy Brown !!!!

David said...

The SW corner was my problem child. GESSO was on the tip of my pencil but refused to come out and BERGEN was unknown even though it sounded logical. The OLAY and NORA came teasing out and I had TECH SCHOOL. Oh well off a letter here or there, no one needs to know. The rest went very quickly.

My kids are watching PAULIE now courtesy of me seeing it in a prior crossword puzzle. I'm sure they'll be thanking me tomorrow...or maybe not.

John said...

Even after Rex's explantion I still dont understand what Bullets are. What are they supposed to be, Gimmes??? What??

Orange said...

John, "bullets" says exactly nothing about the answers and clues there. It refers to the typographical bullets used to set off the list of clues and anwers. I believe that the only thing that marks the "bullets" clues is PuzzleGirl or Rex's interest in including them in that round-up. They might be clever, obscure, tricky, common, uncommon. They may evoke a memory the blogger wants to share. They may be answers that folks are more likely to have trouble with.

Joon said...

redanman/john: definiton 2b.

Puzzle Mom said...

So, FYI, Polly Bergen appeared in the first "Cape Fear" opposite Gregory Peck, and in many other movies. She also appeared on Broadway. Most recently, she played Geena Davis' mother when Geena played "Commander in Chief" in a short-lived television drama of that name. I think I'm right in saying that this fictional role foreshadowed Michelle Obama's mother's move into the White House to help with the kids. I remember her best, however, from her long-time stint as a panelist on the CBS game show, To Tell the Truth.

She does, in fact, have a jewelry line -- or at least, she did have one.