Oct 22, 2014

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 Jerome Gunderson

Theme: Four-part epic - the theme entries reference the Russian classic, published in four volumes.

17A. Bird between the partridge and French hen : TURTLE DOVE. "Between" in the context of the "12 Days of Christmas" carol.

29A. Species of falcon also called an American kestrel : SPARROWHAWK. Not a good thing to look up and see (if you're a sparrow):

47A. Epic novel symbolized by the ends of 17- and 29-Across : WAR AND PEACE. Interestingly, the author hesitated to call the work "a novel". He describes Anna Karenina as his "first true novel".

64A. Author of 47-Across : LEO TOLSTOY The man himself in 1906:

Hi everyone! Steve here with today's Wednesday offering. I have to confess I'm a little confused about this theme - I checked to see if there is some anniversary related to either the publication of the book or Tolstoy's lifeline, but drew a blank on both.

It bothers me that DOVE and HAWK are in the wrong sequence in the grid when considering WAR and PEACE, and it also bothers me that neither bird-endings are symbols for war nor peace, rather for warmongers and peacemakers. It just all seems a little contrived, but I'd love to hear other opinions.

Perhaps I'm being Mr. Grumpy today; there was some fun stuff in the grid, so let's move on.


1. Snoop's former "surname" : DOGG. Why the quotation marks - am I missing some subtlety in the cluing?

5. Sinatra's "The Lady Is a __" : TRAMP. Sinatra is just one of many artists who recorded this standard. I much prefer the recent duet from Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

10. Fine : OKAY

14. Polynesian capital : APIA. Formerly capital of German Samoa, there is still a proud German heritage in the region today.

15. __ roll : HONOR

16. Hard-to-explain feeling : VIBE

19. Exile isle : ELBA. Napoleon's first exile following the war with Russia during 1812-1813, which forms a large part of the narrative in the second half of "War and Peace".

20. In dreamland : ASLEEP

21. Smashes to smithereens : DESTROYS

23. Pique condition? : SNIT

25. Univ. aides : T.A.s I thought it stood for "Teacher's Aide" but it must be "Teacher's Assistant"

26. Jamaican music : SKA

35. Boot parts : TOES

37. __-Ball: arcade game : SKEE

38. "I'm not kidding!" : NO LIE

39. Dreads sporter : RASTA, and a proponent of SKA music.

41. What's always in poetry? : E'ER

42. "__ So Vain": Carly Simon hit : YOU'RE. Was the subject of the song Mick Jagger? (No). Warren Beatty? (No, but he was vain enough to claim that it was, so that's rather fun). Apparently it was David Geffen, but Ms. Simon continues to refuse to confirm or deny any speculation.

43. Sci-fi regular : ALIEN

44. Optic layer : UVEA

46. Feds under Ness : T-MEN

50. Future 32-Down: Abbr. : SRS. Seniors become alumni or alumnae, I assume they actually have to graduate first.

51. "Go for the Goal" author Hamm : MIA. US Women's National Soccer Team legend who retired in 2004. She married All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, consequently their three kids have more sporting genes in their DNA than most small towns.

52. Sales rep's tool : DEMO

54. Gym gear : BARBELLS

59. Musical ineptitude : TIN EAR. Ah, so that's why the cat hides when I play my guitars!

63. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA.  I thought I'd never heard this track before, so I trotted off to YouTube to check that there was no punctuation in the spelling and to listen to it and ... "Oh! It's that song!" I'd always thought it was "Eddie, I do believe I've failed you; Eddie, I know I've let you down ..". Funny how it can be one of your favorite songs and you have no idea what it's called.

66. Witty remark : JEST

67. Pasty : ASHEN

68. Italian volcano : ETNA. This seems to "erupt" in PuzzleWorld at least once a week. It's a darn handy letter combo though.

69. Egyptian symbol of life : ANKH

70. Garden path piece : STONE

71. After-school mall frequenter : TEEN


1. Crunched stuff : DATA

2. Magnum __ : OPUS. How about a magnum of Opus One from Napa? The 1997 vintage is priced at around $800 if you can find one. Just a tad outside my price range.

3. Lass : GIRL

4. "Pirates of Silicon Valley" figure : GATES. Microsoft's Bill, as portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall.

5. Knight crew? : THE PIPS. It took a moment for this penny to drop, but finally it did.

6. Bit of fishing tackle : ROD

7. Give __ to: okay : A NOD

8. Relocate : MOVE

9. Magic word : PRESTO

10. Miss, as an intended target : OVERSHOOT

11. Roughly 2.2 pounds, briefly : KILO. We were taught that "two and a quarter pounds of jam weighs about a kilogram" when we were transitioning to the metric system in the UK in the early 70's. We also learned that "A litre of water's a pint and three-quarters". That wouldn't work in the USA, where a pint is 16oz, not 20 (and a litre is a liter, just to add to the confusion)

12. First name in advice : ABBY

13. Votes for : YEAS. "Votes" in the noun form. Neat clue.

18. Eyepiece piece : LENS

22. Lion-colored : TAWNY. Uh-oh ... I think I'll get my coat and make a dash for it

24. Start, as a new hobby : TAKE UP

26. Camel's undoing : STRAW

27. Tree-dwelling marsupial : KOALA

28. Pantheon led by Odin : AESIR. Fellow Pantheon-chums were Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr, all good crossword-fodder!

30. Superman player : REEVE

31. Enjoy again, as a cherished book : RE-READ

32. Ones who no longer have class? : ALUMS

33. Cable installer, at times : WIRER

34. Wails : KEENS

36. Post-workout relaxation spot : STEAM BATH. Nit alert. I had STEAM ROOM first, and gradually changed it to BATH as the crosses proved me wrong. However - the "spot" bothers me - I'd take a steam bath in a steam room.

40. Musical set in an orphanage : ANNIE

45. Salon solvent : ACETONE

48. Texas city that spans five counties : DALLAS

49. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL. He won the award for Best Actor in 1929, the first to do so. I can't quite remember what he wore on the red carpet. He was a native of Rorschach in Austria, famous for the ink-blot factory and exclusive supplier of suggestive images to psychoanalysts everywhere. (I might need to fact-check that last bit).

53. Start : ONSET

54. __ California : BAJA. My neighbor to the south. When I first moved to LA and visited San Diego, I couldn't understand why there were so many cars and trucks with Canadian license plates, until I realized that "BC" probably didn't stand for "British Columbia". Oh.

55. Yemen port city : ADEN

56. Put on the line : RISK

57. For fear that : LEST

58. Artsy Manhattan district : SOHO

60. Cigar butt? : -ETTE

61. Primo : A-ONE

62. Meg of "Sleepless in Seattle" : RYAN

65. Down-for-the-count count : TEN. One of the most famous sports photographs of all time, through the lens of someone I really admire, SI's Neil Leifer:

... 8-9-10 ding! And I'm out!