Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Festivus

OK, the puzzle has absolutely nothing to do with Festivus, the fake holiday created in a Seinfeld episode, but I read an article today that it is observed on December 23, which is today, and that it was made up by the father of the episode's cowriter, Dan O'Keefe, who described the proper way to observe the day thus: "Tape-record grievances,sing, drink. Then, maybe wrestle. Repeat until police arrive."  That sounds like my kind of holiday - except for maybe the wrestling part.

So on to the puzzle - I liked it well enough, but as you can see I had some problems down there in the bottom right where I couldn't figure out how to spell KLEIN - I was thinking of Patsy and wanted Cline or maybe Kline (I'm never sure which one is right so it took a few crosses to set things right.  I was thinking Frank Longo's trademark clever wit might be missing though, until I got to the final across clue, "Things that this puzzle's nine longest answers have" and the answer was LINES - and sure enough, they all have "lines" of a different kind:

CHECK OUT COUNTERS  (Ringing-up places)
RULED NOTEBOOKS (Common back-to-school buys)
FILM ACTORS (Hollywood stars, say)
PLEATED PANTS (Slacks with folds)
GENEALOGIES (Family trees show them)
FISHING POLES (Anglers' tools)
WOMANIZERS (Casanovas) My absolute favorite clue/answer
AMUSEMENT PARKS (Coaster sites) My least favorite, because the "lines" are the same as 23a
TELEPHONE SYSTEMS (Operators are involved with them) Are they still?

I also do the NY Times (syndicated) puzzle and I often notice elements in common with the Premier puzzle.  Today they shared references, either in the clues or in the grid, to ulna, Fu Manchu and sashes, and Jerry ORBACH's son is a frequent contributor to the NYT puzzle page.

Miscellaneous thought:  MESAAZ (City near Phoenix, on an envelope) is pretty cool but it sure looks weird in the grid.

There are lots of music videos on YouTube about Festivus, but this one seems to capture the spirit of the holiday best:

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