Sunday, May 19, 2013

What the heck is a Boatie snake?



The Premier Crossword Puzzle by Frank A. Longo is titled "Snake Handling" and it soon becomes apparent that as we slither through the grid we are to insert the names of a variety of snakes into common phrases to come up with wacky new phrases to fit the "?-style" clues. So when the last snake crawls out of the grass and into the grid we have these theme answers:

23a - ASPFORTROUBLE (Mischievous snake?) (Ask for trouble)
37a - KRAITANDBARRELL (What there is when a snake is inside a keg?) (Crate and Barrell)
47a - VIPEROPTICS (Study of snake vision?) (Fiber optics)
62a - COBRAWINFREY (Snake with a talk show?) (Oprah Winfrey)
70a - MAMBASFAMILY (Snake's relatives?) (Mama's Family)
85a - BOATIEPASTA (Noodles shaped like knotted snakes?) (Bowtie pasta)
93a - RACERSHARPENER (Thing that hones a snake's skills?) (Razor sharpener)
115a-ADDERNONSENSE (Snake's balderdash?) (Utter nonsense)

OK, a few things about the theme answers:

I needed most of the crosses to see the KRAIT because I never heard of the snake, but wiki tells me it's a real thing: "The common krait (Bungarus caeruleus, also known as Indian krait or blue krait)is a species of genus Bungarus found in the jungles of the Indian subcontinent.[1] It is a member of the "big four", species inflicting the most snakebites in India." Sounds like a snake I would not want to be familiar with. The furniture company was familiar enough though, so the answer ultimately makes sense.

MAMBASFAMILY was more familiar than it might otherwise have been because just last week Frank gave us the names of the kids and asked us to name the mother and the actress who portrayed her in the TV show. Coincidence or intentional? Only Frank A. Longo knows for sure.  Another direct connection to last week's puzzle is the razor sharpener, which was the exact clue Frank used for "strop" - is that spooky, or what?

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what type of snake a BOATIE is - I even tried googling it with no success.  Then as I typed it in up above I realized it's two words - sometimes I overlook the obvious.

ADDERNONSENSE is by far my favorite theme answer, and I think it pretty much sums up the whole theme: utter nonsense, but in a good way.

As to the non-theme answers, I have a few miscellaneous thoughts:

- TOBOOT (21a - As well) is a phrase I don't use or hear much lately - that's too bad because it's a pretty cool phrase, I think. Here's more than you wanted  to know about it from wiki: "Etymology
From Middle English to bote (something added to, addition), from Old English tō bōte (to boot, besides, moreover)
Adverb 
to boot (not comparable)(idiomatic) moreover, on top of that, besides, also.My boyfriend is funny, and a pretty good cook, to boot."

- I was totally unfamiliar with the term "Skeletal axis" (60a) so SPINE did not go in automatically but eventually the crosses made it inevitable; a google search of the phrase in quotes yields about 13,500 results in 0.22 seconds so it must be legit.

- "1:50, e.g" (83a) as a clue for TENOF was my favorite clue; there's no denying that 1:50 is "ten of two" but I was still surprised when it came into view.

- I thought maybe Frank just made up MONODIES until I checked The Free Dictionary: "monody [ˈmɒnədɪ]
n pl -dies
1. (Performing Arts / Theatre) (in Greek tragedy) an ode sung by a single actor". So there you go, another learning opportunity courtesy of the crossword puzzle.
 
- "Newswoman Barbara" WALTERS recently announced her upcoming retirement: "(CNN) -- Longtime ABC News personality Barbara Walters will retire from TV journalism in 2014, ABC reported late Sunday, closing a chapter on one of the most storied careers in broadcast journalism history."
 
- I did not know EMUFARMing is a real thing and was ready to call "foul" on a made-up term - apparently just because I have never heard of a thing doesn't mean it's real as it appears to exist just about everywhere. I have much to learn.
 
- ""Jimmy has two" (84d) is a classic crossword clue for EMS (there are two "m"s in "Jimmy - get it?) - anyone new to crosswords needs to learn this.
 
 - There were more than 20 clues relating to TV/movie/sports figures (plus Sun-Yat-SEN, whoever that may be) ("Sun Yat-sen (12 November 1866 – 12 March 1925)[1][2] was a Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of the Republic of China ("Nationalist China"). " per wiki - I probably should know him) and they always give me fits because I don't pay much attention to TV/movies/sports anymore.
 
The snake theme reminded me of a song from the '60s - this isn't it but it will have to do until I remember the one I was thinking of:

Hmm, this may or may not be the song I was thinking of but it's really cool so here it is anyway:
 
 

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