Sunday, May 18, 2014

Shout-Out to (Diri)GONZO!!

This week the Premier Crossword by Frank Longo (I'm not sure when he lost the "A." - I'll look into that) is titled "Dangerous Curves Ahead" and one glance at the puzzle tells you that it has as much to do with the design of the grid as it does the long theme answers. The twisty shape results in more short fill than usual and provided a different solving experience, kind of like several mini-puzzles in one. Also there are a pair of 21-letter answers that span the entire grid, which I don't think I've seen in the Premier Crossword before. Different is good, I think.

Theme answers are scattered around the grid, some are long (see above) some are short, and I enjoyed finding them in apparently random places throughout the puzzle. Here are the ones I considered to be associated with the theme:

TWISTER ROLLER COASTERS and THE LONG WINDING ROAD nicely define the top and bottom of the fanciful ride and both literally have "dangerous curves", while PLUMBER'S SNAKE and DOES A GOOD TURN on the sides work nicely in figurative terms and demark the sides of the construction. Then we have LOMBARD ST., which has more than a few dangerous curves, paired with its symmetrical (or course) partner ON A BENDER, which conjures up an image of a WINO reeling down the street before he SOBERED up. Surely ZIGS and ZAGS are part of the theme and I think I'd add the BOA sitting in the middle of the puzzle as having some very dangerous curves, indeed. 'TWAS a fun ride, and almost AS EASY AS PIE.

Other stuff I noticed in no particular order:

- ZING and TANGY are fun words that add spice to the fill; thumbs up.
-I'll bet I'm not the only one who tried "Abraham" as David's favorite son before ABSALOM appeared to claim the honor.
-I tried "Oh-oh" for "My bad" - OOPS!
-"Does a good deed" is, I think, a the more familiar phrase but of course it needs TURN to make it work for the theme.
-The fill is more "Scrabbily" than usual, it seems - in fact if I didn't MISADD it contains every letter of the alphabet. PANGRAM!
-Usually a "Capital in Scandinavia" would just be a city (or maybe "Krona" if Frank was being sneaky) but today we get the whole enchilada - OSLO NORWAY; cool.
-CLEO seemed odd to me until I realized "Liz" in the clue signalled the shortened name. It's helpful to notice that kind of hint.
-"Boston Bruin Bobby" ORR has nice alliteration - I like that.
-EMMA STONE and LEON PANETTA seem like an unlikely pair.
-"-ISE" is a verb suffix in Sussex; in the good old US of A we use "-ize" - another thing I learned from doing puzzles.
-Speaking of "I": ISLE and ILE (which might have been clued the same but weren't) IRS, ISP, IGOR, IRAN and INCAN seems like a lot of initial "I"s - EGOS may be the reason.
-MEAN and ME AND are joined at the head; it's unusual to see two words so close together so close together.
-I just got how "Music class" equates to GENRE; clever! Likewise "Rock Starr" > RINGO.
-Speaking of OOPS!, Italian for "God" prompted me to write in De_ and leave the third letter blank as "I" and "O" both seemed possible; I was perfectly happy when the "O" appeared from the crossword and never considered that the correct answer was DIO, so I finished with a wrong letter. Definitely "My bad"!

We'll let that confession be the end of the ride. This puzzle was too much fun to let one little mistake bring me down or make me CRAZY. Besides, any puzzle with a reference to GONZO (Bizarre, slangily) is going to get three "Thumbs Up" from me. Here's "Gonzo the Great" to express his appreciation:

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