Sunday, October 12, 2014

Trapped like A RAT!



This week the Premier Crossword by Frank Longo reverts to riddle mode with a puzzle titled "The Nationalist and The Newborn". When the theme revolves around a riddle there's nothing to do but work through the clues and see what develops as the long theme answers aren't going to provide much help, at least at first. I went down a couple of rabbit holes as I worked through the grid but I eventually got it all straightened out to wind up staring at this groan-inducing riddle/answer set:

23a - IF YOU WERE TO FORCEFULLY
35a - YANK AWAY ONE OF INDIA'S
55a - FORMER PRIME MINISTERS
67a - AS HE WAS
78a - WATCHING OVER AN INFANT,
97a - WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

(Wait for it...)

116a-TAKING GANDHI FROM A BABY!

And that's all I have to add to the discussion of the theme.

As for the non-theme fill, as I said I took a few of wrong turns, all my own fault. I learned early-on that I don't know how to spell ANORAKS (4d - Arctic parkas) as I wanted the second "a" to be an "e", but google doesn't even offer that as a variant spelling so I can't use that as an excuse. On the other hand I think I was more than justified in wanting "Boisterous, loud laugh" (5d) to be HAr HAr, which I think is at least as good as HAW HAW - the fact that my wrong letters both crossed parts of the riddle didn't help matters, so it took quite a bit of head scratching to sort out. "Situated in the middle" (49d) was obviously CENTRal, until it wasn't, and once again a crossing riddle part was no help. It took CYANIDE (87a - Poison in many murder mysteries) to set me on the path to CENTRIC.
And who wouldn't think "Deviating off course" (101d) is errING, right? Wrong, and I as a life-long sailor should have had YAWING as my first instinct; again, my mistake masked part of the riddle for a while. What can I say? - I have a tendency to guess wrong sometimes, but I managed to get it all fixed but it wasn't pretty.

As usual there were a couple of entries or juxtapositions that caught my fancy (or irritated me, as the case may be):

- Sue Grafton is back in the grid with "Grafton's EIS for Evidence" (63a); Frank could have avoided that particular bit of overused cluing with any number of alternate citations - my personal preference would be for a reference to the international airport in the British Virgin Islands that uses those particular letters as its IATA airport code (really, I looked it up  on the internet) but maybe a more useful way would be a reference to the solid state of water in Berlin?

- I really liked KISS (110d - Hug go-with) crossing NECKING (109a - Making out). I suppose if I wanted to torture the point I could add TANGOS (98d - Dances with dipping) and WIGGLE (99d - Squirm) to the picture as part of the foreplay. Oh wait, PETE'S WICKED (66d - Ale brand until 2011) is also involved, and there's a SATIN bridal gown (92d) that she probably insisted on before consenting to the ENTER (104d - Go in) phase, no doubt so he wouldn't just up and LEAVE (105d - Go out) right after. Damn, that's the story line for a tawdry romance novel, or at least a country song, right there.

- I just now got the joke at 112d, Firm cheese > BOSS; "firm" = "company" - get it?  I admit I was totally misdirected by the earlier entry, Soft cheese > BRIE (96a). Well played, Frank Longo.

- CLYDE (18d - Bonnie's pal) reminds me of this, with which I will leave you for this week - Y'all come back, now!

4 comments:

  1. Fun puzzle, Mr. Longo.

    But unfortunately the riddle makes no sense. "...as HE was...". M.K. Gandhi (male) was never India's prime minister. But Indira Gandhi (female, no relation) was, so I had "as SHE is..." to make it fit and wondered why I couldn't solve the crosses.

    Grrr.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and correcting the record of Prime Minister Gandhi's gender. I had totally missed that crucial detail and I wonder if Frank Longo is aware of the mistake.

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  2. Rajiv Gandhi (the son of Indira Gandhi) was the prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989, after Indira's assassination. So the "he" in the riddle works, as he was certainly "one of India's former prime ministers."

    --Frank Longo

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    1. Mr. (may I call you Frank) Longo - I should have independently confirmed the veracity of the previous comment before I accepted it at face value; a little googling quickly confirmed that "he" most certainly works as clued. On the other hand, it did prompt you to comment here and that's always a thrill for me so maybe it was worth it. Thanks for setting the record straight.

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