Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wenesday, May 18, 2011, Bill Thompson

Theme:  RIGHT AS RAIN.  The theme entries start with a word that can describe a kind of SHOWER.  OK - they aren't all the RAIN kind of SHOWER, or even the kind that get you wet, but I'm going to run with it.  It's a great expression meaning "all is well and things are as they should be," dating back to the time when an agrarian society depended on spring and summer rains to get good crop yields.  Then, all was right with the world.

17 A. 1958 Robert Mitchum drama : THUNDER ROAD The story of a Korean War vet who comes home to take over the family moonshine business.  A THUNDER SHOWER is a brief rain storm with a natural light show and sound effects.

26 A. Dorm room snack : COLD PIZZA.  I was a townie, not a dormie, so I never developed this awful-sounding culinary habit.  A COLD SHOWER is simply a self-inflicted deluge of cold water.  It is reported to have numerous health benefits.  You be the judge.

40. '70s-'80s Haitian president, familiarly : BABY  DOC DUVALIER.  Jean-Claude was the son (hence "B�b� Doc") of the previous president, Fran�ois "Papa Doc" DUVALIER.  He continued the family tradition of torture, tyranny and lavish personal life-style, while his subjects languished in bone-crushing poverty.   Odd, odd juxtaposition with BABY SHOWER, a joyful party where an expectant mother is SHOWERED with gifts by her friends.

52 A. Early spring shout : "APRIL FOOL."  The origin of APRIL FOOLERY is lost in the mists of time, but is believed to have started with the change to the Gregorian Calendar, around 1582.  News traveled slowly in those days, so some people didn't catch up with the change and didn't know the proper date.  Others resisted the change.  Both became the butt of practical jokes.  It's believable, I guess.  APRIL SHOWERS are springtime episodes of rain that bring May flowers, and kids cooped up in the house for hours.

Plus the unifier:  65 A. Bath fixtures, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 26-, 40- and 52-Across : SHOWER HEADS.  This is a device that sprays you with water (of any desired temperature.)  And HEAD indicates that the beginning theme words can precede SHOWER.  Pretty clever.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here.  In this tidy theme we have two meteorological events, get all cleaned up, and have a party.  Let's join the fun


1. Frequently change positions : JOB HOP.  Previous generations worked one or two jobs in a life time.  Now, JOB HOPPING is the norm.  Still, I was thinking about tossing and turning.

7. Jury member : PEER.  The Constitution guarantees a trial with a jury of one's peers.  These are people of equal standing, who should be well equipped to render a fair verdict.

11. Patty Hearst's kidnappers: Abbr. : SLA.  The Symbionese Liberation Army.  According to founder Donald DeFreeze, "The name 'symbionese' is taken from the word 'symbiosis' and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body."   Sure.  That explains why they engaged in bank robbing, murder and, most famously, kidnapping.

14. Frosted pastry : ECLAIR.  Yum!

15. "The Raven" opener : ONCE upon a midnight dreary / As I pondered, weak and weary / Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore . . 

16. Faddish '90s disc : POG I have no idea

19. GM had one in Nov. 2010 : IPO.  Initial Public Offering, an issue of new stock

20. Low digits : TOES.  Of course.  Cute.

21. Buddhist sect : ZEN. From Wikipedia:  The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Ch�n (?), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state".    But you all knew that.

22. Roofing support : RAFTER.  For some reason I needed a lot of perp help to get this.

24. __ au vin : COQ.   "Rooster in wine" is a French braise of chicken cooked with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and optionally garlic.  (Garlic is an option?!?)  Jeannie . . .

28. Musical with the song "Midway Chase" : BARNUM.  Phineas T. I presume.  Never heard of it, and there is no YouTube vid.

31. Like many eBay items : USED

32. Disco, for one : ERA.  An ERA is "A long and distinct period of history with a particular feature or characteristic."  The disco ERA wasn't really long.  It only seemed that way.

33. Photographer Adams : ANSEL.  Famous for his usually panoramic black and white landscape and nature shots.  Here is a gallery full.

36. Self-titled 1969 jazz album : ELLA.   Can't find any songs from that album on YouTube, so you'll have to settle for Hammerstein-Kern.

44. Film lioness : ELSA.  She was Born Free.

45. Sports : HAS ON.  SPORT as a verb, meaning "wear."  Sport we now our gay apparel.

46. Sup : EAT

47. Clothes line? : SEAM.  Nice misdirection.  Did you find any SEAMS in the SPORTS-wear?

50. Prepare for online publication : WEBIFY.  This is an actual word, correctly used.  News to me.

57. Beat the house : WIN.  Casino games favor the house, e.g. the gambling establishment, without the need for cheating.  It's all about probability.  Gambling is a fool's game in any month, but sometimes a lucky person takes home some spare cash

58. Offshore eyesore, to some : OIL RIGEye of the beholder, I guess.

59. Email forwarder's intro : FYI.  For Your Information.

61. Idiot : TWIT. We all know one or two.

64. Certain artery: Abbr. : RTE.  Route, a transportation artery.

68. Profs' aides : TAS.  Teaching Assistants.

 69. __-kiri : HARA.  Well, this is unpleasant.  HARA kiri is another name for sepukku, a ritual suicide performed by Samurai as punishment for disgrace, or to avoid capture and abasement.  Check Wikipedia if you want more detail.

70. Speedy Gonzales cry : ARRIBA.  Racially insensitive, a bit DF, and catch the last three words.

71. Intractable beast : ASS

72. Ex-Yankee Pettitte : ANDY.  Where is he now?

73. Empty __ : NESTER. A parent whose children have grown and moved away.


1. Rocker Joan : JETTShe loves Rock 'n' Roll.

2. Cinco y tres : OCHO.  Can you add in Spanish?  Arriba! 5 + 3 = 8.  Numeros de Fibonacci.

3. Chesapeake Bay delicacies : BLUE CRABS.  Callinectes sapidus.  Beautiful swimmer that tastes good.  I am not making this up.

4. "MMMBop" band : HANSON.  Beats me.

5. Meteor tail? : OID.  Meteoroid  - and the infamous "tail" suffix clue.

6. Chief exec : PREZ.  Abbrv for President.

7. Dirty fare : PORNO.  Nothing I can add.

8. Ambient music pioneer : ENO.  Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno.  I think I get him every time.

9. offerings : E-CARDS.  For the sophisticated and discerning card giver.

10. Orangutan : RED APE

11. Norwegian Elkhound, for one : SPITZ

12. "J to tha L-O!" artist : LOPEZ.  "J to tha L-O!" is a remix of Jennifer Lopez's second album J-LO.  I'm learning a lot of stuff that I'm not going to remember.

13. Ancient market : AGORA.  Ancient Greek.

18. __ room : REC.  Home to many a big screen TV.

23. Brother of Ra�l : FIDEL.  Somehow, I never think of FIDEL Castro as Ra�l's hermano.

25. Campus hangout : QUAD.  A typical campus feature is a QUADrangle.  Literally, this is a building that surrounds a courtyard.  More casually, an open area surrounded by four buildings, often dorms.

27. Beauts : LULUS.  Slang terms for some rip-snortin' knockout who is a real doozy, or just the bee's knees.

28. Nixon confidant Rebozo : BEBE.  Charles, our second B�b� of the day, was the youngest son of Cuban immigrants, who moved up from the laundromat business to banking, and somehow made a lot of money along the way.

29. Sea damaged by Soviet irrigation projects : ARAL.  It's drying up and turning into a salt flat.

30. Letters below DEF : MNO.  On your push-button telephone.

34. Jerk : SCHMO.  From Yiddish.   I didn't realize that this is an anatomical reference.

35. Author LeShan : EDA.  She wrote about parent-child issues.

37. Prepare to ambush : LIE IN WAIT.  Because if you tell the truth, it's hard to ambush anyone.

38. Page (through) : LEAF

39. Pretentiously showy : ARTY

41. Arafat of the PLO : YASIR.  Rumor has that when he was born, his mother sang this song.

42. Pledge : VOW

43. From the top : ANEW.  Start over, so to speak.

48. Cuthbert of "24" : ELISHAKinda looks like Debby Harry.

49. Knitting project : AFGHAN.  A blanket, wrap or shawl of colored yarn.

51. Black flies, notably : BITERS.  Nasty critters.

52. Major artery : AORTA.  A clecho!  The AORTA is the main blood line from the left ventricle, which supplies oxygenated blood to the entire body.  Crabs must not have one.

53. Deli pockets : PITAS.  Flat bread pockets.  Got any bread in your pocket?

54. Like May through August, in a way : R-LESS.  Refers to their spelling.  Traditionally these are the months when you should avoid eating oysters.  Back in the day, before refrigeration, they would spoil quickly in the warm months.  They also spawn in these months, making them fatty, watery, soft and less flavorful.

55. Right __ : OF WAY.  This has two quite distinct legal meanings.  In property law it is an easement or right to travel over another's property.  In traffic law it is the priority to proceed ahead of other vehicles or pedestrians.

56. Caustic solution : LYE.  Sodium hydroxide, and that's the truth.

60. Ahmadinejad's land : IRAN.  No comment.

62. "__ safe and warm if ...": "California Dreamin'" lyric : I'D BE.  Ah, those Mamas and Papas.

63. Winter Palace resident : TSAR.  Russian Royalty.

66. Old California fort : ORD.  Established in 1917, closed in 1994, for many years home to the 7th Infantry Division.

67. Charlemagne's realm: Abbr. : HRE.  Charles the Great was crowne King of the Franks in 768, and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800.  Following his death in 814, things went into a bit of a decline.

Answer grid.

Well, there you have it.  A well constructed puzzle with lots of information , a bite of sea food, and a few eeewww moments for spice.  Hope you enjoyed it.


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