Rabu, 16 Februari 2011

02.16 Wed

W E D N E S D A Y February 16, 2011
Donna S. Levin

Theme: Executive Animals — A quartet of well-known White House pets.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Game played on a six-pointed star (CHINESE CHECKERS).
  • 25A: 1964 Beatles hit (AND I LOVE HER).
  • 37A: Trendy aerobics regimen (TAE BO).
  • 44A: Diamond-patterned attire (ARGYLE SOCKS).
  • 57A: Companion at the end of 17-, 25-, 37- and 44-Across (PRESIDENTIAL PET).
PuzzleGirl is at a John Cougar Mellencamp concert tonight, so this is Doug, holding down the puzzle fort. Wait, I should say she's at a John Mellencamp concert. I think he dropped the "Cougar" part, but I haven't kept up with his career. I remember when he was plain old John Cougar. And if my name was as cool as John Cougar, I wouldn't change it. It's like The Rock wanting people to call him Dwayne Johnson. What's up with that?

"No comment."
Fun theme today from Donna Levin. Did you recognize all the pets? Checkers was Nixon's cocker spaniel, immortalized in the "Checkers Speech." Her was one of LBJ's beagles. The other was named Him. Bo is Obama's Portuguese Water Dog. And Socks was Clinton's cat. At first, I didn't notice BO hiding at the end of the "trendy" TAE BO, so that was a nice post-solve bonus. If you want to read more about the various White House pets, you should pay a visit to the Presidential Pet Museum. The sorriest "pets" belonged to Andrew Johnson. He took care of a family of mice he found living in his bedroom. He placed fresh water next to the fireplace and kept a basket of flour on the floor for them. And he referred to the mice as his "little fellows." I refer to mice as "cat food."

  • 5A: Antony listener (ROMAN). The Romans lent Antony their ears.
  • 21A: Smart club (MENSA). One of my favorite Columbo episodes, "The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case," features a Mensa-like group called the Sigma Society. I have no idea what made me think of that.
  • 34A: Peddle (VEND). And who hasn't gotten their hand stuck inside a vending machine?
  • 6D: 1991 movie sequel subtitled "The Awakening" (OMEN IV). I don't remember this movie (I tried "Omen II" initially), but it was easy enough to figure out. There's a reason I, and probably you, don't remember it. "Omen IV: The Awakening" was a made-for-TV movie starring...some actors you've never heard of. "Omen V: Hitting Satan's Snooze Button" was a much better film.
  • 23D: Coors malt beverage (ZIMA). They stopped selling this stuff in the U.S. in 2008. The wimpy drink mantle has been passed to Smirnoff Ice.
  • 31D: "Old" chip producer? (BLOCK). A chip off the old block. Clever.
  • 46D: Twinkler in a Paris sky (ÉTOILE). French word for star. And when I say it, it rhymes with "foil."
  • 59D: 33 1/3 rpm spinners (LPS). I'm old enough to have owned LPs, and I even remember seeing some old 8-tracks in our garage. But now I've officially joined the 21st century. One of my favorite groups released an album yesterday, and I didn't buy the physical CD. I downloaded it from iTunes. *gasp* I've bought a couple of songs on iTunes in the past, but this was my first full CD. The excitement never stops at my house.
Thanks to Donna for a fun solve and to PuzzleGirl for letting me play in her sandbox. She'll be back tomorrow. I hope she's not too tired after a long night of R.O.C.K.ing in the U.S.A.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 24A: She played WKRP's Jennifer (LONI).
  • 60A: Jai __ (ALAI).
  • 8D: Turkish honorific (AGHA).
  • 9D: At birth (NÉE).
  • 51D: He sang about Alice (ARLO).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else -- 1A: Classifies, in a way (PEGS); 10A: Envelope abbr. (ATTN); 14A: Beige-like shade (ECRU); 15A: Representation (IMAGE); 16A: Dealer's dispenser (SHOE); 20A: Keystone lawman (KOP); 22A: Cry to strike up the band (HIT IT); 23A: Penne relative (ZITI); 24A: She played WKRP's Jennifer (LONI); 30A: Time Warner "Superstation" (TBS); 33A: Capacious (ROOMY); 35A: The tan in a Black and Tan (ALE); 36A: One of five states in which same-sex marriage is legal (IOWA); 39A: Fort with many bars (KNOX); 40A: Apparel retailer Taylor (ANN); 41A: Legatee (HEIR); 42A: In abeyance (ON ICE); 43A: La + la, in Lille (LES); 47A: Volunteer st. (TENN.); 49A: "Let's leave __ that" (IT AT); 50A: Producer Ponti (CARLO); 52A: "My Name Is Asher Lev" author Chaim (POTOK); 54A: Restorative place (SPA); 60A: Jai __ (ALAI); 61A: Pentium producer (INTEL); 62A: Brand with a pony in its logo (POLO); 63A: A few (SOME); 64A: Seacoast (SHORE); 65A: Stern's counterpart (STEM); 1D: Chaste kiss (PECK); 2D: Reverberate (ECHO); 3D: Stagehand (GRIP); 4D: Heliocentric universe center (SUN); 5D: __ the occasion (RISE TO); 7D: Apple products (MACS); 8D: Turkish honorific (AGHA); 9D: At birth (NEE); 10D: Be hospitable to (ASK IN); 11D: White Star Line's ill-fated steamer (THE TITANIC); 12D: Actress Spelling (TORI); 13D: Place to brood (NEST); 18D: Agent Prentiss on "Criminal Minds" (EMILY); 19D: Bit of guitar music (CHORD); 24D: His show has a "Jaywalking" segment (LENO); 25D: Serif-free font (ARIAL); 26D: Nary a soul (NO ONE); 27D: How things flow (DOWNSTREAM); 28D: Each partner (EVERY); 29D: Right-to-left lang. (HEB.); 32D: Proverbial battlers (SEXES); 37D: Gull relative (TERN); 38D: 2008 govt. bailout recipient (AIG); 39D: Granny, for one (KNOT); 41D: Red River capital (HANOI); 42D: Honshu metropolis (OSAKA); 45D: Roadside trash (LITTER); 48D: Borden's spokescow (ELSIE); 50D: Pros who work on schedules, for short (CPA'S); 51D: He sang about Alice (ARLO); 52D: Phnom __ (PENH); 53D: Suspicious of (ONTO); 54D: Catch a glimpse of (SPOT); 55D: Soccer great (PELE); 56D: Elemental unit (ATOM); 58D: Put down, slangily (DIS).

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