Friday, September 13, 2013

News Clippings - September 2013

Harper's cryptic answers | September 2013 | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues Triumphant return, everyone! We hope you all had lovely summers. Welcome back to TackyHarpersCrypticClues.blogspot.com.

For la Septembre, the theme: symmetrical halves to the grid, except for the two 1As. The puzzle title was “News Clippings” and each clue was a double-threat that read like a headline, preceded by an appropriate(ish) newspaper section which—most incredible puzzle instruction in Harper's ever—was included “just for fun.”

Just for fun!

So had our thinking caps been properly strapped on we would have keyed in on the theme of Ye Old Media Papre of Yestreyeer and potentially nailed the 1As early, as opposed to dead last:
  • 1A) Obituary: CREATOR OF PROBITION (“THE MAN WITH THE VITAMIN”) DIED—NAME INVOLVED IN PERJURY SPREAD IN PROMINENT LETTERS (6,8)
    creator of prohibition = BANNER
    (the man = HE) + (vitamin = A) + (died = D) + (perjury = LIE) + (name = N) = HEADLINE
Do you get it? “BANNER HEADLINE” in the puzz right where the banner headline is on a newspaper: Dewey Defeats Truman By the way, that clueing for HEADLINE is just, like, excruciating.

This puzzle was hard. Since we were such a dodo about 1A and thus couldn't enter any fill until the triumphant end, we brought out the big guns to keep track of which answers jibed together.

Big guns, you ask? That's right. We brought out the Scrabble board and the markers. Scrabble to defeat the September 2013 Harper's cryptic And, luckily, most of our first answers were in what turned out to be the left half of the puzzle, and we were able to make some wild conjectures that led to accurate inferences that put this one to bed in two days. Not one of the glorious single-sittings of summer 2012, tis true. But still flowing nice and steady, like a river, or a morphine drip.

Highlights!

  • 10A) Science Page: ENGINEER GREETED CLEAN ENERGY SOURCE WITH EXHAUST PIPES DECENTRALIZED WHEN IT GETS DARK (7,7)
    GREETED * anagram = DETERGE
    (energy = E) + (exhaust pipes = VENTING) * decentralized = EVENING
An especially nice flow between halves (“clean energy”).
  • 14A) Automobile News: BEING INSIDE FIRST-CLASS RETRO CONVERTIBLE (AND IN STATE!) MAKES ME BLURT: PEOPLE CAN LOSE THEIR HEADS AFTER RIDING IN THIS! (7,7)
    ((first-class = A1 = AI) * rev = I A) + (AND IN * anagram) = INDIANA
    ME BLURT * anagram = TUMBREL
From etymonline:
tumbrel (n.) mid-15c., “two-wheeled cart,” ... Notoriously used to take victims to the guillotine during the Reign of Terror.
Dark! “Death Cart: the cart that drives you to your death!” Tumbrel
  • 17A) TV Review: DISCOVERED BACK IN POLYVINYL DWELLING WITH A BLUE COLOR, OLDER MAN IN DADA IS DEPICTED IN GREAT TV SERIES (6,6)
    polyvinYL DWELling * rev = LEWDLY
    (man in Dada = RAY) + (great = G) + (TV series = ER) = GRAYER
Mmm that wordspanner reversal in the first half! YES. Blast from the past on that TV reference but we forgive, we forgive.

Also just now, in real time, our lovely boyfriend Sweet V whilst reading over our shoulder asked, “Ray? How is that Dada?” V is from Romania, the same nationality as key inventors of Dada. He speculates that Dada was a Romanian joke about art, right to art's face. Having had close contact with a Romanian for nearly a year we speculate same.

But V'd never heard of Man Ray. Man Ray! His photos were no joke! Man Ray is an automatic Highlight! Man Ray Glass Tears While we're on the topic of TV series—great TV series —check out Noah Wyle still hitting his marks on that first ER monologue. YES! Love!



Noah Wyle! You are this month's TackyHarpersCrypticClues.blogspot.com Nerd Hot Guy! Young Noah Wyle
Young and clean cut (cheetah print!)
Older Noah Wyle
Older and tastefully grizzled

  • 1D) Gossip Column: BREAKING WIDE: I PLACE DOTTY HANGING AROUND WILLIS' EX! SEEING EACH OTHER AGAIN? I'LL BE WRITING IN ANOTHER DAY (10,10)
    I PLACE (Willis' ex = DEMI) * anagram = EPIDEMICAL
    double synonym = BACKDATING
“Back dating” as in “those two? Are they back dating again?” Mmmmmmmmok we'll allow it!

Speaking of Willis's ex, here's Demi Moore and the Kootch deboarding, and oh-so-gently received by TMZ. TMZ, that most generous of media. And also if right now you're like, “uh your blog has a typo, it should be Willis',” dude, no. Possessive singulars ending in s take the apostrophe and s. Get out dat Strunk & White. Open 'er up. What does it say. You're welcome. We know. Yes, everyone does it “Bruce Willis'.” Yes, we know it looks funny the other way. Sometimes the truth is hard.

This clue also reminds us of Jackie Harvey's Gossip column in The Onion. “Item!
  • 6D) Business News: STRIKE SUPPORTS, LEVERAGED OUT, SWAMP INTERNAL WORKING (SHOWN IN HD), WRITES INTERIOR (10,10)
    ((strike = S) + LEVERAGED) * anagram = EVERGLADES
    (INTERNAL * anagram) + HD = HINTERLAND
Two glorious anagrams! Hinterland! Very nice. Always enjoy when an indicator is in fact anagrind material. Fresh take!
  • 11D) Fashion News: A FAST-MOVING NUMBER, NIGHTGOWN'S STARTING TO GET FASHIONABLE—YET SHIFTS, OLD MAN, GO RIGHT OVER ALMOST NOTHING (6,6)
    (nightgown's starting = N) + (fashionable = IN) + YET = NINETY
    (go right = GEE) + (almost nothing = ZER) = GEEZER
“Ninety” like driving fast, in miles per hour, on an American highway mmmmmmmmmmmmmmok we'll allow it. “GEE” like in how you get your team of oxen to go left. We learned that from Reading Rainbow probably 25 or 30 years ago in the episode where LeVar Burton goes to an Amish farm.

GEE and HAW. Never know what's gonna resonate, what's gonna stick with you and be of use.

Lowlights!

  • 7A) Empoyment Want Ad: A LOW-RENT EX-SERVICEMAN, UNOFFICIALLY I'M PURSUING PUBLIC RELATIONS IN PARTICULAR (4,4)
    A LOW * anagram = AWOL
    (public relations = PR) + I'M = PRIM
Just didn't like. Maybe it was the reference to public relations? Also, we were sooooo certain that the first half would play on VET and thus we built a neurological dead end and brought our sleeping bag and just camped out for a couple days.

When your intuition has you on the right track then sometimes that can work and you say, “mmmm! I'm like Columbo up in here, sniffing it out! Your book smarts will never defeat my qi!” but when it doesn't you're just like, “argh! Why did I let myself be guided by feeling?
  • 12A) Western Hemisphere: A LATIN PRESIDENT SIMILARLY GERMANIC, ENDS UP IN WILD (5,5)
    A + (Latin = L) + (president = IKE) = ALIKE
    GERMANIC ends = MANIC
O mang, took forever thinking up synonyms for “Germanic” and only getting “Teutonic” which is way more than five letters, and didn't break up into neat components as a synonym for “wild.” But then, like the girl next door, the answer we were looking for was right there in front of us. (whispered: right there, the whole time)
  • 2D) Police Blotter: CROOKED PUNK WARY OF NOT FINISHING RAN OFF IN VAN WITH ITALIAN FLOWER (4,4)
    WARY * anagram = AWRY
    ((OF * not finishing = O) + RAN) * anagram = ARNO
Every time with that flow-er = river. Every time. Just one time, let's see flow-er mean “menstruater.” Fresh take!

Also, any Dear Readers out there know how to parse “van” here? There is such thing as Van Arno but we doubt that is the reference. Van Arno
  • 3D Sports Page: BALLOONS APPEARING WHEN OPENERS IN DETROIT, DENVER, SEATTLE RUN OVER—MAVERICK'S I, NETS 12—ODDLY MENTION BOXING RING (8,8)
    (D + D + S + I + NETS) * anagram = DISTENDS
    MENTION + (ring = O) * anagram = NOONTIME
More tortured clueing on that first half. Booo!
  • 5D) Washington Beat: HOUSE COVERAGE OF OLD REPUBLICAN STANDING UP FIRST ON REVERSING CASES REGARDING MUSICIAN IN HISTORY FIRE! (4,4)
    OF + (old = O) + (Republican = R) = ROOF
    ON * reverse * cases + (regarding = RE) = NERO
Of course the famous musician is Nero. #ofcourse Nero fiddling while Rome burns. note! Wikipedia tells us that Nero probably wasn't fiddling during the Great Fire. So the next time someone brings it up like at a party or in a Huffington Post comment or something you can say, “ACTually ... !” Then everyone will say, “thank you for letting us know.”
  • 13D) International News: RULER OVERTHROWN, SIREN ON CART SOUNDS FOR BRITISH SPY (5,5)
    RULER * anagram = LURER
    (ON + (cart = DRAY)) * homophone = ANDRE
From W'k'p'd'a:
John André was a British Army officer hanged as a spy by the Continental Army during the American War of Independence.
Never hearda. But, there you have him. John Andre, via Wikipedia

The Tacky!


Let's call out what we always call out, and what we always call out is male normativity.
  • 16A) Advertising News: PRESS FOR DIRECTIONS—THEN YOU'LL SEE ME NAME STAR'S TREAT TASTIER (7,7)
    (directions = N E W S) + ME + (name = N) = NEWSMEN
    TASTIER * anagram = ARTISTE
Meh. All the Press is All Man? Tell that to Cokie Roberts. To Maura Liason. To Connie Chung. We could go on. To Mi-chele Norris. To Audie Cornish. To what's her face, the mean blonde one. Tip of the tongue. Anne something.

(Googles ... )

Ann Coulter! She was the first hit for “mean blonde republican,” by the way. Not a comment on her politics, just on how she conducts her public persona(e). Ann Coulter And w/r/t tackiness qua sloppiness, is the noun “artiste” really symmetric to the possessive modifier “star's”? Mmmmmmmmmmno. It is not.

Also


Did you, Dear Readers, check the specs on some BULLSHEET in the puzzle footer this month? change in policy | Harper's cryptic contest | September 2013
Beginning with this month's puzzle, the sender of the first correct solution opened at random, rather than the senders of the first three, will receive a one-year subscription blah blah
O RLY. Don't get cheap on me, Dodgson. Is Ye Olde Meedia exactly raking it in these days and no, certainly not. Do we begrudge them cutting corners with respect to the puzzling fanbase why YES we most certainly DO.

Anyway. Here's our winning puzzle from April, hanging proudly in the kitchen: Framed winning puzzle, April 2013

If you feel something, say something. Leave a comment.

5 comments: