The ThemeDear Readers may recall our joy at HELENA BONHAM CARTER in May 2012's Theme and Variations. This time around, it's another hottie: RUTH BADER GINSBURG.
Errrrr …wait a sexond … the puzzle spells it GINSBERG. Unless GINSBURG crosses 34A for VIOLONCULLISTS?
This is bad.
EDIT SUGGESTED BY SWEET V if there are any Puzzle Minions or Answer Key Writers out there listening, some possible ways to spin it:
- keeping the E
“You thought we meant Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the jurist? No no, we meant Ruth Bader Ginsberg, cousin of Allen Ginsberg!”
- asserting the U
“BURG, or ‘town,’ refers to how the land is the enemy of the sea, and the people of towns were enemies of the people of the Titanic. You've never heard of the VIOLONCULLO? Really! I guess culture hasn't made it out there to … where did you say you were from? Ah.”
Taking the puzzle at face value, the theme:
- 17A) RUTH varies into ECCLESIASTES (10D) and ISAIAH (27D), other books of the Bible.
- 18A) BADER varies into anagrams*: BARED (31A) and DEBAR (32A)
* the wisdom of the third anagram!
- 21D) GINS“BERG” varies into GINS => COTTON MACHINES (1A) and BERG => TITANIC NEMESIS, the latter being like ... erm. Ahrm. Aside from the super tacky typo-mistake, wha? Like the Titanic did wrathful battle with its lifelong enemy, the berg?
- 14A) One acting badly, not real swinger (7)
(One acting badly = HAM) + (not real = MOCK) = HAMMOCK
- 15A) Discern changes in reverse (7)
DISCERN * anagram = RESCIND
- 29A) Auto-piano, out of the box, perfect (7)
Auto-piano = UTOPIAN
- 21A) Religious shows with wild orgies left in (7)
ORGIES + (left = L) * anagram = GLORIES
- Sounds like a lot of hay to get out of a can! (4)
(lot of hay = BALE) * homophone = BAIL
- 34A) Designing icon still loves bowers (14)
ICON STILL LOVES * anagram = VIOLONCELLIST
vaguely related reminded of when a friend of ours lived in a co-op with the name “Bower” in it. Occasionally she'd tell us tales of Intense Sunday Night Meetings on Agenda Topics Such As: is it ok for the house to buy chocolate chips when certain housemates snack on them at will, rather than use them for baked goods? Shouldn't those selfish housemates subsidize the cost of their own chocolate habits? Much like the Iranian nuclear deal, talks about this matter took place over several weeks, with much stress and emotion. We mentally tagged these tales in a theoretic compendium: Under the Bower: Horror Stories from the House of Horrors.
- 35A) Relating to Fox Family Movie: An Intervening (6)
(Movie = CINE) AN intervening = CANINE
(British head = LOO) + ((SETS (Time = T) out) = SES) = LOOSES
- 38A) Flipper finds great many changes on strait (7)
((great = G) + MANY + (strait = ST)) * anagram = GYMNAST
- 3D) Misprint the “c” in “computer nerd” (4)
THE C * anagram = TECH
- 5D) Maiden voyages all around a holy city (6)
MAIDEN * anagram = MEDINA
The word “maiden” had us on alert for something about [female] virginity. But twas ok. V nice.
- 6D) A word from a miser upset a sea captain (4)
A + ((word from a miser = BAH) upset = HAB) = AHAB
Here's Patrick Stewart as Ahab (hubba hubba)
(every Patrick Stew moment is a hubba hubba moment)
- 8D) Failing to make me proficient? Quite the opposite! (12)
ME PROFICIENT * anagram = IMPERFECTION
- 11D) Being around philosophical leader, kisses off philosophical doubt (7)
((philosophical leader = P) + KISSES) * anagram = SKEPSIS
- 13D) Bound to get in, in op-ed possibly (8)
IN IN OP-ED * anagram = PINIONED
- 19D) It includes a Gable movie initially, in a different order (6)
((movie initially = M) + ORDER) * anagram = DORMER
And now it's time to look at pictures of Natalie Dormer. Natalie Dormer is this month's Nerd Hot Guy. All yall gender essentialists, you sit right down! You sit! down!
- 25D) One less trained lands in the water (5)
((One = I) + LESS) * anagram = ISLES
- 29D) Reckoning it's a big year (5)
(big = TALL) + (year = Y) = TALLY
- 12A) Tearjerker thats a little tart (6)
(little = WEE) + (tart = PIE) = WEEPIE
- 16A) Singular protection during a university season (7)
A + (university = U) + (season = SPICE) = AUSPICE
- 22A) Bribe for backing horse? Very smart (4)
((Bribe = SOP) backing = POS) + (horse = H) = POSH
- 30A) Acclaim, etc., swirling around Hollywood location (5)
(ETC + (Hollywood location = LA)) * anagram = ECLAT
- 37A) Really bad situation can make you pettish (3,4)
PETTISH * anagram = THE PITS
- 1D) Court's P.R. representation makes a crook … (8)
COURTS PR * anagram = CORRUPTS
- 7D) What leads in some ships evens out in homes (3)
even [letter] s out in HOMES = HMS
- 9D) Iron works producing a kind of film (4)
IRON * anagram = NOIR
- 24D) Protector of Bushes, inbred, idiotic, and finally incompetent (4, 3)
(INBRED + (finally incompetent = T)) * anagram = BIRD NET
- 2D) … rebuild store after trial—one man's source of power (12)
STORE (rebuild = anagram) after ((trial = TEST) ONE) = TESTOSTERONE
Is testosterone source for … all a man's power? Testosterone, hormone of aggression, linked to antisocial behavior and alcoholism? Hrm.
Women have some testosterone too. Small amounts, but some. Is this the reason, in Maltby's view, for our thus understandably lesser power?
- 23D) Defect gets you a lot of money—cheer up (7)
((lot of money = PILE) + (cheer = RAH)) * reverse = HARELIP
The term harelip is usually perceived as insulting because it compares the deformity in humans to the normal cleft lip of a hare. The accepted term for this medical condition is cleft lip.
And, an AnnouncementSwitching to the first person. Wuts up, everyone! On April 28th, I asked Sweet V to marry me. And he said yes! Full details here: