Monday, April 17, 2017

Armed to the Teeth - April 2017

answers to the April 2017 Harper's cryptic crossword puzzle | Armed to the Teeth | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues


The Theme!

Uhhhh it was fine. “Armed to the teeth” to evoke “gold teeth” and 1A divined by crosses is GOLD FILLINGS and ah sure haha neato that means something about Au the chemical symbol for gold was inserted throughout the puzzle right, o how neat v cool theme.

jk jk, record scratch, run that back. Not AU but OR inserted into seventeen answers throughout the puzzle. “O, r you kidding me???” you ask, rhetorically, knowing the answer.

Dear Readers are invited to fight us in the Comments and explain the v excellent connexion between gold and/or gold fillings and OR. Something better than “OR is a homophone of ore, and gold is a kind of ore. So.” Then you shrug and grimace at us, rightly avoiding our gaze, as our eyes like twin blue tractor beams struggle to extract more from you. Sweep! Sweep! The buzzing electric hum of our gaze as it rakes across your bashful face.

photo of a little girl with blue eyes like tractor beams | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
EDIT: per Brother Danny below “OR” is a type of “gold” heraldry.
In heraldry, or (French for "gold") is the tincture of gold and, together with argent (silver), belongs to the class of light tinctures called "metals", or light colours. In engravings and line drawings, it is hatched using a field of evenly spaced dots. It is very frequently depicted as yellow, though gold leaf was used in many illuminated manuscripts and more extravagant rolls of arms.

Source: Wigipedia


Ah but do you fill teeth with it? AHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhh yes think of the solvers who are extremely literal and prefer on-the-nose themes. Many thanks to Brother Danny!
image of a Biblical manuscript with two male figures and, looks like, Hebrew writing | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Because of the seventeen insertionios, none of the clues had number of answer letters in parens, which added some fun challenge. Dear Readers who find cryptic crossword puzzles baffling and maddening, we're not bragging about our skills to personally baffle and madden you. Make no mistake, we are absolutely bragging about our hardwon awesome cryptic crossword puzzle skills right now. But if you're curious about whether you catch the puzzle dragon, you don't. You chase that puzzle dragon forever. We'll tell you when we've had enough, kai, ta, loipa.


Highlights!

  • 10A) As affront is limitless, it's something to savor
    AS AFFRONt is limitless = SAFFRON
Long anagramas been in short supply this spring from the Harper's puzzle but hidden clues might be our new favorite flavor. Wonky narrative on the clue thus forgiven.

album cover for Donovan's Mellow Yellow | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 13A) Romeo's leader on the road in final face-off
    in finAL FAce-off = ALFA
YAsss! Much love to Formula One! Much love to cool cars!!
  • 18A) Is “kiddo” only partly accepted? Get outta here!
    IS KIDDO Only partly accepted = SKIDDOO
Cousin of SKEDADDLE, v fun!
  • 21A) Ship's helm in the morning? Just the opposite!
    (helm = STEER) (just the opposite [of] in the = outside of) (morning = AM) = STEAMER
Heh heh, you said “steamer.”
  • 25A) During negotiations, a legitmate sign of a bargain
    negotiatiONS A LEgitimate = ON SALE
More hiddensies! YAS!
  • 29A) Sound barrier blasted
    Sound (barrier = DAM) = DAMN
We did a talk for high school students recently, supposedly speaking as a so-called expert performance poet. Oh how we bombed! Oh did we bomb so hard with these high school students! But the talk perked up a little when we got to the interactive section about “what is a poem?” We made a case for Damn Daniel as a poem. V interesting to hear how the students viewed mimetic language as almost like a fashion statement.
  • 37A) Do nag at someone who calls games
    DO (nag at someone = PESTER) = DOPESTER
Had never heard of DOPESTER which is usually an “indicator” that we'll hayte it but not this time! Toyed muchly with DOPESTAR but locked in the E on the cross so hadta be as it twas. Reminded of this guy:

image of early 2000s Flash media icon Homestarrunner | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 41A) Music, after I went at wine
    (MUSIC after I went = MUSC) AT = MUSCAT
Muscat Sally! Muscat Sam!

stylized image of '70s icons The Captain and Tenille | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 44A) And, also, as well—they all come back with dirt
    (And, also, as well = TOOS) they all come back = SOOT
This was one of our last solves of the puzzle and we were guessing ROOT we were guessing COOT and LOOT. Only after running through the alphabet did we get the clear answer SOOT! Three synonyms for word TOO means that they're a set of TOOS. Yes. This one tickled real nice.
  • 45A) State a word of welcome, wearing glasses?
    (a word of welcome = HI) wearing (glasses = O O) = OHIO
That's cute! HI is also a state postal abbreviation contained within the name of another state. Cute cute cute. The image of a word wearing glasses. OHhh! Very cute!
  • 46A) Gives out in so-called sporting events
    so-called (sporting events = MEETS) = METES
Like as in “metes out punishment.” Fresh!
  • 47A) Solver's true nature is elusory, puzzling (and female)
    ELUSORY puzzling and (female = F) = YOURSELF
OHHhhhh YES!! O FOCK yes!!!!! Is this a callout from Maltby directly to this humble female??? We think so!! We think so!
  • 1D) Wind up with, initially, Eric Idle
    up with ((initially Eric = E) (idle = LAG)) = GALE
    entered as GALORE
Shout out to Monty Pyth!

photo of Eric Idle from Monty Python | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 4D) Ref's set for curing sores
    REFS SET for curing = FESTERS
    entered as FORESTERS
Grosssss (awesome)! Fester can be a noun sure no prob. Gross grossssss (fun)!

promotional photograph of Uncle Fester from The Addamm's Family as played by Christopher Lloyd | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 8D) In Japan, goodbye at the end for an old city
    (In Japan goodbye = SAYŌNARA) at the end = NARA
Wasssup Japan! Two of our top favorite moments from visiting last summer:
  1. When the boat tour guide apologized that the tour would be in Japanese, and we said, in decent Japanese, “that's ok!” and “I studied Japanese.” The boat broke into applause!!
  2. Our last night in Tokyo, ordering coffee and water with the right forms of “please” and “pardon me” now second nature, and the clerk at Starbucks reverently saying in Japanese, “you are fluent!”
Always love an opportunity to take those schooldays Japanese language skills out for a spin!
  • 9D) Instinctive gradual erosion takes in a bit of land and the end of rain
    GRADUAL erosion takes in (a big of land = L) and the (end of rain = N) = GLANDULAR
GLANDULAR = INSTINCTIVE is a little stinky, just a little, but a spectacular mostly anagram, so much fun, and some nice smooth narrative cluing.
  • 10D) Rig bears south—they might make short cuts
    Rig BEARS (south = S) = SABERS
A wee bitta back and forth here at HQ about whether it'd be SABERS or SABRES.
  • 12D) Diesel in the actors' union appears in Deliverance
    (Diesel = VIN) in the (actors' union = SAG) =&nsbp;SAVING
    entered as SAVORING
Such nice smooth congruence with actors and Vin and the union and a real movie title! Spectacular.

And oh how we love that Brother Vin! Our younger real-life brother says that Big Vin has a reputation as a cruddy person, which breaks our heart! Oh it does. We choose the reality of this Valentine's Day karaoke cover of Stay:
  • 20D) Stuff that leaves you flat in London
    Stuff that leaves you = flat in London = PAD
This is nice!

re: “stuff that leaves you”
We watched a cute video about rehabilitating stuffed animals the other day. Secrets include restuffing via a discreet slit made in the nape of the neck and refluffing with a wire pet grooming brush.
  • 22D) A-list's membership ends
    A list's membership = TAILS
    entered as TAILORS
Ugh, we dislike greatly when the possessive is inconsistently included as anagrind but then that's also the FUN OF THE PUZZZLE maybe right? So we're putting this clue in Highlights to pretend we prefer challenge over immediate gratification and later we're going to bake a lemon cake for Sweet V and eat some of the cake batter as a late lunch, and none of you can stop us. [slow building gutteral cackle]
  • 24D) Mahler's First fools a lot of people
    (Mahler's First = M) (fools = ASSES) = MASSES
    entered as MORASSES
Wonderful! Would be perfect if not for another ASSES used in 24D. Much enjoy the subtle read that “a lot of people”&nsbp;= “asses” altho mayhap we're the only one who reads that? Mayhap.

An old friend of ours used to say of Mahler, feigning breathless affect, “Gustave! Where does it come from?”
  • 26D) Jimmy welcomes boorish puritanical element
    (Jimmy = PRY) welcomes (boorish = RUDE) = PRUDERY
Nice! Why, Jimmy? Why are you doing it? Did you get Red Pilled??
  • 27D) Tight-lipped group claims one is not wanted in it
    CLAIMS (one = I) is not wanted in it = CLAMS
    enetered as CLAMORS
Lovely!
  • 28D) Drinks out in streets
    OUT in (streets = STS) = STOUTS
Oh YES!! So clean! So tight! We'd've added “the” just to smooth out that language a just a wee smidge otherwise this is about as clean and tight as it gets!
  • 30D) A lot of Hair, they say, takes place in America
    (A lot of Hair = MANE) they say = MAINE
    entered as MORAINE
Moraine! Lovely word! Step through the moraine on the way to Mordor! We toyed with the notion that it would somehow be a MISSOURI => MISERY pun.
  • 36D) Not a nice place for satay—no first-class ratings
    SATAY no (first-class ratings = A) = STY
Only the best satay joints for us!
  • 38D) Place of pure enchantment?
    PURE enchantment = PERU
Sooooo glorious just remove that question mark! Pull it right out! So macchu picchu enchantment. You know this to be true.
  • 39D) Carry a child? Easy at first
    (a child = TOT) (Easy at first = E) = TOTE
Verrrrrry nice! And not involving a spit-pregnancy like 15A.

Also, hahahah what would you know about it, Maltby? Would you characterize the first trimester as easier or harder than the average menstrual cycle? That would be a useful reference point. Go ahead. Cuz we'd love to hear the answer: is [ultra super duper patronizing tone] the first trimester of carrying a human child to term easier or harder than the average menstrual cycle?

Your silence speaks volumes right now, bro.
  • 42D) Fly with only a pair of socks and a last piece of underwear
    (only a pair of SOCKS = SO) and A (last piece of UNDERWEAR = R) = SOAR
Excellent! Rully thought we were gonna have BRA in the puzzle! Cuz “underwear” is almost always a code of that most convenient of puzzle undergarments, that omniprevalent clue fodder. Not this time! And a very fun and unwittingly topical reference to airplane dress codes!


Lowlights!

  • 11A) Low parts in Valse Fantastique
    VALSE fantastique = VALES
Ok this might be fine and even fun for that tight cluing essept we JUST had “VALE” in March. We just had it. C'mong.
  • 14A) Country parents holding an area in straitened circumstances?
    (Country parents = PA MA) holding AN = PANAMA
    entered as PANORAMA
Something about “country parents” feels weird. Haha backwoods people haha naw. Tell your maw and your paw.
  • 15A) Like some mothers except, after an exchange of letters with a family member, talking
    EXCEPT after an exchange of letters with a ((family member = AUNT) talking = ANT) = EXPECTANT
    entered as EXPECTORANT
Linking pregnancy with trash-spit feels grimey.
  • 17A) Hemingway and Che Guevara, to friends, hearing ideas evenly
    hEaRiNg IdEaS evenly = ERNIES
Hell no, hell absolutely not. Citation needed. Ci ta tion nee ded.
  • 19A) Taking five letters in “string,” adding one from each, anagramming
    (Taking five letters in string = STRIN) = RESTRING
    entered as RESORTING
And RE-SORTING is also a synonym for anagramming buh buh buh. It's also against the law to reference “anagram” in the cluing and not have at last a couple big beautiful twelver anagrams.
  • 26A) How to indicate Pennsylvania when there's little room for an animal?
    How to indicate Pennsylvania when there's little room = P AND A = PANDA
    entered as PANDORA
This is very very very terrible. This is disgusting and filfy. When you need to indicate “Pennsylvania” but you don't got a lotta space to write it, what option have ye? Just hope they know in their hearts? Just write “PENNSY” and hope for the best? NAY. There is another way. The letter P, AND the letter A. Put 'em together. You just indicated Pennsylvania brothers and sisters. This clue is so gross. Here. Let's look at Justin Trudeau with pandas:

photograph of beautiful Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with baby pandas | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 32A) Preserver finds first page missing from hymnal
    (page = P) missing from (hymnal = PSALTER) = SALTER
Our margin notes guessed at “MALTER” as a cute little sideways reference to the one and only Queen Editor Malt herself but naw, twas not to be. Is a PSALTER properly a hymnal? [long pause] Or is it a Book of Psalms? [feigned smile, coy duck of head]

We could look it up and settle the issue, yah?
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms

Source: Wikip


Well but so maybe a psalm is just a type of hymn, right? Hm yah why not let's super casually look it up:
The Book of Psalms commonly referred to simply as Psalms or "the Psalms", is the first book of the Ketuvim ("Writings"), the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament.[1] The title is derived from the Greek translation, psalmoi, meaning "instrumental music" and, by extension, "the words accompanying the music."

Sounce: Wiki agin


Ok then there's some merit to equating psalms with hymns ok cool this was instructive neato Dorito.

Also, this month's Nerd Hot Guy is Salt Bae:

animated gif of Salt Bae adding just the right touch of salt to a dish | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 33A) Muralist represented extremist belief
    MURALIST represented = ULTRAISM
Ewwwwwww gross gross gross we finally get a decent anagrama and what is it it's not ALTRUISM, which is also there. No it's ULTRAISM? Um. We'll pretend that this is a reference to the Spanish Ultraist movement, and not a fake word.

Ohhhh WHOAA ok so “fake word” is our ”fake news.” It's an inflammatory characterization that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but always it means something bad, always meant to distinguish between the fake and the bona fide. Yes. The -ER words. And the RE- words. Fake words! #fakewords
  • 34A) Heading for disaster, entering so the wrong way, takes too much
    (Heading for disaster = D) entering SO the wrong way = ODS
Ok. We've about overdosed on ODS in the puzzle.
  • 43A) Previous to this place, after initial takeoff
    (this place = HERE) after initial takeoff = ERE
We remember a long long time ago, many years ere now, when ERE was not a part of our regular life when it appeared in the puzzle constantly all the time forever. Buh.
  • 48A) Surely, if going from left to right, and changing, it may have fringe benefits!
    (SURELY if going from (left = L) to (right = R) = SURERY) and changing = SURREY
Chicks and ducks and something better hurry / When we think of Oklahoma! we get surly / Surly with a fringe up top.
  • 2D) Football team not running, seen as a disaster
    (not running = OFF) SEEN as a disaster = OFFENSE
So is OFFENSE synonymous with a football team? The defensive tackle would beg to diff at that definition, most definitely.
  • 6D) Man on a talk show brings up Ogden Nash's other llama!
    brings up (Ogden Nash's other llama = ONE L) = LENO
Ummmm Leno ain't onna talk show, present tense, annymo. So. And as for the Nash, thats thissa:
The one L lama, he's a priest The two L llama, he's a beast And I will bet my silk pyjama There isn't any three L lllama. -- O. Nash, to which a fire chief replied that occasionally his department responded to something like a "three L lllama."

Source

  • 16D) Chest protectors for exotic animals picked up by the ears?
    (exotic = QUEER) (animals = ASSES) picked up by the ears = CUIRASSES
news article concerned with LBJ lifting pet beagles by the ears | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
This would be fun and funny especially because it involves one of the most tittery middle school spittle laugh words ever, CUIRASSES. But it's the second ASS in the puzzle along with 24D and the homophone indicator is tacked at the end without modifying ASSES which is a bummer, pun intended.

Please yes, hilarious middle school laugh words! Please yes TITMOUSE. Please yes BOOBIE. Speaking of, raise your hand if you were certain that “chest protectors” would mean BRA, woulda bet a hundo dollars on it [we raise our hand].

Anyway yes please, yes always, funny words. But keep the clues tight. Tight taut hardbodied clues, toned and sprayed with a fine mist of oil and glitter.

  • 18D) One who patronizes up-and-coming goods in Paris?
    up-and-coming (goods in Paris = BONS) = SNOB
NON. Absolument non. “BONS” ? Quel horreur.
  • 23D) No average parades provide drinks
    No (average = PAR) parades = ADES
    entered as ADES
Oh HAEEyYEEEELLlll no! ADES? ADES?? As a standalone answer, as a little piece of puzzlese only semi-tolerable as anagrind but here masquerADING as a word? No. Bleh. Bleh. No. Save your ADE for your Monday USA Today puzzle please and thank you in advance.

We were certain that “average” or “no average” indicated a word from mathematics or statistics as glorious as like “heteroskedastic” or similar. So part of our disappointment in this clue is how hard it busted our boner.
  • 35D) Oh, you singer and actress—so earthy in your makeup!
    (Oh = O) you (singer and actress = CHER) = OCHRE
Um. Cher again. Quick: what was Cher's last name as a baby? Time's up! It was Sarkisian. Homophone to Anita, your feminist crush. How many times Cher in the puzzle? How many times always forever? Uncountable. That's how many. Much love to the goddess Cher but earthy in her makeup she is most certain not. That award goes to Alicia Keys.
photo of Alicia Keys since her switch to absolute minimum makeup

The Tacky

Two this month:
  • 20A) Sound, according to a Siamese?
    Sound (according to = PER) = PURR
the pair of Siamese Cats from Disney's Lady and the Tramp | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

Awwwwwww danngit if this just were tweaked a smidgy to “the Siamese” instead of “a Siamese” it'd be fine. Ugh, but either the clue is meant to invoke cats from the outset, in which case, too easy. Or, “a Siamese” is meant to invoke a human person from Siam. Ugh.

Ok first, Siam isn't Siam, it's Thailand. And Yul Brynner is Russian, not Thai.

still from The King and I (1956) featuring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

Second, “an American” is totally fine to our ear and “the Chinese [people]” is basically ok but “a Chinese” sounds shitty. We don't know why but that's definitely the case! “Chinese national” does the job just fine.

Here's “an” answer, not particularly satisfactory:
In English there is a distinction between nationalities that end in 'ian' like Canadian or Italian and those that end in 'ese' like Japanese or Burmese.

Those that have the 'ian' can say 'I am Canadian' or 'I am a Canadian' interchangeably, but usually in English the 'ese' ones don't use the 'a' when they're referring to people--unless it is being used as an adjective.

You could say "That is a Japanese person" (where Japanese is an adjective describing the word 'person')

This convention also applies to nationalities that end in 'ish' as well, as in 'I am British' or 'I am Scottish' --though Scotland is a different case because they could say, "I am Scottish" or "I am a Scot".

I don't really know why this convention exists, but saying 'I am a Chinese' to a native speaker would be very strange for them.

Source: Stack Exchange



And thother:
  • 5D) Cable's hookup makes you turn tail
    turn TAIL = LIAT
"Fo' Dolla' ", set in part on the island of Bali-ha'i, focuses on the romance between a young Tonkinese woman, Liat, and one of the Americans, Marine Lieutenant Joe Cable, a Princeton graduate and scion of a wealthy Main Line family. Pressed to marry Liat by her mother, Bloody Mary, Cable reluctantly declines, realizing that the Asian girl would never be accepted by his family or Philadelphia society. He leaves for battle (where he will die) as Bloody Mary proceeds with her backup plan, to affiance Liat to a wealthy French planter on the islands. Cable struggles, during the story, with his own racism: he is able to overcome it sufficiently to love Liat, but not enough to take her home.

Source: Wikiiiiip

Hey there's Liat, one of the main characters in South Pacific. Oh, who she? Ohhhhh she a hookup. For Lieutenant Joe Cable. Ugh.

Also the existence of a song called Fo' Dolla even in the context of an ostensibly critically defined anti-racist play is rough.

Additional fun fact from the South Pacific Wiki article tho:
When the tour of the show reached a racially segregated theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, Rodgers and Hammerstein threatened to cancel the performances there unless seating was integrated, which it was.



Cool people leave comments!

4 comments:

  1. Or (heraldry), a gold or yellow tincture (from the French word for "gold")

    good enough?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NO (yes)

      [ reads 1st p of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Or_(heraldry) ]

      ok yeah that checks out Brother Danny! Amendments up top!

      Delete
  2. I hope REM Jr. reads you and loves you as much Will and I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natürlich, a comment from Dick Junior hisself would be a momentous honor. And evidence that work and patience can be fruitful even for goofy longshot goals :)

      Delete