Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Split Personalities - May 2017

answers to the May 2017 Harper's cryptic crossword puzzle | Split Personalities | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

The Theme!

Ummmm ok so seven unclued entries populated with answers to fourteen unnumbered clues. And then the two unnumbered answers once concatenated magically formed a glorious new word.

Lotsof anagrams this month so obv we enjoyted it much.


  • 6A) Old airline in New York—good, regional-sounding (6)
    (old airline = TWA) in (New York = NY) (good = G) = TWANGY
  • 13A) Hide in that place, lacking energy to go on (7)
    (Hide = FUR) in ((that place = THERE) lacking (energy = E) = THER) = FURTHER
  • 17A) Yogi into contortions pursues a deviant behavior (10)
    (Yogi = BERRA) INTO contortions pursues A = ABERRATIONS
Mwa! Lovely! Auto erotic yogis and kama sutra. Glorious!
black and white photo of a young New York Yankee Yogi Berra | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues

PS that this month's Nerd Cutie is none other than grand slam punster hisself, the bear poet, Lawrence Peter Berra.
  • 20A) Head of gendarmes upholds this, like, pizza slice (4)
    liKE PIzza = KEPI
Much enjoy the vernacular of this one (“like,”) altho KEPI is a little odd.
  • 25A) Disturbing nude beach appearance (4)
    Disturbing NUDE = DUNE
Excellent! Tight and sweet! Glorious firm-buttocked narrative on that clue!
promotional image for the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune (2014) | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
If you want to change the world: you must try!
  • 28A) Something necessary to mask unknown person who's despicable (5)
    maSK UNKnown = SKUNK
Our margin notes speculate “eyeholes?”
  • 33A) Kind of skirt around a small bear (4)
    (Kind of shirt = HOOP) around = POOH
Automatic love for Mister Christopher. Is Pooh small though? Is he?
  • 38A) Bridge put out (5)
AHhHHHhhHhhhhh we love this so nice and succulent and lovely!! Had CAUSE in our margin notes, as in like CAUSEWAY. But CROSS is so much better mwa mwa!
  • 1D) Contests models entered after work (7)
    (models = POSES) entered after (work = OP) = OPPOSES
OP as in like OPERATION as in like SPECIAL OPS. Wondered for a sec if it was OP like as in OP ART.
  • 3D) Threatens flowers, being lead-free (5)
    (flowers = BLOOMS) being lead-free = LOOMS
Mmmmmm lovely! “lead” like as in “first letter” and not as in Pb atomic number 82. Ooooh we were so sure this clue was gonna zig with “flowers” = ”rivers” like every gazillion times all the time but not this time! Nopity nope. Sometimes a cigar is a penis and a flower is a vulva and sometimes a cigar is a cigar and a flower is a river but this time a flower is a flower. Excellent.
a very vulvic flower painting by Georgia O'Keeffe | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 4D) Some memory of dates with a musician? (4)
    Some memory = dates with a musician = GIGS
GIGS like as in gigabytes, as in touring this summer and playing lots of GIGS. We were rock solid certain this was GIFS and that FIGS are the “memory” of dates. That would make sense if a date were a dried fig. We swear to you, we are a brilliant woman.
  • 5D) Fostered sad take, perhaps, pines away (8)
Wonderful anagrama! Tight and precise anti-neckbeard narrative! Lovely!
  • 9D ...sets off impossible egos (4)
    impossible EGOS = GOES
Simple easy peasy nice one, nice and tight.
  • 11D) Boatbuilder turns on a hand and disappears (4)
    (turns ON = NO) A Hand = NOAH
Double the Biblical trouble this month. Who is the boatbuilder? Ah, could be but one. It's Big N, or maybe like Thor Heyerdahl. Dats it.
  • 14D) Raised in Britain, I laugh first, seeing poetry (5)
    (Raised in (Britain = UK) = KU) I (laugh = HA) first = HAIKU
We asked a poet friend whether he was doing National Poetry Month 30 for 30, which is one of those stunt things where poets get prompts and write a poem every day in April. It's like a juice cleanse, for poets. Anyway he said he doesn't do that type of thing, but he does write every day. Then he hesitated. Then he said, “well, I write a haiku every day. Does that count?”

We said, “yes! Whitney Jacobs in fourth grade was very clear: a haiku is a type of poem! So yes! That counts!”

We did the stunt thing. If you're interested in our poems, they're here.


  • 1A) Grateful for boiled egg, not, for example, scrambled (7)
    BOILED (EGG not (for example = EG) = G ) scrambled = OBLIGED
We're obliged to say we did not like this one. Buh.

Hey PS, name a very dum movie. We'll start: The Runaway Bride
image of Julia Roberts's character cooking eggs so that she can learn Who She Is | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
Julia Roberts's character cooks eggs a dozen ways so that she can finally learn Who She Is and Stop Runnin

  • 16A) Nothing Moses affected leads us to get through (6)
    (Nothing = O) MOSES affected = OSMOSES
Love the anagrama but please to use OSMOSES in a sentence please prove to us it's a real word you&nsp;use.
  • 27A) Tech'll read out a word when there's handwriting on the wall (5)
    TECH'LL read out = TEKEL
The “when” in the clue had us spazzin to fit DANIEL into the grid because that's the Biblical book when there's writing on on the wall.
Daniel reads the words MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN and interprets them for the king: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed and found wanting; and PERES, the kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Source: Whippitya

ilustration of the prophet Daniel reading the word MENE written on the wall | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
sidenote just re-reading this section now, didn't parse before that MENE appears twice. The first instance is the number the days of the kingdom ... and the second instance indicates the end. Huh. Sometimes the lack of context bewilders us that we're able to understand anything at all of ancient texts! Like Sweet V mentioned “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” the other day, and said it's about Jesus interfering in the stoning of an alleged adultress. So we looked it up, and yes, that scene is exactly as Sweet V described. But part of it is also that Jesus writes unknown words on the ground as he's talking to the would-be stoners. And it seems likely that to a contemporary audience the words he'd have written would be super duper obvious. But to us it's entirely mysterious. Intuitively we suspect that Jesus wrote the names of individuals in the mob. Or something similar that generated sincere introspection.
  • 30A) Iceman Cometh from where you might see a version of it! (6)
    ICEMAN cometh = CINEMA
Erm ok so “cometh” is a foriveable anagram indicator given the sweetness of Iceman Cometh except for, record scratch, at the cinema? The 1973 Lee Marvin version? The Robards 1960 version? Izza stretch. A real stretch. What's that play — sorry — play-slash-film even about? It's Eugene O'Neill so that narrows it down to unhappy Northeastern white people in the early 20th century. If we recall from our Jeopardy studying days, it's something like summer time, and every one is super hot and sweaty, but everyone's also excited that the iceman will come and tell big stories and suck everyone's emotional dick. And then he does, but then everyone gets upset. And the moral of the story is that it's better not to hope or get excited, because nothing is more elusive than maturity and resiliancy.

Something like that.
still of Mr Freeze as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman and Robin | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 34A) Current indications say where Cockney hearts are! (4)
    say (where Cockney hearts are = 'OMES) = OHMS
No. Absolutely orrible. Eliza DooNOT. Raspberry tart all over this one. At LEAST, oh crimey why are we even saying this? ok no but at LEAST “Cocking arts are” please and thank you in advance.

Favorite Cockney accent, don't care what any yall say: Basher

still of Basher as played by Don Cheadle | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
  • 35A) Fish for a word of welcome (3)
    A (word of welcome = HI) = AHI
Read this clue and wrote MAHI in the margin as a joke. Joke was on us.
  • 37A) Einstein's newly-revealed gay period? (8)
    EINSTEIN newly-revealed = NINETIES
This is fine and fun and homosexual revisionist history which is very much in line with our values and homonormative agenda, except we saw basically this exact clue six years ago.
  • 6D) Terror being decentralized, regret going inside faster (5)
    (TERROR being decentralized = T R) (regret = RUE) going inside = TRUER
Blech. Bleh. Another -ER word. Gross.
  • 8D) Under phone company, it comes due—polluted air ...(8)
    (phone company = ATT) IT comes (DUE polluted = UDE) = ATTITUDE
As in like “putting on airs” we guess probably. Automatic Lowlight for invoking the most predictable possible puzzle telecompany.

The Tacky

  • 23A) The Chinese craft cookware mothers put back first (7)
    (cookware = PAN) (mothers = MAS) put back first = SAMPANS
photo of a sampan from Wikipedia | Tacky Harper's Cryptic Clues
UGH the awful unreadable clue ugh so very terrible. Knee jerk reaction automatic Tacky for “the Chinese.” Further knee meniscus tear requiring arthroscopy for the crazy weird snarly word salad nasty snatch clue. Unless “craft cookware” is a phrase.

“Do you use cast iron cookware?”
“No, I use Chinese craft cookward.”

Buh. Three words: poo poo platter.

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