08.29.07 -- All Thumbs

19A OWEN (Wilson of "Zoolander")


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

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Puzzle by Jayne and Alex Boisvert, edited by Will Shortz

It appears that most folks, including today’s puzzle celebrity, are all THUMBs when it comes to committing suicide. At times, when it’s done “unintentionally”, it succeeds (e.g., the doctor who performed an appendectomy upon himself, but unfortunately fainted during the procedure).
OWEN (19A Wilson of “Zoolander”), thankfully is one of those who was all THUMBs in attempting to do so -- read Owen Wilson Suicide Attempt. Owen Cunningham Wilson (born November 18, 1968) is an Academy Award-nominated actor and writer (for his work on the screenplay of “The Royal Tenenbaums”), but he is best known for his successful comedic roles in Wedding Crashers and as Hansel in Zoolander.
Today’s puzzle gives us no less than four THUMBs in four squares of the puzzle -- e.g., the word THUMB is squeezed into a tiny little box four times. THUMBONESNOSE (20A Expresses scorn); UNDERMYTHUMB (29A 1966 Rolling Stones hit); THUMBTHROUGH (43A Scan); OPPOSABLETHUMB (51A Human hand characteristic); along with their obligatory downs of TOMTHUMB (1D Barnum midget); SORETHUMB (26D It may stick out); THUMBNAIL (33D King of sketch); and THUMBSUP (56D Encouraging sign).

The entries above and below OWEN, e.g., LOON (16A Canadian dollar bird) and WAYS (22A Means’ partner) are, I am sure, purely coincidental. Other than that, the remainder of the puzzle is fairly standard stuff, with a few exceptions -- BORAX (15A 20 Mule Team compound); ARENT (18A Ain’t grammatical?); SCREED (26A Blowhard’s speech); PENAL (41A Prison-related) and PUSS (63A Face, slangily); ELEE again, this time properly clued as 21D Gen. Robert _____; and URIAH (29D Dickens’s _____ Heep) crossing NAIAD (38A Nymph of Greek myth) in dead center of the grid, resulting in the central square containing the letter and/or word “I”.

Longer entries hanging around throughout the puzzle include NEUROSIS (38d Anxiety may be a symptom of it); TRINKETS (4D Tchotchkes); ABASED (5D Brought down); FLOWER (10D Lapel insert); RHYMES (44D Rappers’ skill); AUDIBLES (39D Quarterback’ play changes); and EXTENDED (9D Like some warranties).
Shorter, less-frequently seen entries include SAONE (58A Rhone feeder); PANE and PONE side by side; joining with the oft-seen ODOR, MAGI, TILT, KLEE, NYE, IAN, ORATE, ALLA, ESC, MULTI, ZITI, HER, QUAY and QTIP, IDLE, INNER, SEEDS, SEEP, ECRU, YALTA, MILLE, META, URDU, ZONES, LOGO, IDAS, OREO, RISERS, VANS, IOWA, JOEY, INNS, YEN, NEAL; with pleasant appearances by BORNE (6D Held up); CRUST (27D Pie part); RANCH (28D Dressing choice); GREEN (35A Eco-friendly); and, if one is not all thumbs, REDEAL (45A Start a new hand).
Last, but not least, we have POE (41D Rue Morgue’s creator).

Remind you of anyone?

For whatever AILS (50D Has a fever say) today’s puzzle celebrity -- get well soon!


Today's video rerun -- A Nightmare of a Crossword

Cartoon? The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated.

The New York Times Crossword Puzzle solution above is by the author of this blog and does not guarantee accuracy. If you find errors or omissions, you are more than welcome to make note of same in the Comments section of this post -- any corrections found necessary will be executed promptly upon verification.
Puzzle available on the internet at
THE NEW YORK TIMES -- Crossword Puzzles and Games
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Anonymous said...

Are there no comments at your site because you are more hostile than the Rex site -- I no longer comment there because it is so unpleasant.

Just Wondering

DONALD said...


Interesting question -- I can't answer for the "Rex" site, except that it is a clique of regulars that are not too happy when someone comments under the "anonymous" label. The Comment section there has become more of a coffee break for solvers where, in fact, many of them know each other personally, either through academia or through the ACPT -- therefore creating what perhaps seems hostility, but it is merely the modus operandi for pedagogues -- nothing wrong with that, just don't take it personal.

Secondly, this site probably does not elicit a great deal of comments, if any, due to the fact that it is entirely independent of any personal associations regularly commenting on a daily basis, e.g., always the same readers commenting -- think of it as "no more room around the water cooler".

Also, I am sure the "Rex" site gets quite a few hits -- more than perhaps this independent one, which gets 500 to a thousand hits a day, according to SiteMeter.

You might like the Comment section on "Madness...Crossword and Otherwise" which is a much more "everyman" site -- at least when Linda is the Commentator-- I hear the next two weeks she will be in Hawaii, so Commenter beware!

You might consider establishing an identity other than "anonymous" to see whether the "Rex" site accords respect.

I myself no longer comment there.

Good luck!