Illustration: Modern Times
Of the great silent comedians, only Charlie Chaplin was wise and powerful enough to continue making silent films, creating two more masterpieces, City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) with his Tramp character, pointed social commentary, pathos, romance, along with well-judged music and sound effects (e.g., the swallowed whistle routine in City Lights). Recognizing how silence was necessary for his character's universality, he retired the Tramp with Modern Times and for his subsequent films in dialogue (beginning with The Great Dictator in 1940) employed his own, clipped, British-accented voice.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Puzzle by Ray Fontenot, edited by Will Shortz
"Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted." -- Fred Allen
MANWHOFELLINTO (20A Start of a newspaper headline about a workplace mishap); UPHOLSTERY (34A Headline, part 2); MACHINENOW (42A Headline, part 3); FULLY RECOVERED (51A End of the headline).
"Man Who Fell Into Upholstery Machine Now Fully Recovered” is an unlikely start of a headline about a workplace mishap. Why would it be a “newspaper headline” -- other than that Monday’s crossword puzzle had four newspapers begging for it.“ What is much more likely is that it is a pun as old as the hills -- Google it!
Along the way you’ll find such “gems” as:
Police were called to a daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.
To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
When fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.
The short fortune teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months
A thief fell and broke his leg in wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.
Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.
We'll never run out of math teachers because they always multiply.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles , U C L A.
The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on it.
The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground.
The dead batteries were given out free of charge.
If you take a laptop computer for a run you could jog your memory.
The dentist and the manicurist fought tooth and nail.
What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway)
A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
A backward poet writes inverse.
In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France , resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
He broke into song because he couldn't find the key
A calendar's days are numbered.
A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
A plateau is a high form of flattery.
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
Acupuncture: a jab well done.
Well, consider that in actuality an upholstery machine is simply a sewing machine -- although research yields other evidence, it is difficult to imagine someone falling into such a device -- this is not a complaint about the puzzle, but the pun is a bit of a (excuse the pun) "stretch" in the world of fabrics.
To accommodate this tripe, the remainder of this puzzle is unbelievably familiar banal happenstance fill -- SOD, WHIM, AIDA, OSLO, OLAF, METE, ESSO, LILY, ETC, AMINO, NINOS, SNORE, CHINA, DUNES, FAIR, ULNA, LOSS, EWES, COCO, OKRA, ELLA, DAIS, NOS, SWAM BOOM SABLE, OHIO, ISLE, TUTUS, DIDO, SLAT, EDENS, SHO, ILO, DSC, OPS, NAÏVE, ETA, ESNE, EGO, OSS, SRI, IRE, ALOES, WOKE, ELAN, INSET, ECRU, CLIO, RASPS, SOAP and TASS.
Recalling Sunday’s puzzle, is MOONS (4D Gazes dreamily); and from yesterday’s puzzle, STELLA (9D Designer McCartney, daughter of Paul and Linda), that clue making one yearn for yesterday's definition -- Stanley’s love in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. The seemingly chosen-on-purpose-probably entries are OVERSLEEP (35D Ignore the alarm?); AUDIOTAPE (10D Sound recording); BISHOPS (5D Knights’ neighbors); and IGIVEUP (43D "Go ahead, tell me”).
The Times puzzle continues its foray into the taboo with TRYST (45D No-tell motel happenings), and the modestly clued ERECT (50D Construct) and SPASM (26D Twitch) -- any other cluing would be BLATANT (30A Not subtle at all). SMARTED (44A Stung), SPINE (40A Subject for a chiropractor); STEAD (29D Lieu); SNORE (40D [How boring!]); along with MEIR (42D Rabin’s predecessor) and Astronomer Tycho BRAHE (30D) use up space.
Special mention is due to LUNT (12D Broadway’s ____-Fontanne Theater) -- however, the clue has a misspelling -- it should be “Theatre” -- The LUNT FONTANNE THEATRE. is named for Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne -- Broadway’s premiere husband and wife acting duo for most of the first half of the last century. The next production at the theatre is Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”.
That should "cover" it!
Oh wait!, speaking of “newspaper”, the Times shrunk by three inches (left to right) taking away 1 ½ inch from each page, losing a full column (this after several years ago enlarging the type size -- less and less print, you see!) -- in order to accommodate itself to uniform printing presses throughout the country -- maybe you’ll be getting the puzzle sooner than the six weeks later in syndication. Also, the print and grid for the puzzle are larger -- due probably to the new configuration of columns upon the shrinkage. I can tell you that after fondling the same size for so many years, it feels like something is missing -- “All the News That Fits We Print” could be the new mantra!
For today’s cartoon, go to 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
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Phil Rizzuto, the sure-handed Hall of Fame Yankees shortstop nicknamed the Scooter who extended his Yankee life as a popular, even beloved, broadcaster, punctuating his game calls with birthday wishes to fans and exclamations of “Holy cow!” died Monday night. He was 89.