Monday, August 6, 2007 Puzzle by Allan E. Parrish, edited by Will Shortz Bowling is the subject of the inter-related entries FREEZEFRAME (17A Result of hitting the pause button on a movie); TOSPARE (38A Extra); TINPANALLEY (61A Old-time songwriter's locale); BANANASPLIT (11D Dairy Queen offering); and FIRSTSTRIKE (25D Attack before being attacked); e.g., "frame", "spare", "alley", "split", and "strike". If you are headed back to work this Monday, consider for a moment the by-gone job of the pinsetter. In the 50’s, before the fully-automated bowling machine replaced the pinboy -- an irascible border-line delinquent usually too young to acquire employment in any other field except the delivery of newspapers or mowing of lawns -- pinsetting was like having a real job! At the end of the bowling alley (lane) was a pit -- above the pit, sitting on a wall-like structure was the all-important pinboy -- if you wanted to bowl, you had to have a pinboy to reset your pins. Unlike a machine, one could argue about strikes and spares, blaming human error on the part of the pinboy’s lack of expertise in resetting the pins. There was a relationship with the bowler and the pinboy that was quite volatile! In many towns in the Midwest, the fully-automated AMF bowling machines along with television did not arrive until the late 50’s. A rack was used that one could throw the pins into, then push a lever down to set the pins in the correct position. This provided a good job for young men that liked a little excitement. The pinsetter would sit on the edge of the pit with his feet clear of the bowling ball that would come crashing down the alley. Most of the time all the pins would remain in the pit, but sometimes they would fly out and if the boy were not alert he could get hit. Being a pinsetter was like Pinocchio with a job! The crash of pins, the thud of the ball, jumping down into the pit to reset the pins (there was an up-and-down machine in which to place the pins) -- hoping that the bowler who was poised to pick up the spare saw the fragile human in the pit! If the pin setter was too slow and the ball reached the bowler before the pin setter was through in the pit the person bowling may throw the ball and catch the pinboy in the pit. The bowler usually could not see the pinsetter down in the pit, or maybe they could and liked to see him jump! Violent bowlers required distancing oneself from the area of the pit entirely due to the flying pins -- many a ghastly bruise was obtained by the novice. On occasion, the bowler would bowl while the pins were being reset -- that justified rolling the ball back up the alley to the bowler! Imagine the hothead that the pinsetter hit with the ball charging back to the pin setting area to find no one in charge of setting his pins!
Ladies night was particularly interesting to the pinsetter -- lots of splits and spares and gutter balls! The slow-moving rumbling ball allowed the pinsetter to leisurely ogle up the alley to determine the quality of undergarments, if any. The tips were spent for the most part on the pinball machines at the entrance, from which a bowler had to wrest an unwilling rascal to take his abuse! EXCEL (1A Do very well [at]); AROAR (15A Loud, as a stadium crowd); CARE (20A Have concern); STRIVE (50A Try hard); EEK (66A "Horrors!"); LEAVE (68A Go out); EXECUTE (4D Carry out, as an assignment); ERR (7D Goof up); REAR (44A Derriere); BARES (34A Uncovers); POPPED (47D Like some balloons, questions and corn); PRO (62D Con's opposite); and WENT (36D Departed) could all somehow fit into the pinboy's story. BOATEL (12D Overnight accommodations by the shore); BAINES (28A The "B" in L.B.J.); OCTAVO (51A Book size); and MAMABEAR (9D "Goldilocks" character) are seldom seen entries. Entries with initials include LEOXI (14A Pope before Paul V, whose papacy lasted less than four weeks); BBC (11A U.K. Channel); AOL (16A Yahoo! competitor); PJS (40A Nighwear, briefly); SSW (53 NNE's opposite); PSI (60A Tire pressure meas.); ECARD (67A Online birthday greeting, e.g.); CSPAN (71A Channel with cameras in the Capitol); and STAT (32D "Immediately," in the O.R.). Seen in puzzles this past week and repeating here are TINPANALLEY and PARROTS (56A Chatty birds); while Sunday's omission of ORIOLES (46D Baltimore nine) among its flock of birds is here rectified. Fun puzzle -- NOLIE (45A "Honest to goodness!")! -----------------
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