07.19.08 -- You Can't Win 'Em All!

Napoleon at Waterloo by Howard David Johnson
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Puzzle by Todd McClary, edited by Will Shortz
How many times has a solver snapped a writing instrument in half, ripped the puzzle from its moorings, crumpled it into a ball, declaiming YOUCANTWINEMALL (8D. Words of consolation), having METONESWATERLOO (36A. Suffered defeat). Well, these two entries share their W in the center of the attractive spinning windmill grid, and let’s just call that W a win!
If a crossword can BLOWAWAY (1A. Thrill) a solver in more ways than one, then this little Saturday stumper with its SINISTER (39A. Menacing) clues and entries is not one for an IDLER (18A. Shiftless sort). Plenty of consternating consonants, ODD (10D. Eyebrow-raising) double-vowels and little LATITUDE (62A. Navigation figure) for unseaworthy sorts.
What starts with MSP or what has a double A in its center? Why, MSPACMAN (36A. Arcade star of the ‘80s) and CANAANITE (56A. Language group including Hebrew), of course! What leads off with TST or BBG -- TSTOPS (24D. Braking maneuvers for skaters) and BBGUN (1D. Plinking weapon). Plinking? Would you like to see both NAST (52D. Creator of 1867’s “Grand Caricaturama) and NASTY (23A. Foul) in the same puzzle -- well, here you have it!
Food? ATEDINNER (33D. Took evening courses?); OSSOBUCO (34D. Trattoria offering); PARMESAN (15D. Kraft offering in a can); OKRAS (3D. Five-sided pods); and PIE (29D. Tin contents).
People? MARTHA (31D. First name in homemaking hints); PETERNERO (32D. Pianist leader of the Philly Pops); GARGANTUA (17A. Hero/giant created by Rabelais); UNA (19A. Merkel of moviedom); the PATRIOTS (32A. National champions in 2002, 2004 and 2005); an unidentified MALE (31A. Selective service registrant); MAGOG (35A. Grandson of Noah); JON (41A. Operatic tenor Vickers); ARI (43A. Maria’s love in 1996 Tony-winning play “Master Class”); TRUMAN (51A. Marshall Plan signer); ANA (5D. Actress Ortiz of “Ugly Betty”); a TIA (37D. Woman at a reunion); and 45D. Joe RANDA, ex-Royals third baseman known as the Joker.
Add in five more long entries just for variety -- BALDEAGLE (11D. Quarter image); BIKINITOP (14A. Cause of some tan lines), OLDSMOKEY (60A. Snowy locale of song); OPENFLOOR (12D. Debate format) and unfamiliar to me -- STRATEGO (13D. Game with 40 pieces per side) -- how do these games, fads and manias come and go without my every hearing about them until they’re fodder for a crossword?
However, a large group of five-letter entries are this puzzle’s real glue -- ADAPT (16A. Avoid extinction, say); ATTAR (7D. Rosa damascena product); DACRON (20A. Wrinkle-resistant fabric); LIANA (2D. Jungle obstacle); GAINS (9D. Results of bull markets); GOBOS (9A. Recording studio sound shields); HAIKU (47D. One-stanza poem); MENSA (54A. Its logo features a globe on a table); MESSY (35D. Poorly organized); NORTH (61A. Pole position?); OUTED (48D. Exposed); OXEYE (49D. Common daisy); RAMPS (26A. Some pinball targets); SABER (44A. Olympic blade); STASH (44D. Drug store?); STEPS (38A. Way up or way down); YAHOO (46A. Owner of the Flickr Web site); and YARNS (25D. Lies along the waterfront?) -- “Lies along the waterfront?” What?
Finally, fill stuff: AMI, ASH, AUX, CNN, DNA, EFT, JAR, JON, NET and NOT, OPT, PEDS, SAP and SAT, WIG and WIND (Make tired).
Waterloo? -- able was I ere I saw Elba!
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alanrichard said...

Every time I look at your lion icon, I think of the old hair gel commercial with Barbara Feldon. I would link it but I couldn't find it in line. This puzzle was challenging only because I wrote in winsomelosesome initially before I realized it was youcantwinemall. The repeat bikini day enabled me to correct that.

DONALD said...

Good -- Although I've never seen her, I'm sure I myself don't look like Barbara Feldon, but don't mind if the lion does -- she's a a little blow-dried and fluffy, huh?

WINSOMELOSESOME is certainly valid, it fits very nicely.

alanrichard said...

Barbara Feldon, of the original Get Smart, was a very attractive model who did a commercial for brylcreem in the early 60's. As I remember it, she was lying on a lion skin rug and, in both sulty voice and manner, advised prospective hair gel users they would be far more desirable if they used the product she was promoting.

Linda G said...

I'm quite the slacker these days. I just now finished the Saturday puzzle, although I haven't yet done the previous Saturday...or a couple of other mid-week puzzles.

I very clearly remember Barbara Feldon in that commercial...back in the day when you could be very sexy and sultry with all your clothes on.

DONALD said...


You didn't miss anything!

I guess I'll have to look up Barbara Felton, she's really getting the press here!

cornbread hell said...

well, you and barbara feldon certainly garnered the comments today!

even before i saw how popular this post was, i linked to it on my blog.

carry on, donald...