08.11.07 -- Jambalaya

Ziegfeld, Florenz (1869-1932) -- famous last words “Curtain! Fast music! Lights! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good. The show looks good." Florenz Ziegfeld was a famous Broadway producer whose musical reviews featured fantastic sets and beautiful women. He died hallucinating that he was directing one last show. In the 1936 Oscar winning movie, The Great Ziegfeld, William Powell plays the producer, and Ziegfeld's last words are "I've got to have more steps. I need more steps. I've got to get higher. Higher."


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Puzzle by Karen M. Tracey, edited by Will Shortz

Jambalaya is certainly a duplicitous clue for GRABBAG (58A), and an odd one for OLIO (32D), but no farther fetched than Hank Williams singing “Jambalaya” with a Betty Boop cartoon running in the background. This classic Shortzesque double-entry clue easily defines this Saturday crossword puzzle -- a grab-bag olio of words in motion, swirling in a witch’s brew!

Slicing across the center of the grid is FLORENZZIEGFELD (36A Biographical subject of the Best Picture of 1936) and cutting through that entry is ALJAZEERA (20D Mideastern news source), leaving a Z in the center of the the grid, like the mark of Zorro! EZIOPINZA (34D Co-star of Broadway's "Fanny"), JOEISUZU (27A Fictional salesman of '80s ads), along with BENITEZ (59A Relief pitcher Armando) and (Morris B.) ZALE Corporation (jewelry retail giant)(29D) provide this puzzle with plenty of proper-name Z's, totalling SEIS (14D Number of wives of Enrique VIII).
Above that central Z is the entry EASYA (34A It's hard to fail) -- these minimal utterances are joined by the less reticent MTSINAI (18A Tablets site); RAP (35A Grammy category); the noisy SOFTSHOE (42A Tap type) and OVATION (56A Hero's welcome); DINS (21A Headache intensifiers); the quieter ETUDES (3D Exercise of a sort); and the SPEEDEE (62A McDonald's mascot before Ronald) remark TATA (9D Cry before disappearing).
ADDISABABA (19A Where the African Union is headquartered) and ADIDAS (11D Sportswear company whose logo is three parallel stripes) are of no relation. Continuing with our jambalaya, little SYMBIOSIS (8D Mutualism) is inherit between such entries as BASINGER (4D Best Supporting Actress of 1997); WOLFSBANE (33D Monkshood); OLESTRA (61A Substitute for some snack foods); GIANTPANDA (54A Resident of Chinese highlands); MAGEE (51D Patrick with a Tony); STJAMES (8A Place on a Monopoly board) or a HORDE (2D Group of 6-Down) of NOMADS (6D See 2-Down); and I'm sure there was no attempt to do so in this Whole SHEBANG (1A)!
For the NTH (37D Indefinitely large) time, we get ATTS, CFOS, DELI, DIEM, EGAN, ENGRS, EVEL, EYE, GDS, GOER, ITT, JRS, OIL, PANE, PRES, SHY, SRTAS, STIES, and UPDO -- along with TSTRAP (44D Pump alternative) which appeared just this Wednesday clued as Woman's shoe style -- very DRESSY (26D Smart). Also seen recently was RODEO (41A Place for a clown) and REBA (52A 1988 chart-topping country album) and less frequently, ROTATOR (15A What goes around) and YARDAGE (16A Gain or loss) -- TRUST ME (17A Line from a scam artist) and COWER (31A Shrink) somehow pair off nicely. I wanted VAC (24A Little sucker?) to be TIC, of course.
ROBO (52A Cyborg's beginning?) must refer to "Robocop", the movie, THATIS (43D Clarifying words). Nice that RANLATE (60A Went over) sits atop SPEEDEE. INBAD (49D On the outs [with]) and EDATE (50D Virtual meeting of a sort) join the final odd-couple, VIAGRA (24D Sex therapist's suggestion) and GREBE (7D Relative of a loon)!

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou.
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.
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Anonymous said...

Betty Boop on the kazoo, woooohoooo! BIG FUN! And I couldn't even get the sound to work.

Great write-up, Donald. Hadn't noticed the mark of Zorro. Very clever.

Finding out there is an American Sign Museum made my day, my week, my month! I have been photographing neglected neon signs, especially on abandoned or nearly defunct motel grounds for several years. I can't explain the fascination and I have no idea what if anything I'll ever do with them, but it's a minor obsession of mine. THANKS for the link!

DONALD said...

The sound behind Betty Boop is Hank Williams singing "Jambalaya".

It would be easy enough for you to blog your signs -- it would be a wonderful project -- do you have the capability to put the photos into JPEGs?

I have also been collecting (among so many other images) signs -- there are a couple I neglected to get that could make me weep at not having got to them before they disappeared!

Have you considered the link between advertising (signage) permeating our society and the rage with applying signage on the body (tattoos) -- I believe there is a direct correlation!

Well, I'm wandering -- so I'll just wander on!

Anonymous said...

A neon sign blog.... now that's an intriguing idea! Thanks!

DONALD said...

rock rabbit

When you get it going, let me know so this blog can provide a link -- especially since I expect you'll provide an occasional photo or illustration and comment about a crossword puzzle entry or clue in The Times puzzle.

You could use my other blog The Crossword Puzzle Illustrated -- become an Author on that site, sign your entries, make note to me by e-mail of what you want to post and I can link any daily post you do to Gothic.

If this appeals to you, let me know -- I'll provide my e-mail.

I look forward to either your blog and/or your postings!

Unknown said...

thanks friend. your commentary's great. going to qadd you to favourites. 8/11 - easya eluded me. = katb

DONALD said...


You're very welcome -- see ya!