08.08.07 -- PA

Illustration: from "The Fog" 2005, remake of John Carpenter's "The Fog", 1980


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

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Puzzle by Donna S. Levin, edited Will Shortz

PA is used here paronymously -- thankfully omitting "PAsty", "PAtrick", and "onion PArings"; however, "PAuseless" might be appropriate -- it's just a lot of fun!

The inter-related entries PAROLEREVERSAL (20A Back-to-the-slammer order?); PARENTSTRIKE (30A Reason the kids were left alone?); CIRCUSPATENT (40A Reward for a Ringling invention?); and BUFFALOPAWINGS (54A Scuff marks on the prairie?) without the PA are "rent strike", "role reversal", "circus tent", and "buffalo wings" (the last being the "ouch" pun).

Pairings permeate this puzzle with EDERLE (17A Channel swimmer Gertrude) and LIFEBOAT (35D 1944 Hitchcock classic); WAWA, SHA na na, TRA la la; ABOVE (8D Superior to) and ALONE (52D Without equal); ASS (11A Balaam's beast) and ONAN (25A Son of Judah) being today's Biblical references -- interesting to note that Balaam's beast is not only the second best-known ASS in the Bible, but the female forerunner of Mr. Ed. ONAN, on the other hand (excuse the expression), achieved notoriety for coitus interruptus, being saddled with the eponym of "onanism", generally considered a hot sin in many faiths, and elsewhere a cause for scoff and scorn -- ATWORST (42D Least favorably) a ridiculed self-absorbed activity.

"I'm just a girl who can't say no", ADOANNIE (11D "Oklahoma!" gal) and SRILANKA (12D Ceylon, now) make whole appearances (rather than the usual "ado" and "sri" -- TSTRAP (32D Woman's shoe style), with its TSTR beginning, gives pause while solving; DOOGIE (59A TV's Howser) and DOCENT (62A Museum guide) are an odd couple; Rap's Dr. DRE (16A) and DOC (57A Bespectacled dwarf) are another, even though well-separated like SPARES (65A Alley pickups) -- the last being a throw-back to our Monday puzzle. OIL (19A Crude, e.g.) was clued yesterday as Texas tea.

LEERED (3D Looked like a wolf), LINGER (47D Hang around) and SWOOP (53D Hawk's descent) are a creepy trio; the contrasting SUNNY (29A Cheerful) and THEFOG (14A 1980 John Carpenter chiller); AFOOT (44A In progress) above PEDI (50A Prefix with cab or cure) are other pairings.

Questions: How is FATS (7A Dietary needs) dietary needs? Is a SOLARA (1A Toyota Camry model) so named because it has a sun-roof? Why is PRODUCED (36D Cranked out) clued as a chore of rote?

Never heard of AFROPOP; (4D Music from across the Atlantic) before today; my neighborhood firehouse FIREMAN (7A Dalmatian's master, sometimes) has a Newfoundland; my Ford ENGINE (48A Object of a tuneup) could use one (a tuneup, not a dog); and welcome back TAPIOCA (43D Starchy dessert) -- third time in a month! I'll WAGER (51D It might be placed at a window) that's the FATS, something not to EAT (39A Get stuck with, as the cost) -- OHDARN (2D "Shoot!")!

This puzzle deserves a STAR (10D Marquee's topper), and for a Wednesday, several!


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