Songbirds in Rubaiyat / SUN 6-2-13 / Title song of 1970 Van Morrison album / Adams with 1991 hit Get Here / Harriet Beecher Stowe Pearl Island / 1929 Ethel Waters hit whose title is question / Puzzles of Black Widowers author
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Constructor: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
THEME: "Stir Crazy"— a blue/red rebus, with "BLUE" in the Acrosses and "RED" in the Downs in several squares throughout the grid. BLUE + RED = "THE COLOR PURPLE" (116A: Alice Walker novel ... or a hint to 12 squares in this puzzle).
[NOTE: if you are solving electronically, it appears you have to be consistent—all Rs/REDs or all Bs/BLUEs. As of 7:35pm Saturday night, exactly what is going on with the programming of the AcrossLite version of the puzzle is Not Clear ... it took my Bs fine, and wouldn't accept the puzzle when I changed one B to an R. But when I erased the grid and then hit "Reveal All," it gave me all Rs ... weird.]
- TALKED A BLUE STREAK / ERRED
- BLUE IN THE FACE / REDEEM
- "MY BLUE HEAVEN" / CORED
- SEA BLUE / RED BARON
- BLUE BOOK / FAVORED
- DRESS BLUES / SHREDS
- BLUE PERIOD / RED HOT
- BLUE BEARD / RED AS A BEET
- BLUE BOY / PAIRED
- "AM I BLUE?" / CREDO
- SOMETHING BLUE / BIG RED
- BLUE ANGEL / SHORED UP
Word of the Day: BULBULS (87D: Songbirds in "The Rubáiyát) —
Bulbuls are a family, Pycnonotidae, of medium-sized passerine songbirds. Many forest species are known as greenbuls. The family is distributed across most of Africa and into the Middle East, tropical Asia to Indonesia, and north as far as Japan. A few insular species occur on the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean There are about 130 species in around 24 genera. [...] The word bulbul derives from Persian: بلبل, bolbol, through Arabic: بُلْبُل, meaning nightingale. In Arabic and Persian, 'bulbul' means nightingale, but in English, 'bulbul' refers to birds of a different family of passerine birds. (wikipedia)
• • •
MY BLUE HEAVEN," which for some reason I didn't notice on my first pass through the clues up there, perhaps because I tend to enter new sections by looking at clues for the short stuff, and building from there. Anyway, "MY BLUE HEAVEN" was a gimme, and that put the terminal "V" in (now obvious) ASIMOV (16D: "Puzzles of the Black Widowers" author), and that took care of that section, even though I don't know a GUSSET from a hole in the ground. In fact, I might've thought a GUSSET *was* a hole in the ground before this puzzle (21A: Tailored sleeve detail).
There is one unsurprising and probably inevitable inconsistency in the puzzle, which is that *all* BLUE answers have BLUE as a self-standing word/color, whereas only *some* of the RED answers can claim that. "RED" is just so much easier to hide inside other stuff. In fact, I'm not sure BLUE is hideable at all. I liked that the rebus squares were scattered all over the place. Never sure where the next one was gonna turn up (though they do appear pretty consistently in the long Acrosses ... and yet not in "MOONDANCE," but in the much shorter underneath it, [BLUE]BOOK).
TISANE is not a word I can ever really get my head around (99D: Herbal brew). There's nothing to hang on to. I don't get the etymology. I never ever ever hear it in the wild. So ... yeah, minor trouble there. And then, for no good reason, *real* trouble seeing NOBLE (74D: Magnanimous) and SOUTH (80D: Go ___ (deteriorate)). Thought first was a phrase starting with NO and second was a phrase starting with TO (even though I had SCENARIOS (77A: Imagined series of events) and thus the correct "SO-" at the start. Go TO POT—I think that's what I wanted. Otherwise, not many problems. Thought OLETA was ALETA (that's Prince Valiant's wife). Again, I always think "Fuggedaboutit!" means "No problem!", so NO CAN DO didn't come quickly (56D).
Lastly, ORRS is terrible fill (29A: Harriet Beecher Stowe's "The Pearl of ___ Island"), but there's very little junk otherwise, especially for how demanding the theme is. So ... hurray.