SUNDAY, March 29, 2009 — Sylvia Bursztyn (calendar)

Theme: "Letters of the Law" — Words related to the legal profession are defined in non-legal ways.

Here's the thing. I've been sick in bed for four days now, so I'm not in a great mood to start with. Then this puzzle isn't available online until very late in the day so I feel rushed and pressured and, well, let's just say this isn't my favorite puzzle ever. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it, but you can feel free to talk about it as much as you want in the comments.

Theme answers:
  • 21A: COURT (royal entourage)
  • 34A: CASE (twelve bottles of wine)
  • 49A: CHAMBERS (parts of hearts)
  • 74A: BAIL (scoop water out)
  • 91A: PROOF (word on a whiskey label)
  • 108A: APPEAL (power to attract)
Crosswordese 101: GBS stands for George Bernard Shaw and is clued today as ["Pygmalion" monogram]. You'll want to keep several other literary monograms in your pocket when solving crosswords: EAP = Edgar Allen Poe; RLS = Robert Louis Stevenson; EBW = E. B. White; TSE = T. S. Eliot. The most common political monograms in crosswords are AES (Adlai E. Stevenson) and DDE (Dwight D. Eisenhower). There are others, of course, but they're easy to remember and not technically crosswordese because those people are actually referred to by their monograms (FDR, JFK, etc.). A couple other random monograms you should commit to memory are YSL (Yves St. Laurent) and TAE (Thomas Alva Edison).

Stuff I did not like and/or did not know:
  • 27A: High note of yore (ela). Straight out of the Maleska Era. I know some people feel a great sense of nostalgia when these words come up these days, but me? Not so much.
  • 29A: Man with missions (Serra). Miguel José Serra was an 18th-century Spanish missionary. I probably should have heard of him.
  • 86A: 1992's "Mississippi" --- (Masala). Don't remember ever hearing about this movie. Doesn't sound like it's very good, but Denzel is in it so, really, how bad can it be?
  • 106A: Door topper (lintel). It's a horizontal beam that usually supports the masonry above a window or door opening.
  • 6D: Monkey-bread tree (baobab). A tree native to Madagascar, Africa, and Australia. Also known as boab, boaboa, bottle tree, and upside-down tree.
  • 15D: Irritable (liverish). Ugh. Just ugh.
Other stuff:

Well, I'm tired and still cranky and need to go back to sleep, so I'll wrap up by telling you that I had to laugh at myself when I entered rent-a-cop for rent-A-CAR at 105A, and LPs for CDs (85D: DJ's stock). I do like the words MARZIPAN (57A: Almond confection) and NATTY (61D: Dapper) and NIBLET (92D: Canned corn kernel). And WAFT (35D: Float on the breeze) is one of my favorite words of all time. Everyone has a favorite words list, right? Okay, that's all I can do. Rex tomorrow.

Everything Else — 1A: Rascal (SCAMP); 6A: "Grand" island (BAHAMA); 12A: Peace, in Israel (SHALOM); 18A: Bad temper (CHOLER); 19A: Stevie Wonder's birthplace (SAGINAW); 20A: Old film (PATINA); 23A: One by one? (ELEVEN); 24A: Square (EVEN); 25A: Navy builder (SEABEE); 26A: Darling (PET); 28A: Horror master Craven (WES); 30A: Fish dish (SCROD); 33A: Sea cell (BRIG); 39A: Wheel shafts (AXLES); 40A: Flagon (CARAFE); 41A: Stair part (RISER); 42A: Asimov's area (SCIFI); 45A: Encore airing (RERUN); 46A: --- Na Na (SHA); 48A: Day divs. (HRS); 53A: Lennon's second wife (ONO); 55A: Words before pinch or pickle (INA); 56A: Despotism (TYRANNY); 62A: Oscar winner Winslet (KATE); 64A: Dispatches (SENDS); 65A: Draft holder (STEIN); 67A: Superboy's girlfriend (LANA); 68A: Brought up (ELEVATED); 70A: Inundated (FLOODED); 72A: Explosive inits. (TNT); 73A: Draft choice (ALE); 77A: Implore (BEG); 80A: Lyricist Gershwin (IRA); 82A: Dynamic (ALIVE); 83A: Virile (MANLY); 84A: Precise (EXACT); 88A: Prefer (FAVOR); 95A: Gives guns (ARMS); 96A: Koran faith (ISLAM); 97A: Place (LOCUS); 98A: "... --- mouse?" (ORA); 101A: Rocks at the bar (ICE); 103A: Deceive (LEADON); 112A: Executor's concern (ESTATE); 113A: "Rebecca"'s Laurence (OLIVIER); 114A: Old gold coins (EAGLES); 115A: Stop (DESIST); 116A: Goes to pieces (PANICS); 117A: Rubbish (DROSS); 1D: Elbow, perhaps (SHOVE); 2D: Most modest (COYEST); 3D: Shepard in space (ALAN); 4D: Blanc or Brooks (MEL); 5D: Market before building (PRESELL); 7D: Fluish feeling (AGUE); 8D: Take on (HIRE); 9D: "Wheel" buy (ANA); 10D: Wheel type (MAG); 11D: Knock over (AWE); 12D: Skimpy swimsuit brand (SPEEDO); 13D: Stop (HALT); 14D: Put away (ATE); 16D: Short gag (ONELINER); 17D: Ball club VIPs (MANAGERS); 18D: Sock style (CREW); 19D: Gawks (STARES); 22D: Audacity (NERVE); 26D: Sits for shots (POSES); 29D: Misogynistic (SEXIST); 30D: Swagger (STRUT); 31D: Highland families (CLANS); 32D: Field official (REF); 33D: Anguilla's isl. grp. (BWI); 36D: Vast expanses (OCEANS); 37D: Linger (TARRY); 38D: Kafka (FRANZ); 42D: Peak on a graph (SPIKE); 43D: Locks site (CANAL); 44D: Steamed up (IRATE); 45D: Split (REND); 47D: Social stinger (HORNET); 50D: Bluepoint (OYSTER); 51D: With 52D, carte blanche (FREE); 52D: See 51D (HAND); 54D: Corn or castor (OIL); 57D: Calico's call (MEOW); 58D: Verdi princess (AIDA); 59D: --- the back (PATON); 60D: Cancel (ANNUL); 63D: Mendes of the movies (EVA); 65D: Bratislava tongue (SLOVAK); 66D: Overimbibe (TOPE); 69D: O'Connor's successor (ALITO); 70D: Thwarts (FOILS); 71D: Retires from the RAF (DEMOBS); 74D: Malia's sister (SASHA); 75D: Maintain (CLAIM); 76D: Red in the middle (RARE); 77D: Lamented (BEWAILED); 78D: Get the devil out of there? (EXORCISE); 79D: What to wear (GARMENTS); 81D: Stockpile (AMASS); 87D: Hole punch (AWL); 88D: Dostoyevsky (FYODOR); 89D: Metal industry biggie (ALCOA); 90D: Bragged about (VAUNTED); 93D: Makes merry (ELATES); 94D: Townies (LOCALS); 99D: Running things (RACES); 100D: Cultural pursuits (ARTS); 102D: Fetches (GETS); 103D: Strauss of jeans fame (LEVI); 104D: Clapton or Burdon (ERIC); 105D: Ship of myth (ARGO); 107D: --- chi (TAI); 108D: Burst a bubble (POP); 109D: Pay or cray closer (OLA); 110D: Triumph (WIN); 111D: Pitch (TAR).


Orange said...

Aw, PuzzleGirl. You sound awfully liverish, activating that ugh track the way you did. Get some rest; feel better.

I wanted the case to be TWELVE BOTTLES OF BEER. I buy beer by the case. My husband and I have wildly different tastes in wine, so it would be silly to buy vino by the case.

Today's Crosswordese 101 lesson is a good one. You might not want to see these initials in your crossword, but you surely will see them periodically.

Missionary SERRA is better known as Junipero Serra. There are a bunch of old missions in California that he established. The money quote from that WIkipedia article: "His zeal frequently led him to employ extraordinary means in order to move the people to penance: he would pound his breast with a stone while in the pulpit, scourge himself, or apply a lit torch to his bare chest." Oh, my!

Mississippi Masala had some steamy love scenes. Better still is channa masala, a yummy Indian chickpea dish.

Badir said...

I've had a fascination with Madagascar for a while, so BAOBAB helped me finish up the tricky Dakota section of the puzzle, which was causing trouble.

mac said...

Where do I find this puzzle?

*David* said...

This puzzle had one problem area where I put BOTTLES OF BEER at first, I really wanted to sing that song. We got the bad temper CHOLER and thaose old gold coins called EAGLES. Overall took me more time then it should've but I'm also suffering from allergies and a bit grouchy. :)

mac said...

Found it. It was fun to do, so late in the evening (I'm three hours later than what the time claims to be) but this one doesn't hold a candle to the earlier Sunday LAT.

My favorite word was liverish, haven't seen or heard that in a long time. Mississippi Massala made me think (erroneously) of the Indian-American governor of Louisiana. My mind works in mysterious ways today, what can I say....

Mike said...
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Mike said...
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Mike said...

As a long time LAT/NYT solver that lives in LA, let me just say that Bursztyn puzzles are easily my least favorite puzzles that I do all week. There tends to be a dearth of cleverness when it comes to cluing (although this puzzle did have the great One by one? clue for ELEVEN), not to mention the often lackluster themes; it feels more like a slog to get through them than any other puzzle that I do.

My biggest problem with her puzzles is her inconsistency. The level of difficulty in terms of cluing is usually all over the place, and the themes have a disturbing tendency to not follow the same rules (like having almost all of them insert a letter pair at the beginning of a phrase, and then having one of them insert it somewhere in the middle).

I'll try to find it in the archives, but there was one puzzle she did several months ago that almost made me tear my hair out in frustration. It was related to nautical themes in some way that I forget, but the theme entries were so arbitrary in how they worked and how they were spelled that I almost just gave up.

Joon said...

chicken tikka MASALA is not only britain's national dish but also the yardstick by which i measure any indian restaurant. dee-lish.

i don't love themes like this, and i guess i agree with mike that the cluing was pretty bland. but i'm not all LIVERISH about it, just underwhelmed.

JaJaJoe said...

Long doing the LAT which I print from http://games.latimes.com/index_crossword...
("LA Clipper" 3/29), here in this new/terrific LACConfidential I instead see "Letters..."
Therefore, reverting to CrosswordFiend,
I see mine and will comment there.

Whoops! to Dave and who-all post so many timely insights on these blogs; ALONG WITH lotsa links and video imbeds enlivening the depth of our word play.