TUESDAY, March 31, 2009 — Steve Dobis

Theme: "The King's Men" — Four theme answers are phrases that start with the words KNIGHT, COUNT, PRINCE, and DUKE.

Hey, everybody. PuzzleGirl here, still comin' at ya from my sickbed. This is getting really old, right? I think I'm just about done with it. At least the staying in bed all day part. Probably not the coughing, headache-y, feel like crap part. But oh well. I heard it's spring out there and I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself. So tomorrow I slam down some Alka-Seltzer Plus, take a shower (there's an idea!) and tough it out. Hoo-rah! (That's me attempting to psych myself up. I know. It's not pretty.)

Crosswordese 101: Today we're going to focus on EER, which is typically clued one of two ways. First, it can be a contraction of ever — e'er — which is found in poetry and means always. In these cases, it will be clued with reference to poetry (e.g., [Eternally, in verse] or [Bard's "always"]). Or, as in today's puzzle, it will be clued as the suffix -eer, which can be tacked onto oh so many words: musket, slogan, auction, market, puppet, profit, pamphlet, convention ... you get the idea. In early week puzzles, the clue will be straightforward like today's 63D: [Musket suffix]. Later in the week, it might be trickified with a question mark clue such as [Market closing?], meaning not "what time the market closes" but "something that can be tacked onto the end of the word market."

Theme answers:
  • 18A: '80s TV series with a talking car named KITT ("Knight Rider"). You know I've been dying for the opportunity to post my picture of me with David Hasselhoff. Finally!
  • 23A: 1943 Triple Crown winner (Count Fleet). Just to let you know this horse was no slouch: Count Fleet held the record for margin of victory at the Belmont Stakes for 30 years — until it was broken in 1973 by Secretariat (a little horse you may have heard of).
  • 36A: England's Charles, since 1958 (Prince of Wales).
  • 54A: "Nothing can stop" him in a 1962 doo-wop classic (Duke of Earl). I really, really, really wanted to find a video clip of my very favorite television scene of all time to share with you, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Does anyone remember this one? NYPD Blue, Season Two, Simone and Sipowicz are on a stakeout and end up singing "Duke of Earl" along with the car radio. Priceless! If any of you know where to find it, please post a link in the comments! In the meantime, enjoy The Alley Cats:

  • 60A: "Louie Louie" singers, and this puzzle's theme (The Kingsmen). Funny that we were talking about Laura Branigan yesterday. In one of those weird, it-doesn't-really-make-any-sense-but-there-it-is things I actually have her connected with this song in my head. I think it goes Laura Branigan's "Gloria" > that other awful "Gloria" song where they just kind of yell and spell it out and sound nonsensical >"Louie Louie," also kind of yelling and nonsensical. Oh and I sometimes get Laura Branigan confused with Karla Bonoff, but you probably don't care about that. (You clearly cared about the other stuff.)
So I'm just gonna run through a couple of the things that jumped out at me and then call it good so I can get a good night's sleep and, with any luck, find the energy to finally make it out of bed tomorrow.

  • 4A: Former Anaheim Stadium NFLer (L.A. Ram). Did you have trouble parsing this one?
  • 9A: Lawn game using lobbed missiles (jarts). Apparently another name for yard darts. Who knew?
  • 26A: Chicago hrs. (CST). Central Standard Time.
  • 35A: It's a wrap (Saran). Cute.
  • 42A: New Zealand native (Maori). Shout-out to Sandy, my favorite Kiwi (which, by the way, is what I wanted this answer to be — but not enough letters!).
  • 53A: Tiny army member (ant). Did you know that Costa Rica doesn't have an army? But they do have army ants.
  • 64A: Miler Sebastian (Coe). Won Olympic gold in the 1500m in 1980 and 1984. Coe is sometimes clued as a college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • 69A: Muffin Man's lane (Drury). This is so weird. I was driving somewhere last week when I saw a Drury Street and thought to myself "Shouldn't that be Drury Lane?"
  • 5D: Son of Valient (Arn). You've been following along with this blog, and this was a gimme for you today, right?
  • 13D: Ukr., before 1991 (SSR). Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • 24D: S&L guarantor (FDIC). Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. It's a good day to know your federal agencies. See also, 31D: FICA funds it (SSA — Social Security Administration) and 38D: Tax collection agcy. (IRS — Internal Revenue Service).
  • 42D: Boston transit inits. (MTA). It guess it's [59A: Nostalgic song] (i.e., OLDIE's) day here on the blog today.

  • 50D: Zany (madcap). Great word.
  • 51D: Melodious passage (arioso). Seems like ARIOSO should be an adjective, but it's a noun.
  • 55D: '80s-'90s quarterback Bernie (Kosar). Never heard of this guy. Tried to find something interesting about him on his Wikipedia page and thought I had something because of a controversy surrounding his eligibility for the NFL draft. Turns out it's not that interesting though. Sorry.
Someone will be here tomorrow. Not sure who, but ... someone.

Everything Else — 1A: St. crosser (AVE); 14A: Fenway team, familiarly (SOX); 15A: Gladiator's battlefield (ARENA); 16A: "__ Gold": Peter Fonda film (ULEES); 17A: Rock music's __ Fighters (FOO); 20A: Increase (ADDTO); 22A: London insurance giant (LLOYDS); 29A: Taqueria offering (TOSTADA); 30A: Mold into a different form (RESHAPE); 33A: Little devil (IMP); 43A: Prefix with cycle (TRI); 44A: Basic ballroom dance (TWOSTEP); 47A: Riddles (ENIGMAS); 56A: Ravel work immortalized in "10" (BOLERO); 65A: Expected to land (DUEIN); 66A: Artist's stand (EASEL); 67A: Venomous reptile (ASP); 68A: Filmdom ogre (SHREK); 70A: +, on a batt. (POS); 1D: To be the truth (ASFACT); 2D: Kind of doll used in magical rites (VOODOO); 3D: Israelites' departure (EXODUS); 4D: Sitting Bull's language (LAKOTA); 6D: Portuguese royal (REI); 7D: Each one in a square is 90 degrees (ANGLE); 8D: Composer Gustav (MAHLER); 9D: Trial twelvesome (JURY); 10D: "Put __ on it!" (ALID); 11D: McCarthy era paranoia (REDSCARE); 12D: Golfer's aid (TEE); 19D: Shopper's bag (TOTE); 21D: Big bang producer (TNT); 25D: Poor, as excuses go (LAME); 27D: Pampering resorts (SPAS); 28D: Gymnast's goal (TEN); 32D: Actor Holbrook (HAL); 34D: Poker kitty (POT); 36D: Small chess piece (PAWN); 37D: Soda in a float (ROOTBEER); 39D: Small point to pick (NIT); 40D: Complimentary (FREE); 41D: Skid row regular (WINO); 45D: Eve's first home (EDEN); 46D: Cleansed (PURGED); 48D: "I wish it could be!" (IFONLY); 49D: Hair stiffener (GEL); 52D: Grabs some shuteye (SLEEPS); 57D: "The Grapes of Wrath" figure (OKIE); 58D: Web cross-reference (LINK); 60D: NFL scores (TDS); 61D: "Say what?" (HUH); 62D: East Lansing sch. (MSU).


Sandy said...

So many things to add:

Jarts? Yard Darts? That sounds ... um... dangerous. Especially as beer is probably invovled.

You are not dissing Patti Smith by chance, are you? Because her Gloria is on Horses, and that is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Does the Earl in Duke of Earl count as part of the theme?

Yes, I had trouble parsing L.A. Rams. Or should I say it didn't occur to me to parse it, because I just assumed he was yet another sportsman I've never heard of.

That photo tops Andrea Carla Michael's picture with Woody Allen. But where's the story? I know there's a story.

I hope you feel better soon.

Rex Parker said...

HA ha. The "Gloria" song you hate was written by Van Morrison when he was with the band Them.

JARTS, holy crap. And COUNT FLEET was totally unknown to me. KOSAR, I knew.

Not too fond of AS FACT. Otherwise, seemed a fine puzzle. Better than today's NYT.


John said...

There was a brouhaha about lawn darts localy some years ago, due to injuries. Either a recall or possibly a ban.

Rex Parker said...


addie loggins said...
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ArtLvr said...

We had a set of Jarts years ago, but I never let the kids use it -- lethal-looking! Might as well have had them try throwing knives, or spears!

Yes, this was much more enjoyable than the NYT. Hope you're feeling like new today, PG, and thanks for keeping up the good work!

Orange said...

You know what's a fraction of the fun of Jarts, but 1,000 times safer? Jorts. (Jean shorts.)

addie loggins said...

I'm amazed (and yet Google confirms) that the "Gloria" song you hate is Van Morrison. I would have guessed the Kinks (I suppose I'm thinking L-O-L-A) or the Clash.

Nice write-up, good solid puzzle. Hope you're feeling better soon.

addie (aka PuzzleSister)

Crosscan said...

Since you started this blog, my LA Times speed is getting quicker and my NYT speed is getting slower. I guess I have a finite ability and it is being reallocated.

Nice puzzle. Get well soon, PuzzleGirl.

hazel said...

Good writeup PG. Hope you get to feeling better too. Then perhaps you could appreciate the ThemVan Morrison song GLORIA. Awful? What?

Thought the puzzle was a very good Tuesday - tight theme and some words I didn't know, namely JARTS, and ARIOSO, some cool words I did know - MADCAP, VOODOO, ROOTBEER - and finally the inexplicable shoutout to the uninteresting KOSAR - who I somehow knew right away, but spelled at first with a Z.

Matt said...

I really enjoyed the fill in this one...EXODUS, TWO-STEP, MAHLER, IF ONLY...lots of fun!

CY said...

The TEN clue (gymnast's goal) is outdated.

mac said...

@PuzzleGirl: tell us more about DH!
Hope you are showered and better.

Nice Tuesday puzzle where I had one mistake: 4D Dakota, 4A Daram. Made complete sense to me, never having heard of Lakota. Kosar? Daram?

I guess I like this one better than the NYT as well. "Enigma" is one of my favorite words. Fun to have the LL at the beginning of 22A.

My sale is starting, Chefbea is bringing me an artichoke square!

Joon said...

weirdly, bernie KOSAR was my favorite football player as a child. why? i have no idea. i'm not from miami (where he played college ball). i'm not from cleveland (where he played pro ball). he wasn't exciting like john elway or clutch like joe montana or rocket-armed like dan marino or even spectacular like randall cunningham. in fact, he was slow as molasses and had an unorthodox side-arm throwing motion that scouts hated. but ... he was smart, and a very effective QB despite his limitations. it's possible that as a kid, i was hyperaware of people who were smart but had no other obvious redeeming qualities, much like my childhood self. okay, now this is definitely getting too introspective, like the "25 random things about me" posted by your friend on facebook that isn't really random at all but just a maudlin exercise in wallowing.

i liked this puzzle. and yes, i think EARL counts. the only things i didn't like about it were ASFACT and the MTA clue, which is (like the TEN clue) out of date; it's the MBTA now, and has been since 1964. although MTA reminds me of the kingston trio, which is pretty close to the puzzle's theme.

CY said...

@mac: it's LA Ram. As in a member of said Los Angeles football team.

mac said...

Thank you, CY, PuzzleGirl explained it. I made a mistake....
Had you heard of Lakota?

Eric said...

Nice write up and, yes, I had the devil of a time parsing LA RAMS and had to go through the alphabet to L before it jumped out at me.
Agree with Rex it was a better puzzle than the NYT today and thank him for putting me on to the LA Times puzzle and your blog.
Love the way you inform about the puzzles as well as comment.
Feel better.

Eric said...

@ Cy. Agree about "ten". More topical would be a dancing with the stars theme maybe.

Karen said...

I was trying to do this one too fast this morning, I missed checking the crosses for DARTS and BTA. However, I too threw down DAKOTA for the Indian language, and thought Daram was just another sports guy I didn't know. When I changed it to LARAM, I still thought it was just another sports guy I didn't know.

Anne said...

I wonder if this is going to turn into a contest, at least among the people who follow both puzzles. If so, put me down for LAT being the better puzzle today, if for nothing else it didn't leave me with Running Bear running through my head. I have never heard of jarts ever. And I made one error. I have heard of Lakota, but figured Dakota was right and Daram was yet another sports figure.

Orange said...

Anne, I don't at all like the idea of declaring a daily winner. I've been blogging the NYT, LAT, and other puzzles daily for years. I'm fine with praising one that's great, but declaring a loser isn't nice, is it?

Plus, the playing field isn't level. The NYT pays $200 per puzzle, vs. soon-to-be $85 (up from $60) for the LAT. Many constructors will send their best work to Will Shortz first, hoping for the added money and prestige. Which is not to say that the LAT puzzles are inferior—it's a testament to Rich Norris's skills and collegiality that the puzzles he publishes are almost all NYT-worthy creations despite the much lower paycheck he can offer.

James said...

The interesting about Bernie Kosar is that he, being from Ohio, actually wanted to play for the Cleveland Brown at a time when they were absolutely dreadful ... well, maybe just interesting to me. :)

So as you might have guessed, LARAM finally came to me (but not initially), and I had heard of LAKOTA.

And COUNTFLEET was one of the horses in a Kentucky Derby table game I played as a child ... Whirlaway, Gallant Fox, Citation and Seabiscuit were others.

the redanman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I like Bernie Kosar, too. Just because he always wanted to play for Cleveland and he got his boyhood dream! ( I also like Cleveland --- Great symphony, art museum). No, I am a Chicagoan. Nice to see him make a puzzle --much better than Vinnie Teataverdi.

chefbea said...

I too had daram and dakota. I knew jarts .

And speaking of horses... when I went to Mac's house this afternoon I had to wait at the driveway because there were two ladies riding horses on the trail in front of the house. And when I left I saw a wild turkey crossing the road.

Thanks Mac for the delicious tea.

Anonymous said...

Great write-up, PuzzleGirl. I hope that you feel better. Great old-school pic of you, someone and The Hoff.

I tried to think of what's interesting about Bernie Kosar for non-football fans. John Elway kept him out of the Super Bowl with "The Drive," but that might not cut it. My initial thought was, "What's not interesting about Kosar?"

SethG said...

I once set up a "picture" of The Hoff as a co-worker's desktop pattern. It was the picture which I'll link to here, but let me give you a strong warning that it's not meant for the faint of heart (or for people using their work computers). Anyway, it's here. I'm gonna ask my state's governor to declare July 17, DH's birthday, a holiday.

I don't track my LAT record times, but I was definitely relatively really fast today. Everything that people didn't know, I did.

Go Steelers!

Orange said...

Seth, aaaaaaagh! Your warning was not strong enough!

I'm still waiting for PuzzleGirl to reveal the sordid truth behind her photo op with the Hoff. Good gravy, I hope you didn't hassle the Hoff, PG.

Bill from NJ said...

I think Bernie Kosar's only claim to fame is the fact that he is Jewish. Jewish QBs are rare as hen's steeth and if there is another one, I don't recall his name. If another Commenter knows of one , please advise.

Anonymous said...

In the now ...

Amazing how many times I saw "Small CHEESE piece" and thought, "Pawn?" I do that a lot. I used to laugh at the safety hoopla surrounding Jarts when I was young - thought you must be a real idiot to get hurt by one of those - but people did, regularly. They started making them with bean bags instead of points on the end. Not as much fun. I'm only into This for a little over a year now but am really noticing a difference bewteen the NYT and LAT puzzles. Can't quite qualify it but am interested to hear what others think.

- - Robert

mac said...

That's a freaky little clip, Seth. As usual, where do you find this stuff? This warrants an eeeeeeek! Or ick.

Joon said...

jay fiedler is jewish. so is sage rosenfels, who is actually a pretty good QB when he's not trying to leap over three colts defenders. going back a ways, hall of famer sid luckman of the 1940s chicago bears dynasty is jewish. i'd say bernie kosar is the 2nd best jewish QB of all time, but you might get some argument from benny friedman fans.

*David* said...

I'm surprised no one linked to the drunk Hasselhoff video taken by his darling daughter. As an Angeleno, LA RAM was a gimme. Still no football team, now they're talking about adding a game to the football season and rotating it through LA.

Let's here it for the FOO fighters!
I don't like the lack of love for Bernie KOSAR, he was a great college player and quite competent in the NFL.