MONDAY, May 18, 2009 — Dan Naddor

THEME: "R and B" (55D: Music genre suitable for this puzzle's theme) — four theme answers are all two-word phrases where the first word starts with "R" and the second with "B"

Weirdly thin theme today — actually took me a couple of seconds at the end of the puzzle to find the short theme answers (8 letters long each). Weirdly (again) all the theme answers are edible / potable, though the theme itself, "R &B," has nothing to do with food or drink. None of the theme answers are very interesting. The word I associate with BRISKET is "beef," not ROAST. In fact, a ROAST is a "beef" dish in its own right. Not that I know much about it — I mostly don't eat meat — but the phrase feels ... if not inaccurate, then just off.

Theme answers:
  • 22A: Pastrami sandwich choice (rye bread)
  • 27A: Mexican side dish (refried beans)
  • 48A: Beef for a Sunday dinner (roast brisket)
  • 56A: Float soft drink (root beer) — Love it. When I drink it, I prefer Boylan brand root beer. Dear Boylan, please feel free to send me a crate of your ROOT BEER in appreciation for this free plug.

I had a couple of trouble spots today, most notably the parallel craziness of KENNER (4D: Original Easy-Bake Oven toy company) and ZOEY (21D: "_____ 101": Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon sitcom). I remember the Easy-Bake Oven, but not KENNER. As for ZOEY ... she really needs to learn to spell her name. I had ZOE ... and considered "ZOE'S 101" — ??? If you google "ZOEY," this show is the first thing that comes up. Not a common spelling, I gather. I also had a hiccup at 23D: Newborn (BABY), where I wrote in "BABE" (the phrase "newborn babe" sounded right) and then caught myself looking at some company I've never heard of starting EAH ... EAHOO!? Oh, right, YAHOO. And thus BABY.

Crosswordese 101: ATARI (54D: Video game pioneer) — one of the most common five-letter words in all of CrossWorld due to its high percentage of vowels and its exceedingly desirable terminal "I." When I was a kid, there were two major gaming systems: ATARI and Intellivision. We had the latter, which was supposed to be more sophisticated or something. I have no idea. All I know is that I wore that machine out. First game I ever played (Christmas morning, either 1978 or 1979) was Intellivision Baseball. Super-pixelated men running around in a completely unlifelike manner, and I Loved it. We would play Intellivision games well into the mid-80s (I liked the Winter Olympics game, and my sister was particularly fond of something called "Lock 'n' Chase"). Anyhoo, ATARI. Yeah. It's everywhere.

  • 45A: Granddaddy of digital computers (ENIAC) — Man, "granddaddy" looks crazy written outlike that. So many "D"s....
  • 6D: Bonanza rock (ORE) — Not a dance they did on "Bonanza."
  • 53D: Peter, pumpkinwise (EATER) — By far my favorite clue of this, or any, Monday.

  • 64D: Part of MP: Abbr. (MIL) — Oh, Military Police. I was thinking of Minister of Parliament and therefore had MIN here for a bit.
See you on Friday.


Everything Else — 1A: Fastener pressed with a thumb (TACK); 5A: Be successful (GO FAR); 10A: Five-star general Bradley (OMAR); 14A: Had on (WORE); 15A: Cara of "Fame" (IRENE); 16A: Flower holder (VASE); 17A: Monopoly token (IRON); 18A: Enjoys a novel (READS); 19A: Lake not far from Niagara Falls (ERIE); 20A: Poem division (STANZA); 22A: Pastrami sandwich choice (RYE BREAD); 24A: Rise from the runway (TAKE OFF); 26A: Yeah's opposite (NAH); 27A: Mexican side dish (REFRIED BEANS); 33A: Revolutionary Guevara (CHE); 36A: Long (for) (YEARN); 37A: Internet giant that recently fought Microsoft's hostile takeover attempt (YAHOO); 38A: 50% (HALF); 40A: Trivial, as talk (SMALL); 42A: Four-legged Oz traveler (TOTO); 43A: New York's __ Island (ELLIS); 45A: Granddaddy of digital computers (ENIAC); 47A: Strong desire (YEN); 48A: Beef for a Sunday dinner (ROAST BRISKET); 51A: Ben-__ (HUR); 52A: Like decades (TEN-YEAR); 56A: Float soft drink (ROOT BEER); 61A: Layers (STRATA); 62A: Gumbo vegetable (OKRA); 63A: Model Campbell (NAOMI); 65A: __ angle: obliquely (AT AN); 66A: Jai __ (ALAI); 67A: Sci-fi robot (DROID); 68A: Unlikely class president (NERD); 69A: Teen hangout (MALL); 70A: Joint above the foot (ANKLE); 71A: Chicago daily, familiarly (TRIB); 1D: Chubby Checker's dance craze (TWIST); 2D: Major artery (AORTA); 3D: Toad's sound (CROAK); 4D: Original Easy-Bake Oven toy company (KENNER); 5D: Tallest animals (GIRAFFES); 6D: Bonanza rock (ORE); 7D: Phobia (FEAR); 8D: Artist Warhol (ANDY); 9D: Transmit again (RESEND); 10D: Break down due to lack of coolant, as an auto (OVERHEAT); 11D: Stallion's mate (MARE); 12D: Most of Turkey is in it (ASIA); 13D: Film critic Rex (REED); 21D: "__ 101": Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon sitcom (ZOEY); 23D: Newborn (BABY); 25D: Drafter of the Constitution, e.g. (FRAMER); 28D: Persian, today (IRANI); 29D: Sign up (ENLIST); 30D: Sailor's cry (AHOY); 31D: Brief bit of correspondence (NOTE); 32D: Before long (SOON); 33D: Sonny's singing partner (CHER); 34D: Angel's ring (HALO); 35D: Fitzgerald of jazz (ELLA); 39D: Skid, as a car's rear end (FISHTAIL); 41D: Summer cottage site (LAKESIDE); 44D: Ticket tear-off (STUB); 46D: Part of a dollar (CENT); 49D: Country singer __ Lee (BRENDA); 50D: Despot (TYRANT); 53D: Peter, pumpkinwise (EATER); 54D: Video game pioneer (ATARI); 55D: Music genre suitable for this puzzle's theme (R AND B); 56D: Go here and there (ROAM); 57D: Neighbor of Tex. (OKLA); 58D: Kind of agreement (ORAL); 59D: Merit (EARN); 60D: Corner chess piece (ROOK); 64D: Part of MP: Abbr. (MIL).


toothdoc said...

As a tweener parent, Zoey was easy. Actually, there are a lot of Disney/Nick Channel shows that would be good crossword fill. Otherwise, just your normal Monday puzzle.

Have a great week everyone.

Denise said...

I agree about brisket, and I also think that a deli clerk wouldn't wait for you to say "bread" after "rye."

I have begun to time myself. It's a different experience. I used to just sort of wander through the words and enjoy them -- now I am feeling competitive!

Grannie found a sport!

Orange said...

Pumpkinwise, I'm neutral.

Speaking of BABY, it was Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney's little sister, who was the star of Zoey 101—the one who left the show when she got pregnant.

I had not noticed the tightness of the theme, the "all food, all the time" aspect. I should've known Dan Naddor wouldn't stoop to a mere "unrelated phrases that start with ___" theme.

gjelizabeth said...

Started off with a SNAP for 1A and then momentarily tried to make Chubby Checker responsible for the STOMP on 1D. I do like the theme reveal in the very bottom right corner. As to BRISKET, do people actually roast it? I know it only as a boiled cut. Thank you Dan for a pleasant Monday morning.

*David* said...

Mistakes included FATHER for FRAMER and POL for MIL otherwise I just meandered through the puzzle getting the theme before I filled any of the theme answers. I like to try and fill in the puzzle differently on the easy puzzles for a change of pace.

Didn't do much for me but I did remember KENNER and that oven.

Mike said...

Sped through this like no tomorrow. Under four minutes is always good for me, and here I came close to 3:10, which is my record for a Monday.

Even though I totally agree with Rex that the theme seems thin, I still enjoyed it when I got to the RANDB answer; it actually threw me off for a second. And I'm in complete agreement with Rex as to the EATER clue; one of my favorite clues in a long time.

@Denise, welcome to the fabulous word of speed solving! I switched to solving for time about six months ago, and haven't looked back since. It's a great way to check your progress, and it makes you so much better at recognizing patterns and common words.

Also, once you get comfortable solving puzzles quickly, try doing a crossword in public, preferably in pen and in a crowded place, and get ready to have people stare at you in amazement; it'll make you feel really cool. :)

Greene said...

KENNER Toys. Whatever happened to that company? My sister had an EZ Bake Oven. Nothing says good eatin' quite like doughy cookies cooked under a lightbulb. I think KENNER also made the spirograph which must have been one of the most frustrating toys ever. Didn't they have some kind of bird mascot for their commercials that squawked the slogan; something like, "It's Kenner. It's Fun!"?

I enjoyed this puzzle. Easy theme, easy clues, and I've finally learned how to spell ENIAC. I've wanted to spell it with a K for the longest time.

Bring on Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

Do you really eat brisket on Sunday? Lots of need--YEARN and YEN.

chefbea said...

What a great puzzle!! Pastrami on rye, refried beans,roast brisket, okra, all cooked in my easy bake oven, and then washed down with a rootbeer float. So now everyone has 2 menus to chose from for dinner at my house tonight. Dinner is at 7

John C. said...

I had MEM for "Part of MP" -- doesn't the parliamentary abbreviation stand for Member of Parliament rather than Minister of Parliament? In any case, both were clearly wrong in this instance, which resulted in a time just over 4:00, rather than below.

imsdave said...

Solid Monday. Never saw most of the down clues. I picked up the theme with ROAST BRISKET just because that sounded so odd (I always braise it).

@Chefbea - I'll be having the LAT menu if that's OK.

mac said...

Easy puzzle, I did it mostly downs only, except for the Kenner and Brenda spots, needed some crosses there.

@imsdave: you are absolutely right, brisket is never roasted, would turn out very tough and dry. I would braise it, too.

I don't even have to fly to Chefbea's!

chefbea said...

I will be braising the brisket in a nice oniony broth.
Just finished cleaning the tops of the tubers which I bought the other day at the farmers market so we can have them along with the brisket etc.

PuzzleGirl said...

I had the same babe/baby issue. No problem with Zoey though. Not a big fan of that show. I'm more of an iCarly girl. I have a vivid memory of receiving an EZ Bake Oven and a Mrs. Beasley doll for my birthday one year.

Nice, smooth puzzle.

*David* said...

@JohnC That would be MPs (Military Police) looking for someone who went AWOL.

Anonymous said...

@ChefB - no brisket in my fridge so have to suffice with ham, escalloped potatoes and peas (all my husband's favs. Lately he has had me baking sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies for him. Yummy but have to watch my expanding waistline - yikes.
@ Rex - also love Rootbeer floats but we only have Barq's or A&W down in the islands.
Puzzle was easy but got stuck in middle - put enroll instead of enlist, and didn't know Eniac either but my brother helped with that one. Took me a while to figure out that the music clue was R and B and not RAND B. What a jerk I was. Being a somewhat novice to puzzles I get thrown easily looking for a one-word answer instead of a two-word answer. Oh well, I shall learn. Have a great night.

chefbea said...

@lynda I have a great recipe for cookies made with cheerios!!! yummmy. E-mail me and I will send it to you. I assure you your husband will love them

Anonymous said...

One of my mother's staples when I was growing up was brisket roast, and that's what she called it.

John C. said...

@*David*: Oh, I know that now. I was referring to Rex's comment that he initially took "MP" to mean Minister of Parliament and thus filled in MIN.

Rex Parker said...

@anon 3:30,

So BRISKET ROAST ... not ROAST BRISKET? That ... makes a difference, given today's theme.

Must go eat Chinese food now.


Lemonade714 said...

How about a nice corned beef brisket to have with your patrami sandwich? Do I hear Ruben, Ruben I've been thinking what a fine wrold it would be...Rachel, Rachel...

Myron said...

I think this might be the first time I've broken 3 minutes since I started timing myself: 2:52.97. Not bad at all.