5.26.2009

TUESDAY, May 26, 2009 — Fred Jackson III


Theme: Musical Girls — Theme answers are four musical titles that contain a woman's name.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: 1948 Porter musical inspired by "The Taming of the Shrew" ("KISS ME KATE").
  • 26A: 1925 musical that spawned the unsuccessful "Yes, Yes, Yvette" ("NO NO NANETTE").
  • 44A: 1953 musical with the song "No Other Love" ("ME AND JULIET").
  • 56A: 1964 musical starring Carol Channing ("HELLO DOLLY").
Crosswordese 101: Back in 1997, there was this movie about this grandfather who kept bees. His name was ULEE (short for Ulysses) and from that day forward, ULEE and crossword puzzles lived happily ever after.


Ya know who loved this puzzle? Greene did. Me? I thought it was pretty cool too, but "Hello Dolly" was the only gimme for me in the theme answers. I'm guessing Greene didn't have much trouble with any of them. I had trouble with some of the question-mark clues and wonder if you did too:
  • 40A: First mother? (EVE). Why is there a question mark here? To me, the question mark indicates that the clue (or part of the clue) is an idiom but that the solver needs to think of the clue literally to come up with the answer. In this case, what is the non-literal meaning of "First mother"? I mean, I get it that Eve may or may not have been the first mother depending on your particular belief system, but for the question mark to work, the clue needs to be "First lady?" Don't you think? Because "first lady" actually means something other than literally the first woman that ever existed.
  • 64A: Wisdom unit? (PEARL). Here again, the phrase is "pearl of wisdom," so what does the question mark mean? A pearl of wisdom isn't an actual, physical unit that you can hold in your hand, but it's still a unit, right? Does "wisdom unit" have another meaning that I just don't know about?
  • 50D: Puts in stitches (SEWS). So why doesn't this one have a question mark? "Put in stitches" is an idiomatic expression meaning "amuse," but in this case, you need to think of literal stitches, which leads to the correct answer. What the heck am I missing today??
Bit parts:
  • 20A: Hose reaching to the patella (KNEESOCK). I really thought this was going for a part of the body shaped like a hose (intestine? vein?). Ewwww.
  • 22A: Race of Norse gods (AESIR). I always get this word confused with "aegis." Totally different thing.
  • 24A: 007 et al.: Abbr. (AGTS). Me: "Spies? Too long .... Spys? That's not an abbreviation."
  • 36A: Make cents (MINT). Sometimes I hate cute clues, sometimes I love them. This one, I love.
  • 39A: Casanova (ROUE). So many awesome synonyms: cad, knave, libertine, rascal, miscreant, scoundrel, and (perhaps best of all) rake.
  • 48A: Eye, in Paris (OEIL). I only know this from the French phrase "trompe l'oeil" (literally "trick the eye") which basically means "optical illusion."
  • 61A: Typeface type (ARIAL). This is my go-to typeface. It doesn't have any of those distracting serifs.
  • 5D: 1860s-'80s territory on the Canadian border (DAKOTA). This took me a ridiculously long time to figure out considering I'm, ya know, from there.
  • 7D: Port container (CASK). Port = wine.
  • 10D: Football feints (JUKES). Never heard this word before. I know that hockey feints are called dekes though. Learned it from crosswords.
  • 13D: One dealing in futures? (SEER). See, these one makes sense. The phrase "one dealing in futures" makes you think of a stockbroker, right? But in this case, you need to think of the word "futures" as, literally, "what's going to happen," which leads you to SEER.
  • 28D: Sextet plus three (NONET). Just what it says: a sextet is a group of six, a nonet is a group of nine.
  • 30D: Native New Zealander (MAORI). Hi, Sandy!
  • 38D: Pitchers' stats (ERAS). Earned Run Averages. The average number of runs a pitcher who did not pitch a full nine innings would have given up if he had pitched a full game.
  • 42D: Hall of Famer Aparicio (LUIS). Don't even know what sport this is, but I'm going to guess baseball. ... Yes! He played for the White Sox, the Orioles, and the Red Sox.
  • 51D: Online journal (BLOG). Hope you're enjoying our online journal!
  • 53D: Nuts or crackers? (LOCO). Again, this question mark makes perfect sense. Oh, and I love this clue.
  • 54D: Reverse, on an edit menu (UNDO). Do you remember a TV ad a few years back where some co-workers emailed something offensive and then were frantically searching for the "unsend" button?
  • 57D: Skip, as stones (DAP). Ne-Ever heard this word before. The puzzle data base shows it's been used a total of six times in the New York Times and L.A. Times puzzles since 1997, so I don't feel bad about not knowing it.
Everything Else — 1A: Puzzle with blind alleys (MAZE); 5A: Prepared, as hash (DICED); 10A: Some blue birds (JAYS); 14A: "Tosca" tune (ARIA); 15A: __ worse than death (A FATE); 16A: Beekeeper played by Peter Fonda (ULEE); 17A: Family guys (SONS); 23A: Numbers to crunch (DATA); 30A: Auto speed letters (MPH); 33A: One way to read (ALOUD); 34A: Maned Oz visitor (LION); 35A: It's often framed (ART); 37A: Lifts with effort (HEFTS); 41A: Atmospheric prefix (AERI); 42A: Christmas song leapers (LORDS); 43A: Stage scenery (SET); 47A: Auction calls (BIDS); 49A: Comparably large (AS BIG); 52A: Fraternal group, familiarly (ELKS CLUB); 59A: Excellent (A-ONE); 60A: Furry "Star Wars" critter (EWOK); 62A: Some watch faces (LCDS); 63A: Texting exchanges: Abbr. (MSGS); 65A: Ill-gotten gains (LOOT); 1D: Identity hider (MASK); 2D: Elvis __ Presley (ARON); 3D: Fan mag, e.g. (ZINE); 4D: Let go tactfully (EASED OUT); 6D: "... assuming it's doable" (IF I CAN); 8D: Aliens, for short (ETS); 9D: Obama or FDR (DEM); 11D: "Unhappily ..." (ALAS); 12D: Rumored Himalayan (YETI); 19D: Gobbled up (EATEN); 21D: Hourglass flow (SAND); 24D: Bickering (AT IT); 25D: Pontiac muscle cars (GTOS); 26D: Tom, Dick and Harry, e.g. (NAMES); 27D: Martini garnish (OLIVE); 29D: Fairylike (ELFIN); 31D: Fuddy-duddy (PRUDE); 32D: Explosive '50s trial (H-TEST); 37D: Obey (HEED); 39D: Attendance check (ROLL CALL); 41D: Cisco, to Pancho (AMIGO); 45D: Register single (DOLLAR); 46D: Stevenson's ill-fated doctor (JEKYLL); 47D: Swindles (BILKS); 49D: Interrupter's sound (AHEM); 52D: "East of Eden" director Kazan (ELIA); 55D: Cream of the crop (BEST); 58D: Miners dig it (ORE).

30 comments:

Orange said...

Outside of crosswords, I've never heard anyone call skipping stones "dapping." These days, DAP is another name for the fist bump.

Carol said...

Breezed through this as if it were a Monday! Only musical I hadn't heard of was "Me and Juliet." Yes, I'm over 60.

Would like to readdress the typing issue of the other day. Appreciated both Rex's comment and the history lesson from "anonymous."

I still maintain that entering data into a computer in today's business offices is called keying it in. If you make a mistake or the data changes you "rekey" it. "Retyping" it is as obsolete as the CRT! Call composing at the computer typing, writing, or whatever you want, the clue was reentering data.

OK 'nuf said. I'll shut up already.

Love this blog and read it every day.

Denise said...

Love those Broadway musicals!! Will I ever learn to spell that French eye??

Sandy said...

Dap?? Myabe someone out there will be Shocked, Just Shocked, that I've never heard of it, but I'm glad that person won't be either PG or Orange.

I have a Maori middle name, but I'm not Maori. I'm what NZers call "pakeha," or European.

Thanks for sharing your "?" concerns. They (your concerns) seem totally valid.

*David* said...

Musicals aren't my cup o' tea so it slowed me down a bit even though I had heard of three of them. DAP was a new one for me. Really liked ELFIN and JUKE, which we used to use a lot in college, mainly in reference to pick-up basketball games and a nice move to the basket leaving the defender behind.

I didn't like the clue for LION as Maned Oz visitor. I always thought of the lion as a native of Oz, now TOTO on the other hand....

Crosscan said...

Hello, PuzzleGirl. Well, hello, PuzzleGirl. Its so nice to have you back where you belong...

@Sandy: I'm shocked, just shocked!, that you've never heard of DAP.

Neither have I.

Liked it.

Mike said...

Cute puzzle. For some reason, I thought that the clues were going to be silly and would cue puns or something based on the actual musicals, but nope; way more straightforward than that. I guess I still can't believe there was a follow-up to No, No, Nanette, much less one called Yes, Yes, Yvette. :)

Greene said...

@PUZZLEGIRL: Yes...Greene like puzzle. Yes...Greene knew all the shows: even Me and Juliet, which is perhaps the most bizarre of all the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals (and one of the most unsuccessful). The show was a backstager and was intended to realistically portray the lives of theatre people involved in the day to day workings of a hit show. It apparently had everything going for it, other than the lack of a compelling story or a first-rate score. Critics of the day expressed disappointment and audiences stayed away resulting in a respectable, but decidedly brief, run through the 1953-54 season. The tour died in Chicago and there was no movie sale, so something clearly was wrong. Acutally the show is very professional and actually rather amusing. It just had the misfortune of coming on the heels of South Pacific and The King and I. C'mon, nobody hits a homerun every time at bat.

Incidentally, while I got Me and Juliet soley off the clue with no crosses, this is a highly arcane entry for a Tuesday puzzle. I doubt even most dyed-in-the-wool Rodgers and Hammerstein lovers know this flop.

mac said...

My first thought also was: Greene is going to like this!

I liked the puzzle, especially elfin, bilks and roue, and learned a few new words, dap and jukes. Am I imagining it or is the LAT puzzle getting tougher? That's a good thing!

janie said...

two bonuses, too:

-- [stage scenery] SET, and

-- [tom, dick and harry, e.g.] NAMES

"every tom, dick and harry" is a song from KISSMEKATE...

;-)

Rex Parker said...

EASED OUT makes little to no sense to me, and is part of the reason I was 4+ minutes on this one. Had EASED UP... no fit ... then EASED OFF. Does "let go" mean "fired," and if so ... hmm, "tactfully." What's the opposite? Shouting "you're fired!" in front of someone's colleagues?

Heard of DAP but still needed every cross. Never heard of ME AND JULIET. Still, an OK Tuesday.

rp

chefbea said...

I knew dap. Had a natick moment at the E in Jukes/aesir. Never heard those words.

Wanted knee high for knee sock.

All in all a melodic Tuesday puzzle

Greene said...

@Janie: You can stretch the bonus even further. PEARL Baily was a major star replacement for Channing in the original production of Hello Dolly. And if you really want to stretch the theme, Stevenson's novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was musicalized as Jekyll & Hyde in 1997.

jimmy d said...

I see your points about the "?"s after the clues for EVE and PEARL, but I think they would have been worse without the question marks... for the same reasons you listed.

Also, anyone who has played Madden football on PlayStation can tell you that the trigger buttons are JUKE buttons...they will make your running back cut suddenly to left or right...leaving the defender five yards bahind you, looking bewildered =)

Also...I thought the hose / patella clue was a little 'BEQ' for a national puzzle!

Anonymous said...

my crossword dictionary had Vanir as the race of Norse Gods-messed it up for me.

Orange said...

Anon, I think you need a different crossword dictionary, one that isn't going to give you words like VANIR that haven't appeared in quality crosswords in years. I've never encountered that word, though the dictionary tells me they're allies of the Aesir and function as fertility gods. (And I'm paying attention because when I pronounce something to be horribly obscure, I inevitably encounter it in a subsequent puzzle.)

Anonymous said...

isn't elvis' middle name spelled with TWO "a" ?

Anonymous said...

Lynda RN said....
Can never get signed on so will use anonymous for now with my name. I wanted to put kneehigh for hose. Having worn kneesocks in highschool, I never considered them hose. Learned a few new ones today, oeil, roue, jukes, aesir. Got Jays but wanted to put Jocks for the down so it took awhile and my mom's help and PG's help to finsh up this fun puzzle. So tell me this - does anyone do these puzzles without using dictionaries, google, or other help. rp what about you? I try to and only result to help after I am ready to quit. Have seen a lot of Broadway Musicals but wasn't old enough for Me and Juliet. Thanks Greene for the explanation.
See you all Wednesday,
LyndaRN

humorlesstwit said...

@LyndaRN

Some don't need help, some need but refuse help, some just get help. I personally seek out help on Friday/Saturday when I'm stuck in a quadrant where one answer may open things up for me.

My personal criteria is whether googling for a clue will enable me to progress further, or to just to fill in an area. I seek out answers I don't know as an effort to learn, not to complete a puzzle. I've gotten much better by letting the puzzle stew in front of me rather than going for outside sources too quickly, but sometimes I need them.

We do this for fun. Do it the way it's most fun.

Anonymous said...

LyndaRN said
@humorlesstwit
Thanks for the info. I do it for fun and work with my Mom over the phone before we go for help.
See you tomorrow.
Lynda RN

Rex Parker said...

LyndaRN,

No help, ever. I have been that way since ... well, since I began. Since the days when Wednesday puzzles posed a real challenge and the idea that I'd ever solve a Saturday puzzle seemed like a joke. Admittedly, that was pre-to-early internet era, so it just wasn't as easy to look stuff up. But usu. I was solving in a paper in a cafe with no resources around. So I finished or I didn't. The way I got better was committing to spending as much time as it took to solve a puzzle. Patience and tenacity, not outside help, made me into the pretty good solver that I am today. Some people don't have, or don't care to have, that kind of patience and tenacity - and why should they? Different people have different priorities.

rp

janie said...

>@Janie: You can stretch the bonus even further.

i like the way you think, greene -- thx!

;-)

Anonymous said...

@Puzzlegirl: you said that dap has been in six puzzles since 1997...is there some secret puzzle word search function that I don't know about or were you just making it up?

-Fritz

Charles Bogle said...

I too liked this puzzle a lot--much more than yesterday's--and would have finished it too but for fatal errors in the middle east-

Eg, I had RAKE for Casanova-didn't know a ROUE. And, instead of JULIET, I peculiarly guessed it would be JULIUS. It almost worked too, 'cept I had POKDU for Fuddy-Duddy and ROI for sometimes framed-must have been thinking of guillotined French kings

Live and learn!

Loved PEARL for wisdom unit;NONET near No No Nanette. More time went into constructing this little gem than meets the eye

Have no prob w EASED OUT- sad act of corporate America, slowly stripping one's sense of purpose

I'm beginning to see some three and four letter words recurring w some frequency. ARON. ORE. GTOS.but like others here, never heard or saw of DAP!

sasesqretd said...

"Me and Juliet" was one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's less popular shows (although it ran for almost a year). The star was Isabel Bigley who was the original Sister Sarah in "Guys and Dolls." She did not play Juliet who is not the major female role in the show. It's certainly far more obscure than any of the other musicals in the puzzle. I knew it, because I am a Broadway Baby! Never heard of "dap." Love your blog! Read it every day.

Joon said...

hey, we were talking about norse mythology and i missed it? nuts.

the VANIR are definitely a little bit less important than the AESIR (and not just because of their lower vowel content). the way i learned it, they were sworn enemies, but eventually made peace by trading hostages. the vanir sent the sea god njord and his children frey and freya to the aesir. the latter two are among the most important norse gods, although njord himself isn't. i don't think i could name any of the other vanir.

there's kind of an awesome story (involving decapitation) about the hostages who went the other way, but instead of regaling you all, i'll just post the link.

mac said...

@Joon: thank you, that was a very interesting bit of information!

Gary Lowe said...

@anon 6:22 :
The puzzle database is a huge computer called "CRUZIAC" located in a secret place in NYC, maintained by Will Shortz and Rich Norris (who are actually the same person). It is said to house every puzzle and clue ever written, but some feel it contains all future puzzles as well - hence the code name "inmon", abbr for "infinite number of monkeys.

There's a secret portal at CRUCIVERB.COM that costs 35 bucks to see into the past. Futures are protected, and can only be accessed by Will/Rich, and the current and past presidents/veeps.

Orange said...

Zowie! Gary Lowe cracked the secret cabal.

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