6.05.2009

FRIDAY, June 5, 2009—Gareth Bain


THEME: "ET TU" (59D: Famous last words (and homophonically, a hint to this puzzle's theme)) — "ET" is added to the first word of familiar (-ish) two-word phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued, "?"-style; thus every answer contains the familiar phrase and "ET, TOO"

Tougher than most LAT puzzles have been for me lately, primarily because of trouble with two of the base phrases in the theme answers. I have never heard of JUNK DNA. I'm looking it up now.

Junk DNA

n.

DNA that does not code for proteins or their regulation but constitutes approximately 95 percent of the human genome. It is postulated to be involved in the evolution of new genes and possibly in gene repair.

Huh ... doesn't sound like "JUNK." Anyway, the phrase JUNKET DNA doesn't do much for me, comedically. A BASSET SOLO, on the other hand, is an inherently funny idea, but BASS SOLO is an iffy base phrase. It's no more cohesive than [any instrument] SOLO. I'd give you GUITAR SOLO or DRUM SOLO, and maybe VIOLIN SOLO, but the other instruments, while they may be used in solos, really can't pull off a [blank] SOLO phrase. All the other theme phrases seem to work nicely enough. I've seen this "add-ET" theme before, maybe clued via aliens or something? "Alien Invasion" would be a nice title for such a puzzle. Copyright! Dibs!

Theme answers:
  • 19A: Genetic coding for an official legislative trip? (JUNKET DNA)
  • 23A: NASA scrapheap? (ROCKET HEAP)
  • 51A: Long-eared dog's performance? (BASSET SOLO)
  • 58A: Young hen's bar bill? (PULLET TAB)
  • 2D: Horn section? (CORNET ROW)
  • 34D: Dance after getting a shock from an outlet? (SOCKET HOP)
Crosswordese 101: KEA (61A: Mauna _____) — I can't believe we haven't covered the KEA/LOA dilemma yet, but we haven't, so here it is. These two volcanoes are part of the five that make up the Island of Hawaii. You will see LOA more often in crosswords, if only because "L" is more common than "K." LOA is active, KEA is dormant. LOA is the largest volcano in the world measured by total area covered. KEA would be the highest mountain in the world if you measured it from its base at the ocean floor (higher than Everest). To my many crossword crusades (see my "critter" crusade from a few days ago), I would like to add my crusade to have the New Zealand parrot meaning of KEA become more common. The KEA is indeed a common bird in New Zealand. Beautiful parrots that are as common as pigeons in some parts of the South Island I've been to. So please consider cluing KEA as a New Zealand parrot next time you make a puzzle with KEA in it — thank you.

What else?
  • 16A: Florida home of golf's WGC-CA Championship (DORAL) — Considered CORAL for a bit. Glad that WGCCA wasn't the answer. WTF?
  • 29A: Mo. in which the Civil War began (APR.) — About the weirdest clue for APR I've ever seen.
  • 62A: Larry Flynt concern, briefly (PORNO) — I don't think of "Hustler" as PORNO, exactly, but I see that LFP (Larry Flynt Productions) does indeed produce pornographic films, so ... there.
  • 6D: Man with many voices (BLANC) — Aargh. Good one. I had the terminal "C" and went with MIMIC.
  • 38D: Hip-hopper Elliott (MISSY) — She seems to have dropped off the radar. She was huge in the late 90s / early 00s, primarily because of her outlandish, freaky videos.


  • 50D: Partner of breaks (ENTERS) — Awkward. He breaks, he enters! Is "breaks and ENTERS" a phrase one is apt to use? The "S" just muffs things up here.
Enjoy the weekend.

~Rex

Everything Else — 1A: Bank holding: Abbr. (ACCT.); 5A: Village Voice awards (OBIES); 10A: Place to wear a coat (LAB); 13A: Parting of the Pacific? (ALOHA); 14A: They help form joints (ULNAE); 15A: Loved, with "up" (ATE); 16A: Florida home of golf's WGC-CA Championship (DORAL); 17A: Jazz great Art (TATUM); 18A: Columnist Hentoff (NAT); 19A: Genetic coding for an official legislative trip? (JUNKET DNA); 21A: It's shaken out (SALT); 22A: __ Spiegel: German magazine (DER); 23A: NASA scrapheap? (ROCKET PILE); 26A: Verboten (TABOO); 28A: Organic compound (ENOL); 29A: Mo. in which the Civil War began (APR.); 31A: Hercules' neighbor (LYRA); 33A: Inventor friend of Henry Ford (EDISON); 37A: Ruth's mother-in-law (NAOMI); 39A: H.S. VIPs (SRS); 41A: Set things right (ATONE); 42A: A member of, as a gang (IN WITH); 44A: "Take __!" (THAT); 46A: Cry near the ears? (CAW); 47A: Blacksmith's item (SHOE); 49A: "Eight Days __" (A WEEK); 51A: Long-eared dog's performance? (BASSET SOLO); 55A: Pic source (NEG.); 57A: Large group (ARMY); 58A: Young hen's bar bill? (PULLET TAB); 61A: Mauna __ (KEA); 62A: Larry Flynt concern, briefly (PORNO); 64A: Self-conscious laugh (TEHEE); 65A: Funny pair? (ENS); 66A: Give the boot (EVICT); 67A: Fairy tale threat (TROLL); 68A: Sound of support (RAH); 69A: Places for guards (GATES); 70A: Org. with carriers (USPS); 1D: Audibly (ALOUD); 2D: Horn section? (CORNET ROW); 3D: Yoga energy point (CHAKRA); 4D: Ghost story, e.g. (TALE); 5D: Great area? (OUTDOORS); 6D: Man with many voices (BLANC); 7D: Pipe opening (INTAKE); 8D: Evian, par exemple (EAU); 9D: Theology sch. (SEM.); 10D: Island on the Kalohi Channel (LANAI); 11D: In any way (AT ALL); 12D: Davis of "The Little Foxes" (BETTE); 13D: Dict. designation (ADJ.); 20D: Priam's kingdom (TROY); 21D: Took off (SPLIT); 24D: 67.5 degrees (ENE); 25D: Thus far (TO DATE); 27D: Happy-go-lucky (BLITHE); 29D: "Wheel of Fortune" buy (AN I); 30D: Shoot with a moving camera (PAN); 32D: Discipline (ART); 34D: Dance after getting a shock from an outlet? (SOCKET HOP); 35D: Words with whim (ON A); 36D: Out-of-the-box (NEW); 38D: Hip-hopper Elliott (MISSY); 40D: Leek cousins (SHALLOTS); 43D: Angry (HOT); 45D: Missing at roll call, maybe (AWOL); 48D: Lively wit (ESPRIT); 50D: Partner of breaks (ENTERS); 51D: One of a nursery rhyme trio (BAKER); 52D: Spartacus' stage (ARENA); 53D: Shatter (SMASH); 54D: Wee bit (OUNCE); 56D: Certain Scots (GAELS); 59D: Famous last words (and homophonically, a hint to this puzzle's theme) (ET TU); 60D: Sound measure (BEL); 62D: Hanging aid (PEG); 63D: Oft-donated cells (OVA).

38 comments:

gjelizabeth said...

Certainly learned a bunch of stuff here today. Never heard of DORAL or Junk DNA. Liked "Parting of the Pacific?" for ALOHA, especially combined with "Mauna" KEA. Also "Cry near the ears?" for CAW. I can never resist a pun, good or bad. Knew OBIES as a theater award but had no idea The Village Voice awarded them. Hard for me, but doable in the end.

Scortch said...

I agree that ENTERS was awkward. Even after it was apparent that it was the answer, I couldn't figure out the connection at first.

The BASS SOLO being referenced is a voice solo, not an instrument solo.

Brendan Emmett Quigley said...

Thought this one was pretty good, esp. the six entries, with two pairs crossing (and the other two stacked). Not easy to do, which is probably why the grid was all types of messed up.

Orange said...

Scortch, it's both—in fact, if you Google "bass solo," most of the hits are for the instrument. So I watched/listened to a few videos. Never heard of Victor Wooten before (apparently he plays with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones), but wow, he doesn't sound like your standard bassist. I mean, a rocking "Amazing Grace" on bass?

Dan said...

Rex, you're wrong about BASS SOLO. VIOLA SOLO or BAGPIPE SOLO would be pretty awkward, but almost every instrumental jazz piece has a bass solo. (I don't think we're talking about a bass singer here.)

But you're right about "Alien Invasion"! NYS 10/2/02... by a Mr. Sharp.

imsdave said...

@Orange - bless you for sharing that - that was one of the most 'amazing' musical performances I've ever seen.

@BEQ - I was a little stunned when I saw the grid in the paper this a.m. - very odd, but as you stated, understandable.

Really enjoyable solve except for junket DNA.

Rex Parker said...

Ah, jazz. My bad.

rp

Rex Parker said...

@Dan, just followed your link ... that's just EERIE. I unconsciously plagiarized my long lost imaginary brother!

rp

SethG said...

My problem with the BASS SOLO was that the solo is an individual performance in the base phrase, and...an individual performance in the wacky phrase. But, say, the TABs of "pull tabs" and "pullet tabs" are completely different kids of tabs. The theme felt a bit muddled to me, but I liked the puzzle anyway.

KEAs were in the news last week when one stole a guy's passport.

Rex Parker said...

Yes, SethG, a KEA is an animated movie waiting to happen. "Developers wanted to tear down the home of little Phillipa Miles ... until she teamed up with a mischievous, in-your-face, wise-cracking, sassy parrot named KEA ..."

*David* said...

This one took some time to tease out and after it was all over I didn't feel like I got much. I had MAUAI where LANAI was at first and FIRED where EVICT belonged.

I don't want to see TEHEE any more, something about it annoys me to the nth level.

SoWal Beach Bum said...

The clue re: The War of Secession brought to mind a kid's book my mom read to us: _Across Five Aprils_. I remember it as pretty good, but that was forever ago.

PuzzleGirl said...

Please don't tell PuzzleHusband, but I left CORAL in the NW corner. He'd be so embarrassed. I should have checked the crosses.

BASS SOLO made me think first of Getty Lee and then Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, but yeah, when you think jazz, it seems to fit better.

Had a heckuva time with "45D: Missing at roll call, maybe." Started with late, changed it to away, and finally AWOL.

LOL on the Larry Flynt thing. Apparently we've been so desensitized to pornographic images that we don't even think of the mild stuff as porn anymore. Yikes!

Charlie said...

I personally have no problem with "Bass Solo" as a base phrase. And it reminds me of the Bass Fest episode of Tom Goes to the Mayor, which is always good for a laugh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDt4eBVF8B0

Not to pick nits, but Mauna Loa and Manua Kea are two of the five volcanoes that make up the Big Island of Hawaii. They are not responsible for the entire chain.

mac said...

Amazing music by Victor Wooten; I also thought jazz for the bass solo. Would it be a basso solo if it were a vocalist?

Lots of music-related clues in this puzzle, fun to look them all up, some hidden in longer words.

Sandy said...

So, you are all witnesses. When Pixar steals Rex's Kea Movie idea and we have to sue for millions, we will need to you testify.

I never faced the Kea/Loa dilemma because I've never heard of Mauna Kea and struggled mightily in that corner, trying to remember a nursery rhyme about three Balers.

Enters. Bleah.

Junketdna seemed the most awkward of the new phrases and while I knew it had to be DNA, I didn't write it in for the longest time because of the clunkiness.

Sandy

Orange said...

I'll show a little love for "junk DNA" as a familiar phrase. I know it well enough. JUNKET DNA still clangs to my ear, though, given that a legislative trip cannot possibly have DNA of its own.

Before Pixar makes a bird movie, they need to make one with a female lead character (and not a princess, either).

imsdave said...

@Orange - "Lilo and Stitch"

SethG said...

@imsdave - "Pixar"

@Orange - "Phillipa"

@Apple - "iKea"

Orange said...

@imsdave: Lilo's good, but that's standard Disney and not Pixar. I'm talking Pixar-grade story and art, but not about boys and men for a change.

Toy Story 1 & 2: Females an afterthought; not movers of the story.
Monsters, Inc.: Females merely supporting characters. Boo is a barely talking toddler.
Incredibles: Supporting characters.
Ratatouille: Supporting character, not in the plural.
Cars: What, maybe 10 male characters and one female one who's a love interest? Oh, wait, there's also the car with the SHOGRL license plate.
Finding Nemo: Marlin and Nemo are the core relationship, but Dory's pretty major. Of course, she's a fish and not a girl.
A Bug's Life: Main bugs are male.
Wall-E: Main robot male, Eve a pretty sex-object robot. The line-up of past space-colony captains: almost all male. Why? Because hundreds of years in the future, Pixar imagines men will still hold almost all positions of power.
Up: Boy, old dude.

imsdave said...

@SethG and Orange - my bad - the Pixar/Disney thing confuses me at times, which is really sad as I'm a stockholder. "The Incredibles" is my favorite animated film - probably due to my early years as a comic book fanatic. Mr. Incredible is the only character that I can't draw a direct correlation to from other sources:

Elastigirl - Mr. Fantastic, AKA Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four

Violet - Inivisible Woman, AKA Sue Storm

Dash - The Flash (DC Comics) AKA Jay Garrick/Barry Allen

Anonymous said...

Junk DNA was ok with me. I just love how the scientists determined that genes only existed if they produced recognized proteins. We know what you do?, you're a gene. We haven't figured it out? , you're junk.
As, predictably, it turns out, the junk ain't necessarily junk. Just does different things.

Joon said...

was just talking about the pixar thing with my wife the other day. she said she read somewhere that pixar freely admitted that it's purely a financial decision: girls will see a movie whose main character is a boy, but boys won't watch movies about a girl, so if they make one, they lose half their audience.

that seems very sad to me. it also seems not quite true (didn't little mermaid do okay at the box office?), but they've done the market research and i haven't; i'm sure there is such an effect, but i can make only uneducated guesses as to how strong it is. but either way, it seems odd that disney apparently has no problem making these movies that pixar won't make. it does seem that there is increasing pressure on pixar to do exactly that, though. maybe in a few years we'll start to see the effects.

Orange said...

And don't toddler boys watch "Dora the Explorer" too? If you make a good movie with an interesting character who is relatable and there are good jokes, the boys will watch it—well, unless their familes gay-bait them and tell them that stuff is for girls. But more and more parents are trying not to raise their kids that way, and it'd be nice if Hollywood would get the memo.

"iCarly" is one of my son's favorite shows. The lead, as PuzzleGirl can tell you, is the talented Miranda Cosgrove. She's not pink, she's not princessy—she's sharp-witted and appeals to both boys and girls.

Paul said...

fully enjoyable puzzle- not quite as hard as today's NYT, but a nice challenging solve. The theme helped immensely- had maybe half the solve filled in, but cruised through the rest once I had the theme. struggled a bit in the SW- had LOA instead of KEA and MANY instead of ARMY. Took a while to sort that all out.

Anonymous said...

@Rex - Is your imaginary brother black? Because I saw on the news last night that imaginary black men are getting out of control.

David said...

I'm new to this site & love it. Found it doing a Google search. Why is "ENS" a funny pair?

*David* said...

Two (e)Ns in funny, phonetically speaking.

David said...

Thanks! I'm enjoying learning all kinds of new crosswordese.

mac said...

@Orange: I'm impressed you have seen all these films! Agree with you about the gender in films difference. Also, thanks for a great new word: gay-bait!

Rex Parker said...

@Charlie,

Thanks. I rephrased things.

rp

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I too struggle with 16A (DORAL)... I kept thinking of Coral Gables and wanted CORAL. I thought Doral was a cigarette brand (or cigaret for you oldies). This made the whole NW abysmal and JUNKETDNA just didn't make sense (still doesn't). If only I had done 59D first (the theme key) I would have caught on to the ET thing, but I finished the puzzle without knowing the theme... a real handicap. Funny pair (ENS) was funny. The whole puzzle was funny!

Anonymous said...

As a jazz musician, bass solos are most common. Jazz vocalists usually are not defined as tenor, bass, etc. I've never heard of a vocal solo referred to as a 'bass' solo in jazz.

Also, I originally thought the theme of the puzzle was ET GO HOME!As I am a very new crossist, I enjoyed this one; and enjoy this column very much

Anonymous said...

Are OVA really donated frequently? As body parts go they're probably second only to blood, at least when donated by the living, but still, frequently?

I've never donated any. Oops wait, I'm a man. Never mind.

Orange said...

Anon 8:27, I think SPERMATOZOA are donated quite a bit more often, but I couldn't for the life of me fit that into three squares.

Anonymous said...

Smiler's donation, abbr. SPZ

mac said...

Another new word, crossist. Had you heard of cruciverbalist?

Anonymous said...

MY HUSBAND, DAUGHTER AND MYSELF WILL NEVER DO A CROSSWORD WILL YOUR NAME ON IT!!! THEY SHOULD BE CHALLENGING AND FUN... THIS ONE WAS NEITHER!!! MRS T.