6.30.2009

TUESDAY, June 30, 2009 — Timothy L. Meaker


Theme: "You Gotta Be" — Theme answers start with a homophone of "B"

Theme answers:
  • 20A: February greeting card request (BE MY VALENTINE).
  • 30A: Utah's nickname (BEEHIVE STATE).
  • 39A: "Petticoat Junction" star (BEA BENADERET).
  • 51A: Sue Grafton's second Kinsey Millhone novel ("B" IS FOR BURGLAR).

I like this type of theme for an early-week puzzle. It's simple, but allows for some creativity and when it's done well (like today, where none of the four theme answers start with the same form of B), that's definitely a plus. And yet ... Bea Benaderet? I can't wait to hear how many of you know who she is. I'm hoping it's just that I'm too young to have her in my memory bank and not that she's completely obscure. My gut reaction is that she's obscure. She was offered the role of Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy, but didn't take it. She was considered for the role of Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies, but she didn't get it. She played the Lisa character in the radio version of Green Acres, but Eva Gabor was cast for the television series. She was the voice of Betty Rubble (not Wilma!) for four of the six years The Flintstones aired. She was definitely hanging around the edges for a number of years but ... is that enough? I'm gonna say "no." But I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

Crosswordese 101: SSTS (62A: Grounded fleet, briefly) are the go-to aircraft for crossword constructors. SST stands for "supersonic transport" and is a passenger aircraft that travels faster than the speed of sound. In other words, it "broke the sound barrier" (don't forget that — those words show up in clues!). Remember the Concorde? It was an SST. And it took its last flight on November 26, 2003. Will that keep it from showing up in the puzzle? With those letters?? Hell No! See, what you do is, you use words like bygone, retired, historic, or former (or today's grounded) in the clue and — problem solved! Otherwise, you just need to know that SSTs flew in and out of JFK International Airport and they crossed the Atlantic. That should be enough information for you to spot an SST clue.

I spent so much time researching Bea Ben-a-what's-her-name that I don't have a whole lot of time for the rest of the puzzle. So....

Quick hits:
  • 1A: Tout's topic (ODDS). According to Merriam-Webster Online, a tout is "one who spies out racing information for betting purposes." Did any of you know that? I sure didn't. And I've been known to place a bet or two on the ponies from time to time. Oh, it's "chiefly British." Maybe that's why I haven't heard it.
  • 17A: Cath. prelate (MSGR.). Totally legitimate, but you have to admit that's an ugly abbreviation for Monsignor. Looks more like messenger.
  • 23A: Baker or Bryant (ANITA). I think I've mentioned this before. Plural proper names, obviously, don't make for ideal fill. If this clue was "Singer Baker, and others" I wouldn't have liked it a bit. But if the two people with the same name are not related at all, it's cool with me. In fact, the more not-related they are the better. So Anita Baker and Anita Bryant? Two thumbs up from PuzzleGirl.
  • 25A: "Mamma Mia!" trio? (EMS). I'm no math major, but I'm pretty sure there are four EMS in "Mamma Mia!" And that four makes a quartet, not a trio. Unless I'm totally missing something here, this is a mistake. If you're new to crossword puzzles, I bet this threw you off. I hope it wasn't too bad for you.
  • 27A: "You __!": "Sure thing!" (BETCHA). A gimme for this Fargo girl, dontcha know.
  • 29A: Four-time Wimbledon champ Rod (LAVER). You know who got this one easily? Me. Oh, and SethG.
  • 54A: First name in daredeviltry (EVEL). Whoa, whoa, whoa — daredeviltry?? That's an awesome, awesome word.
  • 64A: Hang around (STAY). Okay, here's the thing about doing this blog. You have no idea how easy it is to get sucked into YouTube when you're looking for a certain clip. I went looking for a clip from "The Office" that I thought would go with this answer (it was in the "Cafe Disco" episode where Michael is trying to get Kevin to stay at the Cafe Disco and Angela is trying to get him to go back to work) but I ended up spending, like, half an hour looking at other clips from "The Office." I didn't find the one I was looking for, but maybe you'll enjoy this:


  • 22D: In apple-pie order (NEAT). Apple-pie order. I don't know what that means. Well, I guess it means "neat" but I've never heard it before. (More British?)
  • 23D: Palindromic pop group (ABBA). Wait — I have a better clue! "'Mamma Mia!' quartet"!
  • 37D: Bridle strap (REIN). I misread this clue as "Bridal strap" and was trying to think of the word garter. Basically, I'm an idiot is what I'm saying.
Everything Else — 5A: Broad tie (ASCOT); 10A: Left the launch pad (ROSE); 14A: Slightest concern (HOOT); 15A: Juniper fruit (BERRY); 16A: Black, to Byron (EBON); 18A: Come apart (BREAK); 19A: Keycard receiver (SLOT); 26A: Bernese Alps peak (EIGER); 34A: Super Bowl highlights? (ADS); 35A: "Hedda Gabler" dramatist (IBSEN); 36A: Bauxite, to aluminum (ORE); 43A: Unrefined (CRASS); 45A: Tell to enter, as a prospective job applicant (SEND IN); 46A: Kitchen bigwigs (CHEFS); 47A: Braz. neighbor (ARG.); 50A: Sports venue (ARENA); 55A: "Yippee!" ("OH BOY!"); 56A: Leaves (GOES); 59A: Actress Russo (RENE); 60A: Strikeout king Ryan (NOLAN); 61A: Continental currency (EURO); 63A: "Looks __ everything" (AREN'T); 1D: Resistance unit (OHM); 2D: MS-__ (DOS); 3D: Animal control officers' concerns (DOG BITES); 4D: Yawn accompanier, often (STRETCH); 5D: "Dear" columnist (ABBY); 6D: Dish up (SERVE); 7D: Dairy aisle buy (CREAM); 8D: Think-on-your-feet tests (ORALS); 9D: Wee one (TYKE); 10D: Nervous (RESTIVE); 11D: Accommodate (OBLIGE); 12D: At an earlier time (SOONER); 13D: Key in (ENTER); 21D: When doubled, a fish (MAHI); 24D: Requirement (NEED); 28D: Alternatives to Reeboks (AVIAS); 29D: Actress Turner et al. (LANAS); 31D: Tidal action (EBB); 32D: Seattle-to-Reno dir. (SSE); 33D: Common news hour (TEN); 36D: Have pizza delivered, say (ORDER OUT); 38D: Frequent Italian erupter (ETNA); 39D: Perplexes (BAFFLES); 40D: Standard Oil name (ESSO); 41D: Start a new hand (DEAL); 42D: Angers (ENRAGES); 43D: Leek cousins (CHIVES); 44D: React indignantly to (RESENT); 46D: Turnpike "breakers" (CB'ERS); 47D: Despise (ABHOR); 48D: Kirov cash (RUBLE); 49D: Corny joke reaction (GROAN); 52D: Novelist Jaffe (RONA); 53D: 35-Across's "Peer __" (GYNT); 57D: Historical period (ERA); 58D: Salty bean sauce (SOY).

40 comments:

Sandy said...

Some hardworking editor caught "trio" so that in my paper this morning it was "quartet.

Bea whats-her-name came only from crosses and knowing the theme. Thanks for all the research.

Jim2e said...

I thought this was a very difficult Tuesday puzzle. I didn't have a clue on most of the proper names. I am a beginner but usually can get through Monday and Tuesday puzzles in decent shape. I saw "Mamma Mia" quartert and thought ABBA, but that had one too many letters. I think I had an easier time with last Friday's puzzle.

John said...

Bea Benaderet starred in Petticoat Junction with Edgar Buchannan as Uncle Joe.

This puzzle was a bit harder than yesterday. Got hung up in the NE trying to remember Rod Laver.

Great writeup Puzzlegirl!

PuzzleGirl said...

This is how dumb I am. After all that reporting on Bea's comings and goings I didn't mention the thing she's probably most well known for. So thanks to John for the Petticoat Junction info. (I even had this video in the post for a while but pulled it because I felt like I was overdoing it on the videos. And possibly overdoing the focus on Bea.)

Rex Parker said...

Agree this puzzle was very difficult for a Tuesday. Didn't help PG or me that we had a corrupt Abba/EMS clue (trio!) in our AcrossLite version of the puzzle. That BEA lady was nobody to me, so needed all the crosses there.

rp

Gary Lowe said...

Minor bone to pick with HOOT = "Slightest concern".

I don't have the SLIGHTEST CONCERN; I don't give a HOOT.

I don't have the HOOT; I don't give a SLIGHTEST CONCERN.

I'm probably wrong again, tho, as someone who can mis-read SURF as STUFF, not once but about 4 times ..

Carol said...

This was a tough one for a Tuesday. Thought maybe I was't quite awake yet! However, we have been asking that the puzzles not be made too easy.

Never heard of Bea Whatshername. Also did it on line so the trio threw me - just figured that Mamma had three "M"s.

Anyway, finished the puzzle with crosses & no "Googles." Any time that happens I'm happy.

Anonymous said...

I got Bea Benaderet right away (although I misspelled it at first), remembering her from the very popular series Petticoat Junction, and as the mother of Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies. Being old has its advantages. Living near a racetrack, a tout is a common word. So is apple pie order very familiar, probably now going out of useage. I'm pretty much a novice but found this puzzle easy.

gjelizabeth said...

Knew TOUT from the Dick Francis mysteries. Didn't know BEABENADERET even after I got it from the theme and crosses, despite having actually watched "Petticoat Junction". Thanks for the SSTS background. I had always figured that an SST was any plane that broke the sound barrier so I was puzzled by references to "grounded fleet" and other "in the past" clues, 'cause planes still fly around breaking the sound barrier, don't they? If the term is actually specific to supersonic passenger planes then the clues make sense.

Crockett1947 said...

@gjelizabeth Yes, the SSTs were passenger planes and were grounded because they were not making money, although I'd heard that the fares were totally outrageous. Mostly a snob appeal thing: "Yes, I jetted over to Paris for the weekend on the Concorde."

Charlie said...

BEA BENADERET was plenty obscure for me, but fell easily enough on the crosses.

I was actually ripping through this at a nice pace (for me) and had everthing but four answers (ROSE, OBLIGE, RESTIVE, EIGER) in NE completed in just under six minutes. I was then done in by the lack of mental flexibility that I'm sometimes cursed with before 8 a.m. as it took seemingly forever to get ROSE which led to the rest.

A solid Tuesday offering indeed.

jeff in chicago said...

A very nice Tuesday outing. Like the IBSEN/GYNT combo. DOGBITES felt fresh as well.

One of my favorite all-time sit-coms is "Green Acres." (Yes, I have odd taste in TV. Sue me.) It's sister show was "Petticoat Junction" and they shared several characters. "The Beverly Hillbillies" was also connected. In fact, GA and BH were mirror premises. In one some rubes go to live with city folk, and in the other city folk go live with rubes. Two shows from one premise! Nicely done Paul Henning!

Come ride the little train that is rolling down the tracks to the junction.
(Petticoat Junction)
Forget about your cares, it is time to relax at the junction.
(Petticoat Junction)

Lotsa curves, you bet. Even more when you get to the junction.
(Petticoat Junction)

There's a little hotel called the Shady Rest at the junction.
(Petticoat Junction)
It is run by Kate, come and be her guest at the junction.
(Petticoat Junction)
And there's Uncle Joe, he's a movin' kind of slow at the junction,
Petticoat Junction.

*David* said...

BEA B. seemed an odd themed answer and I needed the crosses to get her name but the other themed answers were quite easy. I felt the NW corner was the most difficult so moved around the puzzle accordingly.

I loved seeing the EIGER which is a classic alpine climb. Otherwise a little slower then a usual Tuesday but not by much.

eileen said...

I felt today's puzzle was a little harder than other Tueday cwps because I had to hit google way more than I usually do on Tuesdays.

@puzzlegirl: another great write-up!

@charlie: boy, I know what you mean by lacking mental flexibility but unfortunately this is a cross I bear all day long! Especially when it comes to the puzzles. I think Rex would agree (refer to last Friday's comments).

Anonymous said...

Hi, Could someone explain 16A: Black, to Byron (EBON)?
Thanks.

*David* said...

EBON is not a common word used for black and is more of a poetic flowery adjective that would be used by a poet such as Byron. A very common clue and answer as you do more crosswords.

SethG said...

My name is SethG, and I am a former math major and redheaded tennis instructor.

Four. I can verify that there are in fact four EMS in Mamma Mia (there are three in missummation) and that Rod LAVER won Wimbledon four times.

Incidentally, he won Wimbledon in '61 and '62, then turned pro. Wimbledon didn't allow pros until '68, and he won again in '68 and '69. Had he been eligible from '63-'67, he could have won more...

I'll pass through Fargo tomorrow on my way to Hettinger. I'm so excited.

PurpleGuy said...

Great write up Puzzle Girl !
Found this puzzle much more enjoyable than yesterday's awful one !
I t6hought it was relatively easy, and had no problem with the names or fill.
I doff my hat to Mr. Meaker !

CartBoy said...

"quartet" replaced "trio" for the Mamma Mia clue in the AZ Republic. Maybe a change was made before the west coast papers went to press.

chefbea said...

I know another Bea lady who is a 46A!!! Was this puzzle made for me?????

I remember Bea Benadaret and Petticoat Junction, as well as Green Acres, and Beverly Hillbillies

"See" you all when I get back from North Carolina.

Sam said...

Keep those clips from "The Office" coming, PuzzleGirl! Great write-up, as usual.

Al said...

Bartleby has the origin of Apple-pie order to be "doubtful" and gives some possibilities.

jimmy d said...

I took the apple-pie order clue to mean NEAT as the opposite of ala mode...like when you order a Scotch with no ice as 'neat'...thats currently the 'in' way to order apple pie...I think?

Crockett1947 said...

Jimmy d, I don't know if that's the "in" way to order apple pie, but I recommend a slab of cheddar gently melted over the top! Yummy.

Al said...

Actually, in the alcoholic sense ordering a drink neat is the same as straight, but when you're straight, you haven't been drinking. Isn't that neat?

Denisestyl@aol.com said...

Ditto for my local paper's editor who caught the "trio" error and revised the clue to "quartet". Kudos to the editors!

Anonymous said...

How do you get the "theme" for each crossword...there is none listed in my crossword. Is it something we are supposed to guess or figure out?

Fred said...

Bea was also the next door neighbor in "The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show" which was very popular on early TV(not to mention for decades on old time radio).
TOUT was a commonly used word in the 30s-50s. If you watch old movies you'll run into it from time to time.
Fred

chefwen said...

Had crude before CRASS, put CHEFS in going down, RONA was in where GYNT was supposed to be (the lighting was very poor at the hair salon) ARG! Puzzle looking a little messy by the time I was done. But, all in all I thought the puzzle was fun and a typical Tuesday for me.

Orange said...

Anonymous at 3:23: Yes, the solver's supposed to tease out the theme while doing the puzzle. Sometimes it takes some pondering after the puzzle is completed to figure it out. And sometimes one needs to ask someone else—which is where this blog comes in. Even crossword bloggers occasionally draw a blank on what the theme is and have to ask around before writing about the puzzle!

sfingi said...

This senior citizen was familiar with tout and apple-pie order; but I always ask my husband for the sports, and I still don't know the Bea-list girl if I live another half century.
This retired programmer/math teacher never bothered counting the M's, but there are many more references to that Concord(e), most of them technical but exciting. The one I'll never forget is that my employer back in the day(s)sent one poor fellow on said vehicle to England once a week to deliver magnetic tapes. This 2-mach hurtler is still alive.

mac said...

I liked this one, although Bea and the old shows were new to me.

@SethG: interesting little fact about Laver!

I like how odds and Ascot are right next to each other.

For some reason I like the word
"restive" but I very much dislike "betcha".

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Puzzlegirl
Yeah you did miss something with the "Mamma Mia!" Trio (25a)... in the movie they sing the ABBA song "Money, Money, Money", hence three EMS. Veeeery subtle I'd say!
Today had two ABBA clues, and that suits me fine, because ABBA is my all-time fave singing group.

Jan said...

I got Bea right away, being a long-time fan of the George Burns-Gracie Allen show - she was the next-door neighbor who was constantly baffled by Gracie's zany statements. She was also on several I Love Lucy and Jack Benny shows. Guess I'm showing my age... but my 28-year-old son loves these shows too!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

The Concorde had a horrible crash in Gonesse France in, I think, 2000...all passengers perished. It had been the safest passenger airliner in the world according to passenger deaths per distance travelled, but that crash was the beginning of the end of the aircraft's career. A few days after the crash, all Concordes were grounded, pending an investigation into the cause of the crash and possible remedies. The Concorde never flew again.

Denise said...

Thank you, Fred -- I knew that "Bea" was another show -- I loved "Burns & Allen." I never watched the other ones mentioned.

"Apple pie order"is an old-fashioned phrase.

I was flummoxed by "EMS" but left it because the crosses worked.

Love you, Puzzle Girl!

Bill from NJ said...

I remember BEABENAERET from '50s TV when I watched with my mother after school. She never watched the soaps but referred to "George Burns - Gracie Allen" and "Pete and Gladys" as her "programs." We used to watch her programs before my Dad got home from work.

Bea B. was all over television into the mid 60s when she developed Empyhsema and died in 1968. I guess that makes her obscure for those folks under 60 who didn't watch schlock TV.

BTW, Harry Morgan played Pete on "Pete and Gladys" and later went on the play Col Potter on MASH.

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