7.13.2009

MONDAY, Jul. 13, 2009 — James Sajdak



THEME: BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL — last words of theme answers are BUTTERFLY, BLANKET, and PENCIL, respectively

Finished the puzzle and had no idea what the theme was. Saw that SOCIAL BUTTERFLY and SECURITY BLANKET were both S.B. phrases, and thought that might be part of it, but no. Nothing to tie S.B. to NUMBER TWO PENCIL. Then I noticed that the last words of the theme answers, when read in order, created the phrase BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL, which is a special pencil used by lepidopterists for all their labeling and cataloguing needs. Very clever.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: One who goes from party to party (SOCIAL BUTTERFLY)
  • 37A: Comforting carry-along for kids (SECURITY BLANKET)
  • 58A: Test taker's writing implement, often (NUMBER TWO PENCIL)

Broke the three-minute mark on this one, despite a slow opening (blanked on ASSAD — 1D: Syria's Bashar al-_____) and not being able to make sense of 24D: Diagram tops, in bridge columns (NORTHS) til the very end. Love the phrases CITY HALL (9D: You can't fight it, in a saying) and PLAY FAIR (5D: "No cheating!"), though the latter took some crosses to ferret out. Entire western section has a very militaristic feel, what with the NCOS and LSTS. Also, you might LAUD a fallen soldier who TROD the beach at Normandy. I also like how S.O.S. is pointed right at ICEBERGS. Danger!

Crosswordese 101: LANAI (32A: Hawaiian veranda) — Aargh. I had STOA here at first, then realized that STOA had already been featured as a Crosswordese 101 answer, so I'm changing to LANAI, one of my favorite Hawaiian words, if only because it evokes "The Golden Girls," and I loves me some Betty White. Those Girls loved to sit out on their LANAI and drink and gab. LANAI = A patio with a roof or veranda, common in tropical locations. We had one of these in the house we rented in Costa Rica in April. Very nice. LANAI is also the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands.

What else?

  • 6A: Autodom's Sable or Grand Marquis (MERC) — "Autodom," HA ha. It's right near "Truckdom."
  • 20A: Water-carved gully (ARROYO) - common in southwestern U.S.
  • 51A: In one's bare feet (SHOELESS) — [Like Joe Jackson] might have worked better here.
  • 13D: Stone and Stallone (SLYS) — never seen it in the plural. Really don't like it.


  • 19D: Site for cyberbidders (EBAY) — "cyberbidders," really? There's virtually no support for this as a word (though it's obvious what it means).

Enjoy your week. I'm back on Friday.

~Rex

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: "The Fox and the Grapes" fable writer (AESOP); 6A: Autodom's Sable or Grand Marquis, for short (MERC); 10A: Seeks answers (ASKS); 14A: Pint-size (SMALL); 15A: Mine, in Montréal (AMOI); 16A: Spring shape (COIL); 17A: One who goes from party to party (SOCIAL BUTTERFLY); 20A: Water-carved gully (ARROYO); 21A: Tofu source (SOY BEANS); 22A: Make blond, say (DYE); 23A: Marshy area (FEN); 25A: Contains (HAS); 26A: Early September observance (LABOR DAY); 29A: __ Angeles (LOS); 32A: Hawaiian veranda (LANAI); 35A: Rod attachment (REEL); 36A: Dinghy movers (OARS); 37A: Comforting carry-along for kids (SECURITY BLANKET); 40A: Walked all over (TROD); 41A: Sonny's partner (CHER); 42A: Contests with pistols (DUELS); 43A: Seaman's "Help!" (SOS); 44A: Saviors (MESSIAHS); 46A: Confer knighthood on (DUB); 47A: Sault __ Marie, Mich. (STE.); 48A: Gave a thumbs-up (OK'D); 51A: In one's bare feet (SHOELESS); 56A: Delphic prophet (ORACLE); 58A: Test taker's writing implement, often (NUMBER TWO PENCIL); 60A: Touched down (ALIT); 61A: Shot into the net (GOAL); 62A: Poke fun at (TAUNT); 63A: Butter squares (PATS); 64A: Beach surface (SAND); 65A: Shrek et al. (OGRES); 1D: Syria's Bashar al-__ (ASSAD); 2D: Atlanta university (EMORY); 3D: "__ bleu!" (SACRE); 4D: Hodgepodge (OLIO); 5D: "No cheating!" ("PLAY FAIR!"); 6D: Shakespeare's fairy queen (MAB); 7D: Aussie birds (EMUS); 8D: __-Rooter (ROTO); 9D: You can't fight it, in a saying (CITY HALL); 10D: Farmland units (ACRES); 11D: Couch potato's spot (SOFA); 12D: Ceramist's oven (KILN); 13D: Stone and Stallone (SLYS); 18D: Leopold's co-defendant (LOEB); 19D: Site for cyberbidders (EBAY); 24D: Diagram tops, in bridge columns (NORTHS); 26D: Sing the praises of (LAUD); 27D: California's Point __ National Seashore (REYES); 28D: Remains of a wreck (DEBRIS); 29D: Erie or Huron (LAKE); 30D: Pitcher Hershiser (OREL); 31D: Concordes: Abbr. (SSTS); 32D: D-day ships (LSTS); 33D: Prefix with -nautics (AERO-); 34D: Sgts. and cpls. (NCOS); 36D: Burden (ONUS); 38D: North Atlantic hazards (ICEBERGS); 39D: Follow, as a principle (ADHERE TO); 44D: Backless slipper (MULE); 45D: Perched on (ATOP); 46D: Borrower's burdens (DEBTS); 48D: Happen (OCCUR); 49D: Oscar winner Kevin (KLINE); 50D: Shoulder muscles, for short (DELTS); 51D: Lose one's cool (SNAP); 52D: Wahine's dance (HULA); 53D: Skip over (OMIT); 54D: Ancient Greek meeting spot (STOA); 55D: Ugly duckling, in time (SWAN); 57D: Wordplay in the Jumble: Abbr. (ANAG.); 59D: Worn-out (OLD).

30 comments:

humorlesstwit said...

Or maybe Social Security Number.

Orange said...

@humorlesstwit, hon, I think Rex was joking. I definitely contemplated butterfly blanket pencils myself.

humorlesstwit said...

@Orange, Rex - My "Duh" synapses were about 1 second slower than my "Hit enter" muscles today. Knew immediatly after it was too late that I was today's sucker.

In my defense, I was preoccupied by Rex's mentioning leopidopterists and still stewing over reading PG's write up, and link to Slate, where they perpetrated the erroneous categorization of Lolita(s), which all conflated into a tirade that Nabakov was subtle, guileful, and Lolita was just a normal little girl. My head noise gets too loud sometimes.

Gareth Bain said...

Weird: We call #2 Pencils HB Pencils here but still got it pretty fast... So what do you call 9H pencils then? #-7 pencils? Other bit of American-ese I only clicked with recently is that MERC refers to Mercury (which isn't sold here) and not Mercedes, which is what a Merc is here... Otherwise, what's been said already: weird theme, fun 3X15 phrases, and ASSAD is the "Is it Friday already?" word of the day. There's always one, though.

Crosscan said...

I use a BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL at the Crossword Tournament. It unfolds and gives you a big hug when Puzzle 5 has beaten you to a pulp.

jazz said...

Liked it! Quick, easy, and learned FEN today!

Rex Parker said...

This made me LOL. From Twitter:

dave_samuels: Damn you, @rexparker! I just googled "butterfly blanket pencil." I'm an idiot...

rp

jeff in chicago said...

This was just all right for me. A little bland. Liked PLAYFAIR and its clue, and the clue for CITYHALLL. Also SACRE blue! But SSTS and LSTS? ALIT and ATOP? OLIO, AERO, STOA...

I give it a B-

Carol said...

How in the world do you finish a puzzle in under 3 minutes!?!

Are you a speed reader? I was excited to finish this one in just over 7 mins. with no Googles.

I'm still trying to envision a butterfly blanket - teehee.

Anonymous said...

All this how long it took conversation reminds me of a, doubtless apocraphyl, conversation at the end of a marathon. The winners were hanging around, being interviewed, etc, when the average runners were still coming in. One of them asked of the winner - "How on earth can you run a marathon in 2:10:06"? The winner's response was "how on earth can you run for 6 hours straight"?

We all do what we do.

shrub5 said...

@RP, you bad boy. Count me as another sucker who thought "man, that is a pretty obscure theme." If I hadn't read the comments first, I, like Tweeter Dave Samuels, would have googled BBP for add'l info.
I can't believe I'm so gullible....
I DID learn a few new things, though:
CHER was Sonny's partner and SAND is a beach surface.

mac said...

Nice, easy puzzle, where I also thought the third theme answer would be something S.B.

I know the nr. 2 pencil as HB as well. Googleing BBP as well..... Good to see Arroyo back so soon. Did not this meaning of the word "dub", that was my something new of the day.

Joon said...

i almost set a speed record on this one, clocking in at under 2 minutes, but i had TEASE instead of TAUNT and it took me about 10 seconds to notice. i then spent literally thrice as much time looking for the theme as i had filling in the puzzle. strange experience.

gareth, no idea what you're talking about pencil-wise. i don't think most americans have any notion of pencils that are not #2. i, for one, have no idea if a #3 pencil (assuming such a thing exists) would be softer or harder than a #2.

Orange said...

#1 pencils are soft and black. #3 pencils are hard and leave a paler mark. Multi-year ACPT champ Trip Payne likes the 2.5 pencil, but I wouldn't want to go lighter than a #2, personally. I have no idea what Gareth's 9H is—but I bet if I loitered in an art supply store's pencil aisle I'd understand perfectly.

mac said...

Just for the record: I CONSIDERED googleing BBP, but didn't because of the comments.

*David* said...

What a "sharp" cutting sense of humor this blogger has.

Very easy puzzle tried ICEFLOES instead of ICEBERGS. NORTHS was the only word I puzzled over.

Crockett1947 said...

@rex Your order for a gross of butterfly blanket pencils shipped from our Alberta warehouse at 8:52 a.m. this morning. Normal delivery is 5 to 7 working days. There is no shipping number you can use for checking on the progress of this shipment.

chefbea said...

Good easy puzzle but I liked the write-up and the comments better. For the fun of it I will google butterfly blanket pencil and see what happens

Anonymous said...

@Rex - Ok, with whom, and what's the over/under, for the bet "I bet I can get NN people to Google 'Butterfly Blanket Pencil' today"?

eileen said...

Like chefbea, the blog and comments
are more fun than today's puzzle. I personally think SSN is a real clunker for a theme.

Anonymous said...

I was sure the final theme entry would be OFFICE OF THE CLERK.

Crosscan said...

@anon- that's silly. Who ever heard of a BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL CLERK?

Orange said...

Crosscan, are you on crack? How are you gonna get a BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL if the BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL CLERK doesn't fill your order and send it to you?

Jazzbumpa said...

What are you people talking about? The theme is obviously PLAYFAIR ICEBERGS, ADHERE TO CITY HALL.

But now I have a visual of BUTTERFLY BLANKET PENCIL that just won't go away . . .

Charles Bogle said...

I'm in agreement w @mac;also w some on questioning the theme...but it's really no never mind,I enjoyed the puzzle, thought the clues were fair, very appropriate for a Monday

Particularly liked ARROYO, EMORY (wonderful SE school probably not too well known on West Coast), LANAI, ROTO (rooter; compare to analogous clue and answer in today nyt); ONUS, KLINE (saw him as Falstaff on Bway 2 yrs ago, absolutely incredible)

John said...

Theres a BUTTERFLY BLANKET in a cartoon somewhere, an entire gaggle of butterflys take to the air in unison, emulating a flying carpet. I believe they make a cape for a character in the cartoon. I know gaggle isnt the right word, so dont get anything in a twist!

Denise said...

There was an odd headline the other day about someone "cracking the social security number code," and I am wondering if it related to this puzzle -- Social Security #2?

I finished in five and a half, fast for me.

I love the word ARROYO, and I want a BUTTERFLY BLANKET!

Gary Lowe said...

Up early for a bus. appointment, never did the puzzle.

I guess I should shut up,so I will. But I'm trashing my MOTH-COMFORTER-STILETTO theme that I've been working on for months,because it's now soooo last week.

... am resisting the urge to look up lepoardoptomitrist ...

Anonymous said...

Too funny today!

Anonymous said...

LATimes 7/15/09 61D Is it soup yet?
From a Lipton Soup TV commercial for their noodle soup that came in a bag. The mom opened the bag and put the contents in boiling water. The kids asked, while waiting for the soup to be done, "Is it soup yet?"