7.15.2009

WEDNESDAY, July 15, 2009—George Fitzgerald



THEME: "Level With Me"—Four phrases end with words that can precede level in familiar phrases

This puzzle's got a theme that isn't super-obvious (at least, not until you hit LEVEL at 64A), and then there's all manner of gnarly fill, even some words that are unfamiliar to long-time solvers. There wasn't much here that was light and amusing, but plenty to chew on (if not break your teeth on).

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Not give an inch (STAND ONE'S GROUND). You want to get in on this swampland deal on the ground level? I know some people. I'll put you in touch.
  • 27A: Garage door gadget (ELECTRIC EYE). Put your sign at eye level if you want people to read it.
  • 47A: Dairy Queen treat (BANANA SPLIT). I grew up in a split-level house.
  • 53A: Solar or wind power, e.g. (RENEWABLE ENERGY). How's your energy level right now?

Oh, gee, PuzzleGirl already covered OGEE (7D: S-shaped molding) a month ago. So for today's Crosswordese 101: ET TU, or 11D: Brute question? In Julius Caesar, Caesar's last words were "Et tu, Brute?"—basically "You too, Brutus? Oy! I thought you were my friend." If the space has 4 letters and the clue mentions Caesar (but not his boast, which is "Veni, vidi, vici"), Brute or Brutus, the Ides of March, a rebuke to a traitor, or words in a Senate, suspect ET TU.

Among the more troublesome spots:
  • 16A: Comedian Fields (TOTIE). I know this name only from crosswords. Is Totie male or female?
  • 17A: Auburn color named for a painter (TITIAN RED). If you've taken a painting class, you might know that one. Or if you buy auburn hair color. The color is named for the hair color in Titian's Mary Magdalene painting.
  • 22A: Tomcat (GIB). Whazzat? Huh? This one is not common, not even in crosswords.
  • 23A: Vegas job: Abbr. (DLR.). Not a common abbreviation, is it?
  • 37A: Ship's post that secures cables (BITT). W-w-wait, what? I've seen GIB before, but this one is entirely new to me. Nautical terminology is generally one of my least favorite sources of crossword fill. Depicted here is a pair of angled BITTs.
  • 21D: East Berlin's land, initially (GDR). If you're young, do you know this? The German Democratic Republic was the "yeah, right" name for East Germany. Totally democratic! Now, about that wall...
  • 43D: One claiming to have the answers (KNOW-ALL). Say what? I know know-it-all, but without the it, it doesn't ring a bell.
  • 54D: Irving Bacheller's "__ Holden" (EBEN). Who? What? Bacheller's novel was the 4th bestselling novel in the United States in 1900, and yet who among us has heard of it?
  • 60D: Growl (GNAR). This word always throws people when it shows up in the crossword. Make a mental note of it, because it'll be back.
  • 61D: Demented blacksmith in "Son of Frankenstein" (YGOR). Not Igor, YGOR. Yes, I started with IGOR here. Son of Frankenstein: 1939, Basil Rathbone. I'll bet Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein is funnier:



Everything Else — 1A: Hamas-controlled strip (GAZA); 5A: Supply-and-demand subj. (ECON.); 9A: Dog attractor (SMELL); 14A: TV host Trebek (ALEX); 15A: Aborted, at NASA (NO-GO); 19A: When many coffee breaks occur (AT TEN); 22A: Tomcat (GIB); 23A: Vegas job: Abbr. (DLR.); 24A: Bring home (NET); 34A: Clay, since 1964 (ALI); 35A: Four: Pref. (TETRA-); 36A: Like most income (TAXED); 39A: Phonies (SHAMS); 41A: Mailroom stamp ltrs. (RECD); 42A: __ Mountains: central U.S. range (OZARK); 44A: Passes over (OMITS); 46A: Third-century date (CCI); 49A: Bear lead-in (SHE); 50A: Tenn. athlete (VOL); 51A: NASA moon craft (LEM); 62A: "The Hot Zone" virus (EBOLA); 63A: Antique work (RESTORING); 64A: It can follow the last word of 20-, 27-, 47- and 53-across (LEVEL); 65A: Japan is in it, with "the" (EAST); 66A: Golfer Aoki (ISAO); 67A: Hair woe (SNARL); 68A: Smack ending (-EROO); 69A: Okla. or La., once (TERR.); 1D: Hoods' guns (GATS); 2D: Landed (ALIT); 3D: Epsilon follower (ZETA); 4D: Pink-slipping (AXING); 5D: Elevates in rank (ENNOBLES); 6D: Cooking oil source (CORN); 8D: Unspoken okays (NODS); 9D: Twinkly at night (STARLIT); 10D: British wheels (MOTORCAR); 12D: Security interest (LIEN); 13D: Advance (LEND); 18D: On __: trying to lose (A DIET); 24D: Fat cat (NABOB); 25D: "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" singer (ELIZA); 26D: Industry bigwig (TITAN); 28D: Cultural spirit (ETHOS); 29D: Writer's woe (CRAMP); 30D: Sri Lankan language (TAMIL); 31D: Industry bigwigs (EXECS); 32D: "Ick factor 10!" ("YECCH!"); 33D: Rocker Van Halen (EDDIE); 38D: One with an itinerary (TRAVELER); 40D: Type of heel (STILETTO); 45D: Court worker (STENO); 48D: __ mode (A LA); 52D: Earn (MERIT); 53D: Aunts and uncles: Abbr. (RELS.); 55D: PBS science show (NOVA); 56D: Marcia's "Desperate Housewives" role (BREE); 57D: Jet-setter's jet (LEAR); 58D: Old U.S. gas (ESSO); 59D: Stand (RISE);

27 comments:

shrub5 said...

Acc. to M-W on-line dictionary, a GIB is a castrated male cat.

Whenever I see NABOB (24D Fat cat), I recall Spiro Agnew, Nixon's VP#1, using "nattering nabobs of negativism" to describe the "liberal" media. He and his speechwriters Wm. Safire and Pat Buchanan were into alliteration, referring to critics of Nixon's Viet Nam policy as "pusillanimous pussyfooters."

51A) NASA moon craft LEM stands for Lunar Excursion Module. There is one on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

I noticed both TITAN and TITIAN(red) appear in the grid!

Anonymous said...

Totie is a female.

Carol said...

Totie Fields was a mannish looking woman. Very brash.

GIB & BITT were new to me. More to remember! Put those in the memory with ADIT, AGLET, OGEE, & ETUI.

sfingi said...

Totie Fields was a one-legged comedienne. She was often on Johnny Carson and Vegas.
I know a Gib, pronounced hard, as a nickname for /Gilbert.
The dictionary calls it a castrated male cat.

PuzzleGirl said...

I like the theme well enough, but DLR was a deal-breaker for me. I could not come up with a Vegas job that would be abbreviated in three letters. Know why? Because there isn't one.

When I think of TOTIE Fields, I always picture Charlotte Rae. I guess because of Tootie in "The Facts of Life"? I'm going to look up Totie Fields now.

*David* said...

I always wondered what those two posts were tht they wrapped the rope around on a boat, that is a BITT of knowledge I didn't have. Loved seeing TITIAN and lots of connections with money in this puzzle ECON, NET, LIEN, EXECS, and TAXED.

I think most people are going to whine about the esotery of the fill but the ease of the themes kind of negates that concern, IMOO.

eileen said...

Not only was there TITIAN and TITAN but VOL was in close proximity to TITAN and both are names of TN sports teams.

Thanks orange for the write up.

Anonymous said...

should have been comedienne Fields.

Our newspaper St Pete Times never
put in the "level with me" clues.

*David* said...

@anon A comedian or an actor includes both genders since it is a definition of a skill/job versus the sex of the person performing.

There has been more of a push with awards shows to remove the gender division but so far they haven't come up with a good solution.

Anonymous said...

Didn't care for this puzzle as it felt like I had entered a time warp or something. DLR and know all were the worst of the bunch, but there were others. Cluing was pretty ugly throughout as well. I'm guessing new solvers struggled with this one.

John said...

Had BOSN for BITT thinking of POST as a person/ position on a ship.

Gary Lowe said...

- It's named for her Hair Color ? Thanks for the clarification, because there's a lot of Tittian in that pic ...

- I miss the days of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils ... we bought the album "car over the lake", it had a picture of ... well, a car over the lake. Was very funny, hadn't a friggin clue what it meant.

- I now have a new reference for our two cats - I'm going to call them the BeeGees!

Geek said...

I knew Totie Fields, and my recollection of her was that she needed to be ON A DIET. Now that I've heard she's only got one leg, I feel really bad about that thought. I've visited the Ozarks and couldn't believe it took me all the crosses to come up with it! Fun puzzle - thanks for the write-up, too!

mac said...

More and more info comes out about Totie! I'm checking back in later.

I thought Orange made that line, "Level with me", I remember thinking: how clever!

Agree with some of the grumbles above, and I also was surprised when "ennobles" appeared for "elevates in rank". I thought a promotion was going to be involved.

Orange said...

@mac, I did cook up the "level with me" thing. The St. Petersburg Times "never put in the 'level with me' clues" because they weren't part of the puzzle.

Which is to say: When the L.A.C.C. blogging team assigns a title to a Monday-through-Saturday puzzle, it's something we think describes the theme, but not something that appears in/with the crossword. In the L.A. Times and the N.Y. Times, only the Sunday puzzles are titled.

shrub5 said...

@Gary Lowe: LOL! So you have two neutered male cats who are brothers? The Brothers GIB(B) !

Anonymous said...

I don't think that a castrated gib can any longer be considered to be a tomcat.

Anonymous said...

Some dictionaries, and Dictionary.com, give male cat as a definition of a GIB, with or without the family jewels.

Charles Bogle said...

nice write-up Orange; I agree w you and @anonymous 9:22 am; sorry @*david*, but I have to whine about what Orange calls the "gnarly" fill/

My wife, who is an artist, has told me an interesting thing about the auburn-like color TITIANRED. Evidently, fine artists have to be very precise when ordering this color, or else they get "Studio of Titian Red" or, worse, "Pupil of Titian Red." The better bet is to ask for TINTORELLORED. His auburns were just as crisp as his lifelong peer and competitor Titian's; but, with a longer name, he has always been ranked a notch below....and you can get the Tintorello Red for less money-

mac said...

Do the CrosSynergy puzzle - you will be surprised.

Burner10 said...

Today was a perfect example why I like puzzles - this morning nothing worked except a few easy fills (gaza,econ,ali) and this afternoon I'm a genius! I love the coaching and chatter on this blog and just figured out how to join in (iag!twice)

Burner10 said...

Today was a perfect example why I like puzzles - this morning nothing worked except a few easy fills (gaza,econ,ali) and this afternoon I'm a genius! I love the coaching and chatter on this blog and just figured out how to join in (iag!twice)

Burner10 said...

Today was a perfect example why I like puzzles - this morning nothing worked except a few easy fills (gaza,econ,ali) and this afternoon I'm a genius! I love the coaching and chatter on this blog and just figured out how to join in (iag!twice)

mac said...

Welcome, welcome Burner10!

mac said...

That's welcome, welcome, welcome!

Burner10 said...

Or not

mac said...

Oh yes! We have both outcommented our three and out rights..... Goodnight.