8.15.2009

SATURDAY, August 15, 2009—Corey Rubin



THEME: No theme today—Just a themeless Saturday puzzle

I'm heading out of town for the weekend, so I've got to be quick with the blogging.

Short summary of Corey Rubin's puzzle: The shorter fill is meh (as shorter fill so often is), but many of the long answers gleam. Before I get to those, edjumication time!

Crosswordese 101: IBIS! I skimmed the puzzle looking for repeat offenders that would be eligible for this section. Lo and behold, the mammal IBEX has been covered, but the bird called the IBIS has not. The Saturdayesque clue is 7D: Head of the Egyptian god Thoth. More typical clues for the IBIS include wading bird, Nile wader, and sacred bird of Egypt. The "sacred ibis" variety is white with a black head and butt; other ibises come in white, black, or scarlet. And in Europe, there's a hotel chain called Ibis. I stayed there in Vienna. Two twin beds and a teeny shower stall! We watched Gentle Ben with Ronny Howard (Opie!) dubbed into German on the small TV. Why was a then-30-year-old American TV show about a bear something Europeans wanted to watch??

Here are my favorite answers and clues:
  • 5A: Purple region, on some maps (SWING STATE). I happen to live in a blue state, but purple states are my second favorite. The purple map is from this 2008 Election Maps site.
  • 16A: It's measured in hits (WEB TRAFFIC). It's gratifying to see how well this blog's WEB TRAFFIC has grown. Hello, lovely readers! *waving*
  • 18A: Play honors (OBIE AWARDS). By itself, OBIE is kinda crosswordese. Here, it's dressed up as a shiny, big answer.
  • 59A: Bush announcement of 2007 (TROOP SURGE). Controversial topic at times, but a knock-down great crossword answer. Not quite as timely as if it'd appeared in an '07 or '08 puzzle, but we still know the term.
  • 62A: In-line pickup? (IMPULSE BUY). Wow, I had no idea where this clue was going. My head moved words around so that it was about pickup lines, but no. Lively phrase for a crossword puzzle. I love me a good IMPULSE BUY.
  • 64A: It'll cost you to go in them (PAY TOILETS). Technically, the "going" part is free. You're paying for access to the toilet. If you don't go, I don't think you get your money back. (Yeah, I know that "go in them" can mean "enter" as well as "go pee in them." Work with me!)
  • 12D: "Yes, sorry to say" (AFRAID SO). Another recent puzzle had 'FRAID NOT. I love both phrases. And no, they don't need "I'm" before them. We're going with colloquial, spoken English. No, not that kind of "going."
  • 35D: No-goodnik's accumulation (BAD KARMA). Ah, that's a great phrase for a crossword, too. Corey Rubin has built up some good karma with this fill, I tell you. P.S. If the word "karma" puts you in the mood to watch the video of Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon," go here; embedding is disabled. I bought that whole album. Boy George, what happened to you?
  • 47D: Passing order? (GO LONG). As in telling someone "Go long!" before you throw a football or frisbee far beyond where they're first standing. This entry only shows up three times this decade in the Cruciverb.com database. I want to see it a little more often.
A couple weird things:
  • 53D: Australian cager Andrew who was selected first overall in the 2005 NBA draft (BOGUT). Bogut?? Sing it with me: "Don't Bogut that joint, my friend. Pass it over to me."



  • 38D: Chicago Surface Lines transports (TROLLEYS). Say what? The who? The CSL operated Chicago's streetcars from 1913 to 1947. Just a tad before my time—though that Wikipedia article taught me that the CTA's 36 Broadway bus, 22 Clark bus, and 8 Halsted bus still carry the numbers for the old streetcar routes. I never knew. And it was just this spring that I saw a pothole on Broadway deep enough to reveal the old streetcar track from over five decades ago.
  • 36D: Infomercial come-on (FREE COPY). Huh? FREE COPY of what? I must not watch enough infomercials.
  • 1D: College study group request (QUIZ ME). I commend this answer for the Q/Z combo, but frown at its crosswordworthiness. Is this a familiar enough phrase to show up as a crossword entry? I'm...not sure it is.
Everything Else — 1A: __ d'Orsay: Seine site (QUAI); 15A: Like many -ess words nowadays (UN-PC); 17A: 2002 Eddie Murphy/Owen Wilson film (I SPY); 19A: End of a series (ZEE); 20A: Like galas (DRESSY); 21A: Café addition (LAIT); 22A: More dry and crumbly (MEALIER); 24A: It's taken in spots (TEA); 26A: Like Beethoven's Seventh (IN A); 27A: Physicist Fermi (ENRICO); 28A: Largest of the Dodecanese (RHODES); 30A: Didn't delete (LEFT IN); 34A: Minx (HUSSY); 35A: Deg. for theater types (BFA); 37A: Aspect (FACET); 39A: How-__ (TOS); 40A: "Some Like It Hot," for one (FARCE); 42A: Like Beethoven's Ninth (CHORAL); 44A: Seat of Texas's Ector County (ODESSA); 46A: Native Midwesterners (OSAGES); 50A: Island party music source (UKE); 51A: Challah need (EGG); 53A: Extinguished (BLEW OUT); 54A: Dairy prefix (LACT-); 56A: Ring of color (AREOLA); 58A: Airport near Forest Hills, N.Y. (LGA); 61A: Anglo-__ War (1899-1902) (BOER); 63A: Francis of Hollywood (ANNE); 65A: Like most whiskey (AGED); 2D: Like radio waves (UNSEEN); 3D: Cease being 2-Down (APPEAR); 4D: Distant (ICY); 5D: Quit for good (SWORE OFF); 6D: "Der Freischütz" composer (WEBER); 8D: Subject of the 2005 opera "Doctor Atomic" (N-TEST); 9D: Aging, maybe (GRAYER); 10D: Dated (SAW); 11D: Nonstick cookware brand (T-FAL); 13D: Desirable trait in a roommate (TIDINESS); 14D: No mere joy (ECSTASY); 20D: They're rolled on tables (DICE); 23D: Spring bloomers (LILACS); 25D: Rubbing reaction (AHH); 29D: Western staple (OUTLAW); 31D: Toe preceder? (TAC); 32D: Ego, to Freud (ICH); 33D: Conservative leader? (NEO); 40D: Barely struck strike (FOUL TIP); 41D: Computer ending (ESE); 43D: Sailing (ASEA); 45D: Winner of eight Grand Slam tournaments (AGASSI); 48D: Home of the Oregon Ducks (EUGENE); 49D: Was wide-eyed (STARED); 52D: Bland breakfast (GRUEL); 55D: Ballyhoo (TOUT); 57D: Kathryn of "Law & Order: C.I." (ERBE); 60D: Gaza Strip gp. (PLO); 61D: Shropshire sound (BAA).

29 comments:

hazel said...

The blog looked sort of lonely without any comments and I don't really have much to say about the puzzle - perhaps just that I imagine I will remember nothing about it tomorrow.

I will add (since there are 0 comments) that I saw Julie and Julia the other night, and while the Amy Adams character was incredibly irritating, the commentary on blogs and bloggers was pretty funny.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I thought this was far far too easy for a Saturday puzzle, but did struggle a bit with NW.
QUAI (1a) for ___d'Orsay gave me the most trouble. I kept trying to get Gare d'Orsay and even Muse (sic) d'Orsay, but the thing that cracked it for me was QUIZME (1d).
Usually, if I have trouble with 1a and 1d, I get uneasy about the puzzle.
I always thought that the addition to cafe was au lait, so that threw me a little.
I had OATERS (29d) instead of OUTLAWS and that made 34a into SASSY instead of HUSSY... equally logical (BUT WRONG!) Often I think my answers are better than the right answers... my ICH is showing.
I got IMPULSEBUY (62a) from the crosses, but i sure don't get it...."In-line pickup". Huh???
Thank you Corey Rubin for an exciting crossword... it's refreshing sometimes to just do a hard non-theme puzzle on an early Saturday morning... makes my breakfast "Challah need" taste better too.

KarmaSartre said...

I thought "It's taken in spots" was an excellent clue.

shrub5 said...

An enjoyable ride today! Hit a few potholes that resulted in some amusing wrong answers but none that weren't eventually resolved.

I initially had MFA as the degree for theater types; this lead to the no-goodnik having MADKARMA. After getting ZEE for end of a series, I thought of PIZZAS for the college study group request. I saw right away that that wouldn't fly, but it was closer to my own study group experience than QUIZME.

I had GRITS before correcting it to GRUEL. I can't think of gruel without recalling poor little Oliver Twist who got smacked upside the head after asking for more, please.

My NBA fandom paid off with a gimme at 53D: Andrew BOGUT of the Milwaukee Bucks. In addition to my beloved basketball, I liked the smattering of other sports: baseball's FOULTIP, football's GOLONG and tennis's AGASSI.

I don't think I've seen PAYTOILETS in a cwp before today. Funny clue! The first answer I came up with for 59D) Bush announcement of 2007 was Mission Accomplished. Wrong, too long and much earlier.....

Glowe said...

QUIZME ... the 'group' part makes me think QUIZUS, although my wheels fell off in the NW anyway. Never saw ISPY, dunno QUAI, can't think of -ess words that are UNPC, end of a series could be anything, MEALIER wouldn't come, but I knew ENRICO - first write in actually.

- Seems like having UNSEEN and APPEAR side by each was wasted with the cluing about radio waves. Why not a movie villian, or a deer in the headlights? Same thing with BLEWOUT (extinguished).. yawn.

- PAYTOILETS clue was excellent - in fact the whole SW grid is great.

- SWOREOFF crosses LEFTIN, nice.

- Didn't expect to see WEB/WEB cross.

Thanks, CR, for an enjoyable puzzle.

shrub5 said...

@JOHNSNEVERHOME: When you're waiting in the check-out line at the grocery store (or elsewhere), there are candy bars, gum, tabloids, etc. so you might make an IMPULSEBUY.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

The Chicago Surface Lines (CSL)38d operated trolleys well beyond 1947. I'm old enough to remember as a kid running behind the streetcars and unhitching the trolley from the wire... juvenile delinquent!!!
(now there's an oldie term).

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Glowe
Stewardess
Actress
Waitress
etc
Are now politically uncorrect and I, for one, sure don't understand why. Who's in charge of making the PC rules anyway?

Rex Parker said...

The word is "crossworthiness" (TM).

Loved the long fill in this one.

rp

Anonymous said...

Quit sucking up.
This puzzle was a total exercise in "UNPC" ...
A total waste.

Corey said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, everybody!

choirwriter said...

Mini-theme in SW: "URGE...BUY...PAY"! All connected to the impulse buy. Mwah-ha-ha.

Great puzzle -- had to resort to internet help a few times on this one, but had some great ah ha moments as it came together -- especially the "spot of tea" and "bad karma."

mac said...

Is it your birthday or not? If it is, hope you are enjoying it.

Liked some of the longer words, like swing state, web traffic , troop surge and impulse buy, in fact, they were pretty great now I write them down!

Good job, Corey!

Guin said...

I thought this puzzle was hard, but lots of clever fun. My dog, Malone, was no help. No canine clues today.

Anonymous said...

What in God's name does "unpc" stand for????? And how is "impulse buy" connected to IN-LINE PICKUP????

shrub5 said...

@anon 12:53
unpc = "un-politically correct" as in not avoiding statements or titles that could be perceived as showing gender, age, ethnic, racial, etc. bias.

See my comment earlier up @ 10;16 about in-line pickup.

GLowe said...

@John - thanks.

uh ... so twinkies are made by HOST now? And my neighbor's wife left him because he kept a MISTR?

What about BUTTRESS? "Type of architectural support" = CLASPINGBUTT (the mind goes on a wild-goose chase trying to dredge up a graphic on that one, nes pas?)

Interestingly, when her mom passed, the lawyer called my wife the EXECUTRIX of her estate. There's a cringer for you - it sounds like the one who comes to finish you off, after the DOMINATRIX is done ...

Bohica said...

@GLowe, I think you've got the wrong puzzle or day, or both.

jazz said...

I keep thinking I'm getting better and everyone keeps saying "easy puzzle". I needed google for a bunch of the esoteric ones today, but got through it.

Liked QUIZME, not so hot on BADKARMA. Thought LACT and AREOLA so close was Freudian! And ODESSA's clue was a little too obscure, even for me (I'm in Texas!)

sfingi said...

Mini-theme, milky theme - 21A lait; 54A lact; add egg and tea, and there's breakfast instead of gruel.
Thanx Corey for throwing a German bone (32D ich). How about Zuider for 19A Zee?
I miss -ess, especially actress, since so many younguns have androgynous first names; Was there ever a seamster? A teamstress?
mealier - how does one compare 2 mealy things?
I must say, was difficult for me.

Cleo said...

I'm new to crossword puzzles and just wanted to tell you all that your posts are helpful as I try to stumble through them.
Regarding "ess" words: They're un-politically correct because they gratuitously distinguish between women and men. E.g., "actress" carries subtle connotations that "actor" does not, and in doing so, it may demean women or lead to discrimination against them. Many female thespians therefore prefer to drop the unnecessary "-ess."

Glowe said...

@Bohica - thanks. I've always suspected I was in the wrong room.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Most of this Political Correctness is silly... at least it is for us geezers (er, senior citizens).
I take offense at someone who is intent on "repairing" my native language.

PuzzleGirl said...

Just to follow up on what Cleo said about the "-ess" suffix. My understanding of the argument is that if you differentiate between "actor" and "actress" you're basically saying that "actor" is the default and "actress" is "a female actor."

I actually saw a stupid YouTube video today where a young girl said she was inviting over two friends: one regular friend, and one Indian friend. So that's the same idea. What about "white American" makes the first friend "regular"? What is about a male actor that makes him "regular" and the female actor someone whose gender needs to be pointed out?

The one that always grates on me is "authoress." I mean, really. Why the "-ess"? An author is one who writes. She writes. She's an author. Oh, but wait a minute, she's not a real author, she's a female author, so we need to point that out somehow.

@JOHNSNEVERHOME: I totally get it that you take offense to someone trying to "repair" your native language and I know that must be frustrating. But I think there are also people who take offense to having been referred to for many years in ways that make a point of differentiating them from the "norm" by pointing out their "otherness." None of it is easy for anyone....

sfingi said...

I like to know things about the people who act and write.
The word I can't accept is spinster, since that is already the woman, as if there are no men.

I don't even mind widow as the default and widower as the irregular, since I can tell you from visiting my 90 yr. old mother at The Home, most of them are (widows).

These days, I find more problems with shortism and ageism. And "fat broads" is truly annoying.

Yall have no idea what it was like, and frankly I don't want you to have to think about it.

(signed)
Geezeress / Geezerette

housemouse said...

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I really miss the previous editors of the puzzle who actually used clues that DIDN'T require an umbilical cord to Google! And clues that actually made sense in some instances. Sue me! I think a crossword puzzle should be primarily a test of vocabulary, not of trivia or the ability to guess at the puzzle maker's ability to obfuscate. I miss the old puzzles that included quips and quotations, too. They were much better, from my perspective, since I don't have a home computer (I'm a night worker, so I'm using the computer at work) and thus no access to Google at home. More quotes, less Google, please.

Jan said...

Loved your comment on PAYTOILETS: "Technically, the "going" part is free." Hmm, wonder what GOLONG means in that context??

Anonymous said...

I slipped up on 22A (initially put "flakier" rather than "mealier" (guess I was thinking of flaky pie crust!), but, otherwise, I sailed right through this one. Are the Saturday puzzles getting easier or is it just my imagination?

Anonymous said...

Thanks shrub5 for the info - I never "impulse buy" in the checkout line. Never have seen "unpc" used -dislike all e-mail & text abbrev.'s