8.18.2009

TUESDAY, August 18, 2009—Gail Grabowski


Theme: "Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner" — The first word of each theme answer can follow the word baby in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Nitpick (SPLIT HAIRS). Never heard the term "baby split" before, but now I've got some new jargon to use when getting killed by the PuzzleKids at Wii bowling (4D: Nintendo system involving physical exertion).
  • 27A: *Take no action (SIT TIGHT). "Babysit." Now that's more like it. I know what that is. Wasn't ever very good at it, but that's a whole 'nother story.
  • 46A: *Gold rush phenomenon (BOOM TOWN). "Baby Boom." My parents are Boomers, which I guess makes me a Gen Xer. Whatever that means.
  • 60A: *B.B. King's genre (BLUES MUSIC). Ow, it hurts! Sorry, but this one doesn't work for me at all. B.B. King's genre is Blues. Period. Plus I think the phrase "baby blues" really minimizes the phenomenon it's trying to describe. Just like "morning sickness." Of course if they described it accurately, no one would ever get pregnant.
  • 11D: *Group that might indict (GRAND JURY). I always thought that if I was ever going to get a fancy piano, I wouldn't waste my time on a "baby grand" but go right for the grand.
  • 35D: *Hits the gas (STEPS ON IT). I was just telling someone recently how I'm not good at "baby steps." I'm pretty much an all-or-nothing gal. If I'm going to start exercising, I need to buy new shoes, join a gym, and sign up for some classes. I can't just go walk around the block.
  • 55D: Word that can precede the starts of the answers to starred clues (BABY).
Crosswordese 101: Quite a few to choose from today. The only one that jumped out at me that we've already covered is AERIE (14A: High nest). But it looks like today I can bring up that spelling issue I talked about last week. At 25D: Russian rulers of yore we've got TSARS. Sometimes it's spelled CZARS, but in crossword puzzles it's almost five times likelier to be spelled TSARS, so that's my default. What you're looking for in a clue for TSAR/CZAR are names Ivan, Feodor, Nicholas, Peter, Alexander, Paul, Ivan, or Boris Godunov. And often early, old, bygone, or of yore. Also anything about the Winter Palace (which always makes me think of Narnia for some reason).

I feel like I said a lot about the theme and gave you some good information in CW101 and ya know what? Looking through the clues, absolutely nothing jumps out at me as worth expanding on. I liked the puzzle. Simple theme, executed very smoothly. Perfect Tuesday. But nothing else to talk about. If anything grabbed you, please bring it up in the comments. ...

Now it's, like, half an hour later and my search for the perfect PATTI LaBelle (50D: Singer LaBelle) video took me down a winding path that led me instead to Patti Austin, Brian McKnight, and Take 6 singing a Quincy Jones production of one of my favorite songs of all time, "Moody's Mood for Love." So, even though I planned to leave you with Ms. LaBelle, I'm going to take you out with something a little more mellow than "Lady Marmalade." Hope you like it.



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Everything Else — 1A: Muscleman's quality (BRAWN); 6A: Prefix with sphere (HEMI-); 10A: Taj Mahal site (AGRA); 15A: Smooth out (EVEN); 16A: Rugged outcropping (CRAG); 19A: Detest (HATE); 20A: Rage (IRE); 21A: Neil Simon's "The Goodbye __" (GIRL); 22A: Did some pressing work? (IRONED); 24A: Must-miss movie rating, probably (NO STARS); 26A: Well-behaved (GOOD); 30A: Slim __: snack sausage (JIM); 33A: Scottish singing sensation Boyle (SUSAN); 36A: Boozer (SOT); 37A: "You bet!" ("SURE!"); 38A: Galileo's sci. (ASTR.); 39A: Boston team, briefly (CELTS); 41A: Quickie haircut (TRIM); 42A: Professional charges (FEES); 43A: Classic TV brand (RCA); 44A: Final authority (SAY SO); 45A: Eerie ability, briefly (ESP); 49A: Places for facials (SPAS); 51A: Train track foundation (ROADBED); 55A: Puffs up (BLOATS); 57A: German industrial area (RUHR); 58A: Parisian pal (AMI); 59A: Bee, to Opie (AUNT); 63A: Londoner, e.g. (BRIT); 64A: Assents at sea (AYES); 65A: Use TurboTax, say (E-FILE); 66A: Furry Himalayan legend (YETI); 67A: Take a breather (REST); 68A: Parceled (out) (DOLED); 1D: Washroom tub (BASIN); 2D: Copy, for short (REPRO); 3D: Where Van Gogh painted "Sunflowers" (ARLES); 5D: Bottom line (NET GAIN); 6D: Publisher with a castle (HEARST); 7D: Wicked (EVIL); 8D: La Méditerranée, e.g. (MER); 9D: Moments of clarity (INSIGHTS); 10D: Cold outburst? (ACHOO); 12D: Lender's charge (RATE); 13D: Like fine wine (AGED); 18D: Trumpeter Al (HIRT); 23D: Spoil (ROT); 28D: Sunni's faith (ISLAM); 29D: Caught on to (GOT); 31D: Spring blossom (IRIS); 32D: Note to the staff (MEMO); 33D: Ump's outstretched-arms call (SAFE); 34D: Depletes, with "up" (USES); 37D: Easel, e.g. (STAND); 39D: Goalpost part (CROSSBAR); 40D: Green prefix (ECO-); 44D: Moved like bees (SWARMED); 46D: Cave dweller (BAT); 47D: Most loyal (TRUEST); 48D: Sounds of surprise (OOHS); 52D: Herb garden staple (BASIL); 53D: "Nana" author Zola (ÉMILE); 54D: Chopped into cubes (DICED); 56D: Entice (LURE); 57D: Feels sorry about (RUES); 61D: Chemical in Drano (LYE); 62D: Sighting in the sky, for short (UFO).

35 comments:

split infinitive said...

Baby split? I am not--insofar as I have been informed--a parent, but that is a horrifying term. I was thinking about Solomon and the Bible and, well, you remember the story. Turns out it's about the fine sport of bowling, a sport woefully neglected at the Olympics, unlike rhythmic gymnastics, which is a "sport" where smoking & drinking are prohibited. With the baby split, you end up with two non-adjacent pins, which you can take down with a well-targeted single strike of the bowling ball. Okay, sure, yes, if you SAYSO.
Nice write up. You are the tzarina of the blogosphere!

Frog said...

I believe "Baby Blue" is the point of the clue - one of my favorite colors. Thanks for the write ups - I love them!

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

I took "baby blues" to be a reference to eyes.

And today, it is ACHOO.

sfingi said...

@James I agree; Geezers look into your baby blues and fall in love.

Baby split. Maybe it's when you have Siamese twins. Maybe it's a small banana split. How about Solomon. A couple in a divorce? OK, or AOK, I just went on Google and it's a bowling thing, which of course I don't understand.

And today it's oohs. Something is oozing out of this puzzle. So many oft-repeateds that I'm not going to list them. But it means I'm getting better, since crosswordese has found a place in my skull.

Carol said...

Haven't bowled in years, but never heard the term BABY SPLIT. Just split. Learn something new every day!

Like James, I thought BABY BLUES referred to eyes. (Think Paul Newman)

Good solid Tuesday puzzle and write-up.

Joon said...

"baby blue" is indeed a color. a sweet one. but "baby blues" is the colloquial term for postpartum depression, kind of a downer. still, not as much of a downer as BLUES MUSIC. if i were making this puzzle from scratch, i'd nix SPLIT HAIRS (since nobody seems to know what "baby split" means) and go with BLUES BROTHERS as a central 13. that would mean 5 theme answers instead of 6, but i'd rather have 5 rock-solid ones than 4 great and two iffy. but this is kind of presumptuous of me, as gail grabowski is a long-standing expert at early-week puzzles.

GoG8rs said...

As a newbie, I have really enjoyed finding this blog and learning so much. I've been following this for several months now and finally feel compelled to camplain about a answer: baby split? Don't think so! I agree with Split Infinitive and the bad Solomom baby image it evokes.
No trouble with BB King clue--"Baby Blues" is also a cartoon strip I read before working the puzzle.

PARSAN said...

So good to see a reference to the great jazz reeds and flute player James Moody, even in this round-about way. Wikipedia has a very interesting explanation of this song and it's history. Moody originally took the old standard "I'm in the Mood for Love" (common in jazz to take the chord changes of a known song and write a new melody), and wrote "Moody's Mood for Love". Type in "Moody's Mood" and check out his same-named album and hear him play it on the flute. Words were added later and it has been recorded by many singers. Disputed lyricists, a lawsuit, and many recordings later, the best version, in my thinking, is Moody's done in 1957 with NO lyrics. Really appreciated the opportunity to say something about jazz! Oh yes, fun puzzle.

jazz said...

Well, no sooner does AHCHOO show up (yesterday) and get noted by Rex as having spelling variants, than we see ACHOO today!

I love easy Tuesdays!

shrub5 said...

I liked the theme answers and clues, but my favorite is 24A) Must miss movie rating, probably = NOSTARS. I don't think there is any "probably" about it, though.

I agree with some of the previous posters about BABY BLUES -- first thought I had was eyes. And @Carol is so right on with Paul Newman! Or how about these!

Denise said...

When I see an asterisk, I think that the answer will be somehow skewed -- not just that it is a part of the theme. Were the asterisks necessary in this puzzle? If there is a theme, don't we just look at the long answers to determine what it is?

GLowe said...

@Denise - I think its because two themes are kind of short (8), and there's some 8's going down.

JakeBlues said...

Didn't care much for this puzzle as I found it pretty blah all around. A few really lousy theme answers didn't help either. No one I know refers to 'blues' or 'the blues' as 'blues music' either.

Tuttle said...

Gak. I hate "cold outburst" and "sounds of surprise". Lazy words. Well, 'ooh' is a word. 'Achoo' is not.

edith b said...

I think baby split is a bowling term that describes a situtation where there is only one pin gap between two pins, if that makes sense to anyone.

Also, as a Baby Boomer myself, I took baby blues to be about eyes although I think joon is right also about post-partum depression.

A lot of mixed messages being sent with THIS puzzle.

PurpleGuy said...

I'm a BABY BOOMER, and I've bowled before,but never heard or encountered the term BABY SPLIT before today. Glad I was not alone in it being unfamiliar !
Didn't like the answer BLUES MUSIC, either, butlike where it CROSSed with BAR. Probably a dive bar where they would advertise "blues music!"

Easy Tuesday puzzle, but it didn't really give me any joy,or "aha" moments.

Thanks for the writeup,Puzzle Girl. Brilliant and humorous as always!

PurpleGuy said...

I thought of BABY BLUES to refer to the eyes. Think of Frank Sinatra - Ol' Blue Eyes himself !

@GOG8rs- I also read the BABY BLUES comic in our paper. Thanks for reminding me.

mac said...

I liked this puzzle, quite easy but solid. I had no idea what a baby split was, but by the time the theme came up that area was completely filled.

I liked the words brawn, aerie and boomtown.

I've thought about it, and to me it would be "hachoo". ;-)

choirwriter said...

I liked the cross of "rues" the "blues"!

And I'm sure Susan Boyle is thrilled that her fame has extended to the crossword puzzles - just one more thing to add to her celebrity stress.

Rex Parker said...

BABY BLUE (color) is not the point. BABY BLUES (as in eyes, or the comic strip) is the point. But you all seem to have hashed that out by now.

2:48 = WIN. Better than 90 seconds faster than my NYT time, and a good 30 seconds under my avg. *Monday* time. Theme schmeme.

Agree re: BLUES MUSIC as a phrase (clunky) but it's valid.

rp

Charles Bogle said...

Special note to @chefwen and @mac: thank you VERY much for your kind wishes last night for our ailing dear family dog named after yesterday's Wile E. Coyote clue. It's with a heavy heart that I share that this marvelous almost ten-year old black standard poodle passed late last night/early this am. Earlier this summer we lost his "boy"-our 20 year old son. We have to believe they are reunited and chasing tennis balls together. Forced myself to work through this puzzle today for the distraction and absolutely enjoyed it in every respect--a great temporary spirit-booster


Otherwise: forced myself to work this puzzle and absolutely enjoyed it in every respevct-temporarily boosted my spirits!
st-ten year old black standard poodle Wylee passed in his sleep early this a.m. A month ago we lost a 20 year old son-Wylee had been his dog; he'd been Wylee's "boy"-and we're trying to reconcile by believing the two have been re-united and are chasing tennis balls

Orange said...

@Charles Bogle, I'm so very sorry for your deep losses. Many people have reported that crosswords provide a useful distraction during difficult times—I hope they're a help to you, too.

PARSAN said...

@Charles Bogle - I'm sure many of us feel great sadness at the loss of your family members, one human and one canine. Perhaps none of us have ever met you, but through your posts I sense your interests and keen intelligence. With all sincerity, I wish you peace.

Anonymous said...

@Charles Bogle - Your eloquence and hope at a time of such great loss is both deeply touching and inspirational. You and your family are in my thoughts.

mac said...

@Charles Bogle - I too feel very sad for your losses. My thoughts are with you and your family.

PurpleGuy said...

@Charles Bogle - I lost my mom of 99 years just recently. Crosswords and word-searches were a "respite" and escape for me. I was glad to have been able to care for her in the last few months.

My prayers and thoughts are with you at this stressful time. Know that youy have many "friends" on this blog who are pulling for you and thinking of you.

shrub5 said...

@Charles Bogle: I too am saddened to read about your loss of Wylee this morning adding to the loss of your son earlier.

Here is a poem that I think someone posted on this blog or the Rex Parker NYT blog a while ago.

Although it doesn't seem to be so, grief is fleeting, but love is infinite....

My sincere condolences to you and your family.

ddbmc said...

@Charles Bogle, your cwp blog family is heartbroken for both of your devastating losses! I have sons around your son's age and worry constantly about them! My heart goes out to you and your family. My favorite Shakespeare quote: When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun--Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 2 :( I will imagine shooting stars to be a tennis ball being tossed by your son for Wylee......

Alex said...

By far my favorite version of Moody's Mood For Love is this one by James Moody himself. When he asks "Am I insane" you wonder the same thing.

Charles Bogle said...

Thanks all-I and my family are VERY touched. To @ddbmc, that Shakespeare quote was the finale of the eulogy I gave for Gregory to 400 people last Wednesday night; it is beautiful. @purpleguy and others, yes, the puzzles and the great good-spirited camaraderie of the cwp have been a wonderful distraction-and plain old fun (at least through Thursdays!) this past month. @shrub5, the "Rainbow Bridge" is terrific and I was fortunate to find it on the "web" early this am so I had it when we broke the news to our 9 year-old. @Alex, I look forward to checking out that James Moody poem. Forgive me if I share too much, but anyone who is a Facebook member is sincerely invited to visit the Gregory Scott Hillman in Remembrance and Memoriam page--feel free to leave a note. Gregory LOVED the English language; he loved creative writing, song-writing, playing with words. In his final hospitalization we would do the JUMBLE together every day and I'd ask him for help on crossword clues. He was also a math whiz and some days he'd be up to Suydooklu. Thanks all Sudoku--bey

Rex Parker said...

Charles, my sincerest sympathies for your losses. I'm happy you have felt comfortable sharing your stories here. Your son sounds like he was a beautiful young man.

rp

chefwen said...

Charles, my deepest sympathy goes out to you and your loved ones. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wendy

Anonymous said...

Prayers for you, Charles, on your recent losses. I too believe that crosswords are soothing ways to get through tough times.

ArtLvr said...

@ Charles B -- I'm so very sorry to hear of your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family...