8.12.2009

WEDNESDAY, August 12, 2009—James Sajdak



THEME: "Winning by a Nose"—Phrases that begin with units that can be the MARGIN OF VICTORY

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "That fact is worth considering" (A POINT WELL TAKEN). In basketball and Scrabble, among other games, you might win by A POINT.
  • 26A: "Brilliant!" (A STROKE OF GENIUS). In golf, you win by at least A STROKE.
  • 47A: Wall Street nightmare (A RUN ON THE MARKET). In baseball and softball, the team wins by A RUN, if not multiple runs.
  • 64A: Winning difference—a small one starts 17-, 26- and 47-Across (MARGIN OF VICTORY).
We seldom see full-fledged answers that begin with the indefinite article A—more often, answers starting with the word A are junky two-word partials (such as "in A ROW" or "when I was A LAD"), so it's cool to see the A used in furtherance of the theme. Those first three theme answers are all unrelated to sports and games, so there's an admirable consistency to the theme.

Crosswordese 101: We've covered OAS and ARUM before, so let's tackle our Latin AMAT today. (Note to self and co-bloggers: Next time SMEE appears, he wants to be the 101 lesson.) AMAT is clued as 53D: Latin trio word. This "Latin trio" is the conjugation of AMO, AMAS, AMAT: I love, you love, he loves. All three of these pop up regularly in the crossword, so be on the lookout for 'em.

Ideally, two different forms of the same word do not appear in the same puzzle. Here, the Italian AMORE (16A: Love abroad) derives from the Latin word in 53D, so we dock the puzzle A POINT on the elegance scale.

And now, my favorite clues and answers:
  • 14A: Utterly unapproachable (COLD AS ICE). If you're anything like me (i.e., in my age range), you can't encounter that phrase without continuing, "you're willing to sacrifice our love":



  • 68A: "Reach!" (STICK 'EM UP). Straight up, a terrific piece of crossword fill. I'm hearing Woody from Toy Story barking "Reach for the sky!"
  • 18D: Unlike any vowels in dictionaries? (LONG). Meaning that the vowel sounds in the word dictionaries are all short vowels.
  • 39D: Morning awakener, perhaps (SUNLIGHT). This summer, I've been wishing the curtains in my bedroom window, on the west side of the building, were thicker. Too much sunlight! Do not want. I'd like to sleep in all month, if that's okay.
  • 45D: "I'm thinking..." ("HMM..."). Short and simple, looks weird in the grid. I like it.


Everything Else — 1A: Hook's mate (SMEE); 5A: Swedish import (SAAB); 9A: Letter vendor? (SAJAK); 16A: Love abroad (AMORE); 17A: "That fact is worth considering" (A POINT WELL TAKEN); 19A: Approaching the hour (TEN TO); 20A: Janis's comics mate (ARLO); 21A: Piquancy (ZEST); 22A: Clandestine maritime org. (ONI); 24A: Sgt., for one (NCO); 26A: "Brilliant!" (A STROKE OF GENIUS); 35A: Japanese drama (NOH); 36A: Fair-sized fair (EXPO); 37A: Petrol measure (LITRE); 38A: Angelou's "And Still __" (I RISE); 41A: Places for RNs (ERS); 42A: CafÈ container (TASSE); 43A: Not hit off the ground (TEE UP); 44A: Premature, perhaps (RASH); 46A: W. Hemisphere alliance (OAS); 47A: Wall Street nightmare (A RUN ON THE MARKET); 51A: Shaq's alma mater (LSU); 52A: Wall St. wall plaque (MBA); 53A: Inclusive prefix (AMBI-); 56A: Final Four gp. (NCAA); 60A: Middle of three black keys (A FLAT); 64A: Winning differenceóa small one starts 17-, 26- and 47-Across (MARGIN OF VICTORY); 67A: Menotti's shepherd boy (AMAHL); 69A: Sip or bite (TASTE); 70A: Piece of work (TASK); 71A: Musician's mailing (DEMO); 1D: Word to a pest (SCAT); 2D: Brood (MOPE); 3D: North Carolina campus (ELON); 4D: Prose pro (EDITOR); 5D: Old JFK arrival (SST); 6D: Bygone audio brand (AIWA); 7D: One offering outstanding services? (ACER); 8D: Bossy's ringer (BELL); 9D: Minded the kids (SAT); 10D: Endangered South American watershed (AMAZONIA); 11D: Part of a routine (JOKE); 12D: War deity (ARES); 13D: Daily Planet reporter (KENT); 15D: "That's __!": parental warning (A NO-NO); 23D: Tina's ex (IKE); 25D: Druid, for one (CELT); 26D: Ekberg of "La Dolce Vita" (ANITA); 27D: More angry (SORER); 28D: 1960s-'70s South Vietnamese president (THIEU); 29D: Bring to bear (EXERT); 30D: Daytime TV mogul (OPRAH); 31D: "All That Jazz" choreographer (FOSSE); 32D: "Not to worry!" (IT'S OK); 33D: Latin bears (URSAE); 34D: Behold, of old (SEEST); 40D: Long poem (EPOS); 48D: Former Georgia senator Sam (NUNN); 49D: Taken __: shocked (ABACK); 50D: Took a Grand Canyon trip, say (RAFTED); 54D: Crib word (MAMA); 55D: Tops at the beach (BRAS); 57D: Go for (COST); 58D: Mennen lotion (AFTA); 59D: Dollar competitor (AVIS); 61D: Togo's capital (LOME); 62D: Calla lily family (ARUM); 63D: Slip of the finger? (TYPO); 65D: Seine sight (ILE); 66D: "Ugh!" ("ICK!").

43 comments:

shrub5 said...

This was one of those puzzles where I kept thinking I'm not going to finish this by a long shot. But persistence allowed me to grind it out. In the end, I had to resort to google twice, once to look up Angelou's "And Still IRISE" and then Japanese drama NOH. I could not come up with SORER or THIEU without these crosses.

9A) Letter vendor? SAJAK came after initially thinking of VANNA. I noticed that SAJAK was similar to the puzzle constructor's name. I checked Wiki and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak's original surname was Sajdak. So....is he related to our constructor??

Other clues that challenged me were Café container: TASSE and Behold, of old: SEEST.

I really enjoyed today's workout -- many thanks to Orange and James Sajdak.

Anonymous said...

Yup, good puzzle! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This was challenging enough to be fun but still easy to do, the theme apparent early. Also liked STICKEMUP; and ANITA Ekberg, bigger than life screen siren of the Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield genre. I think 7d could have been better clued, perhaps "Nadal, often" What is ONI?

Orange said...

ONI = the Office of Naval Intelligence. One of those things I know only because of crosswords!

gjelizabeth said...

@Anonymous 7:03am: ONI is, I think, Office of Navval Intelligence, the semi-spy serice of the US Navy.
Fun puzzle. My favorite clue was "Fair-sized fair."

Anonymous said...

Is that like NCIS? Love that show!

Anonymous said...

@ORANGE - Too much sun in your window? I wish! Here in the NE, I think that may have happened twice this whole rainy summer. By the way, if the sun comes up in the east, how do you get so much sun in a west window? Just asking. Fog and dew yesterday and today, and the feel of autumn. Therefore, it's nice to have a good puzzle and your excellent comments on it.

Orange said...

Anon 7:33, that's what makes it so vexing. South-facing window on the west side of the building when the sun rises in the east and is further north in the summer sky—why is it so damned bright?!?

ddbmc said...

Our paper doesn't carry Janis and Arlo, but I came up with the name just by thinking of contemporaries Janis Joplin and Arlo Guthrie (Alice's Restaurant--being the comic commentary on "Officer Obie & 27 8X10 color glossies..." Started with Akea for Swedish import. Thought the theme had to do with editing as Editor, point, stroke, run-on and margin were used...Thankfully, Orange's write-up disabused me of THAT notion! "Margin of Victory" not withstanding. Like Shrub5 only a 2 Google day-couldn't remember Thieu and no idea on Lome-there's no place like "Lome" ET phone Lome?
Puzzle was fun! Thanks Mr. Sajdak and always @Orange!

Joon said...

this was a vexing puzzle. there were a lot of obscure/ugly fill words, like ONI and ILE and ACER and ARUM and A NO-NO and I RISE and SORER and SEEST and URSAE and LITRE and AMBI- and AMAT and AIWA and EPOS and ERS (although at least they took your advice regarding the clue this time). and i didn't like the indefinite article in A RUN ON THE MARKET. A POINT and A STROKE were okay because they're part of spoken expressions (although i usually say "point well taken" with no article), but there's really no need for the A in A RUN ON THE MARKET except thematic consistency, so it feels weak to me.

against all that, i do like the theme. and COLD AS ICE and STICK 'EM UP are outstanding.

the clue for LONG just baffles me. isn't the final vowel in "dictionaries" a long E? and the A is arguably long as well, though i wouldn't be cross if that were the only problem.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone read this blog, pay attention to Crossword 101? Rich? Rich Norris? A Calla Lily is NOT in the family ARUM.

*David* said...

For all the reasons Joon found it vexing, I enjoyed it. Many of the answers were either obscure or a little unexpected, making you second guess your original choice. A delightful piece of work, my favorite in a long time.

I didn't understand why "go for" was COST.

The CALLA lily is also called the ARUM lily but I'm not a botanist.

Anonymous said...

@Joon-Can't the theme answers imply an unwritten "That was"-(A POINT WELL TAKEN; A STROKE OF GENIUS). And in evaluating stock market activity,"That was" A RUN ON THE MARKET? Too far-fetched?

Carol said...

I had all the same problems as @shrub5. Found that area difficult even after getting 26D ANITA right away.

Though ARUM is not the true family name of the Calla Lily, the Arum Lily is closely related - the sister or brother of the Calla Lily? Just an idea.

Anonymous said...

@David - That answer gave me pause until it hit me. Asking a salesman, "How much does that Ferrari go for?" As the old saying goes "If you have to consider the COST, you can't afford it."

Anon 8:24 said...

The Calla Lily is also know as the Arum Lily, but if you read Rex's write up of the Crossword 101 word of the day: ARUM you will see that the Calla Lily is in neither the Lily nor the ARUM family.

If you're going to clue something as specific as the taxonomy of a flower, at least be correct. I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

One of the better themes/fill I've seen in a while (especially in the LAT). Some of the other fill was a bit clunky as previously noted (I'd be happy if the word 'acer' never showed up again in another puzzle), but all in all a very enjoyable solve.

Joon said...

anon 8:40 (geez, you people, get names, especially if there are going to be 5 anonymous posts in an hour), they all hang together fine as a theme, in a very consistent fashion. but that third one doesn't hold water as a standalone answer. RUN ON THE MARKET, yes. A RUN ON THE MARKET, no. certainly not as clued, anyway, and i suspect that no matter how you clued it, it would either have an extraneous indefinite article or end up being a 15-letter partial. so to me, the only purpose that the A serves in the third theme answer is to make it fit with the other two. that grates.

*david*, filling in things like I RISE and ACER and SEEST didn't make me second-guess myself; it just made me wince. but i'm glad you liked it. nobody should let my negativity diminish their own enjoyment of this or any other puzzle.

Jimbo said...

@Joon: I think RUN ON THE MARKET sounds "wrong" WITHOUT the A.

One would say: "On January 4th, there was a run on the market." One would not say: "On January 4th, there was run on the market."

So I think the A belongs with the phrase just as much as the other theme clues.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain "Go for" = COST? Not clear about that.

choirwriter said...

You must have missed the earlier post: cost=How much does that go for?

Great puzzle today, though I really got hung up in the mid-west.

And I agree: It IS "A run on the market."

Vega said...

Puzzle and write-up were both fun!

Question: are all the vowels in "dictionaries" really not long? I feel like I pronounce the "a" long; I can't say "dictionaries" with a short "a."

-Vega

JustAnotherAnon said...

@Anon 10:03 Look at Anon 8:50 above.

choirwriter said...

@vega: Agreed! The "dictionaries" clue was horrible. Sajdak tried too hard for cleverness here, and bombed. Surely there is a better clue for "long."

Orange said...

Attention, anonymous commenters! Please type in a name, any name. Something so the rest of us can tell you apart. It doesn't have to be your real name. You can call yourself Genius. You can call yourself Romeo. You can call yourself Minerva. Just click the "Name/URL" button rather than "Anonymous" and you'll be able to type in a name. URL links are optional.

Joon's point about the A in A RUN ON THE MARKET feeling tacked on is this: You wouldn't say you drive SAAB, you'd say you drive A SAAB. But A SAAB would be a lousy crossword entry. You might say someone's a jerk, but A JERK violates the usual convention of dropping the article in a crossword answer. The noun phrase is RUN ON THE MARKET, even though we'd all add A before it in speech.

Orange said...

My dictionary uses different phonetic symbols for the AR ("air") sound in the word "dictionary" and the long A sound used in "ace." It's also different from the short A symbol used in the "at" entry. I don't know the phonetic lingo for describing the sound in "air" if it's neither long nor short. It might be something akin to a short E sound.

There's a long E sound in the last syllable of "dictionaries," but I'm guessing the cluer was thinking of that E as a silent thing tacked onto the I (without a long I sound) when the Y is pluralized to IES.

boneaux said...

Sorry 'bout that was testing html code!

toothdoc said...

this has probably been asked previously but can someone tell me how to get the LA Times xword into Acrosslite. I used to get it through Cruciverb.com but haven't been able to for several weeks. I hate the LA Times Applet they offer - makes solving very clunky.

Nice puzzle overall, love the Angelou poem.

retired said...

I loved the theme and the clues. Once I figured out they all began with a I was in good shape. However, I thank Google for helping me with some of the clues. I knew Trieu because it was in another puzzle last week, and I knew Anita and figured out the title to the poem. I still don't understand Seest.

This seemed difficult for a Wednesday. I haven't tried the NY Times puzzle yet.

I had a great deal of trouble downloading Crosslight for the NYTimes. I am a Sunday subscriber so I realized that there was a puzzle on their online Times Digest. The same might be true for LA. I've done their puzzles on line but I still get the paper daily.

humorlesstwit said...

@Toothdoc - are you logged into Cruciverb.com? I went through the same issue some time ago, and it was simply that I wasn't logged in any longer.

Jimmie said...

Thieu was 16D in Sunday's LAT Puzzle - the real one in the real LAT - and it seems a likely candidate for 101 with all those vowels.

anonymous genius said...

"Symptom of 1987's 'Black Monday', on Wall Street" ... ARUN....

Maybe, Dunno.

Joon's right about the fill, made me laugh. Except what's wrong with Litre?

- Glowe

sfingi said...

I thank Sajdak for the oldies. You guys have mentioned most of them...
67A Amahl and the Night Visitors, an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti.("Amahl" "Coming, Mother")The (vinyl) record was the first thing I was robbed of in NYC.

42A Tasse, feminine in French and German. In America we super-size to a mug.

What does everybody think of such words as ick, psst, ssh, hmm, eh? They give me a sinking feeling.

2 ways to chop - dice, mince; love those mini-themes.

I actually have a friend who has an ABT (all but thesis) Phd. in Botany. Naturally, he's 75, since they haven't taught the subject for decades. He says the Arum family includes the Jack-in-the-pulpit, the Cala lily, the skunk cabbage, and is a monocotyldon characterized by an organ called a spadix which contains both male and female separate florets (not real flowers, as no real petals)that must be fertilized by flies; thus, some are putrid. This all is in the protective hood. The white "petal" is comparable to the "pulpit." Talulah Bankhead adopted the Cala lily as her own.

@retired - me too, just got my Medicare card yesterday - seest, like "whosoever believest." How else can you spell it? 3 e's? See-est? Old-timers would put an umlaut on the second e to show there are 2 syllables. You may have heard vacuum pronounce with 3 syllables. It's problematic.

I'm rambling.

Joon said...

anonymous genius gary, my only problem with LITRE is that it's a british spelling in an american crossword. i always find that to be inelegant at best, although for some reason, i like it when outright britishisms (LORRY, SKIVE, SWOT, etc.) show up... but that's not very often. perhaps not the most consistent set of opinions, but there you have it. i'm a man of mystery.

Anonymous Whos Been Posting as Dead Zoologists All Day said...

@Joon - LITRE was clued as "Petrol Measure", which necessitates the British spelling - No foul here.

The Corgi of Mystery said...

Have been sitting here trying to think of a better theme answer since Joon posted this morning about the extraneous 'A' in the third theme answer. All I've managed to come up with is A RUN FOR YOUR MONEY, which would have been perfect...except that it's 16 letters long.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the Foreigner clip. I saw Lou Gramm when we were out for brunch a few weeks ago (he's a local-boy-made-good here in Rochester, NY) and he does Not look like that anymore. But he sure could sing back then--guess I needed a reminder.

Joon said...

you know you've been complaining too much when fifty-eight different people respond to your complaints to tell you what's wrong with them.

Orange said...

Technically, Joon, it's not 58. It's less than 40. ;-)

Bohica said...

Fun puzzle, too much carping though over a few mediocre fills. I'm also tired of the "good service" (ace) and todays "one offering outstanding service" (acer) tennis references. I've watched a lot of tennis and have never heard anyone call anybody a good acer! "Today we have Roger Federer against Rapheal Nadal, both excellent acers"! C'mon.

Wayne said...

I enjoyed the puzzle but I got hung up with 39D. I put "daylight" instead of "sunlight" and so I was left with a hot mess in that sector. I eventually worked it out & then it made sense.

It was interesting to see a verb from an older version of our language, "seest". I believe that comes from the time when we had a second person formal tense: thou seest.

Anonymous said...

40D I wrote "epic" with confidence but got into trouble as I went on to 47A and 51A. Anyone else falter here? "Epos" sounded so strange.

shrub5 said...

@anon 8/13 5:20pm
Yes, I had the same error. I'd never heard of the word epos, then I've seen it twice in crosswords within a few days! The word is not in my desktop dictionary, but I found it in the Merriam-Webster online dict.