11.16.2009

MONDAY, Nov. 16, 2009 — Nancy Salomon




THEME: Doing something to a significant degree (?), OR, "verbING adjective-as-adverb"

A barely coherent theme, but a nicely filled grid, so no major complaints. Why AIMING HIGH? RIDING or FLYING seem sooooo much better. All the other theme answers are about DOING something, not TRYING to do it. WALKING, TALKING, LIVING ... AIMING? Boo. Unless there is something uniting all these answers that I just don't see, which is always possible. Is ACES WILD really a game unto itself? Sounds like a variation of poker or some other card game rather than a self-standing game (39D: Game in which "bullets" can be whatever card you decide). Clue on MAKE TIME (a nice phrase) is rather dull, and does not convey the sense of fitting something in where there might not (officially) be time for it (4D: Provide a schedule slot (for)). If there is a slot to provide, then you aren't really "making" anything. Also, I'm partial to the old-fashioned slang meaning of MAKE TIME, i.e. to flirt with or court someone. Lost most of my time (and I didn't lose much) at WAS ON, which is just horrible as an answer (53A: Aired, as a TV show). Otherwise, a fine, if forgettable, puzzle.





Theme answers:

  • 17A: Striding self-confidently (WALKING TALL)
  • 11D: Shooting for the stars (AIMING HIGH)
  • 29D: Carrying on conceitedly (TALKING BIG)
  • 60A: Enjoying an extravagant existence (LIVING LARGE)

Crosswordese 101: AVIA (36D: Nike competitor) — should read Nike's Far Less Famous competitor. AVIA make athletic apparel, primarily footwear. Their website is weirdly fancy / animated. I sometimes get AVIA confused with ASICS. Also, with the late 90's Sarah McLachlan hit "ADIA," which is itself crosswordese.



What else? — the stuff I liked

  • 48A: Team supporters, collectively (FAN BASE) — wonderful, in-the-language phrase I've never seen in a grid before (as far as I remember).
  • 46A: Words while delivering a blow ("TAKE THAT!") — wow, violent. Sweet.
  • 34D: Six-sided (HEXAGONAL) — double your HEXES fun (13D: Whammies).
  • 6D: Crop yielding a common sweetener (SUGAR CANE) — I went for something CORN at first (thinking "high fructose CORN syrup") but made it back to the more obvious answer pretty easily.

See you Friday,

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Heats a bit (WARMS); 6A: Movie music (SCORE); 11A: Cigar residue (ASH); 14A: Like loud crowds (AROAR); 15A: "Family Matters" nerd Steve (URKEL); 16A: "I like __": '50s campaign slogan (IKE); 17A: Striding self-confidently (WALKING TALL); 19A: Blender setting (MIX); 20A: Having sufficient skill (ABLE); 21A: No-brainer college course (EASY A); 22A: Lamp-to-plug link (WIRE); 23A: God of thunder (THOR); 25A: Short races (SPRINTS); 27A: It's a virtue, so they say (PATIENCE); 31A: iTunes download (SONG); 32A: Midterms, e.g. (EXAMS); 33A: Emitted a delighted sigh (AAHED); 35A: Beaver or boater (HAT); 38A: Tick off (RILE); 39A: Paid to play (ANTED); 40A: Hepcat's jargon (JIVE); 41A: Condescending cluck (TSK); 42A: Climbing tool for frozen surfaces (ICE-AX); 43A: TV host Philbin (REGIS); 44A: About, in a memo (IN RE); 46A: Words while delivering a blow (TAKE THAT); 48A: Team supporters, collectively (FAN BASE); 51A: Hobbling gait (GIMP); 52A: Tiny pond plant (ALGA); 53A: Aired, as a TV show (WAS ON); 55A: Wolf's shelter (LAIR); 59A: Dry gently, as tears (DAB); 60A: Enjoying an extravagant existence (LIVING LARGE); 62A: Brit. record co. (EMI); 63A: "Maria __": 1940s song (ELENA); 64A: Kitchen tearjerker (ONION); 65A: Pooch (DOG); 66A: '50s Ford flop (EDSEL); 67A: Part of a Santa costume (BEARD); 1D: Muted trumpet sound (WAWA); 2D: Mideast native (ARAB); 3D: Dice throw (ROLL); 4D: Provide a schedule slot (for) (MAKE TIME); 5D: Indian title (SRI); 6D: Crop yielding a common sweetener (SUGAR CANE); 7D: PC monitors (CRTS); 8D: Gives the nod to (OKAYS); 9D: Went off the wagon, e.g. (RELAPSED); 10D: Right-angled pipe (ELL); 11D: Shooting for the stars (AIMING HIGH); 12D: Mini, midi or maxi (SKIRT); 13D: Whammies (HEXES); 18D: Casino sign gas (NEON); 22D: Finish in front (WIN); 24D: "For __ a jolly ..." (HE'S); 26D: Towel holder (ROD); 27D: Saucy (PERT); 28D: Graph's x or y (AXIS); 29D: Carrying on conceitedly (TALKING BIG); 30D: Bother big-time (EAT AT); 34D: Six-sided (HEXAGONAL); 36D: Nike competitor (AVIA); 37D: Try out (TEST); 39D: Game in which "bullets" can be whatever card you decide (ACES WILD); 40D: 747, for one (JET PLANE); 42D: Nest egg component, for short (IRA); 43D: Sleep lab acronym (REM); 45D: Org. with dribblers (NBA); 47D: Crowned checker (KING); 48D: Washed-out (FADED); 49D: San Antonio mission (ALAMO); 50D: Gutter sites (EAVES); 54D: Trig function (SINE); 56D: La Scala solo (ARIA); 57D: Operatic prince (IGOR); 58D: Tear apart (REND); 60D: Filmmaker Spike (LEE); 61D: Soft toss (LOB).

34 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Slightly harder than most Monday puzzles and not much junky fill… I LIKED IT! I even AAHED when I saw this solid grid.
Learned one new word… Steve URKEL.
I also learned that the ALAMO was a mission… thought it was just a fort. And of course, I always learn a lot from Rex Parker’s writeups.

The very first word (1d) was WAWA and that made me smile. When my son, the CSO trumpeter, was in the U. S. Marine Band, he became known as the “WA-WA Boy” because he could do that mute thing so well. He got a permanent assignment to the White House under the Clinton and Bush administrations…was invited soloist at the daughter’s Camp David wedding. He has lots of interesting stories to tell! He has also played for several movie SCOREs. He now has a huge FANBASE (mom & dad, et al).
~~~JNH proudly smiles~~~
So that’s why I like this appropriate “Proud” theme.

Thank you all, for your PATIENCE!

Now I'm really flying high after seeing that excellent video clip: Shaggy Gary "Nesta" Pine, Fly High.
JNH

Sfingi said...

"I'm shootin' high, got my eye on a star in the sky. Shootin' high."
1935 Koehler-McHugh tune sung by Shirley Bassey, Nat King Cole, Eydie Gorme, Joni James, Louis Prima, Mel Torme and other great crossword singers. First done in movie, King of Burlesque. No cornier than Flying High. Has ear-worm possibilities for a sunny, up Monday. Especially like this part:
"I'm on a rainbow rafter,
You are my lucky star.
Heaven is what I'm after,
Flying up to where you are."

What's the difference between a limp and a 51A GIMP? Latter not PC?

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Sfingi
GIMP is PC when it's used as an APP.
(The GNU Image Manipulation Program)

And thanks for those terrific sunny up-Monday lyrics

jazz said...

@JNH: Right on. I know the Steve's name by hearing it, but had ERKLE which, needless to say, fouled up about everything until the crosses made me rethink.

Been seeing ALGA and DAB a lot lately (but no TER, thankfully!)...never heard of the word AROAR, but I guess you can make lotsa nouns into adjectives by prepending "A" to them...AWASH, ALIT, AFIRE...why not AROAR?

GIMP started out as LIMP (I use GIMP as the person, LIMP as the gait, and GIMPY as an adjective, go figure).

All in all, I liked the grid fill and thought the theme was OK too. Would rate it 3 1/2 stars out of five for a Monday.

Thanks, Nancy, for your effort, RP for your critique, and editor, for doing whatever it is you did!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Jazz
eg.
The crowd was AROAR when they heard my son play his trumpet.
~~~JNH hearing groans now~~~~

GLowe said...

I always thought 'gimp' to be a put-down of a person with a disability. Regardless of whether I'm right or not, it is flagged in my mind under "no sense in using that word" - a list populated mostly by watching Archie Bunker.

mac said...

What a nice puzzle! Not a major theme, but the fill was nice. Didn't know Urkel, and crts. Love gimp, wawa, take that and fanbase.

I knew Avril Lavigne's name, but not her voice. Thanks, it's great!

shrub5 said...

I'm glad the trumpet sound was used as a fresh clue for WAWA rather than a reference to SNL Gilda Radner's impression of Barbara Walters.

Kitchen tearjerker: MYMOTHERINLAWSMEATLOAF wouldn't fit. This could also be an answer for 'Weapon of mass destruction.'

Overall, a smooth solve; only misstep was made when I put in SUGARBEET before SUGARCANE but PATIENCE straightened that out. Liked the Whammies clue for HEXES.

Charles Bogle said...

Wow--nice clever Monday puzzle; generally very solid fill...congrats Ms. Salomon

Have no idea about URKLE or MARIA ELENA and consequently got mired in those spots. Really liked by-play of HEXEX and HEXAGONAL

Good start to the week

So, RP, how'd your nine-year old do? BTW, way harder than today's NYT IMHO

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Evil Eye Fleegle could put a double whammy hex on you.
Check out this Li'l Abner character.
EVIL EYE FLEEGLE

Anonymous said...

I thot the theme was the BIG/ TALL/HIGH/LARGE..

jazz said...

Question related-to-nothing-in-particular...

I really do think that AROAR and its ilk (awash, alit, adither, etc.) are adjectives, but can you ever use them to modify a noun (e.g. an aroar crowd, an adither person, etc)?

Living Guy said...

WALKING, TALKING, LIVING, BREATHING (or something indicating life) would have made a very nice double word theme. As it is, meh.

chefbea said...

easy puzzle except for my Natick..the R in Urkel and crts. What does crts stand for. @Rex - did your daughter get that answer?

tinbeni said...

Nice Monday LAT offering. Any puzzle with 2 Hexes is OK with me.

Glad to see INRE make another appearance. And DAB, we missed you, its been at least a week.

JIVE over Regis ... maybe a comment on what Was On.

RP - When you live in Florida, Sugarcane comes to mind, instantly. Thanks for the Avril.

tinbeni said...

@chefbea
CRT = Cathode Ray Tube, The bulky kind of TV & computer monitors before flat screens.

ddbmc said...

Gimp, in the Slang Dictionary, is labeled "rude and derogatory." I remember the word being used by my dad-an Archie Bunker type, so like Glowe, never used it to describe anyone. BUT it is also a "flat trimming of silk, wool or other cord, somethimes stiffened with wire for curtains, clothing and lacemaking."

27 D-put sexy for saucy and ended up with Silience for 27 A! Fouled up the middle for awhile, till the coffee kicked in and said to self-WTF? I didn't know "silience" was a a virtue! (Let alone spelling correctly a greater virtue.)With patience, the rest of the puzzle filled nicely.

Have to agree with Anon, thought that maybe the theme was "Grand Exits" (as opposed to "grand entrances" as the "Big, Tall, Large, High" words were at the end of the phrases. I don't usually have much luck with the themes, so I come here to see what our CW Nabobs have come up with! Always fun!

bluebell said...

I confidently wrote jumbo jet off the jive (40 across and down), and of course had to change it as crosses corrected me.

I stopped briefly on muted trumpet sound, as wawa mute is a gimme, the wawa sound a less familiar usage (go figure).

Aroar,alit, etc are usages I know only in crosswords. I have never in my life said or written "the crowd was aroar" (until now).

The puzzle was fast and easy as was the NYT. I'll hold this good thought when I get to Friday.

crazycatlady said...

Nice Monday puzzle that took me a little longer than most Mondays. I didn't like AAHED though. My dictionary lists AH, but no AAH. Liked GIMP (my husband tore his achilles tendon a few years ago and still walks with a bit of limp. I call him GIMPY).
Also liked MAKE TIME (agree with R.P on that) and FAN BASE. I thought URKEL was ERKLE. Loved that character. WAWA was also the dairy in SE Pennsylvania that delivered our milk when I was a kid. On the bottle it said" To the Indians WAWA meant wild goose. To you it means the finest in milk." There are now WAWA convenience stores all over SE PA.

ddbmc said...

@CCLady, central and S. Jersey have WAWA's, too! My son discovered they have a self serve milkshake machine (a Keurig for milkshakes, if you will!)He attends school in PA, and is in heaven with cheese steaks and WAWA shakes! Now, about the fat content, if he keeps it up, he'll be living large and will just need a beard for the Santa costume....

crazycatlady said...

@ddbmc Sounds like heaven - a cheese steak with fried onions and a chocolate WAWA shake. I'll take that over RAMEN any day. Now you have given me a milk shake craving! It's probably a good thing I don't live there any more. I do always allow myself one cheese steak when I go back to visit because there is no place else in the world where the cheese steaks taste as good.

gespenst said...

In Re: GIMP ... I think it's rather rude, but we use it in jest referring to my mom and her gimpy pass for gimpy parking. Sorta self-deprecating. Wouldn't use it in "polite company" though! I also remember making lanyards and such out of a flat plastic lace (in the sense of shoe lace, not tatted lace) called gimp ... I guess that relates to ddbmc's alternate definition.

In Re: the theme ... I also thought that it was a "Grand Exit" theme, not so much the whole phrase, though it would be nice to have the whole phrases work as well.

In Re: AROAR, you can certainly say "The crowd was aroar," but you wouldn't refer to an "aroar crowd" ... there's probably a specific grammatical term for that sort of adjective. Anyone?

Overall a pretty good puzzle for a Monday :)

Whitney said...

Breezed through this puzzle. Not a huge fan of the theme - but hey if it works. Makes me think I'm thinking too hard when I try to come up with themes...Anyway. I LOVED seeing URKEL in the puzzle. He was a total nerd until he discovered he could turn into Stefan Urquelle. Then he was a total playah! Ah, good old ABC's TGIF days. Also, INRE: GIMP Makes me picture that totally disturbing scene from Pulp Fiction. Ya know, "Bring out the gimp"...Ick.

Anonymous said...

Just a note on make time. You ask "important" people if they can make time on their calendar to see you. Or they look at their calendar and say, "Well, maybe I can make time for you in a couple of weeks." Be grateful if you haven't run into this one in real life.

gespenst said...

@Whitney ... I was thinking the same thing but didn't want to mention it ;)

I forgot in my previous post, I really didn't like this answer: 22A: Lamp-to-plug link (WIRE) ... who talks about a lamp wire? It should be CORD, no?

chefwen said...

@crazycatlady - When I lived in So Cal I happened upon a place called South Jersey Deli and tried one of their Cheese steaks, OMG, I was in love at first bite. They grew too fast and tried to expand into dinner and breakfast, then finally went out of business. On the day they closed their doors, I went in for my last Cheese steak and literally cried at my (and their) loss. Now I want to visit New Jersey.

Puzzle was super easy even though, I too, fell into the limp/GIMP trap.

ddbmc said...

@chefwan, the BEST cheese steaks are Philly, not S. Jersey. But the best flautas I ever had were in SoCal-San Diego's historic district, so I can relate to that constant craving!

"Aroar" seems to be more of an archaic form of the word. I would expect to find it used in Hemingway or Fitzgerald.
--Addbmc

A Lion, Aroar

ddbmc said...

@chefwan, that would be "in" Philly. :)

mac said...

That "notions" meaning of gimp is just coming back to me, as is WAWA, from my 9 months in Ardmore, PA, right outside of Philly. Husband used to be with Gagliardi/Steakum/Heinz, so that food is very familiar to me. I think I only had one half in my life. My problem is that I don't like to bite into melted cheese. When our son makes a little pizza for a midnight snack, he usually leaves some for my breakfast: the cheese has hardened again.

Sfingi said...

@mac - in Utica, 25% Italian, we have a specialty called tomato pie. It's pizza dough on a sheet, thus rectangular, with tomato sauce only. They sell it by the square, and every home party serves it with hors d'oeuvres or instead of bread. It's a bit boring for me - I like lots of junk on my pizza, but it's hard to turn down.
Our other specialty is chicken riggies for which there is a festival and contest. Very spicy.

@John - I loved Al Capp - esp. Shmoo. My husband remembers everything and quizzed me - do you remember Hamus Alabamus? You'll have to explain that APP comment to me.

Guess I kicked off the Gimpathon. I was warned here not to say "gyped." What about gypsy truckers?
Gypsies were thought to originate in Egypt, but DNA and language similarities point to India. They probably left because they didn't like the caste they were thrown into.

chefbea said...

@sfingi can you please explain chicken riggies??? Maybe I need the recipe

ddbmc said...

@chefbea, if you Google "Chicken Riggies," there are a few recipes available. Maybe @Sfingi will share hers! How did we go from Gimp talk to Food Talk??? lol! Gyped--I guess that means to be taken/conned by gypsies? @Mac, no melted cheese??? @Sfingi, I'm with you, lots of stuff on my "za! NE PA also does the rectangular pizza. It is served on cafeteria trays. Old Forge, near Wilkes Barre, known for it's Italian food...but we digress.

Sfingi said...

@chefbea - good thing I took one last peek tonight. Wikipedia has Teddy's listed as the best place to try it, since they won 3 times. It's in Rome, NY, in a shopping strip on Black River Blvd., but I love the place. I always get their sunflower salad, which is also Italian. Teddy's decorated with both Teddy Bears and Teddy Roosevelt (another of my cuz) memorabilia. Rome is 17 miles from Utica on Route 49 or 69.

I'm no cook, but Wikipedia sends you to miocibo.com/2008/12/21/chicken-riggies/
Lots of peppers, which I avoid. A Cuban friend of mine loves the dish and has added it to his repertoire.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Sfingi
APP = APPlication Software. The term has been used as shorthand (and common in crosswords) for "application" in the IT community for as long as I can remember. But then it became newly popular for mobile phone (iphone)applications...very popular term since the advent of Apple's APP Store in 2008.
There is a software application with the acronyn GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), so that usage is "politically correct".

I'm a huge anti-PC advocate. I believe there are two things in our society that seriously abuses our beautiful English language. 1) Street-talk (or JIVE, if you will) dumbs-down English. 2) banning perfectly good words/phrases just because someone doesn't like them (politically incorrect) is ceding to special interest agendas and that's just wrong.
I certainly don't use offensive words like Archie Bunker did, but I sure don't like all this PC crap.

All this talk about cheese steaks, tomato pies, and wawas has gotten me awful hungry. Nothing is better than this good old "comfort food." Last year I spent 4 months travelling Route 66, and Route 66 is all about eating. Good home cooked meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, onion-burgers, corn-fritters, and hot roast beef sandwiches... mmm mmmm! Oh geez, I'm drooling again.