SATURDAY, November 28, 2009
Alan Olschwang

Theme: As usual for a Saturday, no theme today. (Of course, I could be wrong. I've missed themes before.)

Hi, everyone. I believe Orange is still stuffing herself with turkey in some God-forsaken Internet-less place. I believe she'll be back blogging at her place on Monday, and will be back in the rotation here next Wednesday. In the meantime, you're stuck with me. Let's just make the best of it.

I thought we might have a theme going with the two double-Z answers: MEZZO-SOPRANO and JACUZZI (22A: Carmen, for one / 38A: Maker of many jets). But no. Then when I saw more Scrabbly letters, and thought we might have a pangram on our hands. But no again. All it needs is an effin' F. Bummer.

Stuff I did not know:
  • 19A: Zen enlightenment (SATORI). Sometimes considered the first step toward Nirvana.
  • 10D: Belgium winter hrs. (CET). Whoa, what? That would be Central European Time.
  • 13D: Former Tennessee Titans tight end Kinney (ERRON). Insert your own err-on-the-side-of-caution joke here.
  • 24D: Sprites of Persian mythology (PERIS). Apparently they rank between angela and evil spirits. Kinda like humans, I guess.
  • 50D: "The Hustler" author Walter (TEVIS). I didn't know "The Hustler" was originally a novel.
  • 62D: Knotted pile carpet (RYA). It's a traditional Scandinavian rug. If you do a Google image search, you see a wide variety of colors and designs, so I'm not sure what it is that makes these rugs their own category. Something about the wool or the knots I think.
Other stuff I noticed:
  • 20A: Certain theater, for short (REP). Short for REPertory.
  • 28A: "__ for Evidence": Grafton novel (E IS). Y'all know about the Sue Grafton novels, right? They all start with letters: A Is for, I don't know, Alibi or something. B Is for Blood. I'm making these up, but you get the point.
  • 33A: Inexpensive kids' toy (PAPER DOLL). I'm pretty sure toy makers have discovered a way to make paper dolls expensive.
  • 47A: Classic Jag (XKE). I always want there to be a J in this answer. And there never is.
  • 56A: Company with a kangaroo on its logo (QANTAS). Q without a U? Crossword gold.
  • 4D: Derby town (EPSOM). Epsom, Essex, Sussex ... they're all the same to me unfortunately.
  • 34D: Dallas Mavericks owner before Cuban (PEROT). Kept reading this as "Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban" and couldn't figure out why Mark wouldn't fit.
  • 39D: Golfer Babe who was a six-time AP Female Athlete of the Year (ZAHARIAS). So, yes, I know her name was Babe, but "Golfer Babe"? That doesn't seem right somehow.
  • 52D: Vocally twangy (NASAL). I should be able to find something twangy for you ....

Crosswordese 101: R.U.R., which stands for Rossum's Universal Robots, is a play that premiered in 1921 credited with introducing the term robot. It was written in Czech by Karel Capek. Obviously, the play is considered science fiction. And with all that knowledge, you should be able to recognize R.U.R. the next time it's clued in a puzzle.

Everything Else — 1A: King overthrown by William of Orange (JAMES II); 8A: Breaks out (ESCAPES); 15A: Conversion gadget (ADAPTOR); 16A: Was humbled (ATE DIRT); 17A: Dennis the Menace's neighbors, with "the" (WILSONS); 18A: "Told you!" ("SO THERE!"); 21A: Berkshire school (ETON); 25A: Bad start? (MAL-); 29A: Fork in the road (VEE); 30A: Caribbean cruise stop (ARUBA); 40A: Asmara is its capital (ERITREA); 41A: One in a box (SPECTATOR); 43A: Nutritious beans (SOYAS); 44A: "I'm so clever" sound ("HEH"); 45A: Big affairs (DOS); 48A: Spinach is high in it (BETA-CAROTENE); 54A: U.S. dept. with a windmill on its seal (ENER.); 55A: Robot play (RUR); 60A: Daydream (REVERIE); 62A: Decay, as pipes (RUST OUT); 63A: "Sleepless in Seattle" studio (TRISTAR); 64A: One who aches (YEARNER); 65A: Party leader (HOSTESS); 66A: Brisk, to Brahms (ALLEGRO); 1D: 1975 thriller shot largely on Martha's Vineyard (JAWS); 2D: 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit (ADIA); 3D: Brewer's supply (MALT); 5D: Supply (STORE); 6D: Create charged particles in (IONIZE); 7D: Org. that gets a lot of returns (IRS); 8D: Uncomplicates (EASES); 9D: Short stay (STOP OVER); 11D: Didn't deviate from, as plans (ADHERED TO); 12D: Michelangelo masterpiece (PIETÀ); 14D: Court figure (STENO); 20D: Santa __: Sonoma County seat (ROSA); 23D: "Shh!" ("ZIP IT!"); 25D: Some mil. brass (MAJS.); 26D: Give __: care (A RAP); 27D: Fortune founder (LUCE); 31D: Romania's capital (BUCHAREST); 32D: Ancient Valley of Mexico native (AZTEC); 35D: Antelope that often has nearly upright horns (ORYX); 36D: Pipe problem (LEAK); 37D: Cut with light (LASE); 42D: It may be fishy (ODOR); 46D: Film follow-up (SEQUEL); 48D: Distance maintained between vessels (BERTH); 49D: Hot time in Chile (ENERO); 51D: Who's sorry now? (RUERS); 53D: Between: Fr. (ENTRE); 57D: Half a patio pair (TONG); 58D: "Violin Playing as I Teach It" author Leopold (AUER); 59D: Houston pro, locally ('STRO); 61D: 66, e.g.: Abbr. (RTE.).


Rex Parker said...

CET is all kinds of horrible, and RYA and EIS aren't much better. Still, I barely noticed, as this grid is smoking hot. Hurray for meaty late-week LATs.

I had IBEX for ORYX :(

JAMES II was a gimme.


All in all, though, nice work.


Wow! A snazzy jazzy puzzle with double zed words.
Not many little crappy crosswordese stuff either.
A well constructed puzzle overall.

Liked the Jaguar XKE crossing with its prey, the ORYX.
ZIPIT for “Shh!” was clever, but the winning clue was JACUZZI for “maker of many jets.
And, hey guys, I got my RTE 66. Ironically, I had planned to drive a portion of it today to do some updates on my Route 66 research and photography.

When you come to the fork in the road, just take the VEE.

“Give A RAP: care” (26d). Does that mean that rappers are caregivers?

Some great geographic words: EPSOM, BUCHAREST, ARUBA and ERITREA… nothing ordinary or ho-hum in this puzzle.

Aha! Pg, I always thought RUR was for Robert's Universal Robots. I've read quite a bit of Karel Capek stuff... I like his works.

A few new words for me: SATORI (Zen), ERRON (Football guy), and TEVIS (Hustler author).
But, I did know Babe ZAHARIAS, which sure helped unlock that heavy SW corner.

I’m a huge fan of Sarah McLachlan, and so I was delighted to see ADIA (2d).
It can’t be embedded in the blog due to copyrights, but it is beautifully sung by Sarah McLachlan here…



I've seen RYA rugs in quite a few puzzles... I think enough to warrant putting that into a future CW101.

imsdave said...

What amazed me about this puzzle was how many words I 100% did not know, yet it wasn't problematic in the least. Lots of snappy stuff, too.

@JNH - I'm thinking RYA is probably CW201, at the least.

Standardly wonderful write-up PG. Thanks to you and Mr. Olschwang.

Tinbeni said...

@JNH - There is your, "Get your kicks on RTE 66." I know you liked that one.

The Babe Zaharias Golf Course is here in the Tampa Bay Area. Ergo, a gimmie.

2 cup of coffee puzzle, Grey matter engaged. Four Z's is a good sign. Many good & even cleaver clues but a few that I just hated.

Give A RAP (care)26-d; Never, ever heard this vernacular.
ERRON 12d - Titan tight end Kenney, only known if you followed that team.
MAL 25a - For malfunction? A stretch at best.

Couple write-overs;
First thought 12d was David, easy fix to PIETA.
ORYX 35d Antelope with upright horns, first entered IBEX, oops their's are curved.

Others brought a smile:
CET 10d - Central European Time, got from my time as an Ex-Pat in Zagreb & Sarajevo.
HEH 44a - Ok, I'll give it a half-laugh.
STRO 59d Houston pro,locally. My local team is being called the YUCS, maybe next year.

Guess it is time to get out a map of Africa and re-learn the many capitals, ERITREA 40a was clued leading to Asmara 4 weeks ago.

Today was a day I gave thanks for the crosses.

PG another great write-up, esp.the Honky Tonk Man clip.


Here's something to perk up your post-sale Saturday. I guess only us geezers (er... uhh... oldtimers) would enjoy.


Tinbeni said...

Thanks for the Mills Brothers tune.

Until I fixed IBEX to ORYX I was completely puzzled by the inexpensive children toy, Paperdill.

shrub5 said...

Well, this one was a real workout! Took me a looong time to finish it. Had just one error, though. I didn't know zen enlightenment SATORI or the McLachlan song ADIA. Took a wild guess and ended up with setori and adie. Nevertheless, a good level of difficulty for a Saturday. More, please.

Like @RP, I also had ibex initially for ORYX. It was the first thing that came to mind with the X from XKE. Have we had a CW101 on all those antelope/deer-like critters in Africa? I need one. Ah, yes, I see some of them have been addressed individually. I guess I should make a list for future reference.

I'm not familiar with soybeans referred to as SOYAS. My desktop dictionary says it's a British term. And haven't heard "give a RAP" as an expression, though it sounds like it's getting close to the phrase with a rodent's posterior.

@Tinbeni: Have you ever gone to the Sporcle website? It has many mental exercises/games such as putting the names of African countries in place on a map, etc. It's fun!

@Alan Olschwang: Super fantastic puzzle! Hope to see your byline again soon.

Tinbeni said...

Played a couple, they are fun trivia stuff.
Added Sporcle to my favorites, thanks.

A RAP = "Knock on the door" would have been better IMHO. But who gives a Rat's A**
I abhor really bad cluing, puns are great etc. But when I gave in to that one earlier I was very disappointed since otherwise this was such a wonderful LAT Saturday offering.

Sfingi said...

@PuzzleGirl - thanx for the definition or RUR. It appeared, but..
Also agree with you on CET.

The RYA rug was very popular in the '60s. It's named after the Rya sheep. Just threw out my last. It was turquoise and purple and worn to stubbs. A "dealer" came to my door and asked if I had any more retro stuff.

I prefer the Jaguar XJ6, since I don't care for convertibles or sports cars. But I haven't seen a puzzle allowing numbers yet.

For a long time I had "cigarette" where SPECTATOR finally turned up.
Kept picturing my g'ma's Parliaments.


I had to search awhile to get Perot, getting it finally by using the year (1999) before this Cuba character owned them.

I thought it was Babe Didrikson. Apparently, though being gay, she married him and was quite devoted. But, his name wasn't ZAHARIAS either! It was Vetoyanis, a wrestler known as the Crying Greek.

SOYAS - We had Misu recently. My favorite cereal as a kid was Corn Soya. I wrote Kellogg asking if they'd bring it out again. They thanked me for being so sweet! Turns out the corn-soy mixture is shipped to 3rd world countries. I'm set for when we become one.

@John - Agree on JACUZZI.

@Shrub - agree on rat's ass. See, I said it.

Going for pizzzza. See youse later.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone provide some info on 27D, Fortune founder, Luce. I am not familiar with this. Thanks :)

Rex Parker said...

Clare Booth Luce founded the magazine "Fortune."


Rex Parker said...

Sorry, that's Henry LUCE, her husband.

Carol said...

@ shrub5 - Still LOL about rat's posterior!

Great Saturday puzzle. Ended up starting with the SW and finally made my way to the top. Had to Google a coouple of names, but got PEROT on the crosses. Usually depend on hubby for the sports names.

@PG - Sorry you got stuck hosting with Orange off gallivanting around, but like your writeups & often get a good chuckle in the a.m.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rex for your answer. It is always good to hear from you!

shrub5 said...

In addition to the magazine "Fortune", Henry Luce also founded "Time", "Life", "House & Home" and "Sports Illustrated." According to wiki, he was notorious for sending copy back to the writers with the terse criticism "Needs work."

@RP: I'm sure Clare was helping out her old man.

@Carol, @Sfingi, @Tinbeni: I was trying to be more genteel since one of my posts a few weeks back apparently elicited a comment complaining about politics and vulgarity on the blog.....not that there's anything wrong with rat or ass. ;-)

mac said...

@shrub: LOL!
Between the write-up and the comments, accompanied by the honkey tonk man, I almost forgot about the puzzle!

I completely agree with IMSDave, several words totally unknown, but smooth and fun to solve. A couple of the 3-letter ones I never even saw.

I refuse to learn those Jaguar models by heart, so I have to luck out with the crosses. I liked paper doll, ate dirt (usually want crow), so there and reverie. And now applause for the hostess! We've all worked hard the past week.

Joon said...

some interesting cluing decisions. E IS is a terrible partial, but EIS (german for ice) isn't bad. quite the opposite for ERRON, because this is one obscure tight end (much more obscure than VISANTHE shiancoe, recently chosen for a BEQ puzzle explicitly because of his obscurity), whereas ERR ON the side of caution is just fine. so... i dunno. no clue could save CET, which is indeed awful.

having said all that, i have to agree with rex that this puzzle contained all kinds of goodies. scrabbly letters, fun multi-word phrases, rarely seen non-obscure geographical names... yeah. i liked it.


Having lived in the Central Time Zone in the U.S. (Chicago), I found CET (Central European Time) to be a quite logical entry.
Hey, think of it this way...it could have been worse:
College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram is also known as CET.

chefbea said...

Good Saturday puzzle. Harder than most. Had to google a few things. Did it while the turkey soup was simmering. Now to cool it, put it in the refrigerator and then skim off the fat. We'll have it tomorrow

imsdave said...

@chefbea - we're on day two of the turkey soup - it's always started Thanksgiving night. If there is a better comfort food in the world, I can't figure out what it is.

@mac - leave us not forget the hosts. While it is true that my duties were limited to brining, roasting, and carving the turkey, making the sausage stuffing, tending bar and entertaining the 22 guests we had, I still understand that my wife did a lot more work than I did.

What a super weekend - lots of work, but none of it related to "work". Good puzzles in both papers to start the weekend, and looking forward to a bangup finish/start to the week tomorrow.

docmoreau said...

I can envision Norris thinking, "They want a tough late week puzzle? Then lettem chew on this one." Like many other solvers, couldn't have cracked it without a search engine. But this is how we grow, n'est-ce pas?
One of these days, some devious puzzle constuctor is going to come up with something totally ungoogleable...solveable only through crossings. Perhaps it has already been done.
@johnsneverhome You've no doubt let the body of LACC commentors where they might have a glimpse of you photos of RTE 66. I must've miss that. Where, sil vous plait?
@orange I know you're following us. Hope you had a great time away.


@docmoreau et al

For those who asked---


mac said...

@imsdave: you're a host(ess). You did way more than the average spouse of the host(ess). Good for you! You also got some of the applause.
I'm not going to be anywhere near my kitchen for at least... (already made another soup). Can't stay away.