12.31.2009

THURSDAY, December 31, 2009 — Bill Thompson


Theme: Catch Phrases — Each theme answer starts with a word that can be "caught" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Impossible to get close to (COLD AS ICE).
  • 26A: Surrender (WAVE A WHITE FLAG).
  • 43A: "Jerry Maguire" catchphrase (SHOW ME THE MONEY).
  • 57A: Right-click result, often (POP-UP MENU).
  • 65A: Verb associated with the beginnings of 18-, 26-, 43- and 57-Across (CATCH).
Cute theme. I think I'd like something a little snappier in my long downs though. Even though we typically see ALOE all by itself, adding the VERA doesn't really make it sparkle or anything. And, I don't know, maybe if I'd heard of BEL PAESE cheese, I would like that answer. Have you heard of it? Did you like seeing it in the grid? I'm the first to admit my opinion isn't gospel. I also wasn't crazy about the resulting "catch a pop-up," but I Googled the phrase and it seems to be legit. Maybe I don't love it because the pop-up menu and the baseball pop-up both ... pop up. In the other phrases, the caught word is completely different. The "cold" used to describe ice is a totally different thing than the kind of cold you catch. The "wave" that you do with a white flag is completely different than catching a wave on the ocean. See what I mean? I know. I'm being picky. None of this probably diminished your enjoyment of the puzzle one bit, so ya know what? Let's move on.

Moving On:
  • 1A: Sluglike "Star Wars" crime lord (JABBA).

  • 14A: To go, in Grenoble (ALLER). This is French, right? To me, Grenoble sounds like it should be somewhere other than France.
  • 17A: Scrabble 10-pointer (Z TILE). I can't decide if I love this or hate it. I think I might love it.
  • 25A: __ Fáil: Irish coronation stone (LIA). Saw this in another puzzle recently. I had never heard of it before then.
  • 42A: Send, so to speak (ELATE). I'm pretty sure someone is going to be confused by this. Seems like every time it pops up (see what I did there?) in a puzzle, someone is confused. Send in this case is roughly equivalent to thrill, like in that old song "You Send Me."
  • 62A: "__, Therefore I Am": Dennis Miller book (I RANT). I used to like him a lot. Now I ... don't really.
  • 9D: Hypotheticals (WHAT-IFS). This is a great clue/answer.
  • 38D: "I do not like them, __": Seuss line (SAM I AM).
  • 49D: Vedic drink for an immortal soul (SOMA). Got this one totally through crosses.
  • 55D: Friend of Pete and Julie on "The Mod Squad" (LINC). Loved this show when I was a kid.
  • 58D: One-eighty (UEY). Can also be spelled uie. No matter how much we hate it, I'm pretty sure it's not going away.
Crosswordese 101: Quite a bit of CW in this puzzle and we've covered all of it in previous posts. So here's your CW101 roundup:
  • 34A: "Waiting for Lefty" playwright (ODETS).
  • 38A: Circle Line : Hudson :: Bateaux-Mouches : __ (SEINE).
  • 40A: Wall St. enforcer (SEC).
  • 41A: Wooden shoe (SABOT).
  • 13D: Bygone dagger (SNEE).
  • 27D: "__ Irish Rose" (ABIE'S).
  • 52D: One-named New Age singer (ENYA).
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Everything Else — 6A: Sound from someone who's down (SOB); 9A: Legal orders (WRITS); 15A: Supermarket chain founded in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (IGA); 16A: Wore (HAD ON); 20A: Lifetime-guaranteed lighters (ZIPPOS); 22A: Soft drink choice (DIET COKE); 23A: Out of balance (ALOP); 33A: Having a lot to lose, maybe? (OBESE); 34A: "Waiting for Lefty" playwright (ODETS); 35A: Mme. in Madrid (SRA.); 37A: Beach toy (KITE); 38A: Circle Line : Hudson :: Bateaux-Mouches : __ (SEINE); 39A: Smart guy? (ALEC); 40A: Wall St. enforcer (SEC); 41A: Wooden shoe (SABOT); 46A: Moo goo __ pan (GAI); 47A: Apartment manager, for short (SUPE); 48A: Lark (ESCAPADE); 53A: Indiana and Purdue, e.g. (RIVALS); 59A: Knot over (RETIE); 60A: Spitting __ (IMAGE); 61A: Oven cleaner component (LYE); 63A: Checked out before a heist (CASED); 64A: Nonexpert (LAY); 1D: Cat's passion (JAZZ); 2D: Some glee club members (ALTI); 3D: Radar image (BLIP); 4D: Semi-soft Italian cheese (BEL PAESE); 5D: Anatomical rings (AREOLAE); 6D: [thus] ([SIC]); 7D: Common prayer opening (O GOD); 8D: Island in the Java Sea (BALI); 10D: Imp (RASCAL); 11D: Personal: Pref. (IDIO-); 12D: Pendulum sound (TOCK); 13D: Bygone dagger (SNEE); 19D: Strike out (DELETE); 21D: Spread for growth (SOW); 24D: "Friends" friend (PHOEBE); 26D: Stir-fry cookware (WOKS); 27D: "__ Irish Rose" (ABIE'S); 28D: Climbing legume (VETCH); 29D: Nincompoop (IDIOT); 30D: Tithe portions (TENTHS); 31D: Narnia lion (ASLAN); 32D: Norwegian marathoner Waitz (GRETE); 36D: __-deucy (ACEY); 39D: Medicinal plant (ALOE VERA); 41D: Traded (SWAPPED); 42D: Derived from observation (EMPIRIC); 44D: Model railroad scale (O GAUGE); 45D: Part of EEC: Abbr. (EUR.); 48D: Like "Lawrence of Arabia" (EPIC); 50D: Balancing experts, briefly? (CPAS); 51D: Valley (DELL); 52D: One-named New Age singer (ENYA); 54D: Rat tail? (-A-TAT); 56D: Brother of Abel (SETH).

32 comments:

Toady said...

Loved the star wars thing. I also love the Chad Vader videos on YouTube.

Am I the only one that thought it was just Cain and Abel as brothers? Now it turns out to be Cain, Abel, and Seth. This is news to me.

Van55 said...

I thought this one was mostly fresh and quite fun to solve. The theme is a bit blah for me, but otherwise it was nice.

Not sure about RETIE of ATAT or EUR though.

SethG said...

Wow, that's a game changer. How did I not know it? The question is, will I never be able to think of Jesse Jackson without thinking of Seuss, or will I never be able to read Green Eggs & Ham without thinking of the Reverend? Thank you, PuzzleGirl!

I would have maybe liked solving this puzzle more if I hadn't a) tried to fit WAIVE THE WHITE FLAG in for a _long_ time and b) remembered that a company I didn't think of for making lighters made lighters and instinctively filled in ZIPLOC. Didn't know VETCH, didn't remember the cheese, and did know that ALOP isn't actually a word.

Anyway, that took me a while to get out of, much more difficult than if I'd known how to spell WAVE. Yeah.

Buhbye now.

Gareth Bain said...

Very clever theme... A Subtle variation of words following genre!

I know BELPAESE as PAESE/"Bel ___", at the very least it's nice to see the whole thing. Not so sure about ZTILE though - as any of ?TILE is then viable - and although they are Scrabble TILEs, aren't the individuals just referred to as E's, Z's etc.?

Tinbeni said...

@SFingi
Let me be the first to wish you Happy Birthday, one year early.

@PG - Great write up. @Sfingi mentioned that clip two days ago, and you used it perfectly, Big Yeah!!!

@Lit.doc.- Nice prediction yesterday, this Thursday puzzle hit hard.

Learned: LIA, ALLER, BEL PAESE

Faves: AEROLEA (for the obvious reason), ZIPPO, UEY, I RANT & SETH (the forgotten 3rd brother)

Z-TILE was a gimmee ... JAZQ made no sense at all.

IGA - I'm from Florida, total crosses.

SUPE - Too lazy to throw in the 'R' = lame

DataGeek said...

I just loved this puzzle! Honestly, so many phrases were such fun. When was the last time you saw DIET COKE in a puzzle?

Other favs: SHOW ME THE MONEY, CATCH linked to WAVE (SoCal native that I am), ZIPPOS under Z TILE next to JAZZ - just lots of fun.

Condolences to the Naddor family. Mr. Naddor provided us with many hours of crossword enjoyment.

Thanks to PG, Rex, Orange and any guest hosts this year for a wonderful blog. Here's to more in 2010.

Parsan said...

Oh brother! This one was hard for me. Just could not get started. However, when the subtle clues became evident it was fun. Really liked ratATAT, smartALEC, cat's passion JAZZ (catnip just wouldn't fit). JABBA, LINC, SETH, ODETS, PHOEBE, and the great GRETE Waitz at least got me started.

Did not "get" ELATE until PG explained it. Doh-so obvious! Also, UEY was new to me. Had to stare at COLDASICE a long time before COLD AS ICE was apparent. I must need more coffee.

@Sfingi--Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a good day.

@Orange--Heres hoping you are enjoying Fla. It's cold here in the north!

@PG--How did your wrestling team do? Thanks for a good write-up!

shrub5 said...

Enjoyable puzzle which took me a fair amount of time to finish. I had heard of BEL PAESE cheese but didn't know it was Italian or semisoft or, it turns out, how to spell it. I initially had BEL PAESO which made KITE hard to see (KI-O). Compounding this, I never heard of a legume VETCH so that area was difficult. And while I'm kvetching, is ALTI a legit plural of alto? I did a cursory on-line definition search and didn't find it.

Other goofs made include putting VOLER before ALLER and DEPART before DELETE (was thinking strike out on a journey rather than the more obvious cross out.) Vedic and SOMA are new to me; will put the latter in my mental file of intoxicating drinks. Other new things learned from this puzzle: O GAUGE, GRETE and ASLAN.

@PG: I feel somewhat the same about Dennis Miller.
Wiki has a quote from Slate.com commentator Dennis Cass describing Miller as having changed from a "left-leaning, Dada-ist wisenheimer" to a "tell-it-like-it-is, right-wing blowhard."

*David* said...

This puzzle was running ho-hum for me but the NW corner doomed it. ZTILE/BEL PAESE/ALLER forgeddaboutit, not really interested and then we get a crosswordese ALTI to seal the corner. Pass me a DIET COKE oh wait I don't drink those either.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I'm not sure if I like the theme or not. In a way it's clever, in a way it's awkward. But, I did love this puzzle because of all the cool fill words. Wonderful words like DIET COKE, BEL PAESE, SABOT, O-GAUGE, VETCH, Z-TILE, JABBA, ASLAN, SAM I AM, and LIA Fail...WOW !!! Now that puzzle must have taken Bill Thompson quite awhile to construct. We puzzlers sometimes boast about our time-to-solve... I'd love to hear from some constructors on the time-to-construct. Once they construct, then they have to think of clever (and challenging) clues. Today's puzzle was loaded with a lot of nice clues, especially 17a, 23a, 33a, 42a, 1d,and 50d.

Oh, even in the best puzzles there are things I don't like, like ALTI and UEY. I know ALTI is correct, but who the heck says "the choir ALTI sound great"?

Never heard of marathoner GRETE Waitz, and should have because my young son, Jay, is an elite marathoner. I'll have to ask him.

I did know BEL PAESE as I have used it... it's yummy! Anyone have any good recipes for this cheese?

New Years Eve is when we have our traditional Scrabble tournament in our family. Hey I got the Z-Tile at the very end! Booo!
SCRABBLE

I am a huge huge Dr. Suess fan. Of course I read his books to my children, but I too read them when I was a kid... talk about lasting power. His first book was written 62 years ago and it was entitled "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" (publ. 1937). Shortly after that, he published "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins." I think I checked those two books out of the school library more than any other.
Anyone else remember those?

I enjoyed reading Narnia (ASLAN) a lot more than Star Wars (JABBA). C. S. Lewis is a great intellectual writer, George Lucas is NOT! Of course ASLAN and JABBA are extreme opposites.

Regarding Dennis Miller, I think his humor has turned far too politically right, but I have to admit that he is very very witty. Although I cringed a lot, I did enjoy his book "I RANT, Therefore I Am". I just have to learn to accept observational satire for what it is.

I want to wish a very Happy New Year to all my puzzler and blogger friends! Keep that Swedish Glögg in moderation and drive safely!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I always like seeing ABIE'S Irish Rose in a puzzle and now it has become a CW101 word.
My dad once told me that this was the play that was his first date with my mom. Aww, how romantic is that!

Orange said...

I loved the theme and the DIET COKE.

@Parsan, it's about 70° here today. Loving it!

Tinbeni said...

@Orange
You must be in the cold part, here in Dunedin its 74, I washed my car barefooted.

@JNH
I hoped you watched both of @PG's clips, the Star Wars one was better than the movie. Jessie reading Green-Eggs-and-Ham sounds like one of your breakfast feasts.

As to Dennis Miller, I catch his radio show, a bit right-wing, but he makes me laugh. AT least he has a vocabulary of obtuse references, maybe he should compose CW's.

John said...

I didn't know SOMA existed outside of Brave New World.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Orange
Glad to hear you're enjoying FL.
I know how Floridians make a big deal out of our raw weather up here, but here's the Chicago forecast for the next 7 days.
No more snow, sunny & partly sunny, 2 to 20 degrees. You may want to extend your vacation.

chefbea said...

Good puzzle but I never heard of vetch. I'll have to google it. Love Bel Paese cheese. Dont have a recipe for it - I just eat it plain.

@JNH thanks for reminding me of the 500 hats of bartholomew cubbins. My brother and I use to read that (or maybe mom and dad read it to us)

Happy new year to all

chefbea said...

I googled vetch. There are many kinds and they are used for soil improvement...so both puzzles today have something to do with that!!!

GoG8rs said...

Once again, I had to start at the bottom and work up as the entire top was completely blank after first perusal. Still had snags--like "uey" If we are talking about a U-turn, I would spell it "ueey" but, oh well.
Liked ZTILE, and DIETCOKE as Scrabble and DC's are a couple of my favorite things.
VETCH gave me problems. I remember years ago a common cw clue was "bitter vetch" and the answer was "ERS". Never knew then what either were. At last I know a VETCH as a "climbing legume"--- my education for today of useless trivia!

Thinking of older puzzles, haven't seen many lately with a clue and several answers filling the line. Like DOG = CHOW,HOUND,POODLE. Maybe they went out of style along with quote themes as discussed yesterday. I find those are very hard since usually it is some obscure quote and author I've never heard of before.

Withal, a fun puzzle and fun blog. So glad I stumbled on to it. Happy New Year to all!

crazycatlady said...

This was a really fun puzzle, but boy did I struggle with it. Started off with TUNA instead of JAZZ - kept thinking of CATNIP - my kitties got plenty of that for Christmas. I knew BELPAESE, but spelled it wrong - switched the A and the E. I also just eat it straight up. I always thought the plural of ALTO was ALTOS. Didn't know ODETS or SOMA. I only know SOMA as Chico's underwear line. Never heard of SABOT. I thought wooden shoes were Clogs. LIA was also new to me. Had DEPART for DELETE as well. Liked the theme answers and the other new and refreshing fill. Happy New Year to all and thanks P.G. for the write up.

Gareth Bain said...

@Tinbeni: And there I thought Dunedin was in New Zealand... Shows you how much my geography is off ;)

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I noticed that several of my fellow puzzlers were baffled by the word VETCH. As a member of the Invasive Plant Task Force, Morton Arboretum, a native plant monitor, and an author of an upcoming book on noxious weeds; perhaps I can shed a little light on this viney plant. Crown Vetch (or Coronilla varia), often seen along your highways, has a pinkish lavender blossom (some white). At first you'd say "oh how beautiful", but be aware, although it was once used widely by IDOT, it is no longer because its vitues for preventing soil erosion have been out-weighed by its invasiveness. It forms large, dense mounds of vegetation that climb over and shade out other species. Because it seeds easily and spreads rapidly by creeping roots, crown vetch easily escapes from cultivated areas making it a serious management threat to native plant communities. I implore you to encourage your highway departments to stop planting crown vetch and to consider less invasive species for roadside vegetation. Please excuse my passion here... I am a serious environmentalist and an avid botanist. Exotic plants should not be introduced or sold in the U. S. unless their behavior has been thoroughly tested.
John is stepping down from his soapbox now!

Tinbeni said...

@JNH
Never step down from that soapbox. I enjoy learning about plants, Rte.66, and how to make an outrageous breakfast from you.

@G.Bain
I use to live in St.Petersburg, which got a laugh from the Russian deskclerk when I handed over my passport in 2005. Beautiful city in June.

mac said...

Very good puzzle! The term "catch a pop-up" is totally unknown to me, as are Soma and IGA. Bel Paese was a gimme, although don't gimme, I'd rather have a nice bit of Stilton.

Grenoble is in the French Alps, very close to Switzerland. Beautiful area, in summer as well as in winter.

That was unreal, hearing the Reverend read Seuss!

Thanks PG, and happy new year to you and your family, your fellow bloggers and all the blogfriends.

lit.doc said...

@Tinbeni, thanks re my prediction yesterday. To bad I was right. Started off blazing [I need an acronym or emoticon for my "BTW my normal solving speed = velocity of cold molasses" disclaimer], and then, with five squares left, brick wall. Sigh.

Finally googled "semi-soft Italian cheese", which finished NW (much chagrin re not seeing that ten-point scrabble tile, having played once or thrice). Then revisited the 53A clue re Indiana and Purdue, where I'd slammed in RIVERS first time through. "Doh!" moment past, I was able to work out the rest.

@PG, huge thank you for that wonderful Star Wars clip! Also for illuminating "CATCH a POP-UP". I was still in WTF mode when I got to your as-always enjoyable write-up.

Also, re ALLER, the same French-ending problem came up in yesterday's NYT, with "OYER and terminar" in SE. The ER ending is a very common "Yo, this is French" sign. Without a concluding E, the R is unvoiced and the E is pronounced as a hard A, FWIW.

@shrub5 and @PG, thanks for your witty, polite, and preemptive commentary on Dennis Miller's lurch to the right. But for that I would have felt compelled to comment, and I don't do polite very well.

@John, me too re SOMA. Now I see that it's from Indian mythology. Ah, Eurocentric myopia.

Happy New Year's to all, not excepting anyone who already celebrated on the 21st.

JIMMIE said...

The CW was harder for me thanks to words like ASLAN, GRETE, and IRANT.

I thought IGA stood for Independent Grocier Alliance, or something like that, with each store being independent but buying from the same warehouse. I don't think it is really a chain, per se.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everyone.

GLowe said...

Oyver! That's a tres good thing to know.

Miller seems to be getting less funny and more angry. I still like listening to him chew up the english language; he's like a chainsaw through a dictionary.

chefwen said...

According to my Food Lover's Companion Bel Paese translated as "beautiful country" also states that it melts beautifully for use in casseroles or on pizza.

Great puzzle, took me a little longer than usual, but most enjoyable.

Happy New Year!!!

chefbea said...

@chefwen Great book the food lover's companion!!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@chefwen & @chefbea
Are you going to share a recipe for a great casserole made with Bel Paese?

Sfingi said...

@puzzlegirl - I'm so glad you found that StarWars video. I watched (listened to?) it twice a couple days ago and couldn't find it again.

Similar to @Jimmie -
This puzzle might be the worst I've ever done for a very long time. I got the theme, but only 2 and 2/2 of the answers. I had COLD? and drop?MENU. Couldn't get farther on those two. I thouhgt of many other "catch" words: plane, fly, whiff.
Didn't know BEL PAESE - Sicilians would say it must be Northern. Indeed it is, and "invented" about the time the Southerners were emigrating. Sounds good.
Didn't know: ALLER, ASLAN, ATAT, GRETE, IGA, LIA, SOMA, UEY. Never watched friends more than once. Misspelled ABIE'S. That LIA Fail should have been clued "phallic symbol of royalty." Didn't get SEINE cuz I kept thinking Canada. Shouldn't ATAT be rattailS, plural? Or did I miss the idea again?

Agree with @Gareth, though I got that one.

@LitDoc - most Western languages go to Sanskrit, including Greek, so it's not really Eurocentric.

@John - that vetch got a hold in our Utica Marsh, replacing other plants. This year, something must have been done, since it wasn't as widespread.

@Crazy Cat - give your cats some BELPAESE. That'll make 'em purr.
I miss my cat Gracie, whom I had to send to Baltimore, so I've been feeding squirrels. I know they're rodents, but they're furry and friendly.

Dittos Dennis Miller - but I'm a flag-waving knee-jerk liberal and proud of it.

I don't SOB when down; I just whine.

Thanx for the b-day wishes, all!

GoG8rs said...

@JNH Is vetch also known as kudzu? From your description vetch sounds like the hated kudzu of the South.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@GoG8ers
No Kudzu is a another equally nasty invasive but different species. Grows more in the warmer and wetter climates further south from here. A small patch had been sited up here a couple years ago... God forbid we get that too!