1.12.2010

TUESDAY, January 12, 2010 — Allan E. Parrish


Theme: To a Tee — Theme answers all end with a homophone of TEES.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Burlesque act (STRIPTEASE).
  • 35A: University governing body (BOARD OF TRUSTEES).
  • 59A: Baseball's Big Papi (DAVID ORTIZ).
  • 24D: Summer coolers (ICE TEAS). I know, I know. It really should be ICED with a D on the end. I think we're just going to have to get over it.
[Edited to include the fourth theme answer.] Very nice Tuesday puzzle today. I only noticed the three across theme answers which means I couldn't rely on the theme to help me much with the fill. And although the fill was pretty light on the crosswordese, it still included quite a few answer we've seen before. Did you have trouble with this one? Or was it a walk in the park?

More:
  • 19A: Camper driver, for short (RV'ER). I learned about this American subculture back in 1995 when I traveled from suburban Maryland to New Mexico by car, staying at KOA's along the way. The thing I actually remember the most is that because I was a young woman traveling alone, there were a couple RV'ERs at each stop who kind of looked out for me. Very nice people, they were.
  • 21A: "Tobacco Road" novelist __ Caldwell (ERSKINE). For some reason I always confuse this book (which I've never read) with the more recent "Revolutionary Road" (which, unfortunately, I have).
  • 23A: Pioneer in pistol-grip hair dryers (CONAIR).

  • 26A: "... boy __ girl?" (OR A). An important question to ask about a new baby. Otherwise, how will you know whether your baby gift should have princesses on it or trucks? *sigh*
  • 41A: Tummy-tightening garment (CORSET). Can't tell you how glad I am not to live in a time when corsets are the norm. Spanx are bad enough.
  • 50A: Rose of Guns N' Roses (AXL). My favorite GnR song:

  • 55A: "You cannot be serious!" tennis great (MCENROE). Bad boy John McEnroe used to yell that phrase at umpires during matches (which, as I'm sure you can imagine, they just loved). He later used the line as the title for his autobiography. This was after he had calmed down quite a bit.
  • 58A: Pre-migraine headache phenomenon (AURA). I get migraines, but I've never had the aura. It actually sounds kinda cool. Better than the nausea anyway.
  • 2D: Director De Sica (VITTORIO). Never heard of him.
  • 52D: Stiller's partner (MEARA). Love her!
Crosswordese 101: As we're all certainly aware by now, to be successful in crosswords sometimes we have to know stuff that we don't know. For example, "The Simpsons." I don't watch that show — not that I have anything against it, it just never made it to the top of my list — and yet I know the names of Homer's dad (Abe), the Simpson's next-door neighbor (Ned) and, of course, the Kwik-E-Mart owner (Apu). Same deal with "Star Trek." I was never a fan, but there are two character names that I know for sure: SULU and TROI. Clues for both characters will often indicate their connection to "Star Trek" by including words like Enterprise, Picard, or Kirk. SULU is generally clued as a crewman, helmsman, or navigator. TROI is a counselor or empath whose first name is Deanna.

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Rating for many HBO shows (TV-MA); 5A: Capital of Morocco (RABAT); 10A: Vise parts (JAWS); 14A: Twice the radius: Abbr. (DIAM.); 15A: Funds for online buys (E-CASH); 16A: Make spelling corrections to, e.g. (EDIT); 20A: Baghdad's river (TIGRIS); 24A: Lang. of Lombardy (ITAL.); 25A: Repair, as a tear (SEW); 27A: Anti-discrimination agcy. (EEOC); 29A: Forensic evidence threads (FIBERS); 31A: Surrealist Joan (MIRÓ); 33A: Allegiance (FEALTY); 42A: Sailor's patron saint (ELMO); 43A: Pour into a carafe (DECANT); 46A: __ prof. (ASST.); 49A: Newbie reporter (CUB); 51A: Resistance units (OHMS); 53A: Bathroom hangers (TOWELS); 57A: Dolts (MORONS); 62A: Certain NCO (SSGT); 63A: Hoop-shaped gasket (O-RING); 64A: Picard's counselor (TROI); 65A: South Florida vacation destination (KEYS); 66A: Simultaneous equation variables (X AND Y); 67A: __ Kong (HONG); 1D: 100-plus-yd. kickoff returns, e.g. (TDS); 3D: Tomato-based sauce (MARINARA); 4D: Pedro's girlfriend (AMIGA); 5D: Call it a night (RETIRE); 6D: Top pitchers (ACES); 7D: Sheep's cry (BAA); 8D: Pitcher's pinpoint control, say (ASSET); 9D: Cold relief brand (THERAFLU); 10D: Dolt (JERK); 11D: Recommend (ADVISE); 12D: Hot dog (WIENER); 13D: Spreads, as seed (STREWS); 18D: __-dieu: kneeler (PRIE); 22D: Narrow apertures (SLITS); 23D: Search high and low (COMB); 28D: Slays, mob-style (OFFS); 30D: Computer memory unit (BYTE); 32D: Marine predator (ORCA); 34D: Martial __ (ARTS); 36D: Blood drive participant (DONOR); 37D: Greek __ Church (ORTHODOX); 38D: City east of San Diego (EL CENTRO); 39D: Liquid-in-liquid suspension (EMULSION); 40D: Cries convulsively (SOBS); 43D: Table linen material (DAMASK); 44D: Forgive (EXCUSE); 45D: Pastors and priests (CLERGY); 47D: Unduly formal (STODGY); 48D: Corrida competitor (TORO); 54D: Value (WORTH); 56D: Washington team, familiarly (NATS); 57D: It can be changed or made up (MIND); 60D: Sportscaster Scully (VIN); 61D: Turn sharply (ZIG).

42 comments:

Argyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Van55 said...

I pretty much breezed through this one. TROI isn't familiar, but it was inferrable. I don't much like RVERS, but it's in the language (unlike NLER or ALER).

I didn't even realize this was a themed puzzle until I logged in here.

Solid, if forgettable puzzle for me.

jazz said...

Echoing Van55...nothing too objectionable, but not difficult either (a la Tuesday!)

One big kudo to Allan Parish is the number of long-ish and unusual fill answers. DECANT, EMULSION, WIENER, FEALTY, MARINARA, ELCENTRO, ORTHODOX, THERAFLU, RABAT...it was like I switched to a different vocabulary center in my brain, away from the usual stock of a thousand words or so...(a little like an early week NYTimes puzzle).

Thanks!

Never headr of a PRIE-dieu, or TROI

Orange said...

ICE TEAS is also a theme answer, PuzzleGirl. Alas, we have no PROFANITIES to give us a fifth spelling of the sound.

Tinbeni said...

@PuzzleGirl
After yesterdays 'P' puzzle, 'T's seemed apropos. Isn't ICE TEAS a 4th theme answer?
More testy than Mon. but when I got briefly stuck, the crosses came to the rescue.

Todays CW101 was perfect. I don't care for the Simpsons, but if you do these they are going to show up, so I learned them.
Then I get to SW and TROI, Picards advisor, you're right, I should learn these Star Teck names, too.

BYTE, 30-d followed by ORCA, 32-d was cute.
At ___Kong I've learned to enter __NG before commiting to either King or HONG.

FEALTY was new, post google learning time.

LOL at the CONAIR clip!

chefbea said...

Found this a bit harder than the NYT.

My favorite artist is Miro. Didn't know Troi

Where is the finished puzzle? and what does TV-MA stand for?

Think I'll decant a bottle of wine and make some marinara sauce for dinner

VTQUILTMOM said...

Drew a blank when I started at the top but it filled in quickly when I got a start on the SE corner.

Couldn't come up with Erskine; wanted to fill in William, until more of the cross words filled in. Only got Vittorio after filling in some other crosses. Did enjoy some of his movies back in the 60's!

Anyone else smile at a red, shaggy St. Elmo muppet watching over ships?

Thanks for the Conair clip - very cute! Also enjoyed the GnR clip, a favorite I hadn't heard in quite a while.

phil_m99 said...

Not a tennis fan, but I was flipping through channels decades ago and stopped to see if John would lose it. Sure enough, he told a bald umpire to "Grow some hair!"

I had a hard time with ELCENTRO and that director, plus COMB would not come to mind.

The Corgi of Mystery said...

Found this one tougher than a normal Tuesday for some reason -- ended up solving in fits and starts and never quite got a rhythm going. At the end I had STREWN instead of STREWS because of misreading the clue, and mystery letter _IBERN to fill in, which delayed me another good 15 seconds. Otherwise, I liked the fill -- a lot of interesting words for an early-week puzzle (ORTHODOX, MARINARA, FEALTY, STODGY etc.)

Burner10 said...

@VTQm - my sentiments exactly, and my favorite kind of puzzle experience: Reading through the across quickly and coming up blank until Miro - got my toe hold (pencil point hold) and ! boom, done. Then the added 'took a minute to get the theme' - my knowledge with the Simpsons too is from puzzles, and I kind of think I would actually like the show - in theory.

the redanman said...

Liked this one quite a bit, especially a STRIPTEASE that includes a CORSET (c'mon Rex, spanx and pantyhose are awful corsets are cool)

Yes ICETEAS is awful, but acceptable, ICED TEA is something to drink, I dunno what ICE TEA is nor how you drink it, haha

X AND Y nice math answer, FEALTY - super word I learned from sci-fi, but not a Trekkie, so I chose ZIG over ZAG to get TROI.

Can do without ECASH and ORING sort of stuff, weakish to fully weak to me.

Overall lots of fun, thanks for the writeup Rex.

For lack of a golf TEES clue, the puzzle was somehow incomplete. Maybe "Needed to drive high?" but not too PC, I guess ...

Sfingi said...

Although the puzzle had too many sports clues (I counted 7), I didn't catch the theme, and I did not know ORTIZ, TROI, ELCENTRO, it seemed easy.
I did have a Nattick at IA and ID (sports) - the first letter.

The only reason I know of Vin Scully is that there is another Vincent Scully, Yale architecture professor, retired I presume, who has written some important books on American architecture, and the sports fellow's name gets in my way.

There's a dolt and some dolts - a JERK and at least 2 MORONS. Nice to meetcha.

I'll have to check out this TV rating system I've never heard of.

For a while, couldn't get "Ernestine" out of my head for ERSKINE.
@PuzzleGirl - Caldwell's books are all the same - poverty and mild sex. They're a fast read and if you've read one, you've read them all. How the other half lives (I hope). If you've read Carolyn Chute, that's the idea.

Orange said...

@redanman, it's PuzzleGirl's post, not Rex's. (The purple flower avatar up top is the blunt object bludgeoning you with PG's presence if her writing style is indistinguishable from Rex's.) Don't be telling a woman that corsets are cool! Not until you've cinched yourself into one.

mac said...

Very nice puzzle, where my only problem was the very first, 1A-D. Didn't know the rating term and didn't understand the football one.

Love some of the fresh new words, especially "fealty". I was a voracious reader since the age of 6, and my father had a Dutch translation of Tobacco Road, so I read it at about the age of 9.

I have to agree with the redanmen, Spanx and pantyhose look awful. Don't want to go back to corsets, though.

*David* said...

Likes-THERAFLU, CONAIR (why doesn't Nic Cage get this one?), ERSKINE, EMULSION, and VIN crossing DAVID ORTIZ.

Dislikes-TVMA above DIAM(ick to the nth), ECASH(moderate bad odor), EEOC, RVER, and SSGT.

Entropy said...

@Orange, I checked your diary today, you must be fiend, LAT in 3 minutes. OMG!

@Puzzlegirl - Informative write-up and clips. I get migraines with AURAs, not fun but easy answer.

TV MA = TV for Mature Audience
Did not know VITTORIO, the director, got it by crosses.
ERSKINE Caldwell's "Tobacco Road" was a teenage favorite, a zillion years ago.
My Florida KEYS are great, and warm (even today)
EL CENTRO a guess, never been there.
Do not understand why 1-d, TDS was difficult for some of the commenters. 100 yard+ kickoff returns are touchdowns, TDS. I guess it is a "guy thing."

imsdave said...

I thought T.V. Ma was Yoyo's little brother.

Enjoyable Tuesday.

the redanman said...

@PG & thanks @Orange

Copious and heart-felt apologies for mis-direction of thanx. To be honest, I looked quickly at the top of the thread and saw Rex's KING Avatar out at the top of the corner and figured it was he yet again.

Move him to the bottom of the pile, that's what I saw.

My corset comments were of course made in jest as context should support my position.





THANKS PUZZLEGIRL!

the redanman said...

@PG & thanks @Orange

Copious and heart-felt apologies for mis-direction of thanx. To be honest, I looked quickly at the top of the thread and saw Rex's KING Avatar out at the top of the corner and figured it was he yet again.

Move him to the bottom of the pile, that's what I saw.

My corset comments were of course made in jest as context should support my position.





THANKS PUZZLEGIRL!

hazel said...

@pg - thanks for your writeup - that clip was quite funny. Makes me wish I lived on a busy street. Curious why you consider Revolutionary Road unfortunate read - bone-crushing despair, a movie adaptation starring your man, Leo?

I like Richard Yates, and just learned that RR was included on Time's 100 most important novels list, which doesn’t include any Erskine Caldwell. Tobacco Road, on the other hand, made the Modern Library’s Top 100 list, which includes no titles by Richard Yates.

Coming up with a Top 100 of anything is so arbitrary. Such a fixed point in a world now defined by adapting to the speed of change. I just realized (again), though, that they are really good sources of reading material.

The puzzle - excellent Tuesday fare. The theme didn’t slap me in the face, and there were lots of unique words (I like @Corgi's list) plus ERSKINE, e.g.

phil_m99 said...

Hint: if the write-up says "now I don't watch the Simpsons ...", don't be looking for Rex's byline.

Dunno what a spanx is, ain't gonna look it up neither.

Imagine that getting IN to a corset wouldn't near as cool as getting OUT of one, no matter which side you're looking at it from.

@IMSDave - :-)

crazycatlady said...

Thanks PG for a terrific write up. Enjoyed the CONAIR SPEED TRAP video. Also had a laugh at Redenman's misdirected comment about Spanx to RP. CORSETS, girdles, Spanx, etc. are all forms of torture IMO.

Thought this puzzle was slightly more substantial for a Tuesday with some nice fill. FEALTY was new to me. I wanted Fidelity, but two letters to long. Had WEENIE for WEINER. I'm with Sfingi as far a sports clues - a few too many today. Pitchers Pinpoint Control?? I guess I'm a MORON when it comes to sports. Did know MCENROE though. He's using that same phrase for a rental car commercial. Not a Star Trek fan so didn't know TROI. I knew PRIE Dieu from Philippa Gregory novels. Katherine of Aragon spent a lot of time on her PRIE dieu.

Joon said...

unsolicited tip: try HONG before KING on those {___ Kong} clues. there are many, many ways to clue KING, but very few for HONG: pretty much just this one and {Writer Maxine ___ Kingston} (a clue which has never been used before, but will be the next time HONG is in one of my puzzles). anyway, due to bayes' theorem, that means HONG should be your first guess. checking the databases, in fact, {___ Kong} has never been used for KING. maybe it will be, the next time i put KING in a puzzle... :) even so, bayes' theorem still applies.

i knew VITTORIO only because SICA (hitherto unknown to me) appeared in a recent sunday NYT with the clue {Director Vittorio de ___}.

i appreciate that the puzzle's fill was more ambitious and interesting because of the sparse theme, but perhaps a fifth theme answer might have helped. FEALTIES, even, maybe, although it's kind of an awkward plural. you could balance it lengthwise by using ICED TEAS instead of ICE TEAS (although really, i'm not loving that in the plural either).

Parsan said...

@VTQUILTMOM--Welcome, and yes, St. ELMO elicited a smile!!

@Entropy--Thanks for the TVMA explanation. Like others, didn't know what it meant. Football not just "a guy thing"!!! Why "100 plus" was clued when 100(yds) without the plus is also a TD? How 'bout them Jets?

@mac--Parent were avid book collectors so I also read Tobacco Road (under the covers with a flashlight) at such an early age that I didn't "get" the sex stuff. Also read God's Little Acre. ERSKINE got arrested in NYC (at the instigation of the New York Literary Society!!!) at a book signing, mainly because of the title. (wiki.) He was married for a time to great photographer Margaret Bourke-White.

VITTORIO DeSica made some wonderful films: Sophia Loren's dramatic Academy Award winning performance in Two Women, and one of my top five favorites, The Bicycle Thief (Both black/white).

Didn't know if it was ZIG or zag because I didn't know TROI.

@Chefbea--Have already started my MARINARA sauce; tonight with sausage and meatballs!

Thanks, PG!

ddbmc said...

Started out not liking the puzzle-yuck factor included fill answers: Baa, RV'er, Ital, or a, Ice(d)teas (although I guess many call them the former), arts, asst.

As the puzzle progressed, many clues and words redeemed it: Bathroom hangers (towels), search high and low (comb), decant, Baseball's "Big Papi," (yep, Red Sox fan here). Absolutely needed @PG's divination to "see the tees."

Absolutely liked me some "Didn't Knows": Rabat, De Sica, Miro, Erskine (never read "Tobacco Road-knew the book, not the author) and fealty. Got the answers on the crosses and then went on a "Google quest."

@Jazz, believe it or not, "Prie-dieu" was in one of the LAT puzzles over the last few months.

@PG, thanks for including "Sweet Child O' Mine." We spoke of Axl last week.

Loved the Conair clip!

@VTQuiltMom-I, too, chuckled at the image of Elmo watching over sailors!
Couldn't find a picture of Elmo in a sailor suit, but found a "Pickle Me Elmo," ala @RP's pickled peppers video from yesterday.
Pickle Me Elmo Silly!

Men and their STRIPTEASE AND CORSETS! Harrumph! I suppose to to counter that, we ladies could speak of bike shorts and Speedos.... Somehow, not quite the same!

lit.doc said...

Total shred. Finished in just over 13 minutes (stop laughing!) which is, for me, Real Progress (thanks, RP, for all the Crosswords 101 tutoring). Only blip was 32A, where my brain balked momentarily because I’ve seen ORC so often recently (and I’m thinking “uh, four letters?”). Favorite clue was 66A “Simultaneous equation variables”. Nice change from e.g. A TO Z. Only better letter phrase I recall was a quite recent A B C OR D (help me out—was that BEQ?). G’night.

OK, morning + Puzzle Girl’s illuminating write-up. Wow. Theme puzz, huh? Geez. Didn’t notice anything while solving to even make me consider the possibility.

@PG, those 58A AURAs are called scintillating scotomas, and they can occur with or without the headache.

@imsdave (or should it be “Yo, imsdave, in this case?), LOL.

crazycatlady said...

One more thing. Welcome to VTQUILTMOM!

Entropy said...

@Parsan
Technically, the return man could get the kickoff 8 yds. deep in the End Zone, return it 100 yds and not score. The plus was needed. J.E.T.S. ... J.E.T.S. ... J.E.T.S.

@ddbmc
OK we men are pigs.
But who is doing the STRIP TEASE or wearing the CORSET? (and we're stupid?)

@Crazycatlady
Don't you say "I pledge FEALTY to the flag?"

@Joon
You're probably right re: the HONG.
But @Tinbeni had the right idea, fill in the __NG and wait for the cross to get the first two letters. I just know that if I fill in Hong, it will be the first time it was King.

@imsdave
TV MA, Yo Yo's brother who works in broadcasting?

JIMMIE said...

A little California-ish today, what with VIN, the voice of the Dodgers for 60 years, VITTORIO, and ELCENTRO.

The LAT had a letter to the editor today mentioning Dan Naddor's coinage of the word cruxiverbalist, which is a cool word for us guys.

Nice writeup, PG!

gespenst said...

I did this online for a change (cause that's where I was when I had time for the puzzle) and found it a time-saver ... I just kept cycling through the clues in order and adding in letters each time till, TADA it was finished :)

Liked it overall ... nothing I needed to look up, yet it did take a few cycles through to complete, so not a total gimme.

Thanks LAT for challenging us again!

sfingi said...

When I was a little kid, the Spencer lady came to the house, closed the curtains and had each grandmother take her turn standing on a stool to get measured for corsets. Boy, these were the real thing, with many loops, hooks, stays and strings. They were white for a while. The stopped just short of the naughty bits either direction. For more $, she would make a "form" from paper and shellac that represented their body shape. Kids could play with that. The corset is why there was no jiggle and the g'mas looked like whales standing on their tails.

Description of football. 2 groups of guys make lines facing each other. A second later, they're in a pile. Much shouting in background. I turn on golf and watch mown green fields and some whispering and quickly fall asleep. Therefore, I like golf better than football. Except for the time I was knocked out.

Charles Bogle said...

Like Van55 and jazz, I didn't realize a theme until I came here-
puzzle for me was more challenging than most Tues LAT...and this week's Mon and Tues LAT better than NYT IMHO
Handicapped in NW corner never having HBO!

So...who is VITTORIO?

Parsan said...

@Entropy--Doh! Of course!! Looked it up: record held by Antonio Cromartie, SD Chargers-2007, 109 yards.

@Charles Bogle--Glad to see you with us again!

Parsan said...

@JOON--There used to be a famous restaurant in Chinatown in NYC called HONG Fats, open well into the night with excellent food and very rude waiters; people expected and looked forward to their abuse. I know someone who ordered one thing and was served another. When he complained to the waiter he was told "What's the difference?" and only returned to deliver the check.

VTQUILTMOM said...

@parsan -- Hong Fats and rude waiters - there should be a Seinfeld episode in there somewhere!

mac said...

@Parsan: under the blankets with a flashlight, that brings back memories!

Rex Parker said...

Not loving it. Theme was thin and ICE TEAS in plural = awkward. ELCENTRO and VITTORIO were unknownto me. Latter seems fine, but former ... guess it gets a pass bec. it's a CA paper. Grew up in CA and don't remember ever even hearing of EL CENTRO.

I stopped caring at E-CASH (easily among my top ten Least Favorite recurring crossword answers of all time, and quite probably the worst E-word there is).

split infinitive said...

I was thinking the Greek dialog guy would show up in the themed answers: SocraTES!

ERSKINE is one of those names that looks like a mistake no matter how I try spelling it. I thought of the movie CON AIR while solving and *woo hoo* PG put a clip on the blog. Thanks for that and the CW 101 brushup, PG.

I too dislike the spelling "ice tea" but it seems to be taking over. "Ice coffee" appears to be joining the D-less list, as well. E-CASH belongs with 'etail' and 'ecocar' as words that haven't caught on. FEALTY is just a fun word, period.

Tinbeni said...

@Rex
As long as they never come up with E-Scotch, I guess I can take the stupid ECASH, and all the other redundant 'E' words.

Time to DECANT ... into me.

crazycatlady said...

El Centro CA is a border town WAY east of San Diego. I've never been there, but my husband has on his way to Yuma AZ. It's not really a place you would want to visit.

James said...

@Entropy, @Parsan: Just now solving the puzzle. The clue for TDS is still bad. Receiving a kickoff 8 yds deep in the end zone and being knocked out-of-bounds at the opponent's 5-yd line is a 100+ yd return (103 yds) and is not a TD. I suppose a 109-yd return must be a TD, but not any distance less. You could only get this from an arithmetic/football geek. :)

Joon said...

i thought about that too. the clue is plenty good enough, though. as far as i can tell, the longest non-touchdown return in NFL history is 98 yards.