1.05.2010

TUESDAY, January 5, 2010 — Donna S. Levin


Theme: You Light Up My Life — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with something that provides light.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Instant of realization (LIGHTBULB MOMENT).
  • 33A: Lyrical lament of lost love (TORCH SONG).
  • 38A: Idaho ski resort (SUN VALLEY).
  • 53A: Elton John tribute to Marilyn Monroe (CANDLE IN THE WIND).
Good morning — and what a glorious morning it is! The air is crisp, the sun is shining, it feels like the possibilities are endless! Did I mention my kids are back in school? Yessss! I've got a lot of stuff to do today and I'm looking forward to doing it all without interruption or distraction. The first thing I need to do, though, is get the conversation started about this puzzle.

Smooth Tuesday puzzle for me, which is exactly what I expect from Donna. Cute theme, good fill, nothing completely out of place and nothing super sparkly either. Except maybe BABKA (9A: Yeast cake highlighted in a "Seinfeld" episode). "You sold us a hair with a cake around it!" HAha. Also SMOOCH (46A: Lay a wet one on). I don't recall seeing that one in a puzzle before.

More:
  • 20A: Slow start? (ESS). The word slow starts with the letter S (ess).
  • 29A: Texas __: oil (TEA). I seem to recall the last time this showed up in a puzzle someone here had never heard of it. Did you get it this time? Are you out there? Hello? Hello?
  • 32A: Word with trap or prize (BOOBY). Heheh. You said booby.
  • 49A: Ed of "The People's Court" (KOCH). Now that is really sad. He was once the mayor of what a lot of people consider the greatest city in the world. And now he's known as a judge on a cringeworthy reality show.
  • 9D: Devoted to reading (BOOKISH). I know this is totally legit, but to me, bookish connotes more than just a devotion to reading, so it was hard for me to get this one.
  • 23D: Former Internet-on-the-tube co. (WEBTV). Just read an article this morning about television manufacturers integrating Skype into their new TVs. Awesome.
  • 29D: Fabric with a repeated scenic pattern (TOILE). One of these days we'll do a CW101 on fabric.
  • 39D: In one sitting (AT A CLIP). I had no idea that's what this phrase means. I thought it meant "quickly," but that's "at a good clip."
  • 43D: Loaded (RICH). My first thought was more along the lines of drunk.
Crosswordese 101: There are a couple different ways to clue ELLA. There's former governor of Connecticut ELLA Grasso, actress ELLA Raines, and the 2004 movie "ELLA Enchanted." But the most common ELLA in CrossWorld by far is 7D: Jazz great Fitzgerald, the "First Lady of Song." Easy clues will give you her last name. Clues that are a little tougher will refer to jazz, Billie Holiday, and scat. Tricky clues will use the word scatter to throw you off the track.




Bonus Puzzle: Today is Merl Reagle's birthday. It's a big one. You know, one of those that ends in a ZERO. Andrea Carla Michaels and Michael Blake constructed a puzzle in honor of this momentous occasion. Go solve it!

Everything Else — 1A: Hip-hop headgear (DO-RAG); 6A: Aral, for one (SEA); 9A:  (BABKA); 14A: Treat badly (ABUSE); 15A: European peak (ALP); 16A: Ancient theater (ODEON); 21A: "M*A*S*H" star (ALDA); 22A: Dogs from Japan (AKITAS); 23A: The Big One: Abbr. (WW II); 24A: Move like moths (FLIT); 25A: Like many Quechua speakers (ANDEAN); 28A: Clark's crush (LOIS); 35A: Throw __: fly off the handle (A FIT); 36A: Social division (CASTE); 37A: Telegram (WIRE); 40A: Cantaloupe, e.g. (MELON); 41A: Official lang. of Malawi (ENG.); 42A: Peculiar mannerisms (TICS); 43A: Beaver or hamster (RODENT); 44A: Small pouches (SACS); 45A: Tiny parasite (MITE); 50A: Xbox 360 competitor (WII); 56A: Holy Roman emperor crowned in CMLXII (OTTO I); 57A: Caviar, e.g. (ROE); 58A: Prepare beans, Mexican-style (REFRY); 59A: Thrash (WHOMP); 60A: Cobbler's tool (AWL); 61A: Superman's makeup? (STEEL); 1D: Racing legend Earnhardt (DALE); 2D: Geisha wardrobe items (OBIS); 3D: Toupees (RUGS); 4D: Volcanic residue (ASH); 5D: Escape (GET AWAY); 6D: King Abdullah subject (SAUDI); 7D: Jazz great Fitzgerald (ELLA); 8D: SFPD broadcast (APB); 10D: Own up to (ADMIT); 11D: Borscht need (BEET); 12D: Hawaiian coffee-growing district (KONA); 13D: Aardvark's dinner (ANTS); 18D: St. Petersburg pancake (BLIN); 19D: Evil intent (MALICE); 24D: Two score (FORTY); 25D: Humiliate (ABASE); 26D: Like a wet blanket, so to speak (NO FUN); 27D: "Nothing __!" (DOING); 28D: Goes down to defeat (LOSES); 30D: 2000s symbol of corporate misconduct (ENRON); 31D: Ten percenter (AGENT); 33D: After-bath powders (TALCS); 34D: Garbo, by birth (SWEDE); 36D: Trite expression (CLICHE); 40D: May honorees (MOTHERS); 44D: City of sin in Genesis (SODOM); 45D: Econo Lodge, e.g. (MOTEL); 46D: Flat-bottomed boat (SCOW); 47D: Course requiring calculations (MATH); 48D: Not fooled by (ONTO); 49D: Be sure of (KNOW); 50D: Marital partner, perhaps (WIFE); 51D: Memo phrase (IN RE); 52D: Pastoral poem (IDYL); 54D: 401(k) alternative, for short (IRA); 55D: Soaked (WET).

40 comments:

Sfingi said...

All TOILEs are fabric with a repeated scenic pattern, but not all fabric with a repeated pattern are TOILEs. The TOILE is pastoral and Frenchy, generally 2 colors, the drawing and the background, used mostly for wallpaper and curtains. The overdressed shepherdess with beribboned crook is one type. The Chinoise is another.
Toile
I always felt it was chintzy (another fabric word) that Elton John recycled the tribute. Come on, write another!

Tinbeni said...

@Orange - Great theme, love the smiling Sun (maybe it can bring some heat to Florida, Brrrr!)

After yesterdays Rex-v-Anon discussion on the use of "Pop" culture clues I was LOL at 1a DO RAG, 50a WII, 23d WEB TV even the fact Ed KOCH 49a is on "The Peoples Court." (Hey, yesterday @Anon, LAT doesn't have "Pop" culture).

AHA moment ... the LIGHTBULB!!!

BOOBY & MELON in the same puzzle is OK with me.
WIFE being clued 'Marital Partner, perhaps,' I guess Same-Sex Marriage is here to stay.
BLIN - St.Petersburg pancake ... oh, the one in Russia.

@Chefbea, I know you LOL at your favorite clue/ans. ... 11-down.

Donna Levin nice puzzle theme.

@Orange great write-up (it is easier w/o the kids?) esp.enjoyed the ELLA clip

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Awww, Puzzlegirl you're a sweetie... to welcome us with a smiley sunshine face. What a nice way to start a Monday morning... uh wait a minute, it's a Tuesday... oh well. your writeups are always a ray of sunshine anyways.

Even with the "You light up my light theme", Donna Levin has done some much better puzzles. This one had lots of CLICHÉ. With all the worn-out crosswordese, I was able to quickly WHOMP through this one. So, it was NOFUN for me.

And there were a few sad words for me: ENRON, CANDLE IN THE WIND (Princess Diana), and WIFE.

NOW THIS WAS FUN!!!
CHOCOLATE BABKA … YUMMMMM

Oh, and I did like the DORAG crossing with RUG… that was fun.

I thought the clue for 29D TOILE was a bit confusing.

Time for me to GETAWAY… going to MOTHERS Café with the guys… some KONA coffee and maybe some… uh, uh… Oh no, another BLIN ???

Tinbeni said...

oops I'm Sorry, I meant Puzzlegirl not Orange (if she is still here in Tampa Bay, she is cold)

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I love Ella Fitzgerald... I think of her as probably one of the greatest singers of all time, but somehow a song like "Mack the Knife" belongs to a guy, like Bobby Darin... it just doesn't fit Ella's image to me.

And, Puzzlegirl, that's not what I thought of when I saw BOOBY. I thought of the Blue-footed Booby, an amazing bird.

I tried getting that very funny Seinfeld BABKA (dough wrapped around a hair)episode on YouTube, but for some reason YouTube is all screwed up this morning.

shrub5 said...

Satisfying, neat, elegant puzzle today. My only writeover was RIFE before correcting to RICH. Always have a little chuckle at the word WHOMP -- brings back memories of HS where my friends and I would threaten to whomp each other at various games or sports. Liked the similar answers WII and WWII.

Here's a nice (G-rated) BOOBY.

Tinbeni said...

Hey Merl Reagle fans, today is his 60th Birthday.
@Rex Does the NYT there is a link to a special "Bonus" tribute puzzle.

@JNH - There is a link to a BABKA / Seinfeld clip at the LAT Crossword Corner.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

The Blue-footed BOOBY is appropriately named. They are so much fun to watch, especially their mating dance. I know you will laugh at this clip.
BOOBY

the redanman said...

I entered TUILE instead o TOILE, was very dense between the ears at seeing it and held my self up royally, ycch. Otherwise I had a really nice time solving this puzzle, about an average time for me for an LAT Tuesday.

10% AGENT, do they take that little? ;-)

Enter RAGDO became DORAG with the crosses, can't get that one straight are they interchangeable?

Learned BABKA, Texas TEA,

ATACLIP needed crosses, another dense bit on my part.

Fun puzzle to me, on the simple side.

ddbmc said...

@PG, so nice to have kids back a school. Mine left for intersession yesterday! So funny because when college boy arrived home, he was mad as heck that he was back in "Rulesville." Yesterday he was all hugs and kisses....So funny! I know he glad to be back to "walk-up food line" as opposed to "Mom's fridge which is filled, YET there's nothing to eat." Yeah, you have to MAKE the food!

That said, got to do the puzzle today, early! YAY! Loved the "Babka episode reference" Not bad fill today. Actually struggled with 46D-Flat bottomed boat. Scow just wasn't my LIGHTBULB MOMENT today, and had a @CrazyCatLady-moment with OTTOI, saying "Ot Toi?"

@Tinbeni, my step mom is in Sarasota and I can hear her teeth chattering through the email!

Loved the pop culture v. scones chat yesterday. One son loves Lady Gaga and Jay-Z the other is all Pink Floyd-King Crimson and they're only 3 years apart in age!

Luke said...

@Tinbeni - What does WIFE = "Marital partner, perhaps? have to do with same sex marriage? My marital partner is a wife, hers isn't, it's a husband. I guess that the proportion of marital partners is 50% +/- a totally negligable percentage.

Luke said...

Oh, damn, add a closing quote and the phrase "being wives" in there at some appropriate place.

ddbmc said...

Oops! Sorry for the "so funny" 2 x's! Also "he's" not "he."

Re: Ella Fitzgerald's "Mack the Knife," wasn't there a SNL version of that song-I'm thinking Steve Martin singing, while using his fingers, scissor-fashion, in front of himself? LOVE Ella!

Tinbeni said...

@Luke
A four letter clue "Marital Partner" without the "perhaps" would have yielded the answer WIFE.

When I was doing the puzzle the "perhaps" threw me off for a moment ... I thought, "It can't be Hubs."

lit.doc said...

Nice, smooth, Tuesday puzzle. A tad harder IMO than today's NYT. Didn't even notice the theme till I got here. Very partial to themes that help me solve the puzzle, and this one, though nice (and sunny) wouldn't have.

@PuzzleGirl, my kids are back in school too!! In fact, they're noisily filling up my class room as I key this post. Argh!! So much for peaceful, puzz-filled mornings!

Only snag was self-inflicted in NE. Slammed MATZO at 9A, despite knowing it's unleavened. Is it a mitigating circumstance that I've never seen an episode of Seinfeld and have never prepared or eaten BABKA bread?

Had a not-unusual "Who?!" moment with 56A OTTOI (and what a way to sneak in a RRN). Good downs, though, so no problem.

When I read that familiar 31D "Ten percenter" clue, I thought of artists like Aerosmith who, long ago, got locked into lifetime contracts at WAY over 10%. Also made me think that "Seven percenter" would be a marvelous clue for Sherlock Holmes (novel/movie allusion).

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed this Tuesday puzzle. For a newbie, it was quite doable as opposed to later in the week, when I really struggle. This blog is fabulous, as I actually remembered scow, kona, Otto I, Alp and awl. Thanks to you PG, Orange and Rex for making puzzles fun and a learning experience. And I can't forget all the wonderful comments which help. too.
JB in VA

mac said...

Nice puzzle by Donna, as usual. Never heard of "lay a wet one on" or "whomp". Not unhappy about that.

@PG: yes, I got the tea this time!

@Tinbeni: did you read the write-up at all?? It's Puzzle Girl, and she also put in a link to Merl's puzzle.

PuzzleGirl said...

@mac: In Tinbeni's defense (and God knows he needs one), I added the link to Merl's puzzle after I saw his comment.

Parsan said...

Interesting clued answers that I have rarely or never seen were BABKA, ANDEAN, BOOBY, STEEL, NO FUN, and SMOOCH, which made this puzzle fun for me. Thought AT A CLIP meant fast.

NW corner reminded me of Agassi's confession of wearing a DO RAG-like head covering to hid his RUG.

Grandchildren 6, 7, and 9 beat me at every game of WII over the holidays.

PG--Thanks! for ELLA, who was a great TOTCH SONG singer, and for Mack the Knife. Written in 1928 by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht for the Three Penny Opera, it made me think of yesterdays discussion about pop culture. I wonder how much of the music of today will be played 60, 70, and 80 years from now like the still heard works of artists like Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Carmichael, Rodgers, Hart, and Hammerstein. Interesting that many pop and rock stars record songs by these composers when they hit middle age. I have a framed thank-you note to my husband sent by ELLA after a performance he played with her.

I found today's puzzle easier than Monday's, but more fun!

Tinbeni said...

@mac
I apoligize for mis-identifying PuzzleGirl as Orange at 7:32am.(see below)

The link was added later per @PG AFTER she saw MY comment.

(Saw her flowers, was listening to the news, they were talking about the overnight freeze and how it might effect the orange crop, was about to make my first comment, again I hear orange crop freeze = 57yo brain fart ... and mis-identified our beloved PuzzleGirl as Orange.
Funny how the brain works sometimes.)

chefbea said...

Fun LIGHT puzzle

Of course I loved 11down!!!

And then there was the hamster/pouch clues....did we discuss this yesterday on this blog or NYT. (I'm getting forgetful)

chefbea said...

Just read the Clara story. WOW.. I still have tears in my eyes. That was great

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Parsan
And wait till your 6,7,9 yo grandkids beat you at Scrabble!

No one-upsmanship intended here, but my son, the famous trumpeter, has a framed thank-you note from President Geoerge H. W. Bush, for playing at Camp David for his daughter's wedding. He also played a private fanfare for Queen Elizabeth at the White House, but she never sent him a thank-you note for that... how rude!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

No sorry, it wasn't a fanfare for QEII, it was Handel's Water Music.

Parsan said...

@JNH--My Dad had a framed picture of himself and Spiro Agnew in their den that disappeared after the scandal. My Mother admitted nothing!

crazycatlady said...

Fun, breezy puzzle today. Is it just me or was there a mini sub theme going on with 26D Like a WET blanket - NO FUN, 55 D Soaked - WET and 46 A Lay a WET one on- SMOOCH. Loved Aardvark's dinner as a clue for ANTS. Of course, living in Southern CA the only Big One to come to mind was QUAKE, but it didn't fit. Texas TEA reminds me of Texas Caviar which doesn't contain ROE. I also thought the DO RAG/RUG cross was cute. My favorites were BABKA, RODENT, BOOBY, TOILE (my shower curtain,remember), BOOKISH, BEET and SMOOCH. The theme was very cute.
@PG & DDMC - Oh boy! Do I remember those days of sending everyone back to school or college. Ahhhh........ I can totally relate to the FRIDGE comments.
@DDMC I'm glad others experiences those little glitches OT TOI - sounds like French to me. Merle Reagle has a very interesting puzzle in this past Sunday's LAT Magazine. It's called Launch Party, 2010 and the grid has 25 squares across and 10 sqares down. I am going to try to get around to it this afternoon. So many puzzles, so little time.

chefbea said...

@jnh I have a framed picture of my brother and sister-n-law with Bill and Hillary at the white house xmas party. My brother who is in the Carpet business supplied the carpeting for the music room...where Bill played the Sax (glad I spelled that right)

bluebell said...

@crazycatlady--like you, the only big one I could think of was earthquake--I live in Northern CA. Had to wait for WWII to come up.

But this was a smooth solve, really. No whiteout! What I didn't know came out of the crosses (babka, for instance). Since I've always been bookish, that was a good word for me.

Sfingi said...

@Parsan - Mack the knife began as a German song (Mackie Messer) in Bertolt Brecht's 3-Penny Opera/ Dreigroshenoper 1928 - based on John Gay's Beggar's Opera, 1728!

@ - Seems to me a lifetime contract could amount to involuntary servitude, i.e. slavery - unconstitutional.

I used to think it was "dew-rag," that is to say, it was something that could catch your sweat as you worked.

SethG said...

I have a framed picture of my Uncle Fred with Aunt Judy, some random guy, and former president Gerald Ford. I have a picture of my sister from her college graduation that is not in a frame.

Sfingi, if you give me a million dollars today I'll give you 10% of my earnings forever. And I promise that's constitutional.

I liked the puzzle theme just fine, but I do not like pop culture from whenever it is that Debby Boone was pop-ular.

ddbmc said...

I just want to say, that I have no pictures of me with anybody and that includes Tiger Woods! Of course, I'm way too old for him! Had some fun jobs over the years, and had a few brushes with fame. Not that they matter at all! :)

@SethG, that sounds like a "Bernie Made-off" line!

Debby Boone, not my favorite music either! @Parsan-love all the older song writers/artists you mentioned! Love Cole Porter, The Gershwins! (great Torch songs!) AND love alot of new stuff, too. Like @Tinbeni, not much of a RAP fan. Can you sing "Dey Doo Ron Ron Ron" with a Do Rag on???

Parsan said...

ddmc--No, I can't because I don't have a DO RAG, but you can if you want to. To each his own!

@Sfingi--Originally "Die Moritat (mord-murder, tat-deed) Von Mackie Messer", Mack the Knife has been sung by many singers, most famously by Bobby Darin and Louie Armstrong. Also by Crosby and Sinatra. Some of my favorite jazz artists have recorded it: Anita O'Day, Stephane Grapelli, Lionel
Hampton, Sonny Rollins, and Sidney Bechet. The Three Penny Opera has a special meaning for me because I was in it in college, at 18, playing one of the whores (non-speaking part), something my brother thought was hysterical.

docmoreau said...

It is always fun to see how a puzzle stimulates blog conversation throughout the day. This is a good tight group of solvers. Wish I had the time to add my 2 cents daily.

Happy Birthday, Merl!

Sfingi said...

@LitDoc, SethG - Hubster says that if it involves work in the future, it could be involuntary servitude if they are forced to do it. Future income from royalties is something else. That's why Prince changed his name. I'm not the lawyer, so, whatever.

And the shark, he has teeth, and he keeps them in his face.
Mackie the knife, has a knife, and the knife - no one sees.
(Literal trans.)

And that's a fack, Mack.

Jill said...

If they were coerced with money and signed a contract agreeing to it, it's not involuntary. Whether it's past or future work is irrelevant, the point is whether or not they agree to it.

Some baseball player who signs a 4 year contract is not a slave, while a week's forced work can be slave-like if it's involuntary.

Why did Prince change his name?

Jan said...

As an unschooling parent and writer, I feel saddened when I hear parents celebrating the fact that their children will be spending so much time away from them. Anyone wanting to learn about another option, please take a look at The Unschooling Unmanual that my always-unschooled son and I have written: http://www.naturalchild.org/unmanual/

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@chefbea
Yeah, I'm sure Bill Clinton really messed up that carpet in the Oval Office!

crazycatlady said...
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Anonymous said...
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