FRIDAY, Mar. 26, 2010 — Gary Steinmehl

THEME: THE POWER OF TEN (51A: Exponential measurement, and in way, what's demonstrated in how answers were formed in 20-, 34- and 41-Across?) — "IO" (which looks like Arabic number "10") is added to the ends of familiar phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued wackily

Really liked this. If you're going to add a letter (or letters) to create wackiness, at least give the addition (or subtraction, or whatever) a sense of purpose, a reason for being. Puzzle needs a hook. Raison d'ĂȘtre! THE POWER OF TEN is a great and unexpected exclamation point for a puzzle that seemed to be merely an ADDIO puzzle. As I was solving I was imagining a line of dolls or action figures featuring IO — priestess-turned-cow of classical mythology — in various unlikely scenarios, e.g. playing cards, running a lab maze, etc.

Theme answers:

20A: Barbecue area without chairs? (STANDING PATIO)
34A: Relative value used in a scientific workplace? (LABORATORY RATIO)
41A: Small apartment for a comical septet? (SEVEN CARD STUDIO)

Best parts of the grid for me were ROMANNOSE (4D: Prominent facial feature) — because I don't think I've seen that in a grid before and it looks funny — and FINIS (32D: "Done!") — because I hear people say it but have never thought how to spell it (wanted "FINIT!" at first). FINIS looks like you wanted to put in FINISH but didn't have enough room left to, you know, FINISH. I had to deal with a couple of names I didn't know, namely (!) MOIRA (29D: Kelly of "One Tree Hill") — that show is still on the air!? How is that possible? — and EDEN (54D: 1950s British prime minister. It's 1950s day in puzzleworld today (see esp. the NYT). I did not get the memo.

Crosswordese 101: MT. IDA (31D: Highest peak on Crete: Abbr.) — can't believe we haven't even done IDA yet, let alone MTIDA. IDA and OSSA (in their MT-ed and unMT-ed versions) are crossword staples, ancient peaks that get a lot of grid play. IDA can also be a state abbrev., a Lupino, or a Morgenstern. Both peaks were sacred to gods. IDA is on Crete, whereas OSSA is well up the Peloponnesian peninusla in Thessaly.

What else?

  • 1A: Sugar substitute? (DEAR) — very nice. Knew exactly what the clue was going for, trick-wise, but uncovering the pet name was still a pleasure.

  • 15A: Rival rival (ALPO) — knew this was ALPO before I ever saw the clue, which is good, because ... I do not recognize "Rival" as a dog food at all.
  • 17A: Hobart resident (TASMANIAN) — Tasmania also has a MT. OSSA.
  • 46A: "O, gie me the ___ that has acres o' charms": Burns (LASS) — that doesn't rhyme. Saw it was Burns and wrote in LASS (had a cross or two in place). Really expected that when I looked at the clue carefully, I'd see an "ASS" rhyme.
  • 66A: Chuck ___, only coach to win four Super Bowls (NOLL) — coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who used to play (under NOLL) in Three Rivers Stadium. One of the rivers that gave the stadium its name: the OHIO (63A: One of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers).

See you Monday,

Everything Else — 1A: Sugar substitute? (DEAR); 5A: Flirtation (PASS); 9A: Travel needs, perhaps (VISAS); 14A: End of an estimate (OR SO); 15A: Rival rival (ALPO); 16A: __ coffee (IRISH); 17A: Hobart resident (TASMANIAN); 19A: Lip-smacking (TASTY); 20A: Barbecue area without chairs? (STANDING PATIO); 22A: Certain mil. member (NCO); 23A: Gray head? (LEE); 24A: Cereal ingredient (BRAN); 27A: Stallone role (RAMBO); 31A: Plant activity: Abbr. (MFG.); 34A: Relative value used in a scientific workplace? (LABORATORY RATIO); 38A: Lost a lap? (AROSE); 39A: Padre's hermana (TIA); 40A: Snacking (on) to excess (OD'ING); 41A: Small apartment for a comical septet? (SEVEN-CARD STUDIO); 44A: Before, in verse (ERE); 45A: Backspace, often (ERASE); 46A: "O, gie me the __ that has acres o' charms": Burns (LASS); 47A: Word-word link (FOR); 49A: Pres. between JAG and GC (CAA); 51A: Exponential measurement, and in a way, what's demonstrated in how answers were formed in 20-, 34- and 41-Across? (THE POWER OF TEN); 58A: Bread (MOOLA); 59A: Like clones (IDENTICAL); 61A: What an X may indicate (ERROR); 62A: Supply, as paper to a copier (FEED); 63A: One of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers (OHIO); 64A: California baseballer (GIANT); 65A: Signs (INKS); 66A: Chuck __, only coach to win four Super Bowls (NOLL); 1D: Pointillism unit (DOT); 2D: Periods of interest (ERAS); 3D: __ mgr. (ASST.); 4D: Prominent facial feature (ROMAN NOSE); 5D: Ill-fated opener of myth (PANDORA); 6D: Et __: and others (ALII); 7D: Bridge (SPAN); 8D: Berlin number (SONG); 9D: Curriculum __ (VITAE); 10D: Fit to be tied (IRATE); 11D: Spanish ayes (SÍ SÍ); 12D: Reference words (AS TO); 13D: Unassuming (SHY); 18D: Mandela's gp. (ANC); 21D: Gamer's maneuver (PLOY); 24D: Apathetic (BLASE); 25D: Harder to dig up (RARER); 26D: Upstairs (ABOVE); 28D: Fragrant oil (ATTAR); 29D: Kelly of "One Tree Hill" (MOIRA); 30D: Wire fasteners (BRADS); 31D: Highest peak on Crete: Abbr. (MT. IDA); 32D: "Done!" ("FINIS!"); 33D: "We Got the Beat" singers (GO-GOS); 35D: TV Chihuahua (REN); 36D: Baloney (ROT); 37D: Excessive flattery (ADULATION); 42D: Uno minus uno (CERO); 43D: They can ruin diets (SECONDS); 47D: Pen resident (FELON); 48D: Illusionary genre (OP ART); 50D: Back on the water (AFT); 51D: Famous Amos (TORI); 52D: Joyful group dance (HORA); 53D: Coffeehouse connection (WIFI); 54D: 1950s British prime minister (EDEN); 55D: Offend the olfactories (REEK); 56D: Empty hall effect (ECHO); 57D: Pointed fastener (NAIL); 58D: Unit of RAM (MEG); 60D: Texter's tehee (LOL).


Tinbeni said...

Thankfully I tend to do the puzzles from the bottom up.
Probably since that is where theme reveals are located.
As a result I had 'The Power of Ten' early.
Can't really say I found the "I" and "O" as "10" that impressive.
Actually I thought it was a bit obtuse. Didn't completely REEK, just didn't add to my solving pleasure.

Enjoyed the language quiz.

Rex Parker said...

P.S."CAA" may be the worst thing I've ever seen in any grid ever. So bad I completely blocked it out.

Sfingi said...

Had to Google 4x. HOBART for me is a little college in the Finger Lakes.

Did not know that REN of REN and Stimpy was a Chihuahua. Who can tell? I asked my son if he was a dog or a cat. Found out two other Chihuahuas are Gidget (Legally Blonde), and Bruiser (TacoBell) who died last year.

The Spanish took 2 Googles. Apparently it means a twin, so if Dad's twin is a girl, she's your aunt.

Does anyone remember Charlie Weaver (Cliff Arquette)and the mythical town of Mt. Idy? ("The bathroom burned down. Good thing it didn't spread to the rouse.")

Even tho I started from the bottom, then jumped around when there were many ?s, frankly, didn't get the theme 'til I read Rex.

Had "stood" for AROSE for awhile.

I don't get Gray head = LEE. I had GEE as in the letter G, but had to change it when I got PLOY.

Orange said...

I enjoyed this puzzle, too. Can't quite put my finger on why.

CAA is most familiar to me as that super-agency in Hollywood.

@Sfingi: Gray = the color of the South's uniforms in the Civil War. The South's army was headed by Robert E. LEE. Also, REN is officially an asthma-hound chihuahua.

shrub5 said...

This puzzle was a challenge especially the SE corner where FELON and OP ART gave me a hard time. I also had HULA before HORA (joyful group dance.) Other trouble spots were ROCKY instead of RAMBO and GEE before LEE. I had the same thought as @Sfingi with GEE spelling out the first ('head") letter of gray and feeling proud that I figured out that sneaky clue. The mistake was still there when I finished, leaving PGOY instead of PLOY for "gamer's maneuver." [forehead slap]

@Rex: I kinda like CAA. The clue makes us figure out James A. Garfield and Grover Cleveland and then come up with who was between them. Of course I didn't know, but the crosses helped me out. Surely CAA is better that some of the lousy abbrevs we have seen....or Roman numerals.

Great job, Gary S.

*David* said...

I enjoyed the puzzle and the theme. I had the first theme answer and didn't know where it was going which slowed me considerably in the middle. I finished up the bottom and then was able to complete the rest of the puzzle.

Tinbeni said...

I reversed my norm and attempted the NYT first. Probably put me in a sour mood ...

The puzzle I enjoyed. The "theme" so/so. Thought there was an excess of foreign language fill, which I got with no problem except I had alia before changing to ALII (Geez, I'm learning tenses of latin now).

CAA wasn't so bad. But then I knew it was Chester Alan Arthur instantly. After that earlier experience, I was ready for any positive fill.

Tuttle said...

The theme was a bit obtuse. I thought the goddess, the moon of Jupiter, input/output... ten never occurred to me. "THE" in front of POWEROFTEN scans oddly to me as well. If asked to express an exponential measurement based on simple decimal orders of magnitude I'd describe such as "powers of ten" or "a power of ten". "The power of ten" would be just... ten.

Is a ROMAN NOSE the same as a Patrician nose? I think of that phrase as a proper name and use "aquiline" for the facial feature

lit.doc said...

Thank you, Gary Steinmehl, for remembering that solving is supposed to be fun [insert rant re today’s NYT puzzle]. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and the theme was both clever and useful. Forgot to scan for the theme-reveal clue and so had been wondering what was up with STANDING PATIO for a while before I got THE POWER OF TEN, but was then able to finish LABORATORY and SEVEN CARD immediately.

@Sfingi, I feel your pain re (R.E.?) LEE. It filled from the crosses, but after I noticed it and read the clue I still stared at it for like a minute, scratching my own gray head, wondering what “leegray” could possibly mean. THE POWER OF DOH!

Only negative here (act of constructive desperation?) was the CAA thingy Rex noted in his p.s. I did figure out the Grover Cleveland part, which was exactly as helpful as not figuring out the JAG part. Didn’t even bother to google post mortem. Brendan, are you out there? We need someone with the courage of their Arbitrary Three-Letter Abbreviations to actually get “WTF” into a puzzle so that, for once, we won’t just be tempted to write it in.

I may be stupid, but.. said...

Does anyone actually know what obtuse means?

lit.doc said...

@we all may be stupid, yes. The same people who actually know what enormity means.

Google said...

@I may be Stupid, but..
Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
Stupid (but you already knew that)

CrazyCatLady said...

Enjoyable puzzle with a cool theme. Went smoothly for me most of the way except for the lower left. I may be directionally challenged, but I would consider that area to be the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Had Money for MOOLA first (I thought MOOLA was spelled with an H at the end), then Hula for HORA. The only Famous Amos I could come up with was McCoy and then the cookie man, but couldn't remember if Amos was his first or last name. Then to top all that I wanted a farm animal that started with an F to be the Pen Resident. Never even saw OP ART. Ugh what a mess! Had to ERASE a lot. EDEN and CAA were obscure to say the least. Other than those ERRORs, it was a fun solving experience.
@Sfingi I had the exact same thought about Hobart. We stayed on Seneca Lake last summer just down the road from HWS.

Sfingi said...

By "rouse" I meant house.

I actually cheated on CAA. I have a place mat in the kitchen with all the presidents. I know a verse to remember them up to Grant, but had to look after that, at what I call the weed area - the presidents that left little impression.

There's no Lee on the president place mat. Something went through my mind about Lee Grant, but I knew that wasn't right. But it was what Major Hoople (of Egad fame) called, "My infallible sub-conscious."
We had to memorize a poem called The Blue and the Gray in grade school.

"Under the sod and the dew
Waiting the judgement day,
Under the one, the Blue.
Under the other, the Gray."

Those were the days, when tiny kids memorized long poems we didn't understand.

@Crazy cat - I love hula for HORA.

Don't be mean 925
Obtuse - the opposite of acute in a rt. angle,
> 90° and < 180°

THE POWER OF TEN, where the log or exponent on the base ten is used, is familiar to us in earthquake magnitudes. But 10 is not the only common base. There is e (for Euler), the marvelous natural base, = 2.7+, real and irrational. It began as the interest on 1 at 100%/yr. compounded daily, but OMG it shows up everywhere. Wake up class.

Unless he meant POWER OFTEN, in which case the puzzle was about electricity in some Caribbean island.

@Orange - ok, what's an Asthma Hound?

I have no word processor now on the new laptop. Word was pilfered and Abiword has to be reinstalled. I'll have to go to the other house, my alternate reality.

A Roman nose is an Italian nose is an aquiline nose or a beak like an eagle. Is a wavy nose an aqualine nose?

Joon said...

"obtuse" can also mean unclear or difficult to understand. when tuttle says "the theme was a bit obtuse," it's a perfectly valid usage.

we're crossword fans here. we should be open to the idea of words having multiple possible meanings. and learn to love your dictionary, or at least the free online dictionaries.

Crosscan said...

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is a perfectly fine group.

lit.doc said...

@Joon, you make a good point. Tuttle's meaning was so apparent that I didn't even notice the trivially non-standard usage till @I may be stupid mentioned it. I just have a hard time resisting Picayune Points of Anything threads. :)

p.s. I do have a word geek's love of dictionaries. I checked my dead-tree American Heritage, and the online Merriam-Webster and thefreedictionary.com sites before chiming in. Found no meanings that don't appertain to angles or to people, FWIW.

Abstruse said...

Why is everyone ignoring me? I'm here, I'm useful!

CrazyCatLady said...

Sfingi's right. The Richter Scale is a base 10 logorithmic scale. I don't really understand it, but if the windows start rattling and the dogs start barking, I know it's time to dive under the desk.

@Sfingi regarding noses: My husband, a tall, bony, non-burly Swede, had a Patrician nose in his youth. Then he broke it in a skiing accident. It now has a zig and a zag and a bump on the end. I call it a schnozzola.

Recondite said...

@Abstruse, I was wondering when you were going to join the party! And yes, we are useful. People just don't understand us. :(

Van55 said...

I am guilty of using "obtuse" when I should have used "obscure." Thanks for pointing it out.

In stark contrast to today's NYT entry, this puzzle was fun to solve. Some nice misdirection; trivia that is gettable by most of the populace; nice theme (though the reveal is pretty abstruse.

Pointed fastener (NAIL) and Wire fastener (BRAD) in the same grid troubles me for some reason I can't explain.

OHIO River said...

Always thought I was the Largest Tributary to the Mississippi, now I find I'm just a minor footnote.

Oh,IO = Oh,10 = Oh,ten ...

Monongahela River said...

Hey, Allegheny! Looks like Ohio thinks he's big stuff. GO BUCKS

Allegheny River said...

Mono, he'd be nothing without us!

Charles Bogle said...

I too liked it. lots of clever cluing..tricky but chuckle out loud theme; all came together tho can't pinpoint one or more "highlights" excellent way to end regular week esp after total drop yesterday

chefwen said...

O.K., You guys are giving me my LAUGH O' THE DAY. Funny stuff here.

Puzzle was very likable and not too easy, just right for a Friday! Only real messy area was in So. Cal, I put in Padre before I realized that San Diego isn't the only city in that state.


Nice puzz... good buzz!

Orange said...

@Crosscan, if the CAA is so good, how come you use America's AAA, huh?

@Sfingi, an asthma hound chihuahua is a chihuahua with a Peter Lorre accent and delusions of grandeur.

I like the vocabulary words and rivers posting today.

Sfngi said...

@ Crazy cat - Sounds like your husband went from aquiline to agualine. My mother was born with the latter, and broke it about 10 years ago in a fall leaving a church, making it ripple sideways, too. People asked if she was going to sue, and she said, "Oh, I couldn't sue a church."

And, like e, we're all natural because we're real and irrational.

Did ya'll see the NYT? I'm calling it the all-Google puzzle. There was some reason why I bought it, but I can't remember.

Herr Steinmehl, no one's going to tell you to go pound(flour on) stones!
Today was fun.

@John - Hi there!

@Orange - Funny. I actually did LOL

CrazyCatLady said...

@JNH Nice TERSE comment. I forgot to tell you - Wolfes Market on your RTE 66 pics. It's where I shop.

The NYT today was a hell hole, to put it nicely.

Crosscan said...

@Orange - the crossings make me do it.

mac said...

@Crosscan: so this is where you are hiding out!

Very fun puzzle after the NYT massacre. Actually not quite that bad, I just had so little time today.

A Roman nose is short and with a little indentation, an aquiline nos is a hooked one. Very different as far as I know.