THURSDAY, April 1, 2010 — Alex Boisvert

Theme: "Thrill-Seeker's Mantra" — A pithy saying attributed to a thrill-seeker can be read clockwise around the edges of the grid.

Theme answers: I'm not going to list them because they look like gobbledy-gook. But reading clockwise from 1-Across (inserting spaces where needed and ignoring black squares) is the phrase "IF YOU ARE NOT LIVING ON THE EDGE, YOU'RE TAKING UP TOO MUCH ROOM."

Wow. Just wow. I really like this theme a lot. And I'm not just saying that because I'm madly in love with Alex Boisvert. Why, you might ask, am I madly in love with Alex Boisvert? Well, it's because of a little program he's made available to crossword geeks that has streamlined my life to a degree far too embarrassing to talk about except with, ya know, you guys. Let's just say it gives me more time to concentrate on my spreadsheet.

Anyhoo! I really like this theme because (a) it's just quirky enough to qualify as an April Fool's Day puzzle and (b) the phrase talks about living "on the edge" and it's read along the edge of the grid. Genius, I'm telling you! Remember how the other day we were talking about how a glut of three-letter words can really dampen the solving experience? Well, this puzzle has quite a few, but if the payoff is a theme this awesome, I'm willing to let it slide.

Good stuff:
  • 16A: European car company with a prancing horse logo (FERRARI). This reminded me of a Sporcle quiz I once took, so I went over to the Sporcle site to find it and now … it's like two hours later. (Caution: Don't Click On That Link If You Have Anything Else To Do Today!)
  • 24A: Poet who won the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature (YEATS). I plopped YEATS right in and then second-guessed myself because it could just as well have been KEATS. I mean, it couldn't because KEATS did not in fact win the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature, but in my mind it could have been because they're both sitting there together back in that far corner of my brain.
  • 30A: Giant (TITAN). I have a feeling "Clash of the Titans" will be on the PuzzleFamily's agenda this weekend.
  • 34A: 2007-'08 NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin (DURANT). My first thought? MCHALE. Yeah, about 20 years too late.
  • 37A: Letter opening (SIRS). Raise your hand if you entered DEAR without thinking. Seriously. If you're opening your letter with "Sirs," you should really think about joining us here in the 21st century.
  • 58A: Bandleader Puente (TITO).
  • 3D: "Whatever you say, honey" ("YES, DEAR"). Now that's what I like to hear.
  • 12D: "Raging Bull" boxer (LAMOTTA). With some of the letters in place, all I could think of was D'AMATO, but that's obviously a totally different guy.
  • 31D: Collection agcy.? (IRS). Including the IRS in an April puzzle? That's not nice at all.
  • 53D: Actress Hayek (SALMA). Raise your hand if you always want her name to be SELMA.
  • 60D: German article (DER).
Everything Else — 1A: Start of a thrill-seeker's mantra (IFYOUAR); 8A: More of the mantra (ENOTLIV); 15A: Conductor's nickname (MAESTRO); 17A: Government heave-hos (OUSTERS); 18A: "Million Dollar Baby" Oscar winner (FREEMAN); 19A: Shoppe sign adjective (OLDE); 20A: Set one's sights on, with "at" (AIMED); 22A: Big ape (KONG); 23A: Artery: Abbr. (RTE.); 25A: Juan's uncle (TIO); 26A: Piles (HEAPS); 29A: Reuben bread (RYE); 32A: Percentage on a bank sign (CD RATE); 35A: Trig, e.g. (MATH); 38A: Sounds of hesitation (UHS); 41A: Demure (SHY); 42A: Rotate, as a camera (PAN); 43A: Casual "I'll pass" ("NAH"); 46A: Floor exercise surface (MAT); 47A: "For __ a jolly ..." (HE'S); 48A: "Star Wars" saga nickname (ANI); 49A: Corrida shout (OLÉ); 50A: At the ready (ON ALERT); 52A: Tablet alternative (CAPSULE); 54A: Dungeons & Dragons creatures (OGRES); 55A: Farmyard female (EWE); 57A: Kept (SAVED); 58A: Bandleader Puente (TITO); 59A: Step (TREAD); 61A: __ Mason: asset management giant (LEGG); 62A: Nabokov's title professor (PNIN); 63A: Scorch slightly (SINGE); 64A: Farmyard female (MARE); 65A: More of the mantra (UGNI); 66A: More of the mantra (KATER); 67A: More of the mantra (AUOY); 1D: More of the mantra (IMOORHC); 2D: Blamed (FAULTED); 4D: Bone: Pref. (OSTE-); 5D: Mountain West Conference athlete (UTE); 6D: Deck out (ARRAY); 7D: More optimistic (ROSIER); 8D: Decadent (EFFETE); 9D: Unlikely class presidents (NERDS); 10D: Mine find (ORE); 11D: Hike (TREK); 13D: Shiraz resident (IRANIAN); 14D: More of the mantra (VINGONT); 21D: Might (MAY); 27D: Kitchen spray (PAM); 28D: Hoards (STASHES); 30D: Root vegetables (TURNIPS); 33D: Bygone anesthetic (ETHER); 34D: Roman goddess of the hunt (DIANA); 36D: Mass reaction, perhaps (HYSTERIA); 37D: Era that began in 1957 (SPACE AGE); 38D: More of the mantra (UMOOTPU); 39D: Like some drying clothes (HANGING); 40D: Commence (START IN); 43D: __ riche (NOUVEAU); 44D: Fast, to a 15-Across (ALLEGRO); 45D: More of the mantra (HEEDGEY); 51D: Téa of "Ghost Town" (LEONI); 56D: Left (WENT); 59D: Sound of disapproval (TSK).



Wow! What a great April Fools puzzle.
Alex Boisvert is a genius. The rest of us are fools!
I’m waiting for the FAULT FINDER to find FAULTED.
The only thing I would question: I was class president and yet I was one of those NERDS.
Words I love: NOUVEAU riche, MAESTRO (I think of Solti & Muti), FERRARI (I think of my next car), and EFFETE (what I’m becoming).
Y’all have a ROSIER day!


"Any FOOL can fight a winning battle, but it needs character to fight a losing one, and that should inspire us; which reminds me that I dreamed the other night that I was being hanged, but was the life and soul of the party."
— William Butler YEATS

jazz said...

What a great puzzle! The short fills in the middle didn't TAKe UP TOO MUCH ROOM, and I didn't get the mantra until the puzzle was nearly complete!

Thanks, Alex Boisvert, it made my day (at least the very beginning of it)

Ron said...

Did you notice that your solution to 62a is, correctly, PNIN, but on the grid it was entered as PNON?

imsdave said...

Loved it - great stuff - thanks Alex.

Rex Parker said...

It's good, but not nearly as great as everyone's suggesting. We've seen this kind of gimmick in the NYT before. Several times. I don't really get the quote, and have never heard it, so I don't know exactly whose "mantra" it is. Sounds like barfy businessspeak. Further, there's nothing April Fooly about this. It's just a quotation going around the edges. I guess many LAT solvers will not have seen something like this before. Maybe that's the "April Fool's" part.

LEGG is ... [no need to finish the thought]

It's no Fireball 4/1 puzzle, but it's way ahead of the dreary NYT, so that's good.

The professor is PNIN, née PNON. Doesn't anybody read any more?


*David* said...

For an LAT it is an exceptionally quirky puzzle which will allow the plaundits to rain down on it. For the NYT an odd Thursday happens every couple of weeks. I really enjoyed it even though I started the puzzle in the SW and couldn't make heads or tails of it until I went up to the top.

Burner10 said...

I'm happy I finished the puzzle. I guess then it could be pnon or pnin - must research...

hazel said...

@Burner10 - no research needed. Its in my library upstairs, and its Pnin. It sits between Laughter in the Dark and The Gift. Pnin's the only one I remember much about. Its an awesome awesome read.

A very fun puzzle. Loved the gimmick, the likes of which I have never seen before.

I was president of my senior class too, @JNH! Wasn't a nerd though - at least not then.

Sfingi said...

I'm taking up room.

Well. Even though I had 36 of the 50 letters on the "Mantra" (72%) and Googled twice (PNIN, DURANT [sports]), I didn't figure it out. It is so not me. Agree with Rex on Barfy Businesspeak. Would have preferred Ozymandias. Also, it never occurred to me to read backwards.

Never heard of LEGG Mason.

Tried to Google for this UTE - Mountain West Conference and don't get the answer. It's not a sports utility, but it is sports. Please advise.

In my mind the FERRARI horse is "rampant."

That's all she wrote.

Joon said...

wet blanket much, rex? you could limit yourself to "i didn't like it as much as others did" instead of the ridiculous "it's not as good as everyone thinks." and no, it's not just a quote going around the edge. it's a quote about living on the edge going around the edge. that's cool.

i know nothing about LEGG mason the company, but i do know the tennis tournament in washington DC that bears their name. my parents go to it every summer.

PNIN: not my favorite of the nabokov canon, but that's my way of praising with faint damnation. his other stuff is soooo good.

lit.doc said...

@Rex, yes, 61A was pretty obscure. In a punctuated world, it's actually French L'EGG, as in "the [nest] egg". And, similarly, MASON is an Anglicization of "maison", unsurprising as the firm's founders were 19th c. French immigrants. Thus, the firm name approximates to "house of nest eggs". FWIW.

Tinbeni said...

Wow, as I counted the 9 mantra clues I knew that if I don't get it I'm screwed.

So, of course, my first fill was 31D, IRS. LOL
LEGG Mason was the second fill. Hey, I watch a lot of CNBC.

Seems to me I did this from the inside out until the "DUH" moment (followed by a slap of the forehead).
Fave part was the dyslexic bottom line.

Hand up for Selma/SALMA, only write over.

You could ask me for last years NBA rookie of the year and I would still need all the crosses to get it.

@JNH: That is more like it. Now I have to check out this Muti MAESTRO.

@Sfingi: Yup, UTE was sports, which Utah college team I have no idea, don't care to know.

@PG Thanks for Sporcle Quiz link.
I agree re: the 3 ltr. fill, didn't notice them today

lit.doc said...
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lit.doc said...
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caring mom said...

onomatopoeia imitates the sound it represents.

Is there a term in english that describes ex: writing around the edge, with the saying living on the edge?

lit.doc said...

Alex Boisvert’s puzzle is slick. Very slick. Spotted the rim shot before I finished north, which was useful here and there as I finished filling the otherwise easium grid. Big question remaining is: what’s the person depicted by the bilaterally symmetrical black squares doing? In a perfect crossword world, it relates to or embodies the mantra. Praying? I think not.

[N.B. the preceding was an entomology pun, not a nod to an eastern religion. But you knew that, right?]

Hand up for always starting with SELMA Hayek. Ditto 37A DEAR. Changed to SIRS with no love.

Tuttle said...

Yup, UTE was sports, which Utah college team I have no idea, don't care to know.

The University of Utah from the Indian tribe that also gave the state its name.

The Ferrari logo - Or, a stallion rampant sable - is derived from the family crest of the counts Baracca. Francesco Baracca was a fighter ace in WWI who gained quite a bit of fame before being shot down in 1918. His Spad carried the family crest on the fuselage. Enzo Ferrari, a friend of the family, used the horse logo on his race cars in homage to the pilot and added the yellow shield to represent his home town of Modena.

Personally, I refer to it as the "Prancing Pony" as in "I'll never spend a hundred grand on a car unless it's got a prancing pony on it".

Alfa Romeo now, that's a logo. Snake eating a dude!

C said...

Quote puzzles aren't my favorite; however, I appreciated this one for its ingenuity in its application. I've seen the "quote around the edge" puzzles before so that helped me appreciate this puzzle. Don't like the quote in a vacuum but in the context of the grid, works for me.

I like MAESTRO because it makes me laugh. I blame Seinfeld for that.

Anonymous said...

Chip MASON is from 20th century Baltimore.

g$ said...

PG, you have an error in the grid, that's clearly a geek and not a nerd, the Ferrari logo is from the tractor company instead of the car company, that's the wrong Kevin, the wrong Tito, and that's Kevin Der.

So what does it mean that you used your own avatar?

19th Century said...

Legg Mason’s roots can be traced to the founding of two brokerage firms:
The first, Mackubin & Company (later Legg & Company), was founded in Baltimore by George Mackubin in 1899.
The second, Mason & Company, was founded in Newport News, Virginia by Raymond A. Mason in 1962.
In 1980, the two firms merged to become Legg Mason & Company, basing its headquarters in Baltimore

lit.doc said...

@19th Century and Anon 10:39, I was kidding about the Legg Mason thing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks. This one was a bore. FEH!

shrub5 said...

Looked up PNIN (I had put PNON in the puzzle as a result of the crossing START ON.) Found that it was published in installments in The New Yorker (1957) in order to generate income while Nabakov was searching for a publisher willing to publish "Lolita." The wiki entry for Nabokov's occupation: novelist, lepidopterist, professor. The butterfly genus Nabokovia is named in his honor.

NBA rookie of the year Kevin DURANT was a gimme. Thought of Eastwood (director) and Swank as Oscar winners for "Million Dollar Baby" and inexplicably forgot Morgan Freeman until I had most of his name. Both hands up for SELMA/SALMA and DEAR/SIRS.

@PG: Loved the write-up today. Thanks for the info on the Alex Boisvert site.

Anonymous said...

I know it's April Fools, but when did a quote become a prayer? I was trying to remember how to spell Aum or Om and then some of the other words that might follow it.

Van55 said...

What anonymous just said. The quote is not a mantra.

As a rule, I despise quote puzzles. And generally they have complete words and ohrases as their discrete segments.

When I finally figured out the gimmick, I liked it. On the edge indeer.


Your statements are put-downs.
Just because you didn't get this puzzle theme is no reason for you to imply that we LAT solvers are unaware of these type of puzzles and hence we were duped into an April Fools joke. I agree with Joon and to me your comments are just plain crass. And BTW, I'm not very comfortable with critiquing other people's comments, but there's a lot better way to say you didn't enjoy this puzzle.
Regarding the PNIN/PNON thing and "Doesn't anybody read any more?" It's obvious you don't because that edge quotation is pretty common if YOU READ MUCH. Jayne Howard (Feldman), the angel lady, has quoted that in many of her works.

I didn't even have to use TOPEKA (er, GOOGLE) today.

I've always thought the letter opening of SIRS is quite sexist.

Anonymous said...

Favorite word was 38D (UMOOTPU)


Yeah, I spent two weeks in that NW Alaska town. It's a cool place!

Anonymous said...

UGNI? Is that a gaggle of uglies?

mac said...

When I figured out the quote was on the edge, things fell into place fast.
All the mantra clues scared me for a bit, but it's April Fools Day, it's all a bit of fun.

I don't trust anything I read or hear today. I managed to fool my husband into coming to the phone to talk to Mike Bloomberg(!), and our son got me by saying he was engaged.

nitpiker said...

What about the symmetry of the grid? Puzzles are usually two-fold rotation. Flip them upside down and the black squares are in the same place. This one has a vertical mirror plane down the center. Is this common?

only the PHANTOM knows said...

If you're a fool you will figure out the code that the grid forms.

only the PHANTOM knows said...

think Doppelgänger

Anonymous said...

This was the most fun puzzle I've done in a long time. What a cool site! I found it today because I was looking up Tom Cruise vampire, and somehow I got here. I try not to cheat, but sometimes (on Fri. or Sat.) I need help.

Marsha, Bakersfield