4.08.2010

THURSDAY, April 8, 2010 — Jascha Smilack


Theme: Horsing Around — Familiar phrases are clued wackily as if the word horse has been added to them.


Theme answers:
  • 20A: Uneasy about a farm team member? (DODGING THE DRAFT).
  • 37A: Uneasy about a long shot? (AFRAID OF THE DARK).
  • 54A: Uneasy about an aquarium fish? (CHICKEN OF THE SEA).
  • 67A: Word to add to 20-, 37- and 54-Across to make sense of the answers (HORSE).
Hey, everybody. It's been kind of a long week for me — home with PuzzleSon who, as it turns out, is Bronchitis Boy. Got some antibiotics for him today and he needs to stay home from school the rest of the week, but I predict he'll feel better by Saturday. PuzzleHusband has offered to stay home with him tomorrow so I can at least get to work one day this week. I'm sure the fact that tomorrow is the first day of the Masters has nothing to do with his generosity.

Hey, one more thing before we get to the puzzle. Somehow, the one-year anniversary of this blog completely snuck by me, I guess because March is always super busy for me. In fact, I remember last year when Rex, Orange and I were emailing each other about putting this thing together and I was all "Sure, sign me up, whatever, I'm watching wrestling right now …." So Happy Bloggiversary to Us! And a big thanks to you all for coming along on this adventure. Being a part of the online crossword community has been a blast for me and has made this little hobby a lot more fun. I hope it's done the same for you.

So. The puzzle. Really enjoyed this one! This is one of those puzzles where you really have to wonder how the theme came about. I mean, it's perfect. Three phrases (all 15 letters!) starting with "uneasy" words that, coincidentally, end with a word that can be a type of horse. (Stop right there. Step away from the keyboard. I know a seahorse isn't actually a type of horse, so please don't email me about it.) I'd love to know if this theme arrived like a bolt of lightning or if it required a lot of time and attention. So Jascha Smilack — if that's your real name! — let us know, would you?

Misc.:
  • 6A: "Iron Chef America" chef Cat __ (CORA). Sounds more like a stripper than a chef.
  • 43A: Hi or lo follower (RES). Just, now this very minute, is the first time I've ever thought about Hi & Lois as a play on "hi and lo."
  • 45A: "Analyze That" star (DENIRO). Could not remember who was in this. I'm going "Robin Williams? Jack Nicholson? Billy Crystal?"
  • 60A: Casual top (POLO). Tried really, really hard to stretch TEE out to four letters.
  • 3D: Stockholm native (SWEDE). I just finished the second book in Steigg Larsson's trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire. It all takes place in Sweden. It's one of those books that's just about impossible to put down.
  • 4D: Colored a bit (TINGED). Could have been tinted. I left the G's square open until I could confirm through crosses.
  • 8D: Act like fools? (RUSH IN). Cute clue.
  • 10D: Honored with a crown of foliage (LAURELED). Clunk!
  • 12D: Go for a Masters? (GOLF). Timely!
  • 33D: "__ hollers, ..." (IF HE).


  • 34D: __ matter (GRAY). The very first thing that came to my mind was … "It don't matter." Sometimes I wonder what the heck is wrong with me.
Crosswordese 101: An OAST (7D: Brewery feature) is a malt-drying oven used in breweries. Key words to look out for in clues for OAST are hops, kiln, dry and brewery. Apparently, an OAST can also be used for drying tobacco, so every once in a while you'll also see a clue refer to tobacco.

Everything Else — 1A: Must (HAS TO); 10A: Trails (LAGS); 14A: Dickens's mysterious Mr. Drood (EDWIN); 15A: Fidel's successor (RAUL); 16A: "__ Named Sue" (A BOY); 17A: Israeli ambassador Moshe (ARENS); 18A: Like some profs. (ASST.); 19A: Web links (URLS); 23A: Michael Phelps sponsor (SPEEDO); 24A: "Dies __" (IRAE); 25A: Humble (DEMEAN); 28A: Play footsie, say (FLIRT); 32A: It may be up (JIG); 35A: Plus (AND); 36A: Shoe part for Astaire (TOE TAP); 41A: Maps (CHARTS); 42A: Fair-hiring abbr. (EOE); 44A: "Flowers for Algernon" author Daniel (KEYES); 48A: Top-shelf (A-ONE); 50A: Where Caligula reputedly tried to seat his 67-Across (SENATE); 59A: Winery prefix (OENO-); 61A: Stock phrase (AT PAR); 62A: Exploit (DEED); 63A: Etonic competitor (AVIA); 64A: Peachy (SWELL); 65A: Wood shaper (ADZE); 66A: Appear dramatically (LOOM); 1D: Call before the game (HEADS); 2D: __ in the bucket (A DROP); 5D: Like some daring football kicks (ONSIDE); 6D: Steep outcropping (CRAG); 7D: Brewery feature (OAST); 9D: Let out, say (ALTER); 11D: Start of a spell (ABRA); 13D: CBS part: Abbr. (SYST.); 21D: Roaming types (NOMADS); 22D: Green Goblin portrayer in Spider-Man films (DAFOE); 26D: Rock producer Brian (ENO); 27D: Newspaper revenue component (AD FEE); 29D: __-Tass: news agency (ITAR); 30D: Red inside (RARE); 31D: I-90 in Mass. et al. (TPKS.); 32D: Magic harp thief (JACK); 36D: Believer (THEIST); 38D: First three numbers, in some directories (AREA CODE); 39D: "Not a problem!" ("IT'S OK!"); 40D: Cargo unit (TON); 45D: Again, to Gaius (DE NOVO); 46D: Talk out again (REHASH); 47D: "Old" punches? (ONE-TWO); 49D: High country (NEPAL); 51D: According to (AS PER); 52D: Dabbling ducks (TEALS); 53D: Bogart's "High Sierra" role (EARLE); 54D: Musical ending (CODA); 55D: Follow (HEED); 56D: Don Juan's mother (INEZ); 57D: Random collection (OLIO); 58D: Fire suppressant (FOAM).

35 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Very nice puzzle. I enjoyed doing it quickly while chuffing down breakfast. Especially liked reading Puzzlegirl's writeup.
Raced thru this one tho, because I've got to get over to my book club discussion soon.
Happy 1 year birthday, bloggers and blogees.
See ya later.

Crockett1947 said...

Happy first anniversary to PuzzleGirl, Orange and Rex! It's been a help in ramping up my skills. Thank you all for your time and effort.

lit.doc said...

@Puzzle Girl and coconspirators, happy blogiversary indeed! I note that the LAT puzzles have been improving this past year...coincidence? I think not.

That I started with TUBE for 60A probably says something dreadful about my sociological background.

Hand up for TINTED before TINGED. And CRINGED when I read 33D "___ hollers,..." because of its ugly historical baggage.

My initial reaction to 10D LAURELED was "Uck! I'm all for verbing nouns, but..." Then I looked it up and dammit, it's actually a tr.v.

Sfingi said...

@PuzzleGirl - Really nice write-up.

Turns out, I've been here almost from the beginning and didn't know it.

Lots of things I didn't know here. Googled for CORA, DEFOE, (tv shows and movies I don't watch), KEYES, EARLE (writers and role names of movies I have seen), ITAR (I think we had this, but it didn't sink in),

Googled for and still did not get AVIA. What I got was NIKE, KEDS, VANS, FILA.

Had TINtED for a while. A long while.

Words I don't think I'd ever get even thinking out of the box - LOOM for appear dramatically. LOOM still suggest something that lasts a longer time than "appear." Whatever.

CHICKEN OF THE SEA. Afraid is an adjective, so CHICKEN, as used here to mean afraid, is not how we use it in the idiom, nor is it being used as a noun here. Blah-blah.

Wanted "iter" as in iterate, for Gaius' again. To me (?) DENOVO is more Italian than Latin.

The puzzle or I am an all day sucker.
So, these are my excuses for a D+ on this puzzle. Whine, whine, whine.

Caligula, a nut case, had a 2-mile pontoon bridge built for him to ride horsey (Incitatus - a great cw word) because C couldn't swim. He had a marble stable, servants, jewelry, etc. Why is it tyrants like Hitler and Caligula nevertheless love animals? I know the answer.

By the way - Post-Easter shopping is great for candy and toys. However, 2 years in a row, Wal-Mart has had mountains of chocolate crosses for sale. No one buys them. It seems iconoclastic, irreligious. Who here would eat a chocolate cross? (I do buy the black roses after Halloween that nobody else seems to like.) They should melt them down and make something else. I don't think even the poor would eat them. ?

Anonymous said...

Blog is a great help to us rookie solvers - hope you are around for years to come!!

bluebell said...

"Laureled" came to my head immediately, yet I didn't write it in because I also thought it couldn't be a word. I did put it in, but I grumbled about it. And now I learn that it is indeed legitimate.

Otherwise, I did pretty badly on this one. Too many things, beginning with Cora, that I just didn't know.

But I agree on the congratulations on the anniversary of this blog. It has been a great help, and fun to boot.

*David* said...

Congrats on the year, I've been here since the beginning, what does that say about me?

Puzzle fell quite easily only spot that I slowed a bit was SE corner and Bogart's High Sierra role.

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary to all bloggers. Have to say the 3 theme answers all made more sense to me without the word horse. Still enjoyed the puzzle. Golfballman

Tinbeni said...

@PG, Rex & Orange Happy Aniversary.
Because of this Blog I am probably a lot better than my 1st 34 years of doing these grids.

Now I look for a theme, learn the CW101, actually question if a clue/answer is fair, have faith in my GRAY matter, and enter the letters.
I enjoy this hobby/past-time a lot more.

The above notwithstanding, todays excellent puzzle was a slog. Great theme and clues, a bit of misdirection.
What I didn't know I was able to get from the crosses.

It scares me when I realize I know OENO, CODA, INEZ a few others. All learned from doing crosswords.

shrub5 said...

Let me add my congratulations to our three blogateers. They've done a terrific job both educating and entertaining us -- day in and day out; neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Nor other blogs, nor family life, nor ill or injured children, nor professorial duties, nor other employment demands, nor wrestling tournaments, nor sick or rescued dogs...and so on. A HUGE thank you to you all.

Stumbled over 9D) let out, say. At first, I put FREED before the crosses demanded it be ALTER. Didn't see that one coming.

EDWIN, Dickens's mysterious Mr. Drood, was a gimme -- loved the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" based on the unfinished Dickens novel. An audience vote determines which ending will complete the story.

LOL at "Old" punches = ONE-TWO and "It may be up" = JIG.

CrazyCatLady said...

PG Happy blog anniversary to you and your compadres, Orange and Rex. I have learned so much from this blog. I've only been doing CWs for about a year and a half so it's been a big help.

Didn't have too much trouble with the puzzle today. Got the theme at AFRAID OF THE DARK so CHICKEN OF THE SEA fell right into place. My stumbling points were KEYES. I read "Flowers for Algernon" years ago, but couldn't remember the author. Did remember the movie Charly with Cliff Robertson that was based on the book. OAST foiled me again. Thanks for the CW101. Maybe I'll remember it next time. Had a big D'OH at RUSH IN for Act like fools.

The Gwen Stefani clip brought back memories of the 6 yrs. I spent trekking around CA to attend dance/cheer/hip hop and band competitions in support of my daughter's Jr. H and HS dance teams.
@Tinbeni Don't forget OLIO

I also wondered about the constructor's name.

Joon said...

jascha smilack is his real name. he's a grad student here at harvard.

"jascha smilack" doesn't nearly as much like an obvious anagrammatic pseudonym as "norfleet pruden," but that turned out to be a real name, too.

i had difficulty solving this puzzle, but i have great admiration for its construction. that is a cool theme, although the clue for HORSE could have been worded better: the theme answers make plenty of sense without HORSE, but they just don't match the theme clues.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Yep, I too tried forcing in TINTED and LAUREATE.
Got stuck on Cat CORA and never heard of Daniel KEYES. Couldn't find DENOVO in my Latin book, but I think @Sfingi is right, it's Italian.
I love saying "Peachy keen" (SWELL), but then that really dates me.
Loved the cute clues, like "Act like fools" = RUSH IN, and "Let out, say" = ALTER
I may wear a POLO shirt, but here's something you'll never see me wear (SPEEDO)... and you wouldn't want to see me in that either.
I knew Tass is the Russian news agency, but didn't know it was called ITAR-Tass.
Thought the HORSE theme was just okay, but when I got to 50A SENATE (Where Caligula reputedly tried to seat his HORSE), I thought that was terrific!
I can relate to Johnny Cash and his A BOY Named Sue. My parents were expecting a girl, so they picked out the name "Sally" for me. When I was born my dad said "well, he sure don't look like a Sally". Whew!!!!

Orange said...

Thanks for all the bloggiversary wishes!

DE NOVO is Latin for "from new." Dictionary says it dates to the early 17th century, suggesting that Gaius might have used the term less than English people.

Tinbeni said...

@Orange
Caligula was born as GAIUS Julius Caesar Germanicus so I see the connection between the 50A & 46D clues. Though I think it fails the too arcane / obscure test.
How does DE NOVO "from new" equate to Again?

@JNH
Your SPEEDO comment ... now I'm blind!
LOL

Orange said...

@Tin: Dictionary says that in English, it means "anew, starting from the beginning." Take it from the top! Do it de novo!

lit.doc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tinbeni said...

@Orange
Thanks, after I googled the Caligula info and commented I then googled DE NOVO.

Now I'm blind and my head hurts from the slap I gave my forehead.

GRAY matter is missing today.

C said...

First off, congrats on the one year anniversary. Thank you for all of your work on this blog, I know it can't be easy with kids, jobs, lives, etc.

TINTED was my first choice, but easily massaged to the correct TINGED.

I liked LAURELED, though my browser spell checker doesn't. It reminds me of Blazing Saddles ("I present to you this laurel and hardy handshake") which is a good thing.

mac said...

Happy anniversary and thanks a lot!

Very nice puzzle, and thank you Joon for confirming the real people. Is there a list for the ones Rich Norris uses?

I tinted as well, but I had "laureled" without crosses.

Al said...

@Mac, here are RN's aliases so far.

Rex Parker said...

Some small answers were irksome (e.g. ABRA), and I didn't think you could be "CHICKEN OF" something the way you could be "AFRAID OF" something, so that phrase seemed offfff. But there was thoughtfulness and cleverness and ambition here, all of which I admire.

Never heard of CORA. DENOVO seems a bit cheap (screams "computer suggestion!"). And ARENS!? New to me. Took me nearly 6 (loooong for an LAT), but was mostly enjoyable.

rp

Rube said...

Happy Anniversary and thank you for your time and effort. I do have one question. Why do you do the "Everything Else" section? I'm not criticizing, but it seems to me that you've already put "Everything" into the grid at the beginning, and the clues are readily available either on-screen or on hard copy. Just askin'.

I always enjoy late week puzzles that I can solve without Googles, and this was a fine example. Sure, I had TINtED, but after getting the first theme answer, I figured the add-on word was bOard. In retrospect it made no sense, but you have to start somewhere.

Wanted to put iterum for 45D, but the crosses wouldn't let me. Iterum is from where we get iteration and IS Latin. DENOVO... sheesh. Wait. Just checked my Latin dictionary and there is a fairly close word denuo which also means "again".

CrazyCatLady said...

@Rex I think CHICKEN OF is a very slang version of being AFRAID OF. For example I could say "I'm too CHICKEN to drive across a bridge", or 'I'm a CHICKEN when it comes to driving across bridges." On the other hand "I'm CHICKEN of driving across bridges", while probably totally incorrect, sounds fine to me IMHO. Or I could just say I'm a gephyrophobiac, but no one would know what I'm talking about.

NJ Irish said...

Happy Bloggiversary to PG, RP and Orange. I found this blog while googling for help a few months ago and up popped L.A. Crossword Confidential with the answer and so much more. You are all amazing and I appreciate your sharing your time and talant with us. Enjoy all the bloggers, CCL, JNH, Joon, tinbani etc. Learn something new every day.
Grew up watching puzzle parents doing CW's so I guess it's in my blood. I do them to keep my GRAY matter in the pink. ;-)
Got LAURELED right off, found exploit is a verb and noun. Still don't get 11D: start of a spell, ABRA?

Thanks again, SWELL, NEATO, PEACHY!

Orange said...

@Rube: To answer your question about "Everything Else," see @NJ Irish's comment. People Google clues when they're stuck, and they find their way here. Without "Everything Else," it would be that much harder for solvers to discover that crossword blogs existed.

RASTA said...

HAPPY BLOGGIVERSARY!!!!
Thx PG, Orange & Rex!

Hope Puzzleson feels better soon.

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

@NJ Irish: Abracadabra!

@Al: Thank you!

calve: de smaakmakers.

Rube said...

@orange, Tx, I understand now.

@NJIrish, As in Abra Cadabra

NJ Irish said...

Thanks mac, rube, just didn't feel the magic.

Tinbeni said...

@NJ Irish
"... didn't feel the magic ..."
With a sly comment like that one ...
you'll fit in here just fine.

Cheers!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary & Thanks for the blog. It has saved me countless hours of frustration.

gespenst said...

liked the puzzle theme, loved the caligula clue, and *really* enjoyed the "Girl Who Played with Fire."

Now I have to wait for my dad's order of book 3 to arrive, and for him to read it, before I get my hands on it. I need to know what's up w/ Lisbeth and "Kalle F-ing Blomkvist"!!!

Anonymous said...

i use Bing almost exclusively, thank you!