WEDNESDAY, April 7, 2010—Donna S. Levin

THEME: "Golf!"—Four lively phrases begin with golf terms.

Can I tell you how much I enjoyed this puzzle? It's a winner on all counts. The Masters golf tournament is this week, and it's been much in the news since Tiger Woods is playing—so it's a timely crossword. The theme entries don't seem related at first, but they're all great. And the clues sparkle. This is everything an easy-to-medium crossword should be.

Theme entries:
  • 16A: Extremely defensive state of mind (BUNKER MENTALITY). Great phrase. A bunker in golf is a deep sand trap.
  • 30A: Physical play (ROUGHHOUSE). You don't see a ton of double-H answers. The rough is the deeper grass off to the sides of the fairway.
  • 39A: Abstinent one (TEETOTALER). The tee is that little doodad you put the ball on, the better to thwack it.
  • 54A: Sam-I-Am's story (GREEN EGGS AND HAM). Dr. Seuss! The green is the area near the hole with super-short grass around it. I can't embed the video clip, but have you seen Jesse Jackson reading this story on Saturday Night Live? Check it out.
  • 60A: This puzzle's theme—according to Twain, it's "a good walk spoiled" (GOLF). Nice use of a humorous quote to enhance the theme-revealing answer.
Amy's Top Ten Answers/Clues:
  • 14A: "La __ è mobile": "Rigoletto" aria (DONNA). Way to sneak your name in there, Donna! See also 33D: La Scala production (OPERA). Here are a couple non-opera Donnas for you:

  • 21A: Spats spots (ANKLES). Good alliteration; took me a while to make sense of the clue.
  • 34A: Joint problem (GOUT). Please tell me I will never be afflicted with this again. I'm too young, dammit!
  • 35A: Pig Latin refusal (IXNAY). Speaking of Latin, the language of ancient Rome, there's also 5D: Like I, in some cases (ROMAN)—I doubles as the Roman numeral for 1.
  • 36A: Precipitous start? (PEE). As in the letter P's spelled-out name, not pee-pee.
  • 43A: Channel where Susan Lucci hawks her jewelry line (HSN). Terrific, zippy clue for a usually-boring answer.
  • 14D: Diminutive celeb sexologist (DR. RUTH). The clue made me smile. You think Dr. Ruth has ever been described in exactly those words before?
  • So much negativity: Those who are opposed are 18D: Not behind (ANTI) and 52D: Not fer (AGIN'), the latter meaning "against" in hick-speak.
Crosswordese 101: Did you know 6D: Turow work about first-year law students? The answer is ONE-L, which is (or was?) the shorthand for first-year law students at Harvard (and elsewhere?). Were the med students called 1-Ms? I have no idea. But you'll see this Scott Turow book title from time to time in the puzzle, so you need to know ONE-L.

Everything Else — 1A: Date with an MD (APPT.); 5A: Horse of a certain color (ROAN); 9A: One of the March girls (BETH); 13A: Runny fromage (BRIE); 14A: "La __ è mobile": "Rigoletto" aria (DONNA); 15A: Declare openly (AVOW); 16A: Extremely defensive state of mind (BUNKER MENTALITY); 19A: Pablo Neruda work (ODE); 20A: Landlocked Asian sea (ARAL); 21A: Spats spots (ANKLES); 22A: Trial in simulated conditions (TEST RUN); 24A: Short orders in a luncheonette? (BLTS); 25A: Giant Mel (OTT); 26A: Retired Cunard liner, briefly (QE II); 27A: '60s protest gp. (SDS); 30A: Physical play (ROUGHHOUSE); 34A: Joint problem (GOUT); 35A: Pig Latin refusal (IXNAY); 36A: Precipitous start? (PEE); 37A: Limoges product (CHINA); 38A: Gardener's areas (BEDS); 39A: Abstinent one (TEETOTALER); 41A: Caps or Cat preceder (SNO-); 42A: Seedless bit of flora (FERN); 43A: Channel where Susan Lucci hawks her jewelry line (HSN); 44A: Funny Fey (TINA); 45A: Ghoulish (MACABRE); 49A: __ rod: powerful Old Testament tool (AARON'S); 52A: Luminous glow (AURA); 53A: Objective (AIM); 54A: Sam-I-Am's story (GREEN EGGS AND HAM); 57A: Margarine (OLEO); 58A: Condos, e.g. (UNITS); 59A: Like Cheerios (OATY); 60A: This puzzle's theme—according to Twain, it's "a good walk spoiled" (GOLF); 61A: Insignificant (PUNY); 62A: Prejudice (BIAS); 1D: Monk's superior (ABBOT); 2D: Bluenose (PRUDE); 3D: Sappy trees (PINES); 4D: Drug in Shatner novels (TEK); 5D: Like I, in some cases (ROMAN); 6D: Turow work about first-year law students (ONE-L); 7D: Political commentator Coulter (ANN); 8D: Hollywood's Wood (NATALIE); 9D: Goofs on the mound (BALKS); 10D: Activity from below? (EVIL); 11D: Schlep (TOTE); 12D: Major rtes. (HWYS.); 14D: Diminutive celeb sexologist (DR. RUTH); 17D: Like garden smells (EARTHY); 18D: Not behind (ANTI); 23D: Frat party garb (TOGAS); 24D: Assailed (BESET); 26D: Part of 26-Across (QUEEN); 27D: Dirty (SOIL); 28D: Beach sight (DUNE); 29D: Headline (in) (STAR); 30D: Teases (RIBS); 31D: Beasts of burden (OXEN); 32D: Word processor command (UNDO); 33D: La Scala production (OPERA); 34D: Togo neighbor (GHANA); 37D: Medical imaging proc. (CT SCAN); 39D: Stiffen (TENSE UP); 40D: They held Tara's title (O'HARAS); 42D: Helsinki native (FINN); 44D: "... newt and __ frog": "Macbeth" (TOE OF); 45D: Like some basements (MUSTY); 46D: Religion founded in 19th-century Persia (BAHAI); 47D: Cowboy's rope (RIATA); 48D: Small-screen awards (EMMYS); 49D: Wide-eyed (AGOG); 50D: Woody's offspring (ARLO); 51D: Fishing gear (REEL); 52D: Not fer (AGIN'); 55D: Wildebeest (GNU); 56D: Driver's lic. info (DOB).


Rex Parker said...

It is good, but I really did not like the hiding of the "Q" (means same thing in both directions). Also did not like PEE. Or TOE OF. But theme answers were solid, and yes, w/ Masters this weekend, the puzzle felt timely.


PuzzleGirl said...

Jesse Jackson reading "Sam I Am" is classic. Never get tired of that clip.

ONE-L is, indeed, still common. And not just at Harvard.

If I never see AGIN' in a puzzle it will be too soon. Other than that, yeah, nice puzzle. Fore!

mac said...

Very nice puzzle. Especially liked the bunker mentality, needed some crosses for that one.

Saw Jesse Jackson, it's hilarious!

Tinbeni said...

DONNA is becoming one of my favorites.
Getting her name in brought a smile.

GOLF theme well done except
IXNAY on TEETOTALER, that's blasphemy.

SOIL & DUNE next to each other was cute.

DOB reminded me of a scene where this cop asked a perp his birthday. He replies, April 7th. Cop asks, what year? He says, every year.

TEK, Drug in Shatner novels, all by crosses.
How did I miss this area of literature?

@Orange, Thanks, The GREEN EGGS AND HAM video I could watch every week.

Zeke said...

No puzzle which doesn't permit me to put in "Crazy (*&(*&* Lunatic @$#$@#$" for 7D passes the breakfast test. Other than that, good puzzle.

*David* said...

Very little to dislike in this puzzle. The cluing is what makes this one sparkle. My personal dislike is any initial 60's group whether its SDS or SLA its time to move on, even 80's SDI is considered a dinosaur.

shrub5 said...

I always enjoy Donna Levin's puzzles and this was no exception.

Have not heard of "bluenose" for PRUDE.
TEK and AARON'S -- had no idea but they filled themselves in.
Don't use the adjective OATY very often...
PUNY is one of my favorite words for insignificant or underwhelming things.

Loved the write-up, Amy.

CrazyCatLady said...

Thought this was a fun, fairly easy Wednesday. I'm also starting to look forward to doing DONNA Levin's puzzles. Loved the way she got DONNA in there front and center. Had no idea what TEK was, but got it with the crosses. Liked seeing words like EARTHY, MACABRE and DR RUTH. Also liked TINA Fey. She was on the Today this morning plugging her new movie with Steve Carell. They're a funny duo. PEE gave me pause for a minute.

Enjoyed the GOLF theme and agree it's timely. Lots of clever clues.

"Eye of newt and TOE OF frog" is what my reponse used to be when my kids would ask me what was for dinner.
@Zeke - I wanted the B word for 7down, but too many letters.
@JNH LOL your comment from yesterday about 30 somethings. Still don't remember WOODY though I'm well past my thirties.

Tinbeni said...

WOW what a flash back.
Your quote to your kids about dinner just gave me a 50 year old memory.
I remember my mom saying that to me when I was a little kid.

Now about that B-word for 7D. I think @Zeke and I both had a certain 12 letter M-word and others that wouldn't fit.

@JNH Give @Rex some props, he turned 40 last Thanksgiving.


Nice puzz... agree pretty much with Rex & Orange.
And PG, yes, I too love that Jesse Jackson clip.
I agree with Mark Twain... why spoil a good walk with too much bunker and rough and not enough green. I gave up golf several years ago after I won a league trophy for "All Time High Gross". Now I pefer to "Schlep" my camera gear in the EARTHY and MUSTY woods of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle Illinois. Incidentally, for those of you who live in Chicagoland, the spring blooming is at its peak there this week.
Sounds like everyone is having fun today... thanks, Amy. You set the tone well!

CrazyCatLady said...

@Tinbeni Great maternal minds think alike. Maybe that's what Shakespeare's mom said to him.
@JNH It's been warmer in Chicago and New York than it's been in SoCal. I think that's about to change.

Rube said...

I found this puzz to be quite educational. Didn't know bluenose = PRUDE. Didn't know the legend of Aaron's rod, (Wikied it to find out). Thought BAHA'I was an ancient faith. Didn't know anything about ANN Coulter, and from the remarks, I guess I don't want to know. Finally, not having read Little Women, didn't know who the March girls were.

Ergo, a very enjoyable puzzle. Best early week puzz in a long time, IMO.

Sfingi said...

I didn't know BUNKER or BALK, both sports. Hubster gave me BALK.

Had JesseS before AARONS, PrE before PEE. Reminds me of a sign at a friend's pool. He has the alphabet minus the P, and the statement, "It better not be in the pool."

A good clue for ARLO could be: Woody's twig. It's prolly already been done.

"La DONNA e mobile." Italians use contractions as much as we do, unlike Spanish or German. When sung, it actually rings, "La don'e mobile," translated as woman is fickle.

IXNAY, not fer, ANTI. I liked this mini-theme.

Schlep and TOTE are also part of golf. N.B. One is Yiddish and one is African. Draw your own lingusitic conclusions.

Quite warm here, esp. with the humidity. But, it's fixin' to rain (hickspeak.)

@Rex - The QUEEN thing bothered me,but I had forgotten about it.
You're still young enough to be my son.

@Everybody, somebody - Next Xgiving send him chocalate initials - R P. (Hope his middle name isn't Ignacio.) That's what they do in the Low Countries.

Woody Herman, reedman, won awards by the handsful. He was part of the Big Band sound, but in the '70s
he had a modern, mellow interpretation. You can buy him for 50 cents in the used vinyl bins.

Never heard of TEK, so just read up. Shatner has his fingers in lotsa pies. He did an ad for a local attorney. The NYS Bar said nay and closed it down. Because of it, ads by celebrities who have nothing to do with actual firms or cases cannot be shown.

mac said...

@Sfingi: you are right! On Sinterklaas, the 5th of December, most Dutch people receive a chocolate letter. Not sure if I could get them at the Dutch store at Thanksgiving already.

Anonymous said...

I always thought tea-totaler was spelled as i just spelled it: "tea" not "tee." I thought it had to do with people drinking tea instead of alcohol. I guess not?

mac said...

@anonymouse 1.38: ditto.

Beddism. I like it!

ddbmc said...

@Tin, @CLL and @Zeke-I don't think that 7 D could technically "be" the 12 letter word, unless playing for the opposite team....Not a fan of 7D rants. Talk about your "anti" type! Queen of Mean, would be appropriate.

Haven't visited for a while. Glad to see all is well here. It's hockey championship and tryout season, so busy time of year!

@Tin, FL was COLD and Windy, but we did see some sun! We weren't TEETOTALERS on St. Patty's Day, either!

Tinbeni said...

Glad you had a good time.

It was finally verified.
This was the 'coldest' winter on record here.
The humididty will soon roll in soon and ruin it ... or as we real Floridians say, "Make it perfect!"

As to Ann, and other's of her ilk, I wonder if they ever go back and listen to what they just said.

Super-Americans ... who hate 98% of the people who live here.
Bush did NO wrong ... Obama hasn't done anything right.

Geez ... no wonder I'm not a TEETOTALER.

Joon said...

i loved the DONNA clue. not only am i always amused when a constructor puts her own name into the grid, but "la donna e mobile" is probably the most famous opera aria of all time, and yet this is the first time i can ever remember seeing it in a crossword clue. take that, ERI TU!


Hey, I thought we weren't supposed to make politically offensive comments.

The only ways I've seen DONNA clued before are "title girl in a Ritchie Valens hit" or "part of DKNY". Seeing it clued as "la DONNA e mobile" is just so classy.
IMO, we need much more literature and fine arts in crossword puzzles.
So when will we see JOON embedded into a puzzle? Maybe "1993 Movie, Benny & ____"

Awww, I use that "30-somethings" thing a lot... it's just mere flattery. Maybe I should have said "1930-somethings" to refer to myself.

Tuttle said...

I'd consider "bluenose" to be a lot closer to TEETOTALER than PRUDE. A PRUDE is personally prim and demure, a bluenose is a public moral scold. And, in fact, 'bluenose' is first attested to in a pro-temperance work and was made into common parlance as an anti-temperance epithet (ie, 'don't let those bluenoses take your liquor!').