5.13.2010

THURSDAY, May 13, 2010 — Gareth Bain


Theme: Anagrams! — The first words of the theme answers are all anagrams of one another.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Demonstrates sincere intentions (ACTS IN GOOD FAITH).
  • 28A: Wonderful thing, in old slang (CAT'S PAJAMAS).
  • 46A: Jazzy vocal style (SCAT SINGING).
  • 57A: Stereotypical movie epic feature (CAST OF THOUSANDS).
I really enjoyed this puzzle. Nothing spectacular about the theme, but we're kind of getting used to that, right? But the theme answers themselves (with the exception of SCAT SINGING) are interesting and some of the fill is downright excellent. I don't remember ever seeing CRUD (14A: Filthy deposit) in a puzzle before. Now that's a great word. Kinda gross but not gross enough to disqualify it from the puzzle. It also gives me an idea. PuzzleDaughter has reported that PuzzleSon has recently started saying the word "crap," which she believes is inappropriate. I think I'll suggest CRUD as an alternative. Parenting at its finest, people.

I had a little trouble getting started up in the NW corner. For [1A: Be in a funk] I plopped in pout and, a nano-second later, thought "Oh cr…ud, I bet it's sulk." So I checked the crosses, got the M, the O, and the E relatively easy and thought moue? I know that a moue (which I keep mistyping as mouse) is a sulky expression so I thought okay, that's close enough. Then I misspelled TAI as tae (20A: __ chi), so 3D: "Shake!" looked like this:


I often have a lot of trouble reading the down answers (especially if they're more than one word) and have to write them out on paper horizontally so I can make sense of them. Sometimes when I do that, I see that I was right all along, I just hadn't parsed it correctly in its vertical position. Today? Not so much. It all worked itself out in the end though, so I've got that going for me.

Highlights:
  • 10A: Capital south of Quito (LIMA). I just saw Cali in a puzzle recently, so I entered that without really thinking. Crosses set me straight.
  • 22A: Like much junkyard metal (RUSTY). Also, certain tin rooves.


  • 25A: Capital replaced by Abuja (LAGOS). It's a good day to know your world capitals!
  • 35A: Work with notes (OPUS). Work in this case is a noun.
  • 37A: Cosby often wore one on his show (SWEATER). Now that's an awesome clue if I've ever seen one.
  • 48A: Long __ (JOHNS). So often plural answers are less than ideal because they're words that are actually said in the plural so infrequently. And then there's Long JOHNS. Nicely done!
  • 64A: Capital of Oman (RIAL). Tricky! In this case, we're not looking for the capital city, but rather the currency.
  • 65A: Ricky portrayer (DESI). I just now noticed that there are an awful lot of names in this puzzle. I don't usually notice because I love names in my puzzle. But those of you who don't are probably a little miffed.
  • 4D: Paper heads, briefly (EDS.). Short for editors, who "head" newspapers.
  • 28D: Jai alai basket (CESTA). We covered this in CW101 waaay back in February.
  • 32D: Last-ditch bet (ALL IN). I don't love this clue. For terrible poker payers such as myself, yes, ALL IN is a last-ditch bet. For actual competent poker players, it's a bet with a specific purpose.
  • 33D: Old-time comic Arnold (STANG). Ouch! Never heard of this guy!
  • 48D: Martial artist co-star of "The Forbidden Kingdom" (JET LI). I get a kick out of it when a person's whole name is in the grid. I'm trying to think of who else we've seen that way: Amy Tan, Al Gore, who else?
  • 58D: __ end: cloth remnant (FAG). Ne-Ever heard this phrase. If this were my puzzle, I probably would have clued it as the slang term for cigarette somehow (with any luck, more cleverly than "Slang term for cigarette.")
Crosswordese 101: I'm going to do something a little unorthodox in CW101 today. I want to talk about 9D: Composer Rorem (NED), but I actually want to focus on ROREM instead of Ned. There are an awful lot of Neds out there, but the only reason I know this particular Ned is because ROREM shows up as an answer occasionally. Ned ROREM is an American composer who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Air Music" in 1976. And that's pretty much what you need to remember about him for crossword puzzles.

Everything Else — 5A: 1979 sci-fi blockbuster (ALIEN); 15A: Gentle prod (NUDGE); 16A: "Trinity" novelist (URIS); 21A: At no time, to Bernhard (NIE); 23A: Assignment (TASK); 31A: Humanities degs. (MAS); 34A: Prefix with musicology (ETHNO-); 36A: Sea dog (SALT); 39A: Egg-cooking aid (SPATULA); 41A: Waterproof cover (TARP); 42A: "Zip-__-Doo-Dah" (A-DEE); 44A: Comic Cheech (MARIN); 45A: "Who __ You": 1978 album by The Who (ARE); 49A: Cause of reduced visibility (MIST); 50A: Draws back (SHIES); 53A: "In Treatment" network (HBO); 54A: Bustle (ADO); 62A: Either of a Monopoly pair: Abbr. (UTIL.); 63A: Informed (AWARE); 66A: Lose one's mind (GO MAD); 67A: Put on the canvas (KAYO); 1D: Aspiring MD's hurdle (MCAT); 2D: Black-and-white swimmer (ORCA); 3D: "Shake!" ("PUT IT THERE!"); 5D: Eight-time LPGA Player of the Year Sorenstam (ANNIKA); 6D: Downhill racer (LUGE); 7D: Words sealed with a kiss (I DO); 8D: Psyche part (EGO); 10D: Island bashes (LUAUS); 11D: It regulates the size of the pupil (IRIS); 12D: Specialized glove (MITT); 13D: Washed-out (ASHY); 18D: Joint that's jumping (IN SPOT); 19D: Bushy styles, for short (FROS); 24D: "I can do it with my eyes closed!" (A SNAP); 25D: Yorkie's perch (LAP); 26D: Tickles pink (AMUSES); 27D: [Horrors!] (GASP); 29D: Like Russia and Japan, for most of 1904-'05 (AT WAR); 30D: River crossed in Joshua (JORDAN); 31D: Senegal neighbor (MAURITANIA); 36D: Harts (STAGS); 38D: A pop (EACH); 40D: Prenatal tests, for short (AMNIOS); 43D: They're out of this world (ETS); 46D: Passable (SO-SO); 47D: Permeated (IMBUED); 50D: Gulf War missile (SCUD); 51D: Odium (HATE); 52D: Sister of Osiris (ISIS); 53D: "Hava Nagila" dance (HORA); 55D: Decisive '40s event (D-DAY); 56D: Nobel Institute site (OSLO); 59D: Thematic number on 61-Down (TWO); 60D: Scene stealer (HAM); 61D: Early craft (ARK).

16 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Definitely JOHN’S type of puzzle… A SNAP!

I always enjoy Gareth‘s puzzles because they are: literate leaning, directly clued, and we always get some good geography lessons.

The theme with an anagram of ACTS, CATS, SCAT, CAST was at first a little obscure.

An especially nice puzzle for a “Zip-ADEE-Doo-Dah” day.

With words like CAT’S PAJAMAS, PUT IT THERE, Cosby’s SWEATER, and Arnold STANG; the puzzle has a definite bias to baby-boomers (or even older folk).

As a Swede, I must comment on ANNIKA Sorenstam, a 40 y.o. Swedish golfer, she…
- has won 72 official LPGA tournaments (incl. 10 majors & 18 others internationally)
- shot an LPGA-record 59 in round 2 of the 2001 Standard Register Ping
- holds the record for most Player of the Year awards (8) on the LPGA Tour
- is the LPGA all-time leading money winner (over $22 million)
… and she became first woman in 58 years to play on men’s PGA Tour (in 2003)
I’d say she’s the best female golfer ever !

Oh yeah, and then there’s the incomparable ELLA , doing her SCAT SINGING.

Never heard of JETLI.

Apparently Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist at the JORDAN River, just south of what is currently the Allenby Bridge, near Qasir al-Yahud on the West Bank.

Time for some good Gevalia coffee!

Van55 said...

I failed. Had STAGG and MARIG. Unforgiveable.

Nice puzzle. Didn't see the theme.

Tinbeni said...

Even after I had the 4 themes filled in, I didn't see a theme.

Other than that "FAG end" cloth remnant, which figured was a Brit./S.African connection, like Gareth, this was a fun solve.

Solve was a "Mug-of-coffee" then I looked at the grid and thought, "pretty straight forward, should have finished in half the time." Oh, well.

Only write-over was AMUSES for elates, eazy fix.

How is 'Washed-out' ASHY?

@PuzzleGirl CRUD for crap with the puzson sounds like great parenting. Oh, CRUD! has panache!
Thx for the B-52's clip.

Burner10 said...

First entry was SCRAP vs RUSTY - but once I got that hammered out, okay for me. a fun solve.Except I couldn't see past the tricky cluing for ARK and KAYO - had aboriginal etching on my mind for some silly reason.

Ruth said...

Thanks for explaining the clue for EDS. Here I was thinking "Paperheads? Is that a newspaper-world nickname for editors? Who knew?"

*David* said...

Pretty easy solve except in the SE where I had some write overs as I blithely put in IVORYCOAST for MAURITANIA. I knew FAG wasn't going to be in an American paper so refused to fill in that last letter. I don't think even with other meanings that it has a place. Figured out the theme right away, but the help I needed was at the end of the themes so it didn't matter much.

Sfingi said...

Much like Tinbeni.

Despite the fact I didn't notice a theme at all, had never heard of JETLI or ANNIKA (I had ANNIKy, since I had PyJAMAS), I found it smooth and interesting.

@John - Thanx for the info on the Swede!

I wish I had caught the theme, as it was clever, but the expressions were of my age, and went fast. Arnold STANG and ALIEN were nice memories. (As were the B-52s)

I had never heard of FAG end for cloth - I say "bolt" end.

No writeovers, no Googles.

Just saw a film of the JORDAN running with brown CRUD. St. John Batiste, pray for us and give us strength.

My husband had several musicians in his family back in the day, and one of them sang a wonderful SCAT at a family party more than 20 years ago. He was old then, but it was phenomenal.

Soozy said...

@John, definitely more of a baby-boomer puzzle, though I managed!

I spotted the theme after the first parts of my themed answers were filled in, but like @David I needed help at the ends of those clues. I got SCAT in a second but ended up with SCATSIN_ING and was trying to come up with what the scatter was scatting in, if you will. Scats in Bing? Scats in Ring? Nice "duh" moment when I finally disassociated that final S from SCAT.

Also liked the sonority of CRUD and NUDGE in a row. :)

Tuttle said...

I found this one extraordinarily easy for a thursday. Fun, but quick. As a gen-xer I didn't find it aimed at boomers at all. Not with JETLI, ALIEN, SCUD and Cosby's SWEATER in it.

If you've never seen a Jet Li movie let me recommend Legend of the Swordsman (opposite the awesome Bridgette Lin) as an intro to his Chinese wushu films. Gorgeous cinematography, wonderful fight scenes and a fascinatingly twisted plot.

CrazyCatLady said...

Started off pretty speedily on this one and was thinking Oh these LAT puzzles are getting too easy again. But then I got my comeuppance at 25A Capital replaced by Abuja huh? Got LOGOS from the crosses, but still don't know what Abuja/LOGOS is/are. Will Google later. Then 64A Capital of Oman RIAL. Then on to 31D MAURITANIA WTH? Never heard of STANG, JET LI or 58D Cloth end FAG. Managed to finish with no Googles and even got the anagram theme. Nice puzzle Gareth Bain!

@PG Nice write up - love the cute MOPEr. I have that vertically challenged reading thing too.

CrazyCatLady said...

That would be LAGOS.

Orange said...

CatLady: CIties in Nigeria. Giant cities.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Orange Thanks. I Googled. Tucked knowledge in brain and hope to be able to retrieve next time.

mac said...

Loved crud, nudge and Mauritania, but in general didn't love this puzzle.

Sfingi said...

Maybe this puzzle was more a War Baby puzzle - my excuse for being short.

@Orange - So true, some of these "third world" cities have huge populations, yet are unknown: LAGOS, Dhaka, Chongqing, Tianjin, Kolkata, Chennai, Surat, Yangon, Shenyang, Ahmedabad, Wuhan, Busan - all in the top 50. A couple would make good CW fodder. Time for Americans to study geography.

Forgot - I love the Cosby SWEATERs.

Speaking of ALIEN, remember ALIEN Nation, 1989? That's where the captcha words come from!

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