5.04.2010

TUESDAY, May 4, 2010 — Victor Barocas


Theme: Wise Words — Theme answers are familiar phrases that contain two contiguous Ys.


Theme answers:
  • 20A: Roger Clemens has won it seven times (CY YOUNG AWARD).
  • 27A: Tammy Wynette classic (STAND BY YOUR MAN).
  • 46A: 1618-'48 conflict (THIRTY YEARS' WAR).
  • 53A: Sunny color (CANARY YELLOW).
  • 58D: There are contiguous pairs of them in 20-, 27-, 46- and 53-Across (WYES).


Awesome, awesome puzzle today. I don't recognize the constructor's name and I'm thinking this might be a debut. If so, well done, sir! Now, after that little bit of gushing I'll say the theme wasn't all that exciting. But, two of theme answers have a little sparkle to them and the fill is very nice. And even where the fill isn't fantastic, the cluing is good. I don't know. This puzzle just tickled my fancy for some reason. I hope we see more from Victor.

Highlights:
  • 34A: Cuttlefish pigment (SEPIA). I don't know what a cuttlefish is, but it sounds cool.
  • 43A: The Berenstain Bears live in one (TREE). I enjoy it when we parents of young kids get a shout-out. It doesn't happen often.
  • 59A: Steal, as cargo (HIJACK). I've had my Facebook status update thread hijacked a couple times.
  • 63A: Criticize harshly (SCATHE). Not sure I like SCATHE as a verb, but it still sounds cool. See also 27D: Get really hot (SEETHE).
  • 8D: Operetta with Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, with "The" (MIKADO). I don't think The MIKADO qualifies as crosswordese, but you should keep these character names in mind for the future. Speaking of kids' shows, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum kinda sound like Teletubbies to me.
  • 18D: Nightclub in a Manilow song (COPA). Click the video. You know you want to.


  • 39D: Little John was one of them (MERRY MEN). Was just talking about Robin Hood this weekend ….
  • 60D: Rocks for a Black Russian (ICE). Did anyone else go, "Wait. There are black people in Russia?" No, I didn't think so.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 17A / 50A: South American shocker (ELECTRIC EEL).
  • 11D: Prince Valiant's son (ARN).
  • 30D: "Fiddler on the Roof" matchmaker (YENTE).
  • 36D: Berlin article (DER).
  • 38D: Altar in the sky (ARA).
  • 54D: Some TVs (RCAS).
  • 57D: Shamu, for one (ORCA).
  • 59D: FDR's last VP (HST).
Everything Else — 1A: Common URL ender (ORG); 4A: Make chocolate milk, e.g. (STIR); 8A: Wisdom teeth, e.g. (MOLARS); 14A: For each (PER); 15A: Volkswagen subsidiary (AUDI); 16A: Trapped by routine (IN A RUT); 17A: With 50-Across, (ELECTRIC); 19A: Pet's home away from home (KENNEL); 22A: Opposite of post- (PRE-); 23A: Fuss (ADO); 24A: Contingencies (IFS); 32A: Corp. bigwig (CEO); 33A: Confident (SURE); 35A: Tear to shreds (REND); 37A: First commercial carrier to use the Boeing 747 (PAN-AM); 40A: Well-done, as toast (DARK); 41A: On the ocean (AT SEA); 45A: Actor Marvin (LEE); 50A: See 17-Across (EEL); 51A: __ kwon do (TAE); 52A: 1 or 66, e.g.: Abbr. (RTE.); 62A: Ghost story setting (CEMETERY); 64A: "Up and __!" (AT 'EM); 65A: Dogfight winner, perhaps (ACE); 66A: Tightened (up) (TENSED); 67A: Confessional revelations (SINS); 68A: Ballet step (PAS); 1D: Cartel that added Angola in 2007 (OPEC); 2D: Count (on) (RELY); 3D: Earl known for tea (GREY); 4D: Ion and Vue, in the auto industry (SATURNS); 5D: Appeared (TURNED UP); 6D: Hippie's "Understood" ("I DIG"); 7D: Costa __ (RICA); 9D: Burdensome (ONEROUS); 10D: Finish a flight (LAND); 11D: Prince Valiant's son (ARN); 12D: Regret (RUE); 13D: Letters on a Cardinal's cap (STL); 21D: Manner (WAY); 24D: Savanna grazer (IMPALA); 25D: Snow White, vis-à-vis the queen (FAIRER); 26D: Rattler, for one (SNAKE); 28D: Throat tissue (TONSIL); 29D: Lingerie support item (BRA); 30D: "Fiddler on the Roof" matchmaker (YENTE); 31D: Wine choice (RED); 32D: Slatted box (CRATE); 36D: Berlin article (DER); 38D: Altar in the sky (ARA); 42D: Embassy diplomat (ATTACHÉ); 44D: Regards highly (ESTEEMS); 47D: Pulled hard (YANKED); 48D: Vote in favor (YEA); 49D: Whip mark (WELT); 53D: Musical based on Eliot poems (CATS); 54D: Some TVs (RCAS); 55D: Himalayan legend (YETI); 56D: Quantum event? (LEAP); 57D: Shamu, for one (ORCA); 59D: FDR's last VP (HST); 61D: Yr. starter (JAN.).

18 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

A tad more difficult puzzle to solve than most Tuesday LAT’s, and I might say, a very difficult puzzle theme to construct as well. Nice job, Victor & Rich!
I DIG this kind of puzzle. Great fill words: ONEROUS, MERRY MEN, ATTACHE, and on and on… good stuff.

Once again we get MIKADO and CATS.

All these years I’ve been using watercolor paints and never knew that SEPIA comes from the cuttlefish. I really don’t wanna know where the DARK brown pigments come from (TMI). And do you suppose CANARY YELLOW comes from smooshed up ---? Nah!

I had RENT instead of REND, then I remembered that there’s a Golden Rule of cluing that says “Your clue must be the same part of speech as your entry”.

Four-time winner of the CY YOUNG AWARD, Greg Maddux, starting with the Chicago Cubs.
Who is your favorite pitcher?

Now the thing that really made this an outstanding puzzle was 52A (RTE) 66. Yessss!!!!

“Up and ATEM!“
It’s time to get my MOLARS working on that Ham & Cheddar Omelet before I hit the road again!

Y’all have a wonderful springy day today!

Tinbeni said...

@JNH
Knew you were smiling as you entered your
RTE 66 answer.

Saw a show recently on the Cuttlefish. They really are amazing as they change colors.

This seemed more like Monday as I flew through the solve. Nothing ONEROUS as I entered the 4 themes without hesitation.

I must be learning something here since I filled in MIKADO, ARN & CATS easily.

Fave answer was "up and AT'EM." I remember my MOM telling us that 50 years ago.

Also FAIRER, Snow White, vis-a-vis the queen, was clever.

All-and-all a fun romp.

Orange said...

Actually, one of my son's friends is a Black Russian. Julian's mom is a Russian immigrant and his dad's African-American.

It's White Russians that are more problematic. They look like milk.

Like PuzzleGirl, I enjoyed this puzzle too and look forward to more crosswords from Victor Barocas.

GoG8rs said...

Fun and interesting puzzle.

LOVED the "Copa" clip--altho the tune will be rattling around in my brain all day!

Thanks.

joyce said...

"Up and at 'em" was my Mom's mantra every Saturday morning for me; so this was easy. I liked/respected the Snow White clue too; mostly, all I could think was "pest, bother, in the way" kind of stuff until the answer began to materialize. Thus, I was steamed, bc I get so steamed when the obvious presents itself and I can't see it. Likewise w/ wine choice. I live in CA, so here I am, scanning my brain for all the lofty choices: merlot, chianti, chardonnay, etc., and nothing of the 3-letter variety comes to mind. I get so angry w/ myself. One more reason for personal frustration was that I did this one so much faster than Monday's puzzle, which should have been a breeze. I also liked the cuttlefish clue bc I had no idea they gave us such a lovely color. More respect!

Burner10 said...

From the perspective of a true rookie who proudly luxuriates (?) over puzzles - there were plenty of me types at the puzzle convention who were happy to bask in the glow of puzzle luminaries everywhere and - go home with many puzzles (to ponder later). And that puts me back on the bus not sure if Tues was easier or harder than Mon (did both today) - but liking the YY. YY I dunno.

Rex Parker said...

Contiguous WYES? I mean, the grid is fine, but that is not much of a theme. If they'd all been two-word phrases, I'd have been more impressed. The premise just seems flimsy.

RASTA said...

@Tinbeni- thx for the kayos yesterday, I've always seen KO'S or TKO's as proper boxing terms, kayos still alittle shady to me, but I am new to crosswords, guess real terms can be changed to how they sound.

Very fun puzzle today!

Tinbeni said...

@Rasta
I just remembered seeing the KO's also written as KAYO's in boxing articles.
I prefer the former.
Sometimes in crosswords I think the constructor's get stuck a bit and use the lesser of two evils.

Hope you're slowly catching on to some of the stuff.
That CW101 button on the top left is a good place to learn a whole lot of the crosswordese.

Sfingi said...

@Orange - Another couple Black Russians are Aleksandr Pushkin and Peter Ustinov.
Milk or sugar is the only way I can get past the booze taste.

@John - Wonderful pictures! Good joke re: colors.

Kayos, WYES, whatever - we got it, didn't we?

Mnemonic - there are 3 "E"s buried in the CEMETERY. Or is there another way to spell ees?

To LEE Marvin - Hooray for Palimony!

Fiddler on the Roof, based on a story by Sholem Aleichem includes YENTE, not to be confused with Yentl, a musical based on a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Easy (EZ) puzzle, and fun (phәn).

mac said...

May have been my fastest LAT puzzle ever, but fun!

@Orange: my son had a black Russian friend, as well: the mother was Russian and the father African. He was a great little soccer player!

Van55 said...

I liked the puzzle well enough, but agree that the theme is pretty flimsy. Easy puzzle.

CrazyCatLady said...

This was a quickie for me, but very enjoyable. I thought it was a little easier than yesterday. The theme was pretty obvious, and I kind of agree with Rex that the WYES in the southeast wasn't really necessary. Maybe it's because seeing letters spelled out is my pet peeve. Otherwise, I thought there was some good fill. Liked INARUT, MOLARS, TONSIL, I no longer have either my wisdom teeth or my TONSILs. As PG noted SCATHE as a verb sounds a little weird. Nice puzzle though.
@PG Thanks for the Dixie Chicks clip. Liked that there was a little Bruce Springsteen in there too. Who is that cute, happy fellow in the picture?
@Burner 10 I spent a couple hours yesterday, finishing the last three puzzles. What a work out.

Helpful Guy said...

@CCL - If the picture you're referencing is next to the CW101 Roundup, that's Kevin Der, one of the young gun constructors.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Helpful Guy - Thanks. I get it now. Berlin Article DER/Kevin DER.

bluebell said...

I liked the Pan Am answer. My husband and I and then 2 1/2 year old daughter flew to England in spring of 1970 on a Pan Am 747, and I still remember the consciousness we had of being on a new plane. It helped that my husband had worked for Boeing for years.

I thought the puzzle was easy; once I got the 2 y's together the theme was a cinch.

My glitch was also scathe as a verb (she said scathingly?).

shrub5 said...

Liked this puzzle -- as the 2 Ys emerged in the first theme answer, I thought I must have something wrong. But I knew the CY YOUNG AWARD so was quickly relieved of worry. Everything else fell into place smoothly except for a temporary misspelling of YENTE.

Interesting to learn of cuttlefish and SEPIA. Cuttlefish, which are actually mollusks not fish, have ink, like squid and octopuses, which they use to elude predators. My exposure to cuttlefish is limited to having cuttlebone in my parakeet's cage as a child. It is used as a calcium-rich dietary supplement and exercise toy for caged birds. (wiki)

Always think it's a little weird to see letters spelled out, like today's WYES and last Sunday's AITCH.

Favorite clue / answer: Snow White, vis-à-vis the Queen / FAIRER.

Crockett1947 said...

Captcha is a real word: dinar!