TUESDAY, June 15, 2010 — Robert Fisher

Theme: Hair Pieces — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin or end with hair cutting/styling items.

Theme answers:
  • 21A: *"The simplest solution is usually correct" principle (OCCAM'S RAZOR).
  • 46A: *Speedy square-rigger (CLIPPER SHIP).
  • 3D: *Bees' creation (HONEYCOMB).
  • 32D: *Fast-spreading blaze, perhaps (BRUSHFIRE).
  • 50D: Target for items found in the answers to starred clues (HAIR).

I'm just need to say right up front that I'm not gonna give this puzzle the attention it deserves. I had a super busy day at work and I have to go in early tomorrow so I'm a little pressed for time. I enjoyed this puzzle. I like all the theme entries but the fact that HAIR is the thing that holds them all together? Kinda blah, right? Oh well. I guess we can't have everything. I know you all got 1 Across right off the bat because of last week's CW101, though, right? I knew I was good for something around here! I see some words I like and some clues I like, but I'm just feeling really stressed about getting to bed so I'm afraid you'll have to fill in the details in the comments. (Sorry! I'll do better! I promise!)

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Everything Else — 1A: Soda since the 1920s (NEHI); 5A: "Get lost!" ("SCRAM!"); 10A: Hangs (around with) (PALS); 14A: Sour milk tip-off (ODOR); 15A: Barter (TRADE); 16A: Elide (OMIT); 17A: Tomato ripening spot (VINE); 18A: Tiny bits (IOTAS); 19A: Bear with cold porridge (MAMA); 20A: Absorbed, as a loss (ATE); 23A: Tugs (YANKS); 25A: Where the Styx flows (HADES); 26A: Repeating series (CYCLES); 28A: Solid or liquid, e.g. (STATE); 30A: Nocturnal forest sounds (HOOTS); 31A: Turns on the waterworks, so to speak (BAWLS); 32A: Sports car protector (BRA); 35A: Writer Bombeck (ERMA); 36A: Sentry's duty (VIGIL); 37A: It may be mopped or furrowed (BROW); 38A: Spider's "parlor" (WEB); 39A: Jaunty cap (BERET); 40A: Something to fight for (CAUSE); 41A: Surfacing diver's concern, with "the" (BENDS); 42A: Ready to strike (POISED); 43A: Composer Edvard (GRIEG); 45A: What some serum elicits? (TRUTH); 49A: Govt. mtge. insurer (FHA); 52A: Popular trend (RAGE); 53A: Lavish celebrations (FETES); 54A: Primitive timekeeper (DIAL); 55A: Bone-dry (ARID); 56A: Render harmless, as a gunman (UNARM); 57A: Spring bloomer (IRIS); 58A: River bottoms (BEDS); 59A: Cerebral segments (LOBES); 60A: Fiddling emperor (NERO); 1D: Bygone Chevy compact (NOVA); 2D: Make changes to (EDIT); 4D: Choler (IRE); 5D: Remote area, with "the" (STICKS); 6D: Swamp swimmers (CROCS); 7D: Pro __ (RATA); 8D: "The Wealth of Nations" author Smith (ADAM); 9D: Soldier's eatery (MESS HALL); 10D: 50-Down ointment (POMADE); 11D: Leave in shock (AMAZE); 12D: Upscale rides (LIMOS); 13D: Brigadier general's insignia (STAR); 21D: Binary system digits (ONES); 22D: "Phooey!" ("RATS!"); 24D: Calgary's prov. (ALTA.); 26D: Masticate (CHEW); 27D: Olden times (YORE); 28D: Swamis (SAGES); 29D: Idiot, to a Brit (TWIT); 31D: Celtic great Larry (BIRD); 33D: Pink wine (ROSE); 34D: Impressed profoundly (AWED); 36D: Seeking payback (VENGEFUL); 37D: Worm on a line (BAIT); 39D: Electronic alert (BEEP); 40D: Cabal's plan (COUP); 41D: Kangaroos and humans, e.g. (BIPEDS); 42D: Light benders (PRISMS); 43D: Harsh light (GLARE); 44D: Unbending (RIGID); 45D: When repeated, comforting words (THERE); 46D: "Hermit" crustacean (CRAB); 47D: Ashcroft's predecessor (RENO); 48D: Wild guess (STAB); 51D: Moreover (ALSO); 54D: Confused roar (DIN).


Sfingi said...

Smooth and easy.

Had "dolT" before TWIT, "rAiSE" before CAUSE.

Off to buy the NYT. Science today.


Good morning all!
GRIEG --- something to get you in the proper mood this morning.

When I saw NEHI/NOVA, I was POISED for another trite puzzle… but I was wrong, it turned out to be quite decent. Some good words, like: BRUSH FIRE, FETES, HONEYCOMB, MESS HALL, POMADE, PRISMS, and VENGEFUL.
Also, it’s nice to see a puzzle where the theme words run both across and down.

Whenever I hear a Brit (eg. Simon or Piers) say “TWIT”, I always get such a chuckle.

Best clue of the day: “It may be mopped or furrowed” (BROW).

Remember this?

Gotta SCRAM now!
Hickory Smoked Country Ham, Grits, Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits… guess where I’m going for breakfast?

Tinbeni said...

Out with the guys at Mother's?
I even got GRIEG, thanks for the link.

I wonder if BP's OCCAMS RAZOR, "The simplest solution is usually correct" principle, being applied, is to just completely ruin my beautiful Gulf of Mexico?
Luckily our beaches in Tampa Bay area are still pristine.

We do have some swamp CROCS in the Everglades, we call them "salties.," Mostly we have a lot of gators.

Best clue was for BIPEDS, clever link between Kangaroos and humans.

THERE is here again for the second day in-a-row.

Sandy said...

Yeah, kinda blah theme, I agree.

I was worried when the puzzle started with a defunct car crossing a defunct soda. Not so much for triteness, but oldtimeyness - thought it might be one of those days when not growing up in the USA becomes a handicap, but no, I just plodded on through with my oatmeal.

Tinbeni said...

The theme may seem blah but "looks" can be deceiving.
The Across themes cut the HAIR.
The Down themes groom it.

STICKS in the puzzle and Styx cluing HADES is ALSO clever.

Then again, along with THERE for the second day is IOTAS again, though at least it was plural today.

David L said...

I don't care for DIAL as primitive timekeeper. I've never seen it used as shorthand for sundial, tho admittedly I don't hang out much with paleohorologists. Maybe it's slang for them. Just love your new 'dial, darling. Looks so good next to the clepsydra!

Rex Parker said...


Nope, it's blah. Across/Down thing doesn't work, as the "hair" involved is different and you can't "groom" what you've shaved off.

If "target" had been BEARD, I'd have been more impressed.

"STICKS" in grid w/ Styx in clues is what we call "coincidence." Not clever at all.


This took 20 seconds longer than NYT for me.

Van55 said...

I liked this one. Thought the theme was "barbers' tools" before getting to the reveal.

Better fill over all than today's NYT which might explain why it took the expert 20 seconds longer. :p


@David L... Very funny comment. But, a watch with a DIAL today is a pretty "primitive timekeeper." Doesn't everyone now use digital watches?

And REX, what's so lovable about VENGEFUL? If you thought this puzzle was "blah", then what would you call the NYT in comparison?

@Tinbeni... wrong! Wasn't that a good clue? I was out with my PALS at the Cracker Barrel.

UNARM should be DISARM as in the military, UNARM is a misused word for disarm.

Gonna POMADE my HAIR, don my BERET,
get in my little red deuce COUPe (you know, the one with the BRA on the grill), pick up my HONEYCOMB, and head for the beach!!!!

David L said...

@John -- that occurred to me after I posted. But I still have an analog watch. Maybe I'm primitive.

Seriously, I think the love for digital watches has faded. They were all the rage when I was a teenager, long ago, but I think the primitives today who continue to wear watches mostly prefer old-fashioned dial faces. Stay classy, that's what I say!


The clue for (38A)... "Spider's 'parlor' (WEB)is subtlely clever. It's from a poem by Mary Howitt entitled "The Spider and the Fly" (1829). The first line of the poem is "'Will you walk into my parlor?' said the Spider to the Fly. Sometimes it's quoted as "Step into my parlour" or "Come into my parlour". It's an aphorism, often used to indicate a false pretense of help or friendship that is in reality a snare. I see this all the time in some so-called crossword helpers.

*David* said...

Very smooth easy puzzle, had no do-overs. Theme was not memorable and neither was most of the fill. I did like OCCAM'S RAZOR.

KJGooster said...

Sorry JNH, but this is what I think of when I see HONEYCOMB.

And you can't get through med school without hearing OCCAMS RAZOR restated a zillion times as "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

hollyhock80 said...

Hello all! I'm new to the whole crossword scene (only been solving the LAT since December). I read the blog everyday and have learned so much just from the comments. Hopefully, one day I can be as fast as everyone else. What takes you 5 minutes to solve consumes half a day for me, and then some of my answers are still wrong. I can finally solve a Monday or Tuesday in about 30 minutes!
I have been feeling like such a stalker lately (reading and not posting), so I thought I'd introduce myself.

syndy said...

Occam's Razor got me excited and i hoped to see Zebras til elide became omit instead of slur and the whole thing turned into a kind of a rats nest. okay,comparing Apples and Oranges this one is less boring! yet i damn with faint praise!

Anonymous said...

Simply a nice Barbershop Quartet of grooming tools. Not that that's interesting or anything.


Welcome @Hollyhock80
We all were in the same boat not long ago. I encourage you to participate in comments... the camaraderie is terrific and many people add their personal experiences and good knowledge to the blog.

hazel said...

@Tinbeni - nice observation! Hadn't noticed that.
@Crazy Cat - you called me Ethel yesterday!

Kind of a standard issue Tuesday for me. No ups. no downs. Well, OCCAM'S RAZOR was kind of an up. Didn't go to med school, but I have watched a lot of medical dramas - so was familiar with the zebra comment.

SUN SUN go away. It is way too hot here in the south!

mac said...

It's Tuesday.
I saw that British twit somewhere else this week. Didn't like unarm, either.

I had "sill" to riped the tomato, and did lisp and slur before omit.

Welcome, hollyhock, join the parade!

lit.doc said...

@hollyhock80, hi! I've been at it for going on a year and a half, and I've learned a lot by coming here. I urge you not to obsess on speed as such. View your times as a way of tracking your increasing proficiency. Beyond that, relax and have fun!
Although I've improved enough that the early-week LAT puzzles are pretty easy for me now (8:35 today), a year ago this would have taken me 15 to 20. When I started, this might easily have been a DNF. Progress happens. :)

Shiny new faces like hollyhock80, and my own fairly recent experience, are why I'm glad there are puzzles like this one, and why I'm loath to harsh on them very much.

shrub5 said...

Welcome @hollyhock80.

Favorite clue was "bear with cold porridge" for MAMA. Had to recite the lines in my head to remember who got the cold, hot or "just right" portion.

@Sandy: Hey, I plodded through this with a bowl of oatmeal, too! It was just right.

Didn't like UNARM, but it is legit. I like disarm for the verb; unarmed as an adjective. Then there's unhand me....

@lit.doc: I don't time myself. Really don't want to know how much time I'm wasting...er... spending when I've got other stuff I should be doing.

Tinbeni said...

Always great to get new opinions.

Thank you.

ALSO, I like your new cute "Hazel the cute dog" Avatar.

I'm with you re: timing
Cups of Java is accurate enough for me.
Just curious, are you "licking your chops" over the Celtic's beating the Laker's?

What a surprise that you loved VENGEFUL.

Sfingi said...

@John - Love that old poem.

@Wait - you mean they don't make NEHI any more?

@Hollyhock - after a year, I'm still slow, but I know lots more stuff, esp. sports and young people's music. (My husband is following the soccer/calcio. The Brazilians just beat N.Korea 2-1, FYI.) I've put together a bunch of addresses in a reference file over the last year. If you are able to, use the computerized crossword grid. It's easier to read and to write on and "helps" a bit. Unfortunately, I usually work mine at the Home. Can scarcely use a cell phone there.

@Tinbeni - Occam/Ockham's Razor. I was a Philo major (as were 3 other family members), and philosophy claims Ockham. William of Ockham was a 14th cent. Franciscan friar who wrote on religion and logic (and politics - he was excommunicated). The parsimoniousness refers to theoretical explanations rather than applied solutions in science. The only science he had heard of was early Greeks who sat around and thought about science. Later, Kepler's explanation of the movement of planets became a prime example of using the theory. We could explain the planets' movements with the Earth in the center, but the paths would be tortuous. I wouldn't say cleaning up the environment or gathering fuel was beneath his dignity, since he took and kept a vow of poverty; but, applied science was not his concern.

Tinbeni said...

Apparently BP and the concept of applied science is not their concern.

Hmmmm, Contingency Plans, we'll fill it with mud, add some golf balls and other small objects.
We've only been finded over 700 times for violations, but Exxon/Mobile was caught 9 or ten times, too.

Its not just us. geez.

Was just outside, heard the hoofbeats, turned around and it was the BP Zebra.

CrazyCatLady said...

Did the puzzle while waiting and waiting in the Dr.'s office. Found it to be a smooth solve with just a couple of erasures. Spelled Larry BIRD, BYRD. Hey, at least I knew who he was. Had GALAS before FETES and then VENDETTA before VENGEFUL. The VENGEFUL/FETES cross was kind of a mess. Got everything in place except that OCCAM'S RAZOR was new to me and I was sure there was a mistake in there someplace. Happily when I checked into the blog on my phone, I found I had it right. Finished the puzzle and still waited.
@Hazel - my apolgies for calling you Ethel! I wonder where that came from?
@Hollyhock80 Welcome!

gespenst said...

I'm late to the party, so I don't have much to add.

But, I enjoyed this trio of clues one after another:
42D: Light benders (PRISMS);
43D: Harsh light (GLARE);
44D: Unbending (RIGID);

shrub5 said...

Yes, I am thrilled that the Celtics are up 3-2, however as of now they are getting shellacked (half-time, game 6). The Lakers, who face elimination, are playing like madmen.