SATURDAY, July 17, 2010
Barry C. Silk

Theme: None

Barry treated us to a tough one today! Not NYT tough, but certainly LAT tough. I had little pockets of trouble all over the grid, but the roughest spot for me was that southwest corner. I knew 62A: Past ended in -ND so wanted it to be [something]END. I knew 60A: Torino's home ended in -IA but had a severe brain cramp and couldn't think of any country ending in -IA besides Serbia. I knew 56A: Apt to change ended in -ILE but, as it turns out, I don't believe I know the word LABILE. I knew 43A: Plan to minimize losses was some kind of STRATEGY, but was at a loss for what kind. It wasn't until I threw WOMEN on the front of 30D: Betty Friedan cause that I was able to conquer the rest of that corner. I wanted 30D to be feminism, which obviously didn't fit. WOMEN'S LIB didn't come to mind immediately even with the WOMEN part in place because, well, I can't remember the last time I heard feminism referred to as WOMEN'S LIB. I'm sure it was at least 30 years ago. Which means, of course, that the clue is absolutely perfect, in that when The Feminine Mystique was published, yes indeed WOMEN'S LIB was a common term.

There was a super mini musem theme with TATE and PRADO (36D: Where Gainsboroughs hang / 51D: Madrid must-see). I'm not familiar with Thomas Gainsborough so TATE took pretty much every cross (plus it's over there in the southwest where I had so much trouble). And PRADO, well, let's just say the only issue was the last letter because I have a great deal of difficulty remembering the difference between PRADO and PRADA.

We also had a Reefer Madness theme going with the clues for ALTO and HAUT (25A: High guy / 47A: High in the French Alps?) and the answers to 38D: Step on it (HIE) and 59D: River through Beijing (HAI). (I'm not actually sure how to pronounce the river, but in my head it sounds like a homophone of "high.")

Other than that, WRITER'S BLOCK is a cool entry (26A: Plotting problem, perhaps) and BETCHA not so much (18A: Slangy "got that right!"). WPM stands for Words Per Minute, a way of measuring an office typist's efficiency (30A: Office efficiency meas.). And 5D: 1964 British Open winner LEMA? Yeah, his first name is Tony. I knew that off the top of my head.

Oh, one more thing. Don't you think PICKLOCKS (12D: Thieves' tools) is a weird word? I always thought it should be lockpicks.

Crosswordese 101 Round-Up:
  • 42A: Tom Hayden's '60s org. (SDS).
  • 49D: Some parodists (APERS).
  • 57D: 1969 Peace Prize-winning agcy. (ILO).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Voter reaction of sorts (BACKLASH); 9A: Come forward (STEP UP); 15A: Liqueur often used to flavor tiramisu (AMARETTO); 16A: Benedict XIII's family name (ORSINI); 17A: Emeril might make one with provolone (TUNA MELT); 19A: Certain Honshu native (OSAKAN); 20A: Followers: Suff. (-ITES); 22A: Auntie Em's st. (KAN.); 23A: A transfer might entail one, briefly (RELO); 24A: Gang follower? (-STER); 33A: Jungian archetype (ANIMA); 34A: Caf´ drinker's request (LECHE); 35A: Big talk (ORATION); 37A: Jell-O shot ingredient (WHISKEY); 39A: Simple organism (MONAD); 40A: Milo, e.g. (GRAIN); 46A: Luxor's river (NILE); 48A: Organization with many boomers (AARP); 52A: Wee (SMA'); 53A: __ Mawr (BRYN); 54A: Google Earth, e.g. (MAPPER); 58A: Ojibwa speakers (CHIPPEWA); 60A: (ITALIA); 61A: Cramped (HAMPERED); (BEYOND); 63A: Waits for, at an intersection (YIELDS TO); 2D: Tickle (AMUSE); 3D: Place for a low bridge (CANAL); 4D: Former capital on the Vistula River (KRAKOW); 6D: Rate __: be perfect (A TEN); 7D: N.L. Central team (STL); 8D: Brisk seller (HOT ITEM); 9D: Gets serious (SOBERS); 10D: A third of nueve (TRES); 11D: Pawtucket hrs. (EST); 13D: Like a dinosaur embryo (UNHATCHED); 14D: They activate hammers (PIANO KEYS); 21D: Huge amount of power (TERAWATT); 24D: 1963 Chevrolet debut (STINGRAY); 25D: They're often drawn (ALES); 27D: Speakeasy owners' concerns (RAIDS); 28D: Rescuer of Odysseus (INO); 29D: Rappers' accessories, in slang (BLING); 31D: Close (PROXIMATE); 32D: 1898 battle site (MANILA BAY); 41D: Like dirty jokes (RAUNCHY); 44D: Nut feature (THREAD); 45D: Went on and on (YAPPED); 50D: Keep from drying out (REWET); 53D: Russian pancake (BLIN); 54D: Some street art (MIME); 55D: Kitchen item: Abbr. (APPL.).


Van55 said...

I put this one a par with today's NYT puzzle in degree of difficulty. Lots of ambiguity and obscurity made things dicey for me but ultimately I muddled through it.

PG, I am keenly aware that mensanized cluing is par for the puzzle maker's course, especially late in the week. I hope that doesn't make it off limits for comments from time to time.


Definitely NYT level!
You BETCHA!!! Sorry Sarah.

The only thing I had trouble with was the INO/ANIMA cross, my Natick. Never heard of either.

Figured out the "Jell-O shot ingredient" (WHISKEY), but why is it called that? I'm not a drinker.

Liked those stretch-words like MONAD, LABILE, and ORSINI.

I liked the four way PP crosses with MAPPER/CHIPPEWA/APPL/YAPPED.

At first I took issue with SMA for "Wee" (52A) thinking that it was an abbreviation for small, but actually it's a legitimate Scottish word for little (SMA).

Darn! I can't find anything wrong with this puzzle. I guess I'll just leave that to Rex.

PG, I think we had PICKLOCKS not long ago and I objected thinking it should be LOCKPICKS, but it really is an okay word.

You know you're getting old when your children become inducted into the AARP.

I had MOCHA instead of LECHE for "Cafe drinker's request".

Now I'm thinking of AMARETTO flavored coffee. Byeeee!

Pete M said...

I found the WPM/WOMENSLIB cross to be vaguely amusing. Had to look up LABILE when I was done to verify it as a word.


Thomas Gainsborough is perhaps most famous for his "Blue Boy" painting. Not to belittle the TATE, but that painting hangs right here in the U.S. (the Huntington Library and Art Gallery near Pasadena, California.)
I highly recommend a full-day visit to that place. Very rare books, lots of great paintings, and awesome gardens make this a must-see. The other place that's wonderful is the Getty Museum in L.A.

Nate said...

Well said all. I needed to verify LABILE also. Luckily, I gre up a Cheesehead so Chippewa opened the SE.

David L said...

Harder than usual -- I had LOCKPICKS for a long time, also ORATORY instead of ORATION. Things I didn't know: LEMA, INO, milo as a type of grain, MONAD as an organism rather than a philosophical concept... But with crosses all was well.

John said...

I reall think that BETCHA should have YOU associated with it. At the very least it should be Y'BETCHA. Otherwise it sounds like I BETCHA that's wrong.

The puzzle was a BEAR LATwise. Enjoyable, Nonetheless.

Tinbeni said...

WOW a series of mis-steps like the Golfers at the Open.

NW fell easily, liked the shout-out to Tony LIMA.

NE, KAN got me the 'K' so I put in Lockpicks before PICKLOCKS. Boy did that take a while to fix.

Most Jello-shots here in Florida use Rum as the alcohol.
WHISKEY didn't flow easily for me. (BETCHA I can't remember the last time I ever said that!)

I remember when WOMENS LIB and Betty were all over the media.
My Mom really didn't support it. Or as she said:
"I'm not coming down to YOUR level for nothin'!
You will still get my door, pull out my chair and treat me, and all other women, like a Lady!"
(Hell, she was liberated long before "The Feminine Mystique" was written.)

First thought on the Gainsboroughs was MOMA, until I remember seeing the Blue Boy at the TATE.
PRADO was a guess from crosswords, off the 'P' in AARP. Can't believe I've been a member for almost 8 years.

Had a '63 STING RAY in 1972. 5 mph but gas was cheap.
Sold it after about 6 months and got a Porsche 914/6.
Should have put it in storage.

PuzzleGirl, Excellent write-up. The Reefer Madness reference got a genuine out loud laugh.

@twangster (from Friday)
You had the right lyric. I was thinking of an earlier stanza.

Kathy said...

Love the Eastwood picture as the embodiment of tough!

CrazyCatLady said...

Definitely had a few sticky areas on today's puzzle. First problem was Emeril's TUNA MELT. I've watched Emeril make a lot of stuff, but never a TUNA MELT. I wanted something more New Orleans style like a Muffaletta, but too any letters. Finally got it. Had problems in the SW with LABILE, MONAD and ILO. Last letter to fill in was the I in the cross of GRAIN and HIE. Never heard of HIE and only could think of Milo and Otis. Didn't know Milo was a GRAIN. My kids (in their 20s) make their Jello shots with vodka.
@JNH The Getty Center and the Huntington are two of my favorite places. I always take out of town guests to one or the other. The restaurant at the Getty is the best, especially at sunset. Great food and awesome view.
@PG love the mini HAUT theme.

Tinbeni said...

I must be having an AARP aged "brain fart" ...
I must have been visiting my brother in Glendale, CA when/where I saw the Blue Boy at the Huntington in Pasadena. He also took me to the Getty Center. A must see for any visitor.

I remember my Dad taking me to the TATE back in 1969 before my Senior year of High School. But now I'm wondering why I entered the correct answer for Where Gainsboroughs hang.

Probably need more coffee.

C said...

After last Saturdays puzzle, I declared war on this one. No distractions, no soccer match on (ok, there wasn't one on to watch), I meant business.

Happy to say, I won (whatever that means in crosswords) and took this puzzle down with minimal problems.

Good puzzle, very enjoyable.

Rube said...

I too enjoyed this puzzle. (Barry Silk is obviously liked... so far there is nary a negative comment to be heard.)

Like @JNH, didn't remember INO or ANIMA so guessed an L for their cross. No luck. Also put in pLO for ILO, thinking of Yasser Arafat. However, had never heard of LABpLE. Thinking of the spelling for subtle, accepted it. Turns out I've heard of LABILE but didn't know what it meant. I believe it's the same in French. Totally forgot about the ILO and their Nobel.

I think of a picklock using lockpicks to pick locks.

HAI and INO go into my crosswordese list. LABILE is my WOTD.

Joon said...

i'm not in the habit of being negative just for the sake of being negative, but i have to say that there were a lot of things i didn't like about this puzzle: -ITES, BRYN, A TEN, EST, MAPPER, REWET, APERS, INO, ILO, SMA, SDS, -STER, to start with. plus plenty of other abbreviations like KAN, EST, STL, WPM that were not so bad in isolation, but suddenly we're talking about 15ish answers i wouldn't want in my fill, and this is a themeless puzzle.

the BETCHA clue is just right. yes, the full expression is "you BETCHA," but notice that the clue is {Slangy "got that right!"}, not {Slangy "Got that right!"}. (yes, i do notice capitalization, even though i disdain it in my own writing.) so the equivalence is between "you betcha" and "you got that right!" that makes BETCHA a partial, more or less, but long partials are allowed if they're one word.

i liked EXIT STRATEGY and RAUNCHY, and i learned a new clue for HAI. i found everything else a bit blah for a puzzle with this much awkward fill.

ddbmc said...

Feeling a bit black and blue after this puzzle. Appreciate all the above comments, but would have to agree with @Joon on his citings. Was very annoyed by the 17 A "Emeril might make one with provolone."

Yet, liked learning ANIMA, MILO, TERAWATT (I started with TERABYTE-but that would be TMI, not power!)

KRAKOW completely slipped my mind. Have to agree with @CCL, Vodka over Whisky, for Jell-O shots!

Stay cool, all.

fiddleneck said...

Whatever are Jell-o shots? They sound awful with any alcohol--rum, vodka, whiskey. Nothing against any of the spirits.

Rex Parker said...

1/2 as hard as NYT, almost exactly. Still, LAT tough, as you say. NEVER heard of Jello shots with WHISKEY!

Had MUCH trouble in the W/SW until I (finally, head-slappingly) got the EXIT part of EXIT STRATEGY.


CrazyCatLady said...

@Tinbeni I too am familiar with those AARP moments. Though The Blue Boy hangs in the Huntington, there are probably many other Gainsboroughs in the Tate. In 2002 the Tate held an exhibition devoted to Gainsborough. The Huntington wouldn't lend them The Blue Boy since it's their main draw (along with Pinky by Reynolds).
@Fiddleneck Jello shots are Jello made with alcohol, poured into shot glasses and set up in the fridge. Unless you're a big Jello fan, they're not the greatest.

JIMMIE said...

I had Tequila for WHISKEY because of the shooter commonality. Had Chocktaw for CHIPPEWA too, which really messed up the SE corner for a while.

Winced at ANIMA for Archetype even tho Jung thought the feminine principle, which he called the ANIMA, was an archetype, of which there are many. Had the clue been "Jungian archtype for the feminine principle," It would have tied to 30D in a way. Otherwise, awesome.

CrazyCatLady said...

Sorry! Pinkie by Lawrence. What was I thinking?

Anonymous said...

Fort Lauderdale SunSentinel published the puzzle w/o column #14!! Impossible to solve!!