SATURDAY, July 24, 2010
Mark Diehl

Theme: None

Wow — tough, tough puzzle today! Tough cluing, awesome long entries, misdirection, sparkly fill — welcome back, late-week LAT!

I can't say that I knew ADAM BALDWIN's name off the top of my head (or at all), even though I watched the first couple seasons of "Chuck" religiously (1A: Co-star of TV's "Chuck"). I'm guessing he's the guy who plays Captain Awesome. Let me see … Nope. He's Casey, the crazy NSA agent. Funny, funny guy. I would have had a better chance guessing if I remembered anything about MY BODYGUARD (56A: 1980 film debut for 1-Across).

Of course, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention DADOED and RACKER (2D: Grooved, in carpentry / 42D: Eightball loser, often). They are, to me, the ugliest things in the grid. It's interesting that they're symmetrical though. Makes me think it was planned that way. And besides, I think I'm more disgusted with the clue for NO SALT (11D: Margarita option). What's the point of a margarita with NO SALT?!

As for the 15s, I love BORDERLINE CASES (14A: Situations that aren't clear-cut), even though it's clued straightforwardly. I don't think I'm familiar with ROCK 'N' ROLL IS KING (52A: 1983 ELO hit with the lyric "She loves that drivin' beat"), but wouldn't be surprised if I find it on YouTube and go "Oh that song!" (I admit I tried Rock 'N' Roll Is Dead at first.) …. Nope. Just found it on YouTube and it's a Chuck Berry rip-off that I don't recall ever hearing before.

  • 12A: One might raise the roof (CRANE OPERATOR). Great clue.
  • 16A: State with a five-sided flag (OHIO). I did not know that.
  • 27A: Kind of well (ARTESIAN). No idea what this clue was going for. Health? Steak?
  • 36A: Exude an air of disinterest (BLOW COLD). I'm one of those people who recognizes a distinction between uninterest and disinterest. I'm not sure this clue is accurate.
  • 4D: Hired gun, briefly (MERC). Short for mercenary.
  • 5D: Official ties of New Mexico (BOLOS). I had no idea New Mexico had an official tie. I did learn recently that Wisconsin has a state microbe though.
  • 14D: Tony-winning star of "Where's Charley?" (1948) (BOLGER). When I finally had enough crosses in place, I realized this was probably Ray BOLGER, more famous for playing the Scarecrow in "The Wizard of Oz."
  • 39D: Triage MD (ER DOC). With the D from ADDS in place (48A: Goes on to say), I tried medic first. Tricky!
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Everything Else — 17A: Raccoon kin (COATI); 18A: Multipurpose lyrics (LA LA); 19A: Story (LEVEL); 21A: Cat lead-in (SNO-); 22A: Plush, in a way (PILED); 23A: Top quality (GRADE A); 25A: Oregon Trail river (PLATTE); 26A: It's often smoked in Sweden (EEL); 31A: Some rtes. (RDS.); 32A: Luminescent critter (FIREFLY); 33A: Org. that infiltrated Germany in the '40s (OSS); 37A: Balderdash (PAP); 38A: For only a select few (SECRET); 41A: Very much (SORELY); 43A: Aquiline nose, e.g. (TRAIT); 44A: Area between N. and S. Korea (DMZ); 47A: Capital east of Dhaka (HANOI); 49A: One of the fire signs (ARIES); 51A: "Let's go!" ("C'MON!"); 55A: They may be spotted at pet stores (CALICO KITTENS); 1D: Airport board heading (ARRIVALS); 3D: Hydrocarbon suffix (-ANE); 6D: Like bees (APIAN); 7D: Tempo marking (LENTO); 8D: Bavarian trio (DREI); 9D: Mil. branch from 1943 to 1978 (WAC); 10D: Restaurant guide category (ITALIAN); 12D: Stuck (COHERED); 13D: Got a new tenant for (RELET); 15D: 1986 Best New Artist Grammy winner (SADE); 20D: Certain handout (LEAFLET); 22D: Toy in resealable cans (PLAYDOH); 24D: "__ is the language of the unheard": M.L. King Jr. (A RIOT); 25D: Dispensary stock (PILLS); 28D: Credit checker Experian, formerly (TRW); 29D: Continental trade org. (EEC); 30D: Virgin America hub: Abbr. (SFO); 33D: Negotiating asset (OPEN MIND); 34D: Watering holes (SALOONS); 35D: Bond activity? (SPYING); 36D: How a cool wind blows (BRISKLY); 38D: Macy's logo (STAR); 40D: High-tech engineering acronym (CADCAM); 44D: Title name in an unfinished Dickens work (DROOD); 45D: Whitish (MILKY); 46D: Chameleon-like Woody Allen character (ZELIG); 49D: String music direction (ARCO); 50D: In __: as found (SITU); 53D: Tip of a pen (NIB); 54D: RR depot (STA.).



Well today I was a RACKER!
Too many movie and pop music clues for me!
I went along just fine until I got to that nasty SE corner and I SORELY needed help from Google. The down crosses at the top made solution of the 11, 13, and 15 letter entries come easily, but the bottom didn’t quite work that way.

ERDOC, ZELIG, DROOD, and HANOI took some high gray-matter activity.

And RACKER was a total blank for me, never having played pool.

CAD/CAM was my specialty way back in the days when I was an aerospace engineer. It stands for: Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing.


Can someone please explain 30D “Virgin America hub” (SFO)?

Okay, back to my Spinach-Feta Omelet.

Y’all have a terrific weekend!

Anonymous said...

SFO=San Francisco International Airport

Irritated_Prof said...

Started with the wrong Baldwin, Alec and not Adam, and was doomed from the start.

Gene said...

I agree with John, too many proper names and Hanoi is WAY EAST of Dhaka.
Racked my brains for "racker."
This CW delayed my Sat. chores by an hour.

Mark said...

I have never heard of BLOW COLD. Adam Baldwin also appeared in ORDINARY PEOPLE in 1980. I read the novel in high school.

Steve said...

Blazed through the top half and came to a screeching halt in the bottom. SORELY/RACKER crossing was the last to fall. Didn't like 36A & D with BLOW in the across answer and the down clue.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this puzzle and usually spend a long time on the Sat. LAT, but this one had clues that worked well with my brain! It was fun not to labor too hard on it, although "blow cold" was my sticking point.

Rube said...

Had the same problem in the SE as @JNH and @Steve whereby the RACKER/SORELY cross was my last fill. C'MON, everybody 'fess up to putting in noVEL before LEVEL for 19A, Story.

Another problem I had was with COHERED. I guess I've heard this word before, but it's not part of my vocabulary... looks strange, but is looking more familiar every time I look at it.

Dakha is my WOTD. Bangladesh has come up in the world in the last 40 years. I remember all those concerts given in the 70s to feed the starving in Bangladesh.

As a hobbyist cabinetmaker, I've cut many a dado. @PG, DADOED is a beautiful word.

Jeff said...

Wow, what a great puzzle today! Low word count with some great multiple-word entries. Love it!


Anonymous said...

I don't mean to BLOWCOLD but this puzzle was far from GRADEA!

Anonymous said...

re 55a: calico cats are not spotted.

Am I wrong to assume spotted is a play on words?


I agree with most of what you said.
Yes, I had NOVEL instead of LEVEL.
Wanted to use ADHERED instead od COHERED, but that just screwed up the BORDER LINE CASE.
Dakha forced me to use Google Maps... went east and no H---- word for a capital. Hanoi, that's east alright, but sure is far from Dahka.
And you're right, DADOED is a beautiful word if you're into woodworking. So is mortised and tenoned. C'MON @PG, get with it!

Burner 10 said...

But I tried and had some small success in the center- except I really wanted OLD WORLD for some kind of musty air of disinterest.

CrazyCatLady said...

I have to admit that I've never heard of ADAM BALDWIN, "Chuck" or "MY BODY GUARD." Also had NoVEL at first before LEVEL, but I had Floor before I had NoVEL. Was easily able to smack down ARTESIAN right in the middle. There's a naturally occurring ARTESIAN well at the local dog park which creates a perpetual mud puddle in one corner even though there's been no rain for months. Had Abuzz before APIAN and like others ADHERED before COHERED. Just a lucky guess at HANOI. Had no idea what TRW and EEC were. I am officially announcing that I hate obscure acronyms. BLOW COLD was a new one for me too. All in all - a challenging, but rewarding solve for me despite a need to google here and there.

Van55 said...

LAT ends the week with it's third Saturday puzzle in a row. This was just the right amount of challenge for me.

Rex Parker said...

Theme is ADAM BALDWIN. He also starred in the central Across, "Firefly."

This was good, but ERDOC w/ CADCOM (!?!?!) = just ugly.

NJ Irish said...

I’m with PG, this one was tough!

I agree with @Rube on
DADOED, great word along with
mortised and tenoned. This DYI
person learned a lot from watching
TOH (This Old House). Taken up a
few projects that turned out very well thanks to those fine folks. Nailed LEVEL, no pun intended. ;-)

Not a pool player but I think I figured out the RACKER doesn’t get the first shot so can just stand by and watch their opponent empty the table?

Popped medic in before ER DOC

@JNH thanks for the CAD/CAM explanation and straight from an expert.

CIVET before COATI causing quite a
mess to clean up.

@CCL BLOW COLD was a new one for
me too.