FRIDAY, July 30, 2010
Ron and Nancy Byron

Theme: Brrrrrr! — Familiar phrases that start with a B are changed to start with BR, creating new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Short-lived agitation? (BRIEF STEW). [beef stew]
  • 24A: Government security for the blind? (BRAILLE BOND). [bail bond]
  • 34A: Places to buy orthopedic products? (BRACE STATIONS). [base station]
  • 50A: Reserved section for an eight-time stolen base champ? (BROCK'S SEATS). [box seats]
  • 56A: Place with thugs in tents? (BRUTE CAMP). [boot camp]
Tough one again today. I'm liking that we have to work a little harder on this puzzle than we're used to. It reminds me of the good old days. This theme really kept me hopping today. It took me a while to figure it out and even after puzzling out the first theme answer to the point where I understood what was going on, I had to really think to get the rest of the theme answers. I was very happy to see that every theme answer required a change in spelling from the base phrase to the resulting phrase. It seems like we've been seeing inconsistencies with that lately and I really didn't feel like ranting about that today. Let's get right to it:

  • 16A: Qatar University city (DOHA). I recently learned how to pronounce "Qatar" and it isn't what I expected. (From what I understand it's pronounced a lot like "cutter" except the stress on each syllable is pretty much equal.)
  • 17A: Cold (ALGID). The Cruciverb.com data base indicates that this word has been used in the major puzzles six times since 1999. Frankly, I don't think that's a good enough reason to keep using it.
  • 22A: Una y __ vez: time and time again (OTRA). Spanish!
  • 26A: Rahm Emanuel's talent agent brother (ARI). I actually went to the same college as Ari Emanuel (and his roommate Peter Berg) for one year but don't remember Ari at all. Which seems impossible knowing what we know about him today.
  • 31A: "I'll have a grande decaf triple vanilla 2% __, please" (LATTE). Starbucks humor!
  • 39A: Toast opening, across the pond (ERES). I do not know what this means.
  • 41A: Stand-up guys? (NO-SHOWS). I like the trickiness of this clue. Guys who make a date with you but "stand you up" can be referred to as NO-SHOWS.
  • 46A: "Buy __ drink?": bar come-on (ME A). I'd like to see this one combined with 31A as a "coffee bar come-on": "Buy me a grande decaf triple vanilla 2% latte ... sailor?"
  • 55A: American Society of Magazine Editors annual awards (ELLIES). No idea.
  • 61A: "Hooked on Classics" record co. (K-TEL). And by "classics" they mean songs I grew up to. ::sigh::
  • 1D: Actor who was a 1932 swimming gold medalist (CRABBE). I'm sure I've heard of Buster CRABBE before, but I needed every cross today. CRABBE played Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers. Cool.
  • 2D: Former Texas team (OILERS). This is how long it's been since I've followed pro football. Me: "The Houston Oilers aren't a team any more?"
  • 4D: "Who's there?" answer (IT IS I). Nobody says this. We all know that. But it's going to keep appearing in puzzles so we should probably just try to get past it.
  • 5D: Lincoln rival (CADILLAC). Random free association video comin' right up!

  • 11D: "No time to talk now" ("GOTTA RUN"). If you've been paying any attention at all, you know I love seeing these kinds of colloquial phrases in the grid.
  • 31D: Small hair piece (LASH). Tried "lock" first. I didn't realize the clue was referring to a really small hair piece.
  • 37D: Unlike filibusters (TERSE). My first thought was "rare." That's really sad. (If you like this comic, check out the artist's website.)
  • 38D: Making out too much lately (IN A SLUMP). I like my clues tricky but there's a line and this one crossed it for me. Just a little bit too much. (For anyone who didn't quite get it, "out" in this clue refers to baseball. A baseball player who makes outs, as opposed to hits, is IN A SLUMP.)
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Like volcanoes (CONIC); 6A: John follower (ACTS); 10A: IRS workers (AGTS.); 14A: Item of rodeo gear (RIATA); 15A: K follower (-MART); 20A: Blues legend Smith (BESSIE); 23A: Alley prowler (TOM); 27A: Ballpark fig. (EST.); 28A: Flee (LAM); 29A: Whale's blowhole, e.g. (NOSTRIL); 33A: "Earth's Children" series author (AUEL); 40A: Bluebirds, to some (OMENS); 45A: Part of un giorno (ORA); 49A: Ring stat (TKO); 53A: Sushi selection (EEL); 54A: Vintner's prefix (OENO-); 59A: Extreme (ULTRA); 60A: Software test version (BETA); 62A: Spiteful sort (MEANY); 63A: Paradise (EDEN); 64A: '60s-'70s Japanese leader (SATO); 65A: Jimmies (PRIES); 3D: Pesters (NAGS AT); 6D: Dipl. official (AMB.); 7D: Tree pod also called the locust bean (CAROB); 8D: Neptune's largest moon (TRITON); 9D: Canned heat (STERNO); 10D: Some pop-ups (ADS); 12D: Conjectures (THEORIES); 13D: Board producer (SAWMILL); 19D: They don't last (FADS); 21D: Make ecstatic (ELATE); 25D: Initial response team, for short (EMT'S); 30D: New Mexico county or its seat (TAOS); 32D: DDE's command (ETO); 34D: Negotiated (BROKERED); 35D: Steadfast (RESOLUTE); 36D: Wildly (AMOK); 39D: 1976 raid site (ENTEBBE); 42D: Double-reed instrument (OBOE); 43D: Ruins (WRECKS); 44D: Beethoven's "Hammerklavier," e.g. (SONATA); 46D: Tiki cocktail (MAI TAI); 47D: Endless, in poems (ETERNE); 48D: Tests (ASSAYS); 51D: Under-the-sink brand (COMET); 52D: "Oklahoma!" aunt (ELLER); 57D: You might get one at the pool (TAN); 58D: Mahmoud Abbas's gp. (PLO).



Nice puzzle but far too easy for a Friday LAT... I finished it at Mother's Diner before my 3rd cup of coffee, but hey, I never had to use Google or a dictionary and that made me feel good.
Aside from EEL, ERES, AUEL, ETERNE, and OENO, there wasn't a lot of crosswordese-like fill.
In a way the theme lacks consistency, but that's because removing the R creates a familiar pair of words PHONETICALLY. Something the critics may hammer at.
ALGID is not as commonly used as FRIGID when referring to being "cold". A person who is algid is marked by prostration and has cold clammy skin and low blood pressure.
K-TEL was a bit obscure for me.
The "Empress", BESSIE Smith, the greatest blues singer of all time.


CAROB chips are an edible product, similar to chocolate chips, made from CAROB pods. They are used in baking and in trail mixes, often used as a substitute for chocolate chips. What are commonly called "Locust Beans" are actually Ceratonia siliqua (CAROB) pods. Contrary to what most people think, the CAROB consumed by humans is actually the dried (and sometimes roasted) pod, and not the 'nuts' or seeds inside the pods. As in honey locust trees and redbuds, the "pods" are more accurately called "siliques" by botanists.

Van55 said...

I entered the detestable alphabet run LMNO for "K follower" and was delighted that it ended up being my only write over. Enjoyed the meatiness of this one.


39A "Toast opening, across the pond" (ERES)... cockney "Here's to you".

Sfingi said...

@John - gee whiz - 3/4 of the entries? I GOTTA change this. I got the theme, but found this difficult, but not as bad as yesterday; it had half the sports' clues. But I did Google almost as much.
John - CAROB doesn't make it as a chocolate sub in my book. Nutella gets closer (hazelnut). Even people who don't eat chocolate get high on the smell. Carob smells like dust.

Got CRABBE from Hubster as a choice of 2 possibles.
Lou BROCK - naturally new to me. A lefty, and 2nd most steals.

NOSHOWS - didn't see it correctly, after it appeared. Thought it might be Jewish gangsters. Nosh-ohs. Whatever.

Haven't kept up with AUEL's books, since I rarely read fiction anymore, life being too short at 65. Neither did I know ELLER or DOHA. SATO was even difficult to Google for.

Now this ELLIE thing. Googled ASME and discovered they gave many awards. Looked at images, which included a statuette that I thought, "Looks like a Calder Elephant." And it was. Nice to know. It is their Award for General Excellence.

I didn't like LAM as a verb. But that is so allowable in English.

MAITAI or Zombie as the best Tiki cocktail? Where are the drinkers when you want them.

@Vans - I decided to wait for that and for Lincoln rival.

*David* said...

This was a bit more difficult then typical Friday LATs have been, which is a good thing. I had lots of fill all over the place but no fingerhold which was bothing me a bit. ENTEBBE broke it open for me and I finished that corner and got the theme. With the theme, the puzzle broke pretty easy.

There was one cross which I felt was iffy with ELLIES/ELLER, neither common terms. I guessed the right letter but still. My other section I needed the down to get through was COMET crossing KTEL and SATO.

I did enjoy the themes especially seeing Lou Brock again, now we need some Ozzie Smith love.

Zeke said...

@PG - You have now become my favorite person I've never met. Putting Keb up there was the tipping point.

Tinbeni said...

TIKI cocktail?
Well I put a little umbrella in my Scotch glass.

This was a slog.
Figured out it was Friday, "add a letter, get wachy phrase" day.
BRAILLE BOND got the themes rolling.
Knew Neptune's largest moon was TRITON or I would have entered the alphabet run at K-MART.
Who's there? IT IS I! Why is this showing up so often?
Is Am.Soc.of Mag. Editors award, ELLIES common knowledge?

OK, what did I like?
8 time stolen base champ, BROCKS SEATS.
Thought both IN A SLUMP and NO SHOWS were cleverly clued.

Anonymous said...

Google to the Rescue: ENTEBBE

First Theme Clue Solved: BROCKSSEATS

Didn't really understand the theme until somehow I figured out: BRUTECAMP. (My newspaper does not print the theme).

Weakest Theme Answer: BRACESTATIONS. What is a base station? Does anyone call a place they buy things a station? Or is there is a context that I am missing.

Weakest clue: Making out too much lately: IN A SLUMP. didn't understand it until I read PG's explanation. And I consider myself a baseball fan.

Learned a new word: ALGID

Best Clue: Stand-up Guys? Even after I had it filled in (with the google help to get ENTEBBE), I still had to look at it twice to parse it as NO-SHOWS.

Anonymous said...

@JNH Robert Johnson. Skip James. James Cotton. Bessie cracks the top ten.

Rube said...

Like @pg I like GOTTARUN, but dislike NAGSAT... reminds me of "eats at", which I really dislike... sloppy. Otherwise I enjoyed this puzzle. WOTD is ALGID. Had to dig deep in the little grey cells to find CRABBE, ENTEBBE, and Lou Brock, but they were there, (still!).

Saw the clue to 31D, "small hair piece", and thought a woman constructor. Sure enough, or at least half of the team. If I had clued that, it would be something like ____ Larue.

Got stumped with Auel again. Will have to investigate this author. Don't think I've ever heard of K-TEL... thought of Time-Life at first. ELLIES? If you say so.

Put "you" for "Buy ___ Drink". Then thought, no, must be MEA, then thought, that's awfully forward. Is that the way it's done these days or is that still the domain of the hooker?

stucolco said...

I had trouble with 39A and I grew up in the UK. I can only conclude that it is the abbreviated version of the beginning of a toast "Heres to...." with the "h" dropped as might be the case for a cockney Londoner.

Fowler said...

I found this fairly easy. Maybe it depends on one's age, as I got CRABBE immediately from childhood recollections of Flash Gordon. All fell into place more easily for me than on most Fridays. 'ERE'S (as a Cockney toast) fell right into place. Only ALGID seemed weird, but the cross clues filled that for me.

Joon said...

welcome back, qatar!

C said...

My experience was similar to @*David*, frustrated in not gaining much of a toe hold in the puzzle then hit the ENTEBBE answer and it was on from there.

Good puzzle.

mac said...

Tougher than I'm used to with the LAT, but that's only good. Sorry, still a little tired after all the travel so not around fully yet. I'll be back!

Sfingi said...

@Anon921 - I used to think the newspaper gave the theme. No, it's figured out, and PuzzleGirl gives it a name. Or, Rex at the NYT forum. USA Today does give the theme, but that puzzle doesn't increase in difficulty as the week progresses.

@Rube - K-TEL is oldster stuff.
I thought at "buy MEA drink," "Do guys do that now?" Never occurred to me it was a girl. Like you say, a working girl.

@Tinbeni - Ellie is new to me, but check out the classy statuette. A black Alexander Calder elephant.
I don't drink unless it's well disguised - say, with chocolate syrup. And even then, I better not try to stand up. I pass out from Novacaine, or any other downer. I just heard of another death from likker, so I count it as a blessing to be so intolerant.

HUTCH said...

Any chance it could be__"eres tu"? Here's to you!

Anonymous said...

Am I up to early for Saturday? By the way, the 30th was Friday, not Thursday.