8.02.2010

MONDAY August 2, 2010
Allan E. Parrish



Theme: Lazy River — Theme answers are familiar two-word phrases where the meaning of the last word can relate to a river.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Soft mattress topper (FEATHER BED).
  • 26A: Edison's electrical preference (DIRECT CURRENT).
  • 44A: Government-owned financial institutions (NATIONAL BANKS).
  • 57A: "Show Boat" classic, and where to find the ends of 17-, 26- and 44-Across (OL' MAN RIVER).

Seems like there are a few entries in this puzzle that are a little surprising for a Monday. Not off-the-charts or anything, and crosses are all good, so I'm not saying their unfair. In fact, I think I'm saying it's nice to see a little something different on Monday. I'm talking, of course, about RADNOR, FABI and, to a certain extent, even SASHAYS (which I wanted to be "struts") (9D: Philadelphia suburb / 52D: Formula One racer Teo __ / 41D: Walks with attitude).

I'm not exactly sure what to make of the theme. I get it that the last words can relate to rivers, but why "Ol' Man River" specifically? I thought maybe BED, CURRENT, and BANKS were actually words in the song, but they're not. And, obviously, BED, CURRENT, and BANKS aren't exclusively to the Mississippi (which is what "Old Man River" generally refers to), so yeah. It's fine. But it's not awesome. We are, however, treated to a little Scrabbliness with NIKITA, CAPSIZE, SHAQ, and MR. X (21A: '50s-'60s USSR leader Khrushchev / 43D: Turn over at sea / 51D: NBAer O'Neal / 59D: Mysterious guy), so we've got that going for us.

Bullets:
  • 23A: Grafton's "__ for Corpse" (C IS). Have we talked about these books before? Sue Grafton writes a series of mystery novels that starts with "A Is for Alibi," and goes through the alphabet from there. I don't know how far she's gotten. I listened to an audiobook of one of them several years ago and didn't love it, so I haven't really kept up.
  • 31A: Bills with George on them (ONES). See also 8D: Prez on a penny (ABE).
  • 33A: "No Strings Attached" pop group ('N SYNC). Justin Timberlake's old group. I just happened to be watching this clip yesterday:


  • 48A: Big mouth, in slang (YAP). As in "Shut yer yap!"
  • 60A: Scold severely (FLAY). I'm thinking that FLAY has a much more violent meaning than "scold." … Yep: "to strip off the skin or surface of." I'd prefer if "scold" was the first definition that came to my mind instead of the other.
  • 45D: Customs levy (IMPOST). I'm pretty sure I've never heard this word before. Is that possible?
  • 49D: Big Broadway hit, in slang (BOFF). We talked about BOFFO in CW101 not too long ago. I guess that extra syllable is just too much sometimes.
  • 54D: __ Ration: pet food (KEN-L). Is it my imagination or have we been seeing this a lot lately?
Crosswordese 101: When I first started doing crossword puzzles seriously, I kept getting tripped up by UVEA. "Eye part," four letters? Gotta be "iris," right? Wrong. The iris is actually part of the UVEA, which is why UVEA is sometimes clued as "Iris site" or "Iris holder." Other clues you might see are "Eye layer," "Optic layer," or 2D: Eye layer containing the iris. You might also keep in mind that the word UVEA comes from the Latin word for "grape."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 56A: Workplace protection org. (OSHA).
  • 63A: Online help pages, briefly (FAQ'S).
  • 53D: Nike competitor (AVIA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Money in Mumbai (RUPEE); 6A: Lose effectiveness, as painkillers, with "off" (WEAR); 10A: Wild or Old region (WEST); 14A: Pole vault, e.g. (EVENT); 15A: Palindromic pop group (ABBA); 16A: Big fair (EXPO); 19A: Eagerly excited (AGOG); 20A: Monterey County seat that's the birthplace of John Steinbeck (SALINAS); 24A: Set aside for later (STORE); 32A: Roman moon goddess (LUNA); 36A: NBA position (CTR.); 37A: Grazing land (PASTURE); 39A: Small taste (SIP); 40A: Composer of marches (SOUSA); 42A: Like most pets (TAME); 43A: Fashion's Chanel (COCO); 47A: Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil (SIMMS); 49A: Diocese leader (BISHOP); 52A: Abandon (FORSAKE); 61A: Croat's neighbor (SERB); 62A: Online read (E-ZINE); 64A: City transport (TAXI); 65A: Real bargains (DEALS); 1D: NFL arbiters (REFS); 3D: Ring loudly (PEAL); 4D: Draws in (ENTICES); 5D: Cultural, as cuisine (ETHNIC); 6D: Major conflicts (WARS); 7D: Flow away, as a tide (EBB); 10D: Loses strength (WEAKENS); 11D: Former soldier (EX-GI); 12D: Dick and Jane's dog (SPOT); 13D: Forum garb (TOGA); 18D: "Born in __": Cheech Marin film (EAST L.A.); 22D: Good-night girl of song (IRENE); 24D: Beach bronzings (SUNTANS); 25D: Psychological shock (TRAUMA); 26D: Medicos (DOCS); 27D: Division word (INTO); 28D: Show over (RERUN); 29D: Standard practice (CUSTOM); 30D: Boxing's "Iron Mike" (TYSON); 34D: Shaver's mishap (NICK); 35D: USN noncoms (CPO'S); 37D: Barbecue site (PATIO); 38D: Trust, as a friend (RELY ON); 46D: Kept out (BARRED); 50D: Land in el mar (ISLA); 55D: "__ Tu": 1974 hit (ERES); 58D: Grazing land (LEA).

33 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Good morning y’all!

A nice challenging puzzle for a Monday. Thanks, Allan.
It took me a while to see the theme and I really struggled with the bottom center.

Was sure that 45D was IMPORT for “Customs levy” (IMPOST) and had Mad MAX for 59D “Mysterious guy” (MRX).

Something that amazes me--- I’ve been doing CWP’s all my life and have never run into KENL Ration before, but in the last few weeks I’ve seen it 4 times. Is there some subliminal H. J. Heinz advertising blitz that’s being promoted here?

Should we even trust any NATIONAL BANKS anymore?

One of the things that I like about CWP’s is the musical reminiscence that occurs.
I just love that Mocedades song, ERES TU, and the melody just keeps going through my mind.
But then the Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein tune, OL’ MAN RIVER, can do that to you also. Paul Robeson… what a voice!
Now ABBA is one of my fave groups, but I won’t post any of theirs, because anything they did would surely echo though my head all day long.
I guess it’s not all bad to have a jaunty little lilt to sing on an early Monday morning.

Off to my favorite café!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Thanks, Puzzlegirl, for a fun writeup. I too thought of Gilda when I saw RADNOR (sic). Thanks for explaining UVEA. Why do I always think of that little flap thingie (UVULA)? Loved that 'N SYNC comedy bit and the Talking Heads vid clip. Now that's echoing through my head too. ITA about Sue Grafton's books... meh! Clever titles, but not much else.

Middletown Bomber said...

Easy Monday Puzzle. I have noticed a Philadelphia Suburban High School trend last week with Conestoga and this week with Radnor.

Tinbeni said...

As Monday theme's go, this was So-So.

Since I follow Formula-1, FABI was a gimmie.
But I think non-racing fans were in the weeds on this one. Too obscure.

Is RADNOR, the Philly suburb "general knowledge" ?
Easy get from the crosses but a bit obscure also.

C IS for Corpse. These Sue Grafton novels are too easy since the crime/object is usually listed.
Did anyone miss the "C" part of the fill ???

KEN'L Ration, the first time we saw this it was just "___Ration." Now we get it with the ": pet food."
Along with Alpo, I now know a few dog food brands.

Liked seeing NIKITA, COCO & SOUSA.
The line SIMMS YAP got a LOL since I sometimes wished he would shut his yap during football games.

EZINE ... is it just me? I'm tired of the Ezine, Etail, Ecash reference clues/answers.

All-in-all a blase, but FUN, Monday solve.

Sfingi said...

@PuzzleGirl - the NSYNC video was just a black rectangle on my laptop. Do I need a special bit of software?
U is for Undertow, or as John Irving called it, Undertoad.

@Tinbeni - we gotta get used to the e-stuff. It's here to stay awhile, until the next new thing.

For a Monday, I was slaughtered. Had 2 Naticks:
1. SIMMS (sports) crosses IMPOST, a word I just didn't know. Super Bowl 21 was in 1987. Are there really people who know the MVP then? I know the answer is yes. And the USA keeps falling behind in math. Go figure.
2. BOFF crosses FLAY. In my dictionary, A BOFF is impersonal quickie sex. FLAY is much worse than a scolding. To FLAY someone is to lash layers of flesh off him, a punishment rarely survived.

Did not actually know RADNOR (though I should, since a cousin lived in Paoli), NSYNC or Milanese Teo FABI (sports), but they were not subjects of Naticks,

Mini-theme; Grazing land = PASTURE, LEA.

Note: I asked Hubster if Dick and Jane's dog was SPOT, and he said he didn't know, since Catholic schools had David and Ann, whereupon he began reciting the first four pages of that secret document.

Van55 said...

Pretty fresh Monday fare. I liked it even though the theme seems a bit mundane.

Tinbeni said...

@Sfingi
If Van55 can hate the Roman Numeral clues then I can hate the ezine, etail, ecash ...
eclues in my crosswords.

Along with the Grafton "letter" is for _____ ?
Oh, What is the "letter" ???
Is Alibi an "A" ???
Is Burglar a "B" ???
Is Deadbeat a "D" ???
Is Undertow a "U" ???
Are these clues "Stupid" ???

They are tired, cop-outs by the constructors IMHO.

Zeke said...

Had all the same questions as PG, as in how the hell does FLAY get in a puzzle? Same yawns.
My question is, how is a FEATHERBED a Soft Mattress Topper? The FEATHERBED is the mattress, it's not a soft thing you put on top of a mattress.

Ruth said...

@sfingi, I can vouch for SPOT and I believe their cat was named PUFF. Insipid dumb stuff for first graders! Ah, the 50's.
And I'm not a football fan, but my hubby is a life-long Giants fan and Phil Simms has entered my consciousness (even then, had to get a couple of crosses before I could remember his last name. But I could PICTURE him! He's a commentator now)

Anonymous said...

(A different anonymous)

Fully agree that the Grafton clues are pointless. Might as well just print the answer.

I feel the theme is weak when two of the three clues are questionable. As was pointed out feather bed is not a mattress topper. And since when does the government own national banks? They may be Federally chartered but they are privately owned.

While a little more challenging that some previous Monday puzzles it was a pretty uneven effort.

Anonymous said...

@A diff. Anon 9:18
There are NATIONAL BANKS in other countries than the USA.

Eric said...

@Tinbeni & anon: I'd argue that Grafton novel titles are a crosswordese pattern (as opposed to the usual discrete words) -- and as such, no more or less of a copout than any other crosswordese. BTW, running one the other way -- "W is for _____" -- would provide a genuine challenge (for us non-Grafton-fans at least). The first letter would be a gimme, but not the entire answer.

Never heard of Radnor, PA, but given RADN_R, I figured the missing letter was a tossup between E and O. Thinking of Gilda, I typed an E until the last cross corrected me.

I knew the "Show Boat classic" right off, but typed the "D", which made it not fit, which meant I erased the whole thing and had to wait for a bunch of crosses to tell me I was on the right track all along, and finally got OL[no-D] MAN RIVER.

IMPOST is vaguely familiar, but feels archaic to me (though neither of the listings for it at dictionary.reference.com describes it as such).

@PG: "Is it my imagination or have we been seeing [KEN-L] a lot lately?" I've noticed that words come in waves. For a while, you'll see OLLA (for example) in what seems like every second or third puzzle, and then it'll pretty much go away, and then resurface. Recently we've been having quite a tsunami of ERSE.

It can happen with non-crosswordese too -- witness the recent convoy of CONESTOGAs. My theory: constructors shamelessly steal from each other. "Ooh, conestoga's a great word! Quick: add it to my clue list." Then, although each constructor tries to avoid overusing it in their own puzzles, well, everybody gets to use it once; hence the burst.

KEN-L Ration is obscure enough not to have been in anybody's word list until one person used it and everyone else cribbed it -- but also, I presume, it's odd enough in form to be useful in making the grid work. As such, my guess is that within a year it'll be in the CW101 list :-)

According to Wikipedia and Wisegeek, ET AL, a featherbed is indeed a mattress topper -- a puffy, down-filled one to add softness.

John Wolfenden said...

Proof that Monday puzzles don't have to be boring. DIRECT CURRENT was one of the few things Edison was wrong about...it can't be transmitted nearly as far as alternating current, and can kill you. Since he had the patent on DC he engaged in an aggressive smear campaign against alternating current that involved zapping various animals to death with lethal voltages of AC, including an elephant. He was a pretty ruthless guy.

Anyway, fun to see in a Monday for sure.

TAE said...

You guys will regret not listening to me some day soon. The best, most ecologically responsible lighting? - LEDs. You know why you have to spend $75 for a 60 watt equivalent bulb? For the damn AD/DC converter (itself a huge power waster). Take it from me, any LEED certified new construction within the next 5 years will have separate DC lines throughout the house for lighting.

CrazyCatLady said...

I agree that this had a little bit of bite for a Monday, but nothing special about the theme. I used to have a FEATHERBED on top of my mattress. Then I got a Tempurpedic and will never go back. I had trouble with IMPOST, SIMMS and FABI. Also had LETT again for SERB. I'm always confusing SERBs, Slavs, Croats, Letts et al. Maybe we need a CW 101 on that subject. Tinbeni?

Loved the shout out to RADNOR, PA. On Wednesday I travel to suburban Philly for my 40th HS reunion (OMG). I'll be staying with my family in Devon, a couple of towns away from RADNOR on "the Main Line" which includes Paoli, Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, Ardmore, Wayne, etc. I'll also get to see my niece and nephews that went to CONESTOGA HS and their kiddos. Liked CAPSIZE and NIKITA. Not so much FLAY. Remember SPOT and Puff well. Those were silly books, but I liked Puff.
@PG Nice Monday write up. Thanks for the clip of my favorite Talking Heads song.

C said...

Interesting puzzle for a Monday. Never heard of RADNOR, didn't need to as the crosses took care of my lack of knowledge. Learned something new today.

I really liked CAPSIZE and SASHAYS though now I have an early 70's David Bowie song going through my head because of SASHAYS.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

FWIW, for those of you who challenged the use of FEATHERBED as a mattress topper. Last week I purchased a Nautica FeatherBed Mattress Topper from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Check it out. It's a good way to fix up an old worn out mattress and oooo it feels soooo comfy!!!

The Tesla vs. Edison AC vs. DC WAR OF CURRENTS is very interesting.

wilsch said...

I was in RADNOR in May. I took me an hour to drive there and then another 45 minutes to drive the last mile. Good puzzle - seemed like a Wednesday.

Sfingi said...

@Tinbeni - Sorry. You can and may hate it all you want.

@Ruth - still don't know who SIMMS is. Looked him up. Nice looking blond, a decade younger than I. I don't think any clue would have conjured him up for me, but a Super Bowl number is extreme.

@John (both) - I'm one of those crazy ladies who love Tesla. I keep a huge file on him. And I promise not to wear pearls in his presence. Edison was a mean SOB.
@TAE - how local will the origin of the DC lines be?

tae said...

@Sfingi - Don't really know that. I do know that when we tried to sell my father's house, he still had DC lines running throughout which had to be removed, and it wasn't that old. The truth is, AC is extremely efficient in getting to your house, way less so once it's in your house. Yeah, I am (was) a mean son of a bitch, but my lights are cheaper and more efficient than Tesla's.

Formula One racer Teo said...

Should we even trust any NATIONAL BANKS anymore?
Formula One racer Teo Profile

Tinbeni said...

@Sfingi
I like the idea @Eric had about how the Grafton novels being clued.
"A is for____?" could be arson, alibi, alimony ... (hint, it's listed above).

Going out on a limb, but if anyone said they didn't get the "C" from the clues Corpse I'd probably faint.

Now if the clue was @Eric's "W is for____?" it would be tough since her next book "V is for___?" awaits publication.

As for the EZINE etal ... I guess they're here to stay, like the RN's, and they'll get a sigh each time I see them.

@JNH
They had a great show about Tesla on the History Channel over the weekend.
Currently, I'm watching Dr.Zhivago on TCM.
Seems to me you like this movie.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Tinbeni
I saw that Tesla show too. The guy was more than a genius. Wireless transmission of electricity?? We laugh now, but didn't we laugh years ago when Dick Tracy suggested the forerunner of the wireless phone?
When I was a kid (teenager) I built a Van de Graaff generator and made my own lightning... amused all the long-haired neighbor kids (and animals)! Then I graduated up to a full-blown tesla coil... yikes! That poor cat that came too close. CCL FYI: The cat lived, but I think that coil used up 8 of his lives. That's when my mom made me get rid of "Old Tesla".

And yes, Doctor Zhivago is on my top-ten-best-movie list. If it's not on yours, watch the movie and it will be.

ddbmc said...

I wanted 1A: Money in Mumbai to be MOOLA. So much more alliterative!
Knew Simms-can't live in Giant's territory and not know-but @Sfingi, I'm not that keen on all the sport's clues either! FABI? Never, ever watch NASCAR (except for the crashes on the news!) SHAQ was born in Newark, NJ, so got that one-REFS are used in NFL AND hockey (the one sport I DO know!)RADNOR,PA also close to numerous hockey rinks (Haverford, Valley Forge, Aston Ice, Ice Line-sorry, tmi!) Gilda was a favorite, tho.

Agree with @PG, I've seen BOFFO not BOFF (and yep, heard it as a quickie!)IMPOST=new to me!
Prefer Bobby FLAY any day! He has a great recipe for Roasted Corn Guacamole with grilled scallops!Roasted Corn Guacamole! Much tastier than KEN'L Ration.

Some great words today: UVEA, ENTICES, TRAUMA, CAPSIZE, SASHAYS.

My son bought a FEATHERBED for the top of his college dorm bed, like @JNH got it from BB&Beyond.
@JNH-had breakfast out this AM and thought of you! French Raisin Toast and Canadian bacon. Yum!
@CCL, my 40th Reunion is next Sept! Have fun at yours!
@Tin, does watching "Dr. Zhivago" keep you cooler in this heat? Just wonderin'.

Sfingi said...

@ddbmc - that recipe sounds good - no hot peppers, but yes guacamole. Someday I'll have a live-in cook like the Brady bunch. But I'll have more than one bathroom.

@Formula 1 Racer - Couldn't get that site, either.

Mitch Miller died - just reported - at 99.

@John - You had nerve. According to Dr. G, the 3rd cause of unnecessary deaths is being a guy and trying extreme things.

I think I was Tesla's pigeon in a previous life. Everyone else can have Cleopatra.

John Wolfenden said...

I can see using LEDs as supplemental ambient lighting, but they're pretty dim compared to CFs or incandescents. As inefficient as incandescents are, I find their color temperature much more pleasing than the alternatives. My office is all CFs and I can tolerate their bluish light in that context. Don't know if there's any way to fix that.

Eric said...

@Tinbeni: I edited down my Grafton remarks after seeing you'd already commented. The original explained my point using this hypothetical clue: "Sue Grafton novel: '_____ for Whatever'". (For me personally, the "W is for _____" variant would be more than just a challange, even if it did refer to a real book; it would be a pop-culture have-to-$*&(@(-Google-it clue. :-/)

@John Wolfenden: You'd be surprised. They're now making LED stage lighting. The trick is that each unit contains lots of LEDs. Here's the catalogue entry for an LED PAR can, picked at random off the web; the writeup says it throws as much light as a 300-W incandescent unit, but draws only 30 W. I'm not vouching for that claim, just repeating it, but I can tell you from experience that the things are plenty bright. As for the colour temperature of white LEDs, there I totally agree with you. I wouldn't want to light my living space with the things ... but they do exist.

mac said...

Wow, what a thread!
Very nice puzzle, this is a good day.

Eric said...

@John W: I forgot to mention: check out CFs with a colour temperature in the 2500-3000 K range. They're a lot closer to incandescents than are 6500-K CFs. (And they're a lot nicer than the weird pinkish "warm white" non-compact flourescent tubes I remember from when I was a kid.) See the comparison photos in the Wikipedia article.

I made my first foray into CF-land with a box of 2700-K bulbs (they happen to be Philips; I don't know whether that matters). I'm sure they're theoretically not as good as incandescent, but in practice I can't tell the difference.

For reference: "K" = "degrees Kelvin". Lower number = redder light; higher = bluer. I'm sure that's a huge oversimplification, but like the 2700-K bulbs themselves, it works for me :-)

ddbmc said...

And we Red Sox fans know that the Citgo sign, near Fenway will soon be lit with newer LED's! They've shut the sign down to re-fit it with more efficient lights. The old LEDs that were in place were no longer being manufactured. L is for LED?
BTW, @PG, I opened the blog in a different browser and was able to see the SNL immigrant skit (Cry Me a River) Good laugh! Thanks!
@Sfingi, I got that recipe from B. Flay's "Bold American Food" cb. Highly recommend and you can certainly add items, to taste.

CrazyCatLady said...

@JNH I glad to hear the cat lived, but it probably had "twisted whiskers." That's cat talk for loony tunes. @ddmc great guac recipe! Thanks. Ah yes, the 40th. Should be fun although I'm not looking forward to east coast humidity.
@John Wolfenden Agree about not wanting those lighting sources in my home. Usually I try to be environmentally friendly. I once tried CFs in my bathroom. Totally not happening.
@mac a belated congrats on the Netherlands World Cup win!

CrazyCatLady said...

I'M glad to hear....

Anonymous said...

The Netherlands lost the World Cup to Spain... just saying