T H U R S D A Y   August 12, 2010
Bruce Venzke

Theme: It's All About Me — The word "ego" is hidden within familiar phrases.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "Good job!" ("NICE GOING!").
  • 24A: Hughes Aircraft prototype (SPRUCE GOOSE).
  • 40A: Sermonize (PREACH THE GOSPEL).
  • 52A: Game with discs and baskets (FRISBEE GOLF).
  • 65A: A synonym for it is hidden in 17-, 24-, 40- and 52-Across (INNER SELF).
We just had another glorious day here in Estes Park, Colorado. I've actually never been an outdoors person at all, but I have completely fallen in love with this part of the country. Today we took a relatively easy hike (a little less than three miles round-trip, +~400 vertical feet) to the old Eugenia Mine site. Not a lot to see once you get to the site, but the hike was beautiful and it was a lot of fun watching the PuzzleKids looking for gold in the really really freaking cold water. (Surprisingly, there was none to be found!)

We're also having a pretty good week of puzzles here at the LAT, aren't we?! I couldn't figure out the theme from the first three theme answers, but I thought the theme answer phrases were all lively and the the fill was very smooth. I really enjoyed solving this one.

  • 1A: Eponymous salad creator (COBB). I guess I didn't realize this salad was named by/after a person. Robert Howard Cobb (first cousin of Ty Cobb) owned the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant where the salad was invented in the 1930s. Thanks to Mr. Cobb and everyone at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant! You invented one yummy salad!
  • 5A: "Man Plus" author Frederik (POHL). I can't say that I've ever heard of him — I'm not a big science fiction fan and only know a few sci-fi writers off the top of my head — but I looked him up online and I'm already a fan. He's 90 years old and he has a blog! How cool is that?
  • 14A: Its juice is sometimes used to treat heartburn (ALOE). Whoa. I had no idea.
  • 15A: Award for "Rent" (OBIE). The OBIEs are Off-Broadway theater awards presented annually by The Village Voice.
  • 23A: Gymnast Mary __ Retton (LOU). The first woman to grace the cover of a Wheaties box. You go girl!
  • 44A: Judge of many 36-Across (PAULA). I miss Paula. You just never knew how she was going to be on any given night, you know?
  • 68A: Wrap (STOLE). It's déjà-vu all over again!
  • 5D: Nanki-__, son of the Mikado (POO). Learned it from crosswords. As an aside, the PuzzleFamily and I went out to a Mexican restaurant for lunch and one of the appetizers listed on the menu was a "Mexican Poo Poo Platter." Now I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that's not how you wanna be spelling "pu pu" on a menu.
  • 9D: Title setting for a Mozart abduction (SERAGLIO). "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" ("The Abduction from the Seraglio") is a Mozart opera that premiered in July 1782.
  • 35D: Movie station letters (SHO). Cable television's SHOwtime.
  • 41D: Musket relatives (CARBINES). These are … weapons of some sort?
  • 53D: __-Wreck (RENT-A). Oh yeah, great. Thanks for bringing it up. I had almost forgotten the fact that I had a fender bender in a rental vehicle yesterday that was totally my fault. (Nobody hurt, just embarrassing and expensive.)
  • 60D: A jet or a king (LEAR). Nice clue!
  • 67D: Big game animal (ELK).

  • [Photo by PuzzleSon two days ago out our back door.]
Crosswordese 101: LEDA (38D: Castor's mother) is sometimes clued as "Mythical queen of Sparta," "Moon of Jupiter," "Swan lover of myth," or "Yeats's '___and the Swan.'" But mostly you need to know that she's the mother of Helen of Troy and the twins Castor and Pollux. Don't get her confused with LETO, who is the mother of Artemis and Apollo! I think I'll try to remember that the one that doesn't end in A is the one whose children's names begin with A. We'll see if that works.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 47A: "At Wit's End" author Bombeck (ERMA).
  • 69A: Inland Asian sea (ARAL).
  • 2D: "Chocolat" actress (OLIN).
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Everything Else — 9A: Moral fiber (SPINE); 16A: John of Middlesex (ELTON); 19A: Colorful stable residents (ROANS); 20A: Major malfunction (SNAFU); 21A: Certain analyst's input (DATA); 28A: Moscow ballet theater (BOLSHOI); 32A: Cheerleader's offering (YELL); 33A: Psych finish (-OTIC); 34A: Kin of a 911 call (SOS); 36A: Objects of look-ups? (IDOLS); 45A: Bauxite, e.g. (ORE); 46A: BMW competitor (AUDI); 50A: Persistently chews on (GNAWS AT); 56A: Roulette choice (RED); 57A: Legal letter phrase (IN RE); 58A: Travel guide (ATLAS); 63A: Veggie bin staple (ONION); 70A: Response to a shock (GASP); 71A: Abominations (HATES); 72A: Kin of 63-Across (LEEK); 73A: Walked heavily (TROD); 1D: Preserves, in a way (CANS); 3D: City near West Palm (BOCA); 4D: Gripe (BEEF); 6D: "The Mikado" accessory (OBI); 7D: Veda devotee (HINDU); 8D: Bequest (LEGACY); 10D: West Bank initials (PLO); 11D: "Mr. Palomar" writer Calvino (ITALO); 12D: Things to avoid (NO-NOS); 13D: Occur next (ENSUE); 18D: Flow copiously (GUSH); 22D: Place to start a round (TEE); 25D: Ritzy (POSH); 26D: Very funny person (RIOT); 27D: "Too many cooks ...," e.g. (OLD SAW); 28D: 1995 comet spotter Thomas (BOPP); 29D: Other, in Madrid (OTRA); 30D: Substitution word (LIEU); 31D: Fish features (SCALES); 37D: "Mr. Holland's __" (OPUS); 39D: Letter opening? (SLIT); 42D: "This being the case ..." ("ERGO …"); 43D: DDE, for one (GENL.); 48D: Chess pieces (MEN); 49D: Passé reception aid (AERIAL); 51D: Not at hand, to say the least (AFAR); 52D: College newbie (FROSH); 54D: Fool (IDIOT); 55D: Category (GENRE); 59D: USAF noncom (TSGT); 61D: "Wait, there's more ..." ("ALSO …"); 62D: Calif. group with a seven-point badge (SFPD); 64D: Flamenco cheer (OLÉ); 66D: "In your dreams!" in Dundee (NAE).


jazz said...

POHL and OBIE in the north gave me trouble. Otherwise a decent puzzle with ok theme answers...I dunno, but hiding a three-letter word in 9,11 or 15 letter answers just doesn't fill me with awe.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

TSGT seemd like a reach to me, as did the cluing for SFPD (I didn't know they had 7-point stars...are they the only place?)

Learned about POO, OBI and OBIE, ITALO and SERAGLIO.

Tinbeni said...

Searched out the theme reveal, INNER SELF (ego), which along with my Psych's OTIC feature made this a fun run.

OK, a 15 letter phrase "preach thE GOspel" seems like a lot of work to hide a tiny payoff.

Never heard of POHL or Mozart's SERAGLIO, all crosses.
POO, and everything Mikado, I learned from xwords.

The PAULA reference to being an IDOLS judge is "way outdated" since she left the show over a year ago. Plus, whether or not these yahoo's are idols is up for debate.

Alas, I wanted Black, not RED, to be my Roulette Bet. ERGO, I lost.

Liked the OBI/OBIE cross.
A COBB salad for lunch sounds nice.

ALOE I only use on sunburns. For heartburns I'll stick with my old family remedy ... more Scotch.

PuzzleGirl: Glad to here you're having a great time. Here in Florida, when I go for a hike, the elevation changes about +-20 feet.

SethG said...

A good week, but a really easy week.

Frisbee golfers don't usually call it frisbee golf, but frisbees are fun anyway. If I'd written this, I'd have maybe gone with just people with an ego. Jane Goodall, Rube Goldberg, Kate Gosselin, Goose Gossage, even Greg Ostertag...

mac said...

Pretty good puzzle, but I agree, a three-letter theme word?

Wanted serail but had to settle for seraglio, of course.

Sounds like a great vacation, PGirl!

C said...

Fun puzzle, OK theme as long as you don't poke or pick at it too much. A lot of clues outside of my sweet spot but clues I've seen before in crossword puzzles so I was able to abide.

Sfingi said...


This was because I never heard of FRISBEEGOLF and had FRISBEEtOss. ERGO, I never got the theme, EGO, and thought it was OS. So then, I had Asea, rather than AFAR, and LAPD instead of SFPD, and some blanks inside INNERSELF!

The rest was easy, though I had rewrites for SPINE (SPuNk) and RED (odD - I also lost the first round); Didn't know OLIN or OTRA, entered by crosses.
I wouldn't consider ALOE. My cure is a milkshake, a base to offset the acid. But then, a milkshake is my cure for everything. I've had ulcers twice, and ice cream (and Cimetidine) was actually prescribed!

Learned that COBB is a guy, not just a pretty good salad; and that ELTON John is either from Middlesex or...

F. POHL is a good Scifi writer. He's my mom's age, 91. The Space Merchants is worth a reread about now (if I can find it) about admen taking over the world - hasn't this actually happened? He's won every award and has easily written 100 books.

A SERAGLIO, pr. ser-AHL-yo is a Turkish harem. The Abduction from the SERAGLIO, was one of Mozart's first (Singspiel - not quite an opera), thus, the libretto (not his) was written in German, before he discovered Italian sounded better.

Puzzlegirl - Carbines and muskets and blunderbusses - are long. Modern carbines are a far cry from a musket, really like a machine guns. But others are more informed than I.

Van55 said...

Another very solid to very good LAT puzzle for this week. Quite an excellent run, indeed.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: Amazing coincidence to see SOS at the center of this one after doing the puzzle from another paper this morning.

CrazyCatLady said...

Pretty good puzzle week so far. Had a few problems with the POO and POHL cross. Both were unknown. @PG had a good giggle over the Mexican POO POO platter. SERAGLIO was a new one too. Threw SPRUCE GOOSE and PREACH THE GOSPEL in quickly, but it took me a while to get FRISBEE GOLF. I've only heard of Ultimate FRISBEE. Didn't get the theme until I ever so slowly got the revealer INNER SELF. Wanted to put in CHP at 62D. They also have a seven pointed badge. I miss PAULA too. Now with Simon leaving what's left to watch? POO! COBB salads are my favorite -blue cheese and dressing on the side. The original Brown Derby was shaped like a derby. I'm pretty sure they're all gone now.

John Wolfenden said...

NE corner was a problem for me...I just don't think of moral fiber as SPINE. To me spine is self-confidence.

"Mr. Holland's Opus" reminded me of the puppy my wife and I adopted shortly before the movie came out. We named him Coltrane after the jazz great, but to our chagrin so was Richard Dreyfuss' son in that maudlin flick. We had to convince many people that no, we didn't get the idea from the movie.

Jeff said...

I loved this puzzle! Excellent work, Mr. Venzke! The INNERSELF wordplay of having EGO hidden inside phrases, what fun. And the fill was pretty good too!


Tinbeni said...

PuzzleSon's photo of the 10 point buck outside your back door is amazing.

Every so often outside of GalPal's, while enjoying my Java and grid, I see a deer with her fawn having breakfast. This in a Metro-County, pretty far from anywhere I would call a forest.

I'm soooooo glad he used a camera to take the shot.


Another nice puzzle to solve subsequently.
Loved the theme, the cluing, and the fill. Oh yeah, and learning some new words: POHL, ITALO, and SERAGLIO (can't believe I don't know this, being a huge Mozart fan).
I just learned about RENT-A-Wreck. What a cool idea for college kids.
Learning about COBB was nice... it happens to be my fave salad. I love the word "Eponymous" and someday I hope to have something named after me... oh wait I do. Hagstrom is a great guitar (but it wasn't named after me). It's also the name of a cam that I invented... a zero jerk cam called a Hagstrom.