T U E S D A Y   August 3, 2010
Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: Playing the Ponies — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with words for types of racetrack bets.

[Note: I've heard from several of you about the mistake in the grid. 7D should be ARCA and 18A should be VICE. I'm at work now and can't fix it, but I will as soon as I can. -- okay, fixed.]

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Cellarmaster's vessel (WINE DECANTER).
  • 36A: Response to sugar pills, perhaps (PLACEBO EFFECT).
  • 53A: It might have a massage setting (SHOWER NOZZLE).
  • 64A/65A: What the starts of 20-, 36- and 53-Across are (TRACK / BETS).
This is an interesting theme. I don't think we've seen one like this for a while, where the actual "theme" part of the theme answer isn't a word all by itself, but is hidden in another word. Wait, we see that all the time. But not at the beginning of the word, right? For some reason, this seems different to me. Maybe I'm not explaining myself well. Maybe I'm just not awake yet (more likely). Because I generally don't go looking for the reveal on early week puzzles, I had No Idea what was going on until I got there. Me: "What the hell do WINE, PLACEBO and SHOWER have in common?!?"

  • 5A: Wife of Jacob (LEAH). One day I'll do a CW101 lesson on Bible characters. I probably need it as much as you do.
  • 15A: Down-home music venue, familiarly (OPRY). I'm pretty sure it was badly damaged in the recent flood. I believe many many guitars were lost. So sad.
  • 29A: Wedding symbol (RING). I was just sharing this picture with a co-worker yesterday. I received it in an email from a friend about three years ago. The subject line of the email was "The last time I saw my wedding ring…." (yeah, that's her dog)

  • 40A: Wiener schnitzel meat (VEAL). The things you learn.
  • 3D: "Hand in My Pocket" singer Morissette (ALANIS). I remember when this song first came out I was driving across Texas and the DJ said something like, "Oh that Alanis Morissette. She's so confused." And I yelled at my radio "She's not confused! She's *conflicted*, you idiot!" Here, you decide. Who's with me?

  • 40D: Biden and Bush: Abbr. (VP'S). Tricky! When I see "Bush" in a presidential context, I pretty much think of Bush 43. But this clue refers to Bush 41.
  • 50D: Nerd (DWEEB). I resemble that remark!
  • 57D: __ es Salaam (DAR). I do not know what this means.
Crosswordese 101: O-LAN is the mother/wife/slave/heroine in Pearl S. Buck's award-winning 1931 novel "The Good Earth." The book was adapted for both the stage and screen, so sometimes the clue for O-LAN might refer to a "role" instead of simply a "character."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 59A: Author Wiesel (ELIE).
  • 66A: Past fast fliers: Abbr. (SST'S).
  • 12D: Harem room (ODA).
  • 52D: Poet Pound et al. (EZRAS).
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Everything Else — 1A: Seize (GRAB); 9A: Center of Florida? (EPCOT); 14A: Move to a new city, briefly (RELO); 16A: Dutch cheese (GOUDA); 17A: The "Good Earth" heroine (O-LAN); 18A: Nasty habit (VICE); 19A: 20 Mule Team cleanser (BORAX); 23A: Small-screen heartthrob (TV IDOL); 24A: American or Continental (AIRLINE); 28A: Cock and bull (HES); 32A: In the warehouse (STORED); 33A: Like many wallets (BIFOLD); 35A: Farm females (SOWS); 41A: __-faire: tact (SAVOIR); 42A: Wan (PALLID); 45A: Inflection (TONE); 46A: Ukr. neighbor (RUS.); 49A: Finished, as a deck (STAINED); 51A: Imagined (DREAMT); 56A: Expand, as a collection (ADD TO); 60A: Colorful horse (ROAN); 61A: Lose one's cool (PANIC); 62A: Those, in Tijuana (ESOS); 63A: Mired, after "in" (A RUT); 1D: Investor's concern (GROWTH); 2D: Go through again (RELIVE); 4D: Like a fillet (BONED); 5D: Cosmo topic (LOVE LIFE); 6D: Grand in scope (EPIC); 7D: Medieval Spanish chest (ARCA); 8D: Shenzi or Banzai in "The Lion King" (HYENA); 9D: __ Sousé, W.C. Fields's "The Bank Dick" role (EGBERT); 10D: Bad sport (POOR LOSER); 11D: Mangy mutt (CUR); 13D: Penultimate line on most bills (TAX); 21D: Greek architectural order (DORIC); 22D: "My country __ of thee ..." ('TIS); 25D: __-Z: classic Camaro (IROC); 26D: Ex-Speaker Gingrich (NEWT); 27D: Mag masthead names (EDS.); 30D: Wealthy Londoners (NOBS); 31D: Be a bad sport (GLOAT); 33D: Irrational way to go (BALLISTIC); 34D: "Whip It" band (DEVO); 36D: Bog fuel (PEAT); 37D: Singer's syllables (LA LA); 38D: Affection (FONDNESS); 39D: '80s Pontiac (FIERO); 43D: At the pawn shop (IN HOCK); 44D: "Gloria in Excelsis __" (DEO); 46D: Five o'clock shadow removers (RAZORS); 47D: German diacritical (UMLAUT); 48D: Surgical blockage relievers (STENTS); 54D: Apart from this (ELSE); 55D: Urban uprising (RIOT); 56D: Liable (APT); 58D: Genetic letters (DNA).



More like a Thurs. or Fri. level to me. Today I can’t even GLOAT over my speed-solving.
Some great clues, few CW101 words, and a consistent theme makes this an excellent puzzle. Also some nice grid symmetries.

Fave words: SAVOIR-faire, NOBS, FIERO, DEVO, and of course, LOVE LIFE.
Unfave words: LA LA and SSTS.
New WOTD: ARCA (“Medieval Spanish chest”)
Fun stuff: “Wealthy Londoners” (NOBS)… I suppose that’s where the term NOB-Hill comes from.
EGBERT Sousè of “The Bank Dick”.

PG, I agree with you about ALANIS morissette.

Gloomy, dark, rainy day here in Chicago… guess I’ll just stay in my ODA this morning!

Sfingi said...

Wow that ALANIS is annoying to hear or watch.

The theme was quick and easy, but I had to Google for the HYENAs and ARSA, so not a perfect Tues.

"In grammar, inflection is the modification of a word to express grammatical categories such as tense, mood, voice, aspect, person."
Wikipedia. The accompanying example shows the word "gat-" with various endings used in Spanish to pluralize, genderize, etc. Unfortunately, the average person has only an idea of voice or pitch modification.

Speaking of gato, caught the 14th mouse of this summer in my humane trap loaded with peanut butter. The heat is driving them inside. Gracie, now of Baltimore, would have had a ball. I happen to be listening to Lou Monte's Peppina.

Off to buy the times and improve this old f---'s mood.

Middletown Bomber said...

Good tuesday a touch harder than yesterdays.

35a started with ewes but quickly switched to Cows then Sows

@PG 57d (dar) es salaam is the capital city of Tanzania and it probably should be CW101; 3d Agree Conflicted rather than confused (but the DJ was from Texas) I forgot how much I liked her Voice used to watch her on "you Can't do that on Television" when I was in Grad School

this puzzle was not a perfecta but it may just be a Trifecta.

Zeke said...

How many EZRAS do we think are out there right now, whining about how Mr. Pound gets all the EZRA crossword glory? One? None?
Couldn't listen to the ALANIS Morissette, she scares the hell out of me. Just after her breakthrough hit came out, I was at a party and it came on. Every woman, and I mean every single one, jumped up and went to dance with one another in an outter room. I was shocked by the response and thought There's something important going on with women that we men know nothing about. They're really, really pissed off at us. I didn't find that ironic however

Van55 said...

The lazy use of SSTS at 66A spoiled the whole puzzle for me. Also hated EZRAS, ESOS, ROAN and ELIE as cliched crossword copouts. I liked yesterday's puzzle better.

Tinbeni said...

I think I'll call this puzzle the "Manifest Destiny" grid as I solved this from the East coast to the West coast.

EPCOT s/h/b a gimmie for this Floridian but I had to suss it out with the TAX, ODA, CUR. in that order, geez.

EGBERT Souse brought a grin. I'm a hugh W.C.Fields fan.

The TRACK BETS theme was OK. I liked that the WIN, PLACE & SHOW were inside of other words.

By the time I got BALLISTIC ... I was ready to go there. But I didn't PANIC and finished correctly with no write-overs.

ARCA & ESOS learning moments, always a plus.

This was more like an end-of-the-week Thursday or Friday offering.

Just curious, is this constructor British?

All-in-all, a FUN solve.

Oh, that ALANIS Morissette thing, neither confused or conflicted. Ironically just annoying.

Burner10 said...

If its Tuesday I shouldn't be googling - but since I did (HYENA) - I am delighted at the recent quality and escalating difficulty of our own LAT. Have no idea what all these funny track bets are - but it makes me want to not have that martini next time I'm lunching at Santa Anita (at least not til the bets are placed).

backbiter said...

My only trip up: I entered in SORE LOSER for POOR LOSER. Then I left it there making it hard to figure out EPCOT. I've only lived in Tampa practically my entire life, so like Tinbeni said that should've been a freaking gimme. DOH! Then we come to the real kicker. I gamble quite frequently but when the reveal came up I'm like "What the hell is a wine or shower bet? I never heard of that"
I swear I had to look at the theme answers three times to figure it out. DUUUHHH! I've never had this much fun feeling like a dummy. lol

*David* said...

This puzzle seemed to be made of crosswordese everywhere I looked. OLAN, ARCA, DEO, DAR, SSTS, and EDS. Nothing really difficult, I didn't feel any difference between this puzzle and yesterday's. I would've though that this theme would've been done munerous times by now.

Anonymous said...

How do you justify "vise" as being a nasty habit.

John Wolfenden said...

I agree with Burner10...Rich is stepping up the difficulty, and it's a welcome change. Had particular difficulty with the NE corner. I assume that borax was once marketed as having the cleaning power of 20 mules.

I can safely say it's the first time I've used the word DORIC since learning about the 3 styles of Greek columns in junior high.

Much like PG I had no idea that wiener schnitzel was made from veal. Not that I was going to eat it anyway.

C said...

The puzzle actually fought back today, normally, a tuesday puzzle is a fill in the blank kind of solve in an effort to see what type of theme the puzzle is fronting. Not today, actually had to pause a couple of times and back into answers. Cool, I like.

Due to the added difficulty, I had to leave the comfort of my ODA in order to avoid the, er, distractions and concentrate on solving the puzzle. I am, if nothing, a dedicated solver ;^)

Sfingi said...

@Wolfenden - wait til you've been doing this a while. The DORIC and Ionic will become just another CW101.

I don't know what this ALANIS Morisette thing is. At first, I figured, I'm just too old, whcih explains HipHop and some other stuff. But on further thought, I think she's "phony" in the JD Salinger meaning of the term. Or maybe just, well, stupid. I'm a woman, but older, and I can't stand her.

cosmo said...

this was a little harder than normal tuesday so i liked it this is my first post and im looking forward to more as well as reading the others

JIMMIE said...

I think the jingle went:

BORAX (boom boom),the foaming cleanser, washes the dirt (boom boom, right down the drain.)

I loved the ALINIS video, but then I always admire near-nut cases.

Tinbeni said...

The funny thing is ALANIS Morissette has a "hit" song titled "Ironic" where not one thing she sings about is an ironic situation.
Unfortunate, yes.
Ironic? NOOOOO !!!
I don't think she ever read O Henry's "The Gift of the Magi"

@Zeke's comment above nailed it.

And these are the "stars" that make millions in the USA.

twangster said...

I'm not crazy about Alanis Morrissette's music but she's a decent actress ... she has a recurring role on Weeds as a doctor and is very funny.

mac said...

I enjoyed this puzzle, and I also liked nobs and savoir-faire a lot.
Took the ewes, cows, sows route as well!

Wiener Schnitzel traditionally is made with veal, but because of the cost (and people's sensibilities about farm-raised calves) it is now often made with pork. It's very good.

Alanis Morissette: I can see how some of you feel a little uncomfortable with her. I used to like her because of the unusual twists her songs took, musically and also they lyrics. Then I had a particularly unhappy time building a house and driving up and down between NY and CT and I LOVED singing (read belting) along with one of her cd's. I seriously think it helped me.

HUTCH said...

Per Alanis Morisette, I share your opinions , But in listening to her,she does have a good voice {in tune} And well modulated.She does not have a good band [a bongo drummer and a guitar]and a decent song. I"d like to hear her sing a decent presentation.