9.30.2010

T H U R S D A Y   September 30, 2010
David Poole

Theme: Bird Puns — Bird puns!


Theme answers:
  • 18A: Bird bonnet? (ROBIN HOOD).
  • 24A: Bird boo-boo? (CARDINAL SIN).
  • 34A: Bird brain? (CHICKEN NOODLE).
  • 50A: Bird backpackers? (EAGLE SCOUTS).
  • 56A: Bird bottoms? (KITE TAILS).
Before we get started, can I please get a big round of applause for SethG? I really appreciate it when he steps in for me at the last minute like that and you all probably enjoy the break from my inanity. Speaking of inanity — or is it insanity? — this J-O-B thing is rough! Yesterday was my first day and I had to be up, showered, dressed (up), and ready to head out the door at 7:30am. It's been a long time is all I'm saying. Then last night I went to PuzzleSon's Back to School Night which lasted from SEVEN until NINE. I could barely keep my eyes open driving home. But the job is going well (thank you all for the good wishes!) and the ol' bank account is going to be ecstatic in a couple weeks, so it's all good!

Today's puzzle is solidly in the "okay" category. I really like the theme and especially like the clue for CHICKEN NOODLE. Kinda wish the other theme clues could have been actual phrases but that's easy for me to say since I wasn't the one actually writing the clues. The fill had a couple sparkles with CHESHIRE and HEINIE (!) (34D: Wonderland cat / 9D: Bum), but clunked pretty heavily in a couple sports like OIL COLOR and RESNAP (38D: Artist's choice / 2D: Close again, as a change purse). I was at a complete loss at the cross of NANA (19D: Zola novel) and LINA (22A: Director Wertmüller). Never heard of LINA and would like to say I've never heard of NANA, but that's not exactly true. I've heard of it but, unfortunately, it didn't actually take up residence in my memory. Sigh.

Bullets:
  • 10A: "Once I had ... love and it was __": Blondie lyric (A GAS). This clue is a fun twist on some tired crosswordese.
  • 20A: Shows scorn (SNEERS). Much better than "sneery"!
  • 39A: Author Silverstein (SHEL). I've said it before and I'll say it again. Do Not get me started on "The Giving Tree."
  • 40A: First first name in Olympic gymnastic tens (NADIA). Nadia Comaneci. I remember being completely amazed by her. Man that was a long time ago. (1976!)
  • 45A: 1,000 G's (MIL). And again with the G = 1,000 thing. Did y'all get it this time? It's easier when it's just a G and not the letter spelled out (gee).
  • 46A: Free TV ad (PSA). Here's a good one I saw just the other day.


  • 59A: "Tootsie" Oscar winner (LANGE). Have you seen her in "Frances"? One of the top three most depressing movies of all time. (The others would be "Leaving Las Vegas" and, I don't know, I can't think of a third one right now because my brain is fried.)
  • 63A: Something to take lying down (REST). Sounds like heaven.
  • 12D: Traditional song with the line "Je te plumerai" (ALOUETTE). I can't think of this song without hearing "Ginger Grant" singing it on "Gilligan's Island."
  • 31D: Miss's equal? (MILE). What's the saying? "A miss is as good as a mile"? Right. What's it mean again? Hmm. Oh, I got it. If you just barely miss something it's not really any better than missing it by a mile because you still missed it. Something like that.
Crosswordese 101:There are generally three ways of cluing ENT. First, as a suffix (e.g., "Suffix with string" or "Suffix with differ"). Second, as an abbreviation for Ear Nose & Throat (e.g., "Sinus specialist, briefly," "Tonsilitis MD," or simply "MD's specialty"). And finally, there is the dreaded tree-creature. I don't know if the tree-creature is actually dreaded, but it sure sounds like it should be. Clues for this ENT will generally include a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien (like today's 57D: Tolkien's Treebeard is one). Other words to look for include "middle-earth" and "Fangorn Forest."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 23A: Hound over a debt (DUN).
  • 54A: Morlock haters (ELOI).
  • 60A: Ireland, to poets (ERIN).
  • 10D: Oberhausen "Oh!" ("ACH!").
  • 19D: Zola novel (NANA).
  • 42D: Depilatory brand (NEET).
  • 48D: Autumn blooms (ASTERS).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Bouillabaisse base (BROTH); 6A: "Coffee Cantata" composer (BACH); 14A: So out it's in (RETRO); 15A: In unison, musically (A DUE); 16A: Caffeine source (COLA); 17A: One of Israel's 12 tribes (ASHER); 26A: Ruby of "A Raisin in the Sun" (DEE); 27A: Favorable times, as for pics (OPS); 28A: Marshland (FEN); 29A: Afternoon services (TEASETS); 31A: Mazda MX-5, familiarly (MIATA); 33A: Granola grains (OATS); 41A: Cardinal Cooke (TERENCE); 49A: Suffix with expert (-ISE); 53A: Cubs, on scoreboards (CHI); 55A: Clawed (TORE AT); 61A: Cuba, to Castro (ISLA); 62A: Polecat relative (OTTER); 64A: It helps you get up (STEP); 65A: Orchestra section (REEDS); 1D: 1997 Depp title role (BRASCO); 3D: Unlisted ones (OTHERS); 4D: Cornered, in a way (TREED); 5D: Frightful (HORRIFIC); 6D: Milky Way, e.g. (BAR); 7D: "Be __": "Help me out" (A DOLL); 8D: Georges Braque, for one (CUBIST); 11D: Considerable amount (GOOD DEAL); 13D: Blue state (SADNESS); 21D: Furtive type (SNEAK); 25D: Get in the game (ANTE); 30D: 16-Across, e.g. (SODA); 32D: Landers with advice (ANN); 35D: Finder's cry (HERE IT IS); 36D: Title (NAME); 37D: Keats or Shelley (ODIST); 39D: Price that's rarely paid (STICKER); 43D: French city near a Chunnel terminus (CALAIS); 44D: Diva, stereotypically (EGOIST); 46D: Mambo bandleader Tito (PUENTE); 47D: Faked, as a fight (STAGED); 51D: Former French textile city (LILLE); 52D: Use the soapbox (ORATE); 58D: Doofus (SAP).

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oil color!! What the heck?

hazel said...

Excellent picture of the Penguin for SNEERS. Always think of Jon Stewart's impression of him when I see that mug and I always do the Penguin laugh myself.

Started out a little ambivalent about the puzzle. A bit easy (and ESE-y) for a Thursday, but I do like birds - so I guess I'm still ambivalent.

Anonymous said...

Lina Wertmuller directed the famous 1930s documentary on Hitler: "Triumph of the Will."

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, Excellent write-up.

I'm going to bring up that duplicate CARDINAL thingy, in a clue, CARDINAL Cooke, and an answer, CARDINAL SIN, isn't this a CW no-no?
(Like that guy in the commercial, I'm a curmudgeon until that mug of coffee kicks in).

Really liked the themes, hey I'm a bird lover.

Donnie BRASCO, the Depp movie opened that NW corner.

Tito PUENTE is a gimmie from Bill Murray quote about him in STRIPES.

Along with the Greek letter order, maybe I should peruse the Israel tribes. ASHER all from the crosses.
Same with LINA and Braque being a CUBIST.

HEINIE is a nice body part.
Had a write-over for 58D, Doofus, had ASS before SAP.

FUN Thursday.

Van55 said...

DNF due to the HEINIE/LINA/NANA crosses.

Liked the theme.

21 proper nouns today, identical to the NYTimes puz.

Scully2066 said...

Again PG thanks for the write up - I needed it today - lots of new words for me plus tonight is my son's open house - I feel your pain :)

Loved CHESHIRE, TEASETS and COLA - CHICKENNOODLE is too cut and ROBIN HOOD always make me smile.

Didn't know NANA, ASHER, LINA or BACH but I should have remembered that one.

Liked the theme and once EAGLESCOUTS fell in I knew what direction to go - have a great Thursday everyone!!

ddbmc said...

@Hazel, I see Dick Cheney's pic for SNEERS, but his personality would be akin to The Penguin.

Had no clue on Zola novel(NANA), but knew LINA.

Not a fan of Tolkien-just couldn't get into his world (ENT), but SHEL Silverstein?(TREED) Delightful! Totally needed a box of tissues after reading "The Giving Tree."

Read "BUM" and thought DEBAUCH? Too Long. SPONGE? Nope. Gave up and finally "fell on it" through the crosses, HEINIE. (As @Orange used to say: I made you say HEINIE!) lol!

Enjoyed the long stacks in the corners. I have to concur, OILCOLOR, really?

@ PG,Sip extra COLA today, to stay awake. Thanks for the write up.

badrog said...

Only one look-up today: LINA

Mini-theme? HEINIE and kiteTAILS

Mind-wandered-too-far-so-I-broke-no-speed-records, at 10D, HEINIE. The H from BACH led me first to trying to remember the rhyme from "I Wish I was a Little Bar of Soap". And when I finally recalled "... a-slip-py and a-slid-ey, down everybody's hide-y", it didn't even fit! ACH!

Jonathan Scott said...

Notice that CALAIS and LILLE are almost next to one another, as they are geographically.

BruceW said...

"Triumph of the Will" was directed by Lenii Riefenstahl, not Lina Wertmuller.

Joon said...

i don't know how much it adds to the theme, but each of the theme clues is a two-word alliterative phrase beginning with bird. i thought it was a cute touch.

sethg is indeed great. i loved him in buffy season 3. not so much in austin powers.

the giving tree is okay except that people somehow think it's a children's book. egad, don't go there. neither character is anything like a role model.

i had the same problem with the TERENCE clue. i also had another problem with it, which is that even after solving it, i don't know what it means. is there a former st louis cardinal named TERENCE cooke? an arizona cardinal? a louisville cardinal? a member of the college of cardinals? a counting number? the most important cooke? who is this guy, and why isn't he the roman comic playwright?

okay, i looked him up. apparently he was the archbishop of new york from 1968-83. i guess that's a big deal, but somehow i've never heard of him. maybe because it was so long ago. o'connor and egan are a lot more famous. i can't remember the name of the new guy. anyway, {Former Archbishop of New York Cooke} would have been a happier clue. i still wouldn't have known it, but then at least i would have learned something after filling in the crosses. and also it would have avoided the CARDINAL dupe.

Sfingi said...

Rather nice puzzle. Took me a while, but no Googling. I think it was a unique idea?

Thanx for not making us listen to Cuz Cheney (he's Obama's Cuz, too). He has no heartbeat, you know. Or did he ever?

I learned ASHER. I knew Levi. Also - Benjamin, Dan, Gad (Gilead), Issachar, Naphtali, Joseph, Judah, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulon. Where does Cohen, to whom so many trace their genes, fit in?

Take a look at Marbled Polecat to see that ain't no cat. But what a cutey.

I own a copy of the original Swept Away by Lina Wertmuller with Giancarlo Giannini. I lent it to a friend, and she won't give it back. It really is a turn on. The remake stunk.

The original Time Machine is also a fave of mine. I disagree that the Morlocks and ELOI were enemies. The ELOI didn't know the Morlocks were even there feeding them and running the show. (Like some people who don't know that Medicare doesn't fall like the gentle rains from heaven). The Morlocks considered the ELOI food.

I ask you, are there any remakes that are better than the originals? Try something new.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@PG
Glad you had a good first day on the new job, albeit exhausting it always feels good to feel useful.
I say AMEN! to that PSA given by our President Obama.

I'm a little late today because it's a gorgeous day today and so I went for a nice long walk.

Another LAT goodie!
For an ornithologist (I graduate in Nov.), I found this to be a very entertaining pun-theme puzzle. And David managed to use a lot of original "sauce" (fill words).

My only (minor) complaint was seeing "Cardinal" in the 41A clue as well as in CARDINAL SIN.

LINA/NANA was a natick for me as I never heard of Director LINA or the Zola novel NANA, so in SADNESS, I had to declare this a DNF, even though I got everything else correct.

ASHER: Now, as @PG mentioned, we not only need to memorize all the Jewish months, but all the twelve tribes as well.

WOTD: ALOUETTE... now I'll be singing that cute song all day long. Very appropo for today's theme.

Most clever clue of the month: "Blue state" (SADNESS).

@Hazel
I don't think that pic that @PG put up for SNEER is the Penguin, I think it's our former Vice President... he had a reputation for being SNEERY.

I just planted several varieties of ASTERS in my garden (and there are zillions of varieties)... I love those perky little fall flowers.

Speaking of garden, I better get going... got lot's of gardening to do today!

Have a super duper day, y'all.

Tinbeni said...

@Sfingi
I agree, the ELOI were not Morlock haters ... hell, they were so brain-dead they didn't realize they were the inspiration for the movie Soylent Green.

I just asked Gal-Pal if there were "any remakes that are better than the original" ... and she just smiled.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Phrase most heard at our Parent-Teacher Conferences:
"He's not learning up to his potential".
I hope you have a more pleasant meeting.

hazel said...

@ddbmc & JNH - thanks for trying to educate me!, but I'm aware of who that pictures is of....

Jon Stewart used to do a little impression of him where he made this laugh like the Penguin - he maybe even specifically called him that? - so that's what I was referring to.

Just a joke to myself - looks like that's where it should have stayed!! <;}

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Joon
re: the giving tree
I totally agree with you about the poor role models.
Sadly, our society is getting more and more like that... with all the handouts and expectations.

Tinbeni said...

@Hazel
I thought your penguin joke was spot-on. You even cited your reference, Jon Stewart.

Just because others (apparently) don't watch The Daily Show (great source for the real poop on the political scene) that's their problem ... not yours.


captcha: HaCro, laughs that stick?

ddbmc said...

@Tin and Hazel, yep, I "missed" the reference! I do watch Jon Stewart,(mostly in sleepy mode) but it's been a while since he referenced our ex-VP, AKA "The Shootist..." Hehehe! Might have to board the Huffington bus to D.C., for the "Rally to Restore Sanity"....or I can get on Cheney's bus with Colbert and "Keep Fear Alive."

shrub5 said...

Cute theme - love those birdies!

Made one mistake: thought the Johnny Depp title role was BRiSCO and iSHER sounded OK for the tribe.

Picture of (or anything else about) Dick Cheney does not pass my breakfast test.

First thought of "Frere Jacques" before "Alouette" but realized it wasn't going to fit no matter how I spelled it. I kinda forgot that I knew these two songs in French. Will try to keep them in mind as possible aids in CW solving!

Eric said...

The top took a while, but the bottom wasn't a problem, and then the top fell into place -- largely because I got KITE TAILS and EAGLE SCOUTS first of the theme answers, which gave me the rest, i.e. lots of crosses.

From crosses, I wanted "Miss's equal?" to be MLLE. Had no idea how MILE could possibly make sense; thanks @PG for the explanation. I'd never heard that ADAGE, only the equivalent "Close only counts in horseshoes".

For "Afternoon services", I was looking for the afternoon office of the Canonical Hours (matins, lauds, and vespers are some other offices). Turns out the mid-afternoon office is "none" (rhymes with "bone") -- which doesn't even begin to fit.

For "Blue state", my first thought was to list the Democratic-leaning ones. And I can't even vote in your elections; sheesh!

I read the clue for 9D as "Burn", and so was totally, erm, clueless; it was only once I had some crosses that I realized the "rn" was really an "m". Darned over-kerned font!
@Tinbeni: Well, you wondered yesterday which body part we'd get today. Now we know. Tomorrow...?

@Sfingi re. remakes: Yah, "I am Legend". The original is a really bad Vincent Price movie from 1964 called "The Last Man on Earth". Not even so-bad-it's-good; just bad. That said, the Price version did capture the moral ambiguity that (I presume) was in the original novel. "I am Legend" started to go there, but then CHICKENed out, and blew the moral questions away in a typical Hollywood blaze of glory :-/

SPOILER ALERT (Lord of the Rings):

@PG: The ENTs were good guys! They came in on the right side of one of the important battles (against Saruman). Very slow to rouse to action, but once they had decided to act, they were a force to be reckoned with -- both pretty much as one would expect of tree creatures.

Eric said...

@Sfingi: I couldn't list the Twelve Tribes, but thanks to listening, a lot, to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat back in the 70s, I could probably get any of them from crosses, as I did today with ASHER. (Trivia: Peter Asher was half of Peter and Gordon.)

According to Wikipedia, the Kohens are those who claim direct descent from the biblical Aaron (Moses's brother) -- so, to your question, I'm guessing they're a subgroup within the Levites (who, according to Wikipedia, were Moses's tribe). The Kohanim had specific duties related to animal sacrifice at the Temple in ancient times; but, with the destruction of the Temple by the Romans (the famous Masada siege a couple of years later was the last, doomed stand in that war), the entire form of religious practice that depended on the Temple was swept away, to be replaced by the Rabbinical Judaism that survives to this day. The Kohens still have special duties/privileges in more conservative streams of Judaism, but the role of "priest" per se is long gone.

For those more familiar with the Christian version of the story, here are a couple of signposts into the Jewish version. The Temple referred to above is the one where Jesus had his altercation with the money-changers, 40 years or so before the Romans destroyed it. Here's a reconstructed model of what it might have looked like in Jesus's day. (More specifically, this is the Second Temple; the first is the one that the Old Testament says was built by Solomon and destroyed by the Babylonians.) The originators of what came to be Rabbinical Judaism were the Pharisees; they get a bum rap in the New Testament, but Jews see them in a much more positive light. I deduce, (but haven't researched it, so don't quote me!), that the NT's "chief priests" were the leaders of the Kohanim. Here's a wonderfully impartial brief introduction I just found, to the various groups that Jesus ran up against.

Basically, the whole place, in those years, was a nest of competing sects and factions. Some of these cooperated with the Roman occupiers, and some were opposed. Some were religiously conservative (priests, scribes, Sadduccees), and some more "out there" (Pharisees, Essenes, Jesus and his followers). One of the most violent rebel groups were known as the Sicarii, or "daggermen", for their violent methods, which we would now call "terrorist". Judas Iscariot might have been a member; one interpretation of his name is that it's a mistranscription of "Sicariote", "one of the Sicarii".

Some (but only some) of these groups believed that The End Was Nigh. In an earthly sense they were right. The end of the Jewish world as they knew it came with a trio of failed revolts against the Romans, and the Romans' resulting demolishment of just about everything Jewish in order to prevent further trouble. It was the first of these revolts, in 66-70 CE, that saw the Second Temple destroyed and Masada besieged. (I don't believe this was antisemitism as we now know it; it was simply the Romans being their brutally pragmatic selves when it came to governing trouble spots in their far-flung empire. They didn't trash the Jews because they were Jews, but because they were rebels.)

SethG said...

I am a red-headed Jew from Pennsylvania. I am an Aquarius. I am 5'5". I had the same problems with the TERENCE clue.

Falcoln Crest is a bird brow, Dove soap a bird bar, and the Flamingo Kid was a bird boy.

Sfingi said...

@Eric - thanx for all the info. I never saw either of those movies. Vincent Price did hit some lows.
The open air temple wouldn't work in Upstate NY - climate, you know.
The politics of Jesus' time reminds me of Monty Python's Life of Brian. I'm also wondering about people I know named Zicari.
There've been so many genetic discoveries these days. I went back and read about the Kohani and Lemba, and yes it's a branch of Levi.
I can't wait 'til they isolate the Neandertal. I think I have it, just cuz it takes me so much longer to feel the cold than most (but maybe it's because I'm a harp seal).

Tuttle said...

Much like Debby Harry's love, this puzzle soon turned out to be a pain in the ass.

"Bouillabaisse base" is not a good clue despite the clever alliteration. The base for a bouillabaisse is a fish-stock not a fish-broth since it is made using the bones of the fish as well as the flesh. Granted, this is an arguable point if you're outside of the United States (the English have it the other way around).

In my neck of the woods SODA is non-caffeinated. And yes, when I go out to buy Dr. Peppers I say I'm going out for some Cokes.

I usual shorten hinder into hiney not HEINIE. That's a rubbish beer from Germany or a nickname for some dude named Heinrich.

KJGooster said...

Haven't commented in a long time -- I've been running about a month behind for about 4 months and finally caught up. Liked this one today though. All the theme answers are "in the language," as Rex would say, with the possible exception of KITETAILS, which while legit doesn't seem as common as the others.

My 4-year old train-loving twins can't get enough of "Down by the Station," (set to the tune of "Alouette") so that's in my head far too often.

I read 9D: "Bum" as "Burn" so I could NOT see it for a long time, esp. since I did not know LINA Wertmuller.

It also took too long to parse TORE AT (TOREAT? TO REAT? TOR EAT?) even though I knew the crosses were correct.

Anonymous said...

On the topic of remakes.....Not many are worth their weight in celluloid, but there is one that probably rises above the rest (IMO):

"The Thomas Crown Affair"

(Long time lurker, first time poster)

Eric said...

@Sfingi: Yah, I need to rewatch Life of Brian. I haven't seen it since it first came out. I didn't think it lived up to Holy Grail; but then, I was a kid, and knew only the barest outlines of the Jesus story. Now, having read about the period, I'm sure I'd get a lot more of its humour. I saw Not the Messiah a few years ago -- that's Eric Idle and John Du Prez's comedic oratorio based on Brian -- and it was a total hoot.

For a serious modern analogy, consider Iraq or Afghanistan, this past decade. I imagine that's pretty much how the Romans saw their Judean colony. As for the smiting they ultimately gave the place, imagine some hypothetical President, or Prime Minister, or Chairman ÜberCheney finally snarling "Enough!" and dropping a nuke on Kabul. Of course that would make whichever country did it an instant pariah state, and probably start WW-III.

But when the Romans did the moral equivalent, the geopolitical consequences were pretty much nil. Nobody could have stood up to them, and nobody much cared about that Eastern-Mediterranean backwater anyway. The Christians hadn't yet come into their power, Islam hadn't been invented yet, and the Jews, well, they'd done what they could do, and were reaping the bitter reward.

Sfingi said...

@KjGooster - I have the same reading (seeing?) problems you do. I have a box of magnifying glasses.

@Anon304 - I think you're right. I remember liking the new Thomas Crown Affair, and not expecting to.

@Tuttle - in linguistics we learn there is a Soda/Coke line passing somewhere around Rochester, NY. I'm on the coke side.

@Eric - speaking of the Sicarii, Hubster said that Zicari, a Sicilian name, roughly translates as dirty, filthy.

PuzzleGirl said...

@hazel: I knew exactly what you meant about the Penguin! I'm sure Jon Stewart does it too, but I always think of Frank Caliendo (relevant part starts around 3:40).

@joon: I didn't notice the alliteration. But I actually haven't noticed much this week. :-) I agree with you about "The Giving Tree" but the other problem I have with it is that people think it's sweet.

@KJGooster: Welcome back to the future! I'm about four months behind on my BEQ puzzles, so I know how you felt!

@anon3:04: Thanks for coming out of lurkdom. Please join us anytime!

Eric said...

@Sfingi: "Sicarii" derives from "sica", Latin for "dagger". Wikipedia says: In [modern] Spanish the word 'sicario' is used to refer to both killers who have specific targets and underling hitmen. In Italian, it means "hired killer, hired assassin, cutthroat".

I don't know whether there's a connection to Sicilian "Zicari" with the meaning you give. I can construct an argument for a link, but it's an uninformed one, and thus pretty meaningless :-)

hazel said...

@PG - I started at 3:40, but he was so funny, I had to go back and watch the whole thing!!

Gobble gobble!