9.09.2010

T H U R S D A Y   September 9, 2010
John "Doppler" Schiff

Theme: Flip-Flop — The words in familiar two-word phrases are reversed.


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Excessive pride in one's china? (PLATE VANITY).
  • 26A: Brawl during a game of musical chairs? (SEAT RUMBLE).
  • 36A: What Winfrey couldn't do during a noted couch-jumping episode? (CONTROL CRUISE).
  • 51A: Zorro's chamois? (BLADE WIPER).
  • 61A: Cassette deck feature, and a hint to this puzzle's theme (AUTO REVERSE).
Cute them, nice puzzle today. I wasn't crazy about starting right off with a partial at 1-Across ("I WALK the Line"), but I think I'll let it go because it's Johnny Cash. I then had a quick misstep at 6-Across also. It's so not fair that both of Ringo STARR's names are five letters long. And who ever calls him STARR? I always try "Ringo" first and it's very rarely correct. (It's 3–4 times more likely to be STARR, actually. Those are just good letters!) By the time I got to the N in Ringo, I glanced at the clue for 6D: Clinton's department and knew that I had been tricked again. (Hillary Clinton is, of course, the U.S. Secretary of STATE.)



So what should we talk about?
  • 19A: A storm might delay it: Abbr. (ARR.). Oh yeah, this one was tricky for me too. Tried ETD first, thinking to myself "Of course, it might just as well be ETA." Totally forgot about ARR. Arrgh!
  • 34A: Bolt, e.g. (EAT). So funny. All I could think of was the Bolt Bus, a really cheap bus line that runs from Washington, D.C. to Boston (with stops in Baltimore, Philly, and New York). I've taken it a couple times. It's not too bad. And the price is definitely right. But this was a totally different meaning of "bolt." See also 2D: Gobbled (WOLFED).
  • 41A: Case, for instance: Abbr. (SYN.). We were not fooled by this one today, were we? (The words "case" and "instance" can be SYNonyms.)
  • 55A: Chihuahua child (NIÑO). I tried "nene" here, like a big dope. "Nene" has been clued as the word for "baby" in Spain, like, twice. So I thought I was being so clever. Never mind that Chihuahua is in Mexico.
  • 3D: 2009 James Cameron blockbuster (AVATAR). You all have probably seen this already, but I think it's hilarious, so I'll post it here anyway.


  • 9D: Accel.'s opposite, in music (RIT.). That would be "accelerando" (speed up) and "ritardando" (slow down).
  • 18D: It drops with fog: Abbr. (VIS.). Didn't we just have this hideous abbreviation recently?
  • 25D: Jerry's comedy partner (DEAN). I think I saw the other "Jerry's partner" clue first (63D: Jerry's partner), which I wanted to be "Ben" but was TOM. Then with this one, I thought it would be a comedy duo that goes by the comedians' two names (like Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Stiller & Meara). I guess this is Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin who obviously worked together, but I forgot that they were "partners."
  • 36D: Twisters (CYCLONES). Also Iowa State University's mascot. Boo!!!
  • 46D: "Gracias" response (DE NADA). This is how I learned to respond to "gracias" when I first started picking up Spanish. I've noticed, though, that when we're in Costa Rica, the typical response is "Con mucho gusto," and the other night at Chipotle when PuzzleDaughter thanked the cashier in Spanish, she said "Por nada." I'm guessing it's a regional thing.
  • 50D: Word-for-word reference? (ROGET'S). Nice clue!
Crosswordese 101: Wikipedia explains that ORC "is a word used to refer to various races of tough and warlike humanoid creatures in various fantasy setting." In crossword puzzles, and particularly in the L.A. Times, ORC is almost always clued with a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings." Except for today, where it's clued simply as a 43A: Middle-earth monster.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 15A: She played Adrian in "Rocky" (TALIA).
  • 59A: Sheet with beats, for short (EKG).
  • 68A: Marshall Plan pres. (HST).
  • 34D: Trains overhead (ELS).
  • 45D: Fishing village that became Tokyo (EDO).
  • 62D: Alleged spoon-bender Geller (URI).
  • 64D: Sushi fish (EEL).
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Everything Else — 11A: "Gosh!" ("GEE!"); 14A: Trailer follower (MOVIE); 16A: Cellular transmitter (RNA); 20A: Sailor's rear (AFT); 21A: Sorrowful comment (PITY); 22A: Congo neighbor (GABON); 24A: Coveted role (LEAD); 29A: Relevant, in law (AD REM); 31A: Tuxedos, often (RENTALS); 32A: Power source size (AAA); 35A: Acquire (GET); 42A: Apt. ad spec (RMS.); 44A: Followed, as an impulse (ACTED ON); 47A: Respectful refusal (NO SIR); 56A: B on a table (BORON); 57A: High, to Henri (HAUT); 60A: Filmmaker Lee (ANG); 65A: Ball-bearing device (TEE); 66A: Queen's mate (DRONE); 67A: Reason for a raise (MERIT); 69A: Sighted (AIMED); 70A: Thicke and Rickman (ALANS); 1D: Savanna leaper (IMPALA); 4D: Burning (LIT); 5D: Medieval castle tower (KEEP); 7D: Tucker of country (TANYA); 8D: "Float like a butterfly" boxer (ALI); 10D: Flash Gordon weapon (RAY GUN); 11D: Random assortments (GRAB BAGS); 12D: Course taker (ENROLLEE); 13D: Not kidding (EARNEST); 23D: Tsp. or tbsp. (AMT.); 27D: __ II razor (TRAC); 28D: Fashionably dated (RETRO); 30D: Gym safety item (MAT); 33D: Feathered flier (ARROW); 37D: In line with the goal (ON TARGET); 38D: Defunct sci-fi magazine (OMNI); 39D: Vase relative (URN); 40D: Clickable pic (ICON); 41D: Day of rest (SABBATH); 48D: High chain (SIERRA); 49D: Finalizes, as a cel (INKS IN); 52D: Cellular transmitter (PHONE); 53D: Like cornstalks (EARED); 54D: Wish one hadn't (RUE); 58D: Adult cable rating (TV-MA).

24 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

See my AVATAR for where I’m at… yep, that’s right… I’m at my book club this morning discussing “Travel” by William Bartram. So all I have to say is, “have fun with this bassackward puzzle”. We get the Doppler Effect today and with some really nice big down crossers. And if you were an OMNI subscriber, then you’re weird like me. ORC ORC! Gotta “Bolt” (EAT??) and get back to the library… see ‘ya later.

Sfingi said...

Despite getting the theme and the crosswordese and Googling a few times, I made a couple of fatal errors that I never corrected and thus I did not finish. These were Avian rather than ARROW, and hooDsnIPER rather than BLADEWIPER.

I Googled for the last 2 letters of TVMA, for GABON (had Ghana for a while), DENADA, ORC.

Liked the theme idea, which I don't think I've seen before; and the minithemes: Jerry's partners and cellular transmission.

Had no idea there were ball bearings in TEEs - would that be golfing TEEs?

Didn't know OMNI was defunct, since I'm a 2nd hand purchaser.

There was a fold in the printing down the entire Across clue column, but I don't think that was the problem. Just brain-dead today.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

The tee bears the golf ball, hence "ball bearing."

SethG said...

How does HOOD SNIPER fit the theme?

PG, I'm with you on I WALK and RINGO, but I entered NxNx and waited for a cross. The best thing about Bolt was Rhino. Never heard of castle KEEPs. Big thumbs up for using "Congo" correctly.

Sfingi said...

@SethF - Guess that was for me. Well, I don't know beans about BLADEs or snIPERs or any of that testosterone overdose stuff, so I just five it my best shot.

And as far as that goes, when I read the Hobbit, I remembered, cute little huts with adorable interiors and fuzzy feet. Then I saw the movie - wars, conflicts, yuck - somebody read a different book.

And another thing, if everyone were like me, sports would never have been invented or thought of.
Venus vs. Mars.

Jake said...

The words in familiar automobile-related two-word phrases are reversed.

bbadrog said...

Me too: STARR, not RINGO

Re ET_ vs ARR/DEP: I've always used ET_ if the hint includes the word "posting", but if the hint includes the word "delay" I wait for a cross into ARR or DEP.

Re DE NADA: Just as there are many responses to English "Thank you" (eg, "You're welcome", "Anytime", "No sweat", "'Tsall right", "You bet"), I suppose there are also many in Spanish, and not necessarily "regional" variants.

Re Gabon/Ghana: Try Geography instead of the default English vocabulary at "freerice.com" and, if you're like most CW-ers (I suppose), you'll have a much harder time getting a high score!

Re "Chihuahua puppy": First thought was "puppy" which didn't fit, so, used NIN_ and waited for the cross.

ddbmc said...

@Sfingi, I loved your "Hood Sniper!" Much better than "BLADE WIPER," for sheer silliness. Of course, I read your rendition initially as: Hoo-Des Niper! lol!

I'm a Sports Gone Mild type of gal (How can I say that being a hockey mom!-the only sport I know fairly well)--I know just enough about other sports to get by. Was totally flummoxed by "Ball-bearing device," but chuckled upon the "Aha" moment.
Totally added RINGO first!
BOLT as EAT, would be way down on my list of definitions- SNARF,SCARF,WOLF,GOBBLE,INHALE,PIG OUT- come to mind more readily. (Comes from watching hockey players eat after a big game.)

C said...

A nice tricky thursday puzzle, cluing was definitely more obtuse leading to a bit more difficulty. I liked.

@PG, before my trip to Costa Rica, I used "de nada" as well. It's what I was taught and what I used. In Nosara, I noticed that the waiters were responding with "con gusto" or "con mucho gusto" Puzzling, so I asked the origin of the colloquialism of the various waiters who used the phrase. I don't know if they have a set script they answer from but the three waiters who answered all pretty much had the same story: Costa Ricans are very polite people and prefer the very polite "con mucho gusto" versus the rude (their words, not mine) "de nada" The three waiters I spoke with did not have high opinions about the manners of their northern Mexican neighbors. A sample of three so take with a grain of salt but that was the answer I was given when I asked.

shrub5 said...

Loved the AUTO REVERSE theme! I didn't notice the theme answers were all car-related until @Jake pointed it out. Verrry clever, Doppler.

Tried to think of birds starting with "A" for feathered flier (ARROW). Great clues for EKG and ROGETS.

John Wolfenden said...

A good example of a theme that's hard to decipher but obvious once you've gotten it. Sailed through the top but bogged down in the bottom half.

I know eels are a suborder of fish, but it's hard to believe when you see them in motion. Wanted ONO or AHI instead.

R.I.P. Omni. When I was a teenager that mag was the $#/+.

Great cluing..."Ball-bearing device" is pretty brilliant. Does anyone know why John Schiff is nicknamed "Doppler?"

Anonymous said...

As in Doppler Shift ...
Weather radar.

CrazyCatLady said...

Thought this was a fun puzzle. Got the theme at PLATE VANITY and went directly to CONTROL CRUISE - Loved that one!
I'm very proud to say I didn't get tricked by the SYN clue this time - finally! I pondered both Ringo and STARR so went to 6D and got STATE. I also had the NIÑO dilemma, but got ROGETS so that solved that. I had GHANA at first too. Got a little stuck at the PHONE and EARED section. I was thinking cellular transmitter was something to do with biology. EARED just didn't come to mind for a long time. The Ball bearing device clue for TEE was pretty tricky. Liked the mini Jerry theme.
PG's write up was entertaining as always.

Rube said...

I Netflicked Walk the Line two nights ago. This sort of thing wierds me out.

Also had Avian for ARROW and eta for ARR. My problem area was the SE where I had TVpg giving pE_I_ for "Reason for a raise". Finally figured out SIERRA and ROGETS giving MERIT and ALANS. Had to Google to find out that TVMA is for "Mature Audiences".

We had "Savannah sighting" within the past week, and I fell for this Savannah too, thinking Georgia.

Didn't notice the automobile part of the theme until here.

WOTD is AD REM.

Possum said...

EAT for the "BOLT,e.g" clue?That would be a NO!!For someone who came up w/ "Ball-bearing device", that clue was wholly unworthy of this pretty decent puzzle.Liked "Sheet w beats".Cool as hell.Got me on 6A.I put RINGO.And again @ 63D.Inked in BEN. Does this mean I should stop do'n the L.A.T.C.P's w/ a pen?

Anonymous said...

and of course savanna leaper, impala is the name of a car!! Fun, refreshing puzzle today.

Anonymous said...

I liked this puzzle so much that I'm coming out of the woodwork (at least partly since I'm still Anonymous--anything else looks too intimidating for now).

I may be stretching things a bit, but the car theme continues on with the Pierce ARROW, Toyota SIERRA, Dodge OMNI, GABON car RENTALS (apparently in Europe & Africa), and of course, if I need roadside service, I can call AAA. If I really push it, cars drive on la RUE (street in French), and if I'm driving in the fog, I have limited VISibility. (Good catch on the Chevy IMPALA mentioned already.)

Several mini themes already commented on (2 Jerrys, 2 "beats", 2 cell messengers). I can also find SYNonyms in ROGET's Thesaurus. If I use the homonyn for LEAD, there are 2 elements in the puzzle (LEAD & BORON). If I AIMED properly, I'd be ON TARGET. Maybe I'd be using my RAYGUN for that.

Like I said, I really liked this puzzle!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

And don't forget the Sci-fi mini theme with Flash Gordon's RAY GUN, AVATAR, middle-earth ctreatures ORC, all to be read about in OMNI magazine.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Jake: Thank you! for pointing out the car theme. I didn't even catch that (obviously).

@C: How did I not know you've been to Nosara? Do I know you?? I hope one of the restaurants you were in when you took your poll was La Dolce Vita. That's my favorite!

@CCL: Congrats on not falling for the SYN clue!

@Rube: Great flick. And, yeah, that's pretty weird.

@Anon 12:37: I'm so glad you all are here to catch the stuff that I miss. All that car stuff is awesome. (And please come on out of the woodwork any time.)

CrazyCatLady said...

@Rube - I loved "Walk the LIne." Shortly after it came out, we were seated at a table next to Joaquin Phoenix at the restaurant in the Hollywood Roosevelt. He looked kind of like a bum dressed in a red hooded sweatshirt and dirty jeans. I think that was at the beginning of his meltdown. Maybe it's all a hoax. Let's hope so.
@Anon 12:37 You are right ON TARGET as far as all those car names and AAA. I got that it was an automotive theme, but missed all the other stuff. Don't be intimidated to join in. We're a kindly group for the most part.

Sfingi said...

@Anon1237 - Yes, wiggle out more often. I love mini-themes, and don't wanna miss one.

shrub5 said...

@anon 12:37,
Great comment!! Pop in again soon.
More cars: Plymouth ARROW and Mercury CYCLONE.

C said...

@PG, I think I commented earlier on your driving into Nosara, you might have recalled that. The eating places I recalled were the Harmony House restaurant and ... La Dolce Vita. The third place, I do not recall, good tacos is all I recall. Fun trip, good surf.

badrog said...

Re EAT for "bolt": EAT came to mind quickly enough, but first thought was "Doesn't that need a preposition? as in "She bolted down x slices of pizza in y minutes." But then I remembered Mom's daily scold at the dinner table: "Don't bolt your food!"