10.01.2010

F R I D A Y   October 1, 2010
Scott Atkinson

Theme: Ho! Ho! Ho! — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter string HO removed (i.e., "heaved"), creating new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.


[If the significance of the highlighted entry
has you scratching your head, you're not alone.
It's the number one most Frequently Asked Question.]

Theme answers:
  • 18A: *Ancient Chinese cote occupant? (MING PIGEON). [homing pigeon]
  • 25A: *Observation after a Bush walk? (W'S ON FIRST). [Who's on first]
  • 36A: *Nickname for a so-so Navy officer? (CAPTAIN OK). [Captain Hook]
  • 50A: *Habitually drunk panda? (BAMBOO SOT). [bamboo shoot]
  • 57A: *Kenyan healthcare worker? (RN OF AFRICA). [Horn of Africa]
  • 42D: Dismissal, and a hint to how the answers to starred clues were derived (HEAVE-HO).
Happy October, everybody! And TGIF! It's been many years since I've T'd GIF, but I am definitely T'ing GIF today! This working full-time thing is wearing me out!

I had some trouble with this puzzle today. Not NYT-Friday type trouble, but more than the other puzzles we've seen this week in the LAT. I tried to start in the northwest corner and couldn't come up with Anything there. Moved onto the northeast corner where I got the MING part of the theme answer, but couldn't figure out the rest because I was so focused on the words "vase" and "dynasty" that I just couldn't see anything else. And I couldn't get it through the downs because I didn't yet have enough acrosses to see AFEARED (11D: Lackin' gumption) and FOOTSIE (12D: Under-the-table diversion), what with SHAFT (9A: Treat meanly) just sitting there taunting me. I also couldn't remember who was in "Platoon" besides … Charlie Sheen? Was he in that? Man, I was going to be So Embarrassed if he wasn't, but he was — whew! (His 16A: "Platoon" co-star was, of course, Willem DAFOE, who has been a topic of CW101 here recently.)

So, I'll talk about the rest of the puzzle in the bullets, but let's get back to that NW corner. In generally, I really don't think of myself as a person who would complain about a four-block of Zs. I mean, I like my Scrabbliness as much as the next crossword solver, and those Zs are awfully pretty right there, I'll give you that. But. (You knew there was a "but.") … SOZZLED? That means 3D: Drunk, in slang? Look, I don't mean to brag, but I am probably as well-acquainted with drunkenness as anyone you're going to meet and I've Ne-Ever heard that word before. SOZZLED! I actually kind of like the sound of it so … should we give it a pass?

Here were the missteps that really slowed me down:
  • 1A: Aloe target (RASH). Wanted BURN, which is generally the target of the PuzzleHouse's aloe supply. We are a fair-skinned bunch!
  • 5A: Indian royal (RAJA). Tried RANI first. Both RAJA and RANI were covered in CW101 almost six months ago.
  • 20A: Tasseled toppers (FEZZES). Wanted CORNSTALK first (that's the Iowa in me peeking out) and when that wouldn't fit, I switched over to the correct category (hats) but tried the wrong type (BERETS).
  • 56A: "All in the Family" family name (STIVIC). If I'm the only one who entered BUNKER with no crosses and no thought whatsoever, I'll eat my FEZ.
  • 1D: Picaresque (RAFFISH). This is the most embarrassing misstep I made. I totally read this as "Picturesque," and was soooo proud of myself for thinking of BUCOLIC, which is a word that always stumps me because to me it seems like it should mean the opposite of what it actually does mean. Plus it fit and everything! Argh!
Bullets:
  • 14A: 1990s Expos manager (ALOU). Of course I know the ALOUs, they're standard crosswordese, but I've never paid attention to what teams they are associated with (sorry, Crosscan).
  • 41A: "Even Napoleon had his Watergate" speaker (YOGI). I don't recall hearing this particular quote, but it was pretty clearly a Yogi-ism.
  • 42A: I followers? (HOP). The letters H-O-P follow the letter I in Rex's favorite breakfast spot, the International House Of Pancakes.
  • 53A: Sheikdom of song (ARABY). Off the top of my head, I don't know what this clue refers to. I'm guessing that when I hear the song I'll recognize it. I'm also guessing someone will link to it in the comments so I won't have to.
  • 61A: Genesis brother (SETH). Hi, SethG!
  • 7D/56D: Eponymous bacteriologist (JONAS / SALK).
  • 29D: Good name, briefly (REP). As in REPutation.
  • 43D: Traveled from point A to point A? (ORBITED). I don't know if this is an original clue but it sure is clever!
  • 48D: Former RFK Stadium NLer (NAT). When I moved away from the D.C. area in 2003, there was no baseball team. When I moved back in 2008, the NATionals were here. (I'm all, "There sure are a lot of Wisconsin fans here on the East Coast!") So, the "former" part tricked me. I thought it must be referring to the area's previous team, the Senators. But, as it turns out, the "former" refers to the stadium and not the team. The NATs used to play in RFK Stadium but now they play … somewhere else. Their own stadium. I don't know what it's called.
  • 58D: Old cry of disgust (FIE). Let's bring this back, shall we?
  • 59D: Rose of rock (AXL). There are bands I love to hate and then there are bands like Guns 'n' Roses, which I hate to love.
  • 60D: Prez, to GIs (CIC). Commander In Chief.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 6D: Paul's "Exodus" role (ARI).
  • 38D: Peeples of "Fame" (NIA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 15A: Approach shot club (IRON); 17A: Bubbles (FIZZ); 22A: Happy hour order (ALE); 23A: Partook of (ATE); 24A: Bit of dental work (INLAY); 28A: "Hold on!" ("SEE HERE!"); 30A: Japanese-American (NISEI); 31A: "If __ only listened!" (HE'D); 32A: Shade sources (ELMS); 35A: Florida's __ City (DADE); 39A: Lead player (STAR); 45A: Stoop (PORCH); 47A: Dry cleaner's supply (HANGERS); 54A: Carpenter __ (ANT); 55A: Exxon Valdez cargo (OIL); 62A: Many a dance club tune (REMIX); 63A: Fiendish (EVIL); 64A: The old you (THEE); 65A: '50s flop (EDSEL); 66A: Guitar's fingerboard (NECK); 67A: Repairs, as a green (SODS); 2D: Property recipient (ALIENEE); 4D: Old-fashioned "Way to go!" ("HUZZAH!"); 5D: Wheel parts (RIMS); 8D: Saxon opening (ANGLO-); 9D: Star Wars letters (SDI); 10D: Witchy woman (HAG); 13D: Article of faith (TENET); 19D: Keystone State founder (PENN); 21D: It may be evil (EYE); 25D: "The Optimist's Daughter" writer (WELTY); 26D: Generic pooch (FIDO); 27D: "Out of Africa" author Dinesen (ISAK); 33D: He said "Learn from the masses, and then teach them" (MAO); 34D: Common sense? (SIGHT); 36D: Atkins diet no-no (CARB); 37D: Gas brand seen at ampm stores (ARCO); 39D: Reached across (SPANNED); 40D: Powwow communication source (TOMTOMS); 44D: Analysts' concerns (PSYCHES); 46D: Clopper (HOOF); 49D: Mill inputs (GRISTS); 50D: Ballet rail (BARRE); 51D: Fire indicator, perhaps (SIREN); 52D: Green shade (OLIVE).

31 comments:

Tinbeni said...

PuZZleGirl, Excellent write-up.

I loved the ZZZZ block. Now about the solve.
This was sort of a Love/Hate fest until I got the reveal HEAVE HO.
Then the themes fell easily.
Fave: W(ho)S ON FIRST. Bud and Lou at their best.

ALIENEE, is this a real legal term?
I've heard of lienee. Just not with the 'A' I'm AFEARED.

ARCO from the crosses, we don't have am/pm stores here in Tampa Bay.
DADE City a Floridian gimmie. I'm waiting for Ozona (smaller than teenie) to show up someday.

Always like a YOGI-ism in the morning.
"When you get to the fork in the road, take it."
He wasn't being obtuce. He lives on a circle, half-way around. So it doesn't matter which way you turn.

I'm not sure, but if you are drunk (Moi? ... NEVER!)
can you pronounce SOZZLED?
Hey, BAMBOO SOT, what's your opinion?

HUZZAH, Scott. FUN Friday solve.

captcha: crack, Nope ... not going to touch it.

D said...

Sheik of Araby was an old jazz song. Look on YouTube; many versions of it

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

And a Happy October to you too Puzzlegirl (and everyone)!
I much enjoyed the writeup today (as always).
I too struggled with that NW corner. Oiy! But, I actually finished that first.

There was a lot I liked about this puzzle and a lot I disliked. I thought the theme was a bit contrived and there were a lot of inconsistencies which bothered me.

IMHO:
I disliked the theme constructs and reveal generally.
I really liked the ZZ/ZZ block and especially the word SOZZLED.
I didn’t like the “Hold on!“ clue for SEE HERE.
I liked the Michael STIVIC entry (Archie Bunker’s “Meathead” son-in-law)… my hero on that series.
I didn’t like the “Lackin’ Gumption” clue for AFEARED.
I always like to see my favorite car, the EDSEL, in a puzzle… I’m always for the underdog.
I disliked that CARB wasn’t pluralized.
I liked ELMS… they are my favorite tree, but I lost a huge one to D.E.D. a few years ago… broke my heart.
I vaguely remembered that HUZZAH was similar to hurrah, but I had to look that up in Wikipedia.

I love seeing YOGI Berra quotations. What are some of your favorites?
@Tinbei... I liked your Yogi explanation of "Fork in the road", but can anyone really rationalize a yogiism?

Overall, I’d give this Scott Atkinson puzzle a B-

Time for my German Pancakes.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@D
Thanks for the reminder.
I went to YouTube and look what I discovered---
George Harrison singing "The Sheik Of Araby".
WOW!!!!

Captcha: FABILY
A family with a head cold.

Rex Parker said...

What you said re: SOZZLED. I stopped mid-solve and looked it up. It's ... a word.

Thought theme answers were tortured in parts. If taking out "HO" gets you WS or RN ... maybe you should keep searching for HO-less words.

SEE HERE / HUZZAH / FIE are an amusing throwback triad.

hazel said...

If you couldn't remember STIVIC, it was hard to see HEAVEHO, and the theme answers just look like gibberish for a really long time. QED - hard puzzle.

And since I don't like wacky, it wasn't fun trying to figure it out either!! Except now I look back and I kind of like CAPTAINOK and BAMBOOSOT - and the Z square - and the throwback triad Rex mentioned - although the SEEHERE isn't really complete without a Young Man following it.

Sfingi said...

DNF in the NW. Never heard of SOZZLED.

I had PSYCHoS before PSYCHES. I wish analysts did protect us from them.
Entered, in this order:
REtro - REduX - REMIX.
fret before NECK.

Googled for STIVIC (not Bunker!); DADE - knew the county, not the city; BARRE, DAFOE, ALOU (I should just enter the usual sports' suspects, rather than Googling); WELTY. It's Friday.

There was a lot of cleverness in this one, esp in SE: GRISTS, ORBITS, HEAVEHO. I guess I like wacky.

HUZZAH is old even for me - turn of the last century. I picture Grampa Merritt at an RPI game.

The Sheik of ARABY got Hubster singing. Harry Connick Jr. has brought it back. It's somehow related to Rudolf Valentino's Sheik movie (1921).

@Rex - Thanx for explaining NAT. I Googled from one thing to another. Some of these sports things I'll never get w/o starting my whole life over again. (exhausting thought).

I have to get on the Thomas E. Dewey Thruway to pay and check my storage. Last night, the roads nearby were flooded and there was a bizarre fatal accident (truck on top of car) on the Thruway, so I had to put it off.

Scully2066 said...

Wow this puzzle kicked my butt - glad it is Friday!!

Everyone have a great weekend - I need to recover... SOZZLED????

badrog said...

In order of solving:
ZZ1: 3D, SOZZLED. Was already thinking "Been there ... done that!" as I filled it in.
ZZ2: 4D, HUZZAH. Altho I've never actually heard it, it's been in more than enough CW over the decades.
ZZ3: 17A. From the crosses, of course; replacing 'suds'.
ZZ4: 20A. FEZZES. I can't believe I spent as much time as I did looking for an appropriate synonym of 'mortarboard'!

If these Z's had called for a clue of their own would it've been "Zed squared"?

Along with RAJA being quite welcome I/O the usual 'rani', it was also wonderful to see ALOU clued as something other than 'MLB family' or the like.

Felipe ALOU is remembered as an Expo manager because of his successes with low-salaried teams playing in a near-empty stadium.

When brother Matty ended his career with the Taiheiyo Club Lions of Fukuoka, Japan, I was living in that city, and occasionally went to see him play. (Yes, Fukuoka is the city with the unmentionable 3-letter airport designation.)

28A, "Hold on"/SEEHERE cries out for an audio clue to distinguish between connotations of "hold on" as 'wait a sec' and "whattya talkin' about!". Nevertheless, I certainly hope the day never comes when an iPod (or whatever) is needed to complete a CW.

Anonymous said...

You've got a typo in your answer to 39 across. "O" should be "A".

Tinbeni said...

Forgot to mention, this is for Van55.

DADE City (pop.6,188, 2000 census) is the county seat of Pasco County.
It lies north of my Pinellas County (St.Petersburg/Clearwater ... Dunedin/Ozona) in the Tampa Bay area of the West Coast of Florida.

Pete M said...

Too many false starts for me on this one... besides BUNKER, I also had ABEL for 61A and JKL as my "I follower". Also SMELL for SIGHT.

Bonus tie-in: The Expos left Montreal to become the Nats.

Orange said...

The medical editor in me has to pipe up and say "Hey! Jonas Salk was a virologist and made the vaccine for the polio virus. Bacteriologists study bacteria, not viruses."

badrig said...

Just noticed that the Wikipedia entry for "Jonas Salk" was "modified" just today, and the time stamp is 16:21 (GMT?). Can't help but wonder what the edit was, and who made the change.

I can remember my siblings and I "re-packaging" dimes that our mother had collected in those fill-the-slot cards into $10 rolls before passing them on to the "March of Dimes." And I remember, too, the joy when Salk's vaccine became available.

Anonymous said...

Did anybody else google clopper? Veeeerrrry interesting .

SethG said...

Wikipedia tells you those things. The entry says that "Dr. Salk's last years were spent searching for a vaccine against AIDS." Someone in Utah changed AIDS to HIV, then someone in California changed it back.

I'm not sure why W is playing baseball. I do know that Wodehouse uses SOZZLED, though not in _Right Ho, Jeeves_. JONAS was my first answer; SETH took me much too long to get...

xxpossum@hotmail.com said...

GOD!This puzzle Sucks!!!!It's one thing to have difficult and challenging clues, another thing entirely to have to deal w ASININE clues.How do puzzles like this one make the cut?Evidently desperation reigns @ the LAT puzzle dept.

KJGooster said...

I picked up on the theme early, and the rest fell rather quickly for me, though I agree that some of the theme answers are kinda clunky.

"Sozzled" reminds me of one of my favorite exchanges from The West Wing:

Russian Negotiator: Why must every American president bound out of an automobile like as at a yacht club while in comparison our leader looks like... I don't even know what word is.
Sam Seaborn: Frumpy?
Russian Negotiator: I don't know what "frumpy" is but onomatopoetically sounds right.
Sam Seaborn: It's hard not to like a guy who doesn't know frumpy but knows onomatopoeia.

The West Wing was never the same after Aaron Sorkin left. You know, he wrote the screenplay for The Social Network -- may have to see that one this weekend.

hazel said...

@Seth G - I think W is playing baseball for the same reason the panda is always getting drunk. It's just wacky. ;-/

Crosscan said...

1994 Expos, managed by Felipe Alou, son Moises in the outfield, best team never to have a chance to win the World Series.

Yeah, moving to Washington sure did wonders for the team.

Eric said...

Loved the ZZZZ's! I was quite AGOG that a constructor had managed to pull that off. (Though I had FOAM for FIZZ and TUQUES for FEZZES at first).
I knew SOZZLED. HUZZAH!
Thanks @PG for the Akbar and Jeff pic! I haven't seen those two guys -- or Bongo or Binky or the rest -- in far too long.
@badrog: Nah, "Zed squared" is a Wednesday clue. For a Friday puzzle, I'd have clued it "x^2 + y^2 on a right triangle" :-) (Sorry about the computerese "x^2" for "x squared"; the blog won't let me write real superscripts.)

Yup, BUNKER first here too; and then I spelled STIVIk like so; had to Google it to get the "C", which gave me PSYCHES, which unlocked the SE.

As for the theme, well, for me it was the theme answers that revealed the reveal. I got all of them, somehow, before seeing the pattern; then sussed out the missing-HO theme. Only that, plus the _EAV___ crosses, gave me HEAVE HO.
I liked BAMBOO SOT, and the CAPTAIN one was OK, but not too thrilled with the other theme answers.

Also liked the "... point A to point A" clue for ORBITED, and "The old you" clue for THEE (couldn't help thinking of the "new you" bits in Logan's Run. "Identify the object ANKH" :-))

I was confused at first about the NAT clue. Besides my usual sports-cluelessness, I misread "NLer" as "NFLer", so even after I Googled RFK Stadium, I couldn't imagine how __T could relate to the Redskins. Guess that's 'cause it doesn't. (Geez, until today, I thought the Redskins were in Washington state. Shows what I know :-/)
Being a Torontonian, I got baseball religion in about Game 3 of the 1992 World Series. It lasted two years, until the strike; after two consecutive WS triumphs, the Jays were already going nowhere fast when the '94 season was aborted. And they've stayed nowhere ever since :-(

How I mourn the demise of the hyphen! I couldn't even parse "Approach shot club" until I had a few crosses to point me in the right direction. "Approach-shot club" would have been instantly comprehensible, even though I still wouldn't have known the answer.

Scott A said...

Hi all. As always, the constructor does his/her best make something amusing and hopes not to stir up a lot of hate. Sozzled seems to be unloved. This is a surprise to me. When I think Dean Martin or W.C. Fields, I think "He's sozzled". Seriously that's the first word that comes to mind.

The STIVIC clue I originally had was "Bunker's 'Meathead' son-in-law", so Rich N clearly wanted to put some headfakes in this.

Thanks for the constructive crit and kind words. And keep on solving , everyone

Anonymous said...

I admire the entire Alou clan but my favorite is Boog.
I still think of Michael Stivic when putting on my socks and shoes.

Wanda Woman said...

Anonymous said, "I still think of Michael Stivic when putting on my socks and shoes."

LOL! Yes! I LOVED that bit.

Listen to it here:
http://mortystv.com/media/a_sock_and_a_shoe_norman_rob.wma

Puzzle Lunatick said...

I think this puzzle constructor is totally off his rocker - or else he is very vulgar.

"" ""Heave Ho "" "" is definitely a sexually amorous suggestive name .- This guy has been thinking of Ho's -

as in "Whores in the 'Hood -

thus the theme of the puzzle IMHO.

PurpleGuy said...

Scott A - thanks for dropping by and adding your input.
I was thrown by SOZZLED and couldn't find it in my CW dictionary. However, your explanation makes it perfectly clear. I now have a new favorite word.

It's so beastly hot here in Phoenix, I just might have to get SOZZLED.

A toast to you and Tinbeni!

Shanti-
Bob/PurpleGuy

captcha: spersubb- probably how I'll soung after I get SOZZLED ;)

Sfingi said...

@Gooster and Badrog - great reminiscences.

Baby sister was one of the first to get a shot, at school. She's 56, now.

The name STIVIC seems Bosnian. I wouldn't have thought of that 10 yrs. ago.

shrub5 said...

Until today, I don't think I knew what picaresque meant - glad to get that straightened out. Think we had ALIENEE recently (or maybe in the NYT). Rolled right along on the bottom half of the puzzle but had trouble up top with SUDS before FIZZ, MUTT before FIDO and SKIN / BURN before RASH. Loved HEAVE HO and FOOTSIE.

Favorite Yogi-ism: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Anonymous said...

The NW corner COULD have been harder. The creator could have found a way to get ZZYZX road in there.
It is a real road in the CA desert.

John Wolfenden said...

Nice theme. The only I reason I knew the "Sheik of ARABY" was from reading a Tin Tin comic as a kid. Captain Haddock gets roaring drunk as usual, and before getting Tin Tin into another fine pickle with his SOZZLED antics, he breaks into song.

Diann said...

What a fabulous puzzle!! I had trouble in the NW corner--fezzes, sozzled--the four z's were neat--great play on "Heave ho"--I remembered Stivic! Please print more of Scott's puzzles--a great challenge and a LOT of fun!! VERY thought provoking!! Diann