M O N D A Y   October 11, 2010
Kristian House

Theme: The World on a String — Theme answers are familiar phrases that all end with words that can be types of, um, how do I explain this? Oh just go look at the theme answers. You'll get it.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Engages in fanciful storytelling (SPINS A YARN).
  • 28A: Bench squad (SECOND STRING).
  • 46A: Connecting idea (COMMON THREAD).
  • 61A: Start acting independently (CUT THE CORD).
  • 14A: Show that launched Kelly Clarkson's career, familiarly (IDOL). I only watched one season of "American Idol" and think that's going to have to be enough. I might have to tune in once or twice to see how Steven Tyler is doing, but for the most part I just don't think the show will be very good without Simon (going out on a limb there, I know).
  • 16A: Actor Wilson (OWEN). I've seen him a few things and he's pretty entertaining. I laughed really, really hard whe he started singing "Don't Give Up On Us Baby" in the "Starskey & Hutch" movie.
  • 33A: Watson of Harry Potter films (EMMA). I believe she plays Hermione.
  • 37A: Middle Corleone brother (FREDO). I don't have to explain that this is from the Godfather, do I? Okay, good.
  • 54A: Prepare to drive (TEE UP). Golf!
  • 1D: Nine-to-__ (FIVE). I don't think I've ever worked a nine-to-five job. My job right now is eight-to-five. How about you all?
  • 3D: Wine cellar tool (CORKSCREW). I'm not exactly a wine connoisseud, so I just have to ask: is there some reason you would use the CORKSCREW in the wine cellar instead of waiting until you bring the wine upstairs?
  • 9D: Saint Francis's home (ASSISI). I can never remember where the Ss go.
  • 21D: Salsa fruit (MANGO). PuzzleSister made a salsa one time with jicama. It was delish.
  • 34D: Came to terms (with) (MADE PEACE). My favorite entry in the grid.
  • 40D: Usual fourth down play (PUNT). I'm not a football expert by any means, so this is a serious question. Is "usual" a fair characterization? I mean, I know a teams often PUNT on fourth down, but do they usually?
  • 41D: Wedding party member (USHER).

  • 51D: Modern witch's religion (WICCA). Here's the thing about Christine O'Donnell. Who really cares if she "dabbled in witchcraft" when she was younger? And I don't mean that in a she's-not-important-enough-to-think-about way. What I mean is: what's the problem with dabbling in witchcraft?
Crosswordese 101: You'll never guess what an OPAH is. That's right! It's a 47D: Colorful fish! And it's almost always clued as a colorful (or brightly colored) fish, so it's pretty easy to remember. OPAHs are also known as moonfish and sunfish, so you might also see those words in the clue.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 22A: Mine access (ADIT).
  • 31A: Only defenseman to lead the NHL in scoring (ORR).
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Everything Else — 1A: Payroll tax with Soc. Sec. and Medicare components (FICA); 5A: Tibet's capital (LHASA); 10A: Joe in a cup (JAVA); 15A: Vague emanations (AURAS); 17A: "Give" or "take," e.g. (VERB); 20A: Mukluk wearer (ESKIMO); 23A: The Beatles' "__ Just Seen a Face" (I'VE); 24A: Trap (SNARE); 26A: Subjects of wills (ESTATES); 32A: Ballpark entrance (GATE); 39A: Band booster (AMP); 41A: Carrier renamed in 1997 (USAIR); 42A: "... __ forgive those who trespass ..." (AS WE); 43A: "__ in Boots" (PUSS); 45A: Seventh-century date (DCI); 51A: "Yee-haw!" ("WHOOPEE!"); 55A: K+ or Na+ (ION); 56A: McDonald's symbol (ARCH); 58A: Father to many? (PRIEST); 64A: Intl. defense gp. (NATO); 65A: Ornery type (CRAB); 66A: Seasonal sleigh driver (SANTA); 67A: Micro or macro subj. (ECON.); 68A: Egyptian vipers (ASPS); 69A: Disapproved vocally (TSKED); 70A: Damp at dawn (DEWY); 2D: Mid-month time (IDES); 4D: White whale, e.g. (ALBINO); 5D: Hall of Fame manager Tommy (LASORDA); 6D: Drill sergeant's "one" (HUP); 7D: Diva's moment (ARIA); 8D: Potential splinter remover (SANDER); 10D: "Ode to __" (JOY); 11D: Watch for (AWAIT); 12D: Zeal (VERVE); 13D: Authors Rice and Tyler (ANNES); 19D: Bus. letter directive (ATTN.); 25D: Juanita's "this" (ESTA); 27D: "Middle" period (AGES); 28D: Family room piece (SOFA); 29D: Goofs (ERRS); 30D: Conductor's beat (TEMPO); 35D: Flaky mineral (MICA); 36D: Like the Mojave (ARID); 38D: 1920s-'40s art style (DECO); 44D: Blended-family parent (STEPDAD); 48D: Most insignificant (MEREST); 49D: Tourist draws (MECCAS); 50D: Unrepairable (RUINED); 52D: Doctor's time in the office (HOURS); 53D: Like much pub ale (ON TAP); 57D: Traffic complaint (HONK); 59D: Pack away (STOW); 60D: Cereal spokestiger (TONY); 62D: "Very funny" TV station (TBS); 63D: U.S. 1, for one (RTE.).



So nice to have a weekday puzzle where I don’t have to PUNT.

Kristian House… isn’t he the British bicycle racer? Or is this just another pen name for Rich? In any regard, he constructed a very nice puzzle for a Monday LAT. It started out like a typical U.S.A.Today puzzle and ended up like a NYT.

SPINS A YARN… there we go again with that ubiquitous SPIN thing, but this time it doesn’t have that political flavor that we’ve come to associate with those notorious “Spin Doctors”.

Puzzlegirl, the only job that I had that was nine-to-five was when I was in business for myself. My other jobs seemed more like eight-to-six.

Here’s my sentiments about good ole American Baseball…
Tommy LASORDA couldn’t say it any better!

What was the name of that movie with Goldie Hawn and that big ALBINO thug? Anyone?

VERVE, WHOOPEE, JOY and JAVA for me all fit in the same camp, so away I go to Mother’s Café.

Scully2066 said...

Thank you again PG for a great write up - today's puzzle seemed a bit hard for a Monday but it did get by brain working this morning.

@Johnsneverhome - the movie with Goldie and the Albino was Foul Play. It also starred Chevy Chase and Burgess Meredith - it is one of my all time favorites :)

Like I said, puzzle made me think this moring and that is good - liked CORKSCREW, MECCAS and ALBINO. I don't understand MEREST.

@PG - while I never played football I would argee a PUNT usually does occur on 4th down. When it does not the play is usually some type of trick the throw the opposing team off.

Happy Monday all!

Crosscan said...

I had the same trouble with ASSISI until I thought of it as "ASS IS I".

SethG said...

Last year in the NFL there were 2445 punts, 930 field goal attempts, and 557 fourth down attempts.

Fourth down attempts are generally either
-short yardage tries in an area of the field where punting will often not gain much yardage
-4th and goal from inside the 2 or so
-the team that's behind trying to drive for a tieing or winning score late in the 4th quarter.

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, another wonderful write-up.
Your style always brings a smile.

Hmmmm, your stats do support the PUNT clue.
Thanks for the additional info. (I love stats).

Not your normal Monday speed run but a FUN puzzle with a good theme that tied me up during my mug of JAVA.

ADIT, Mine access, OPAH, that Colorful fish are like yesterdays iter, things I learned long ago from crosswords.

Nice to see Bobby ORR, its been AGES. Now I'm wondering what happened to our new "best buddy" Tesla.

CORKSCREW / ON TAP was a nice stack.

Call me a traditionalist, but I always celebrate
Columbus Day on October 12th.

In answer to your question: I consider it to be exceptional intellectual ability and originality.

mac said...

It's a good puzzle day at the LAT!

@PuzzleGirl: when you visit a wine cellar at a winery, they open up bottles of wine for you to try on the spot. Come to think of it, I've only had that in France, not in California.

@Crosscan: Hi! Long time no see!

Eric said...

Nice easy Monday.

Nothing to complain about. I messed up a bit in the middle, but that's my fault, not the puzzle's. (I had ESSO instead of ESTA. Wrong word, wrongly spelled :-/ Oh well, I only know ESO from the Paul Anka song, and only know that from crosswords -- and was confusing it with the 90s song "This Kiss".)

Loved "Cereal spokestiger" as the clue for TONY, and was greatly pleased to see an actual chemistry clue for ION.

But on this Canadian Thanksgiving day, what I give thanks for is seeing WICCA in the grid.


Van55 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Van55 said...

Surely, no one thought I would let CDI go un-remarked upon and un-castigated. Ic.

The rest of the puzzle was far better than average for a Monday.

Benny said...

You must be referring to DCI, the "Seventh-century date". Clearly you prefer DLI, a mid-sixth century date. I can't understand why you prefer either over the other.

John Wolfenden said...

More to chew on than most Mondays, with some good clueing.

Had some yummy OPAH in Kauai last summer.

Mmmm...opah...(Homer Simpson drooling noise)

Sfingi said...

Six easy sports clues!
Lots of crosswordese, or crossword ease. Even Mr. ORR appeared. He'll be on the crosswordese mural.

Did not know of EMMA, SANDER, and the IDOL.


Nice to see FREDO made use of, and glad Mr. OWEN survived.

Most notably in Canada, ESKIMO is a bit non-PC, esp. with Aleut, Yupik and Inuit available.

Hubster gave me a long complicated explanation of PUNT, which I didn't understand.

@Crosscan - like your mnemonic!

Rube said...

Two things about this puzzle today: 1) learned that WICCA is not spelled with a K, and 2)that @Crosscan is still with us.

C said...

Fun puzzle. The movie "Heathers" has made the word "eskimo" a laughing trigger for me.

PUNTs are an interesting debate among football statistical analysts. Avoiding the numerical derivations, the statistical analysts (in baseball they would be called sabermetricians) indicate that there are a set of yards to go (how much is needed to make a first down) and positions on the field where it is statistically more valuable to eschew the punt and field goal for attempting to make the first down yardage. They base this on expected points of the decision. Needless to say, their views do not get much traction in the NFL; however, more interesting to the conversation is that there is a small but vocal set of high school and small college coaches who almost NEVER punt and their teams usually do well. I wouldn't say that is all down to their no punt strategy but it is an interesting idea nonetheless.

Vega said...

I *am* a wine connoisseur (insofar as that means "frequent consumer"), and I had that same thought: "why would they use a corkscrew in the wine cellar?" @mac, Hadn't thought about the touring angle.

As someone who has a lot of respect for Wiccans, my problem with Christine O'Donnell dabbling is: that sucks for Wiccans.

And finally, appreciate the insider football info. Interesting and entertaining.

badrog said...

Q: What do football coaches, card players, and numbnuts have in common?

A: Half a cliche:
"When in doubt, PUNT."
"When in doubt, lead a queen."
"When in doubt, fake it."

Any more?

CrazyCatLady said...

WHOOPEE! Fun puzzle today that was just a tad tougher than the usual Monday fare.

In CA, often if you are touring the caves or cellars in a vineyard/winery, they will offer a barrel tasting and forgo the bottle and the CORKSCREW (wine opener). They remove the bung from the barrel and use a gizmo to extract the wine and deposit it in your glass. That way you can taste the same wine from different vintages before it has been bottled. Loved OWEN Wilson in "Wedding Crashers."
@Cross Can-I like that!
@PG Nice write up. I've been watching IDOL since the second year and I agree. It won't be the same without Simon.

ddbmc said...

@Crosscan, I actually had the exact same thought for ASSISI....
Happy Thanksgiving.