T H U R S D A Y   October 14, 2010
Matt Matera

Theme: YES!— Each theme answer starts with the word yes in a different language.

Theme answers:
  • 1A: *Hip-hopper who married Beyoncé (German) (JAY-Z).
  • 20A: *Old stories (English) (YESTERDAY'S NEWS).
  • 28A: *Inferred cosmic substance (Russian) (DARK MATTER).
  • 44A: *Séance device (French) (OUIJA BOARD).
  • 51A: *Fatal problem in Genesis (Spanish) (SIBLING RIVALRY).
  • 66A: Parliamentary votes, or what appears at the starts of the answers to starred clues (YEAS).
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Did any of you have the same reaction I did when you first started this puzzle? "What the heck is German about JAY-Z?!" That was enough to send me looking for the theme (I don't always do that) and it turned out to be a big help.

  • 10A: Delhi wrap (SARI). I always get tricked by this clue. I always think they're talking about the sandwich-type wrap, which is weird because I've always thought the whole "wrap" thing sounded pretentious so I don't know why I think about it so much.
  • 16A: Green Zone site (IRAQ). I misread this clue as "Green Zone SIGHT" and thought IRAQ was a really bad answer. (It is, however, a prefectly fine answer for the actual clue.)
  • 19A: Things you saw while out? (LOGS). I got it right away that "out" was referring to sleep, but I thought the answer would be "dreams," which obviously didn't fit. It didn't occur to me that there might be two tricky words in the clue!
  • 33A: Mythological ride (CARPET).

  • 35A: Derisive cry (YAH). Not sure in what context this "cry" would be used derisively. Making fun of the accents in "Fargo"?
  • 42A: Body art, in slang (TAT). I'm glad we're able to clue TAT as TATtoos now, instead of relying on the old "making lace" definition.
  • 49A: "Dagnabit!" ("RATS!"). Excellent exclamations.
  • 58A: Colombia neighbor (PERU). And you know what country is also a neighbor of PERU? That's right ... CHI-CHI-CHI! LE-LE-LE!
  • 61A: Animal shelter (LAIR). When I see the word LAIR I always picture a cave in my mind. And I don't think there's any way I'll ever picture a cave again without thinking about those miners. I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot of those guys over the next several days and weeks. (As Andy Borowitz tweeted yesterday morning: "Post-traumatic experts say it could be days before the Chilean miners appear on Dancing with the Stars.")
  • 7D: Org. with rovers (NASA). I wanted this to be about dogs.
  • 9D: Handel bars? (MESSIAH). Cute clue.
  • 10D: '20s White House nickname (SILENT CAL). Calvin Coolidge. Not real wordy as far as presidents go.
  • 31D: Actress Durance who plays Lois on "Smallville" (ERICA). This seems obscure to me. Has she been in anything else?
  • 37D: TV princess (XENA). Hi, Doug.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Movie apiarist (ULEE).
  • 18A: Brewers' kilns (OASTS).
  • 56D: Flightless bird (RHEA).
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Everything Else — 5A: Sturdy fabric (DENIM); 15A: Like sandalwood leaves (OVATE); 17A: Gets into (DONS); 23A: "Paris, je t'__": 2006 film (AIME); 24A: Charged particle (ION); 25A: Nashville awards gp. (CMA); 36A: Pivotal part (CRUX); 38A: Bug, perhaps (ERROR); 39A: Hottie (FOX); 40A: Easternmost state (MAINE); 41A: "Don't touch that __!" (DIAL); 43A: High-speed raptor (FALCON); 47A: Former World No. 1 tennis player Ivanovic (ANA); 48A: With 6-Down, one in fear of an audit (TAX); 59A: Funnel-shaped (CONED); 60A: Architect Mies van der __ (ROHE); 62A: Gather (AMASS); 63A: Intuited (KNEW); 64A: About (OR SO); 65A: Greet respectfully (BOW TO); 1D: Kids' author Blume (JUDY); 2D: Succulent plant (ALOE); 3D: Dieters may fight them (YENS); 4D: Keebler cracker (ZESTA); 5D: Pushover (DOORMAT); 6D: See 48-Across (EVADER); 8D: __-bitty (ITTY); 11D: ... ducks in __ (A ROW); 12D: Poverty, in metaphor (RAGS); 13D: Brightness nos. (IQ'S); 21D: Down source (EIDER); 22D: "Kidding!" ("NOT!"); 25D: Included in the e-mail chain (CC'ED); 26D: Video game plumber (MARIO); 27D: Pianist Claudio (ARRAU); 29D: Honshu city (KYOTO); 30D: Top limit (MAX); 32D: Bad sentence (RUN-ON); 34D: Former Kremlin policymaker (POLITBURO); 39D: Terrif (FAB); 40D: Former sketch comedy that used Don Martin cartoons (MAD TV); 42D: Hailed ride (TAXICAB); 43D: "I wish 'twere otherwise" ("'FRAID SO"); 45D: Airline to 29-Down (JAL); 46D: Slap the cuffs on (ARREST); 50D: Like a biting remark, in British slang (SARKY); 51D: Burn slightly (SEAR); 52D: Novelist Murdoch (IRIS); 53D: Pitcher Hideo (NOMO); 54D: Chew (GNAW); 55D: Unaccompanied (LONE); 56D: Flightless bird (RHEA); 57D: Trees used to make longbows (YEWS); 58D: Abbas's gp. (PLO).


Scully2066 said...

Wow what a great puzzle - I didn't get the theme until I was completely finished and then it still took me a couple of seconds. Once I figured it out - it made the puzzle all the better! Lots of very clever and tricky clues and also lots to learn. (Hope that was not a RUNON :)
Have a great Thursday and as always PG great write-up and loved the DWTS quote!!

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, You crack me up!
"A very reliable source" had me LOLROTF.

FUN theme, YAH? (I am in Fargo!)
Really liked that OUIJA BOARD has OUI & JA, so I guess that JAY-Z guy wasn't really needed.

ARRAU and ROHE were learning moments.
Never heard of that 2006 movie but AIME looked right.
ANA and ERICA, totally unknown to me.
All sussed out from the crosses.

Faves were that TAX EVADER.
I figure I've handled a few of these audits (for clients) over the years.
Hmmmm, let's see MOI-v-IRS. well the record stands at 34-0. NOT one penny in additional tax or interest.
Wish those guys realized I can read their 10,000 page code also.

badrog said...

Yes, it was indeed a fine puzzle!

How nasty to put the key to the theme way down there in the SE! Even when that solve finally let me fill in DARKMATTER, and its cross-fill, I still had one last square to fill: at JAY_/_ESTA.

At this point I'm thinking "Thank Goodness the LAT applet lets one know when everything is filled in correctly. But I'm totally embarrassed to have to say that I did something I've never done before, and it obviously wasn't until the 26th try that the little guy on the rope-swing finally showed up to say "Congratulations!"

Van55 said...

I enjoyed the punny clues today.

That said, I count 25 proper nouns in the grid, and that doesn't include IQS. That's nearly 1/3 of all the answers today. I know it's Thursday, but to me that's just excessive.

SethG said...

My first try for [Handel bars?] with xxSxxxx in place? MUSTACH. At least I had the decency to be upset that there was no "Var." indicator... And I've told you about Leura, right, the Australian town where all the stores had cutesy names?

Solved it as a themeless, and it didn't matter to me--nice theme, but none of the theme entries were challenging and the theme would have only helped with two or three letters of each anyway.


Doug P said...

You know it's going to be an interesting puzzle when a German Jay-Z appears at 1-Across. Fresh theme and great non-theme fill in this one. SILENT CAL & POLITBURO are excellent.

But I have to take issue with OUIJA BOARD. The name OUIJA comes from OUI + JA, the French & German words for "yes," so that entry feels like a cheater to me.

Battle on, Xena!

Tuttle said...

Really expected 9D to be plural. And does anyone really see LOGS when they sleep? I thought 'sawing LOGS' referred to snoring and the visuals were just an old cartoon trope.

Supposedly Dorothy Cooper was once seated next to Calvin Coolidge at an event and told him that a friend had bet her she couldn't get more than two words out of him. Silent Cal's response was "You lose."

Anonymous said...

Sawing LOGS refers to snoring. There are no visuals necessary.

*David* said...

Great theme loved it puzzle was easy-moderate due to pretty easy theme answers. Toughest section was clearing out top center since I had to wait to get EVADER and my 8D clue in the LAT was a misprint.

Kevin said...

Hello all. I have been reading this site for a few months now and finally feel the need to comment about something.

The use of the word oast(s) with regards to being part of a brewery or a brewer's tool is as far as I can determine incorrect. Oasts are parts of oasthouses found on hops farms. They are the size of houses and for the most part long forgotten. I have never seen an oast at any brewery.

Please correct me if I am wrong.


PS - Great site and great work to all that write and comment.

Sfingi said...

@Kevin - I agree. I know people in their '80s who use to work on hops farms in Upstate NY. They were buildings used to dry or slow heat, and some have been converted to houses.

Although I thought the theme was lame, MESSIAH and IQS was clever.

Thurs., and I only Googled 3x. For ERICA, ANA (sports) and Honshu. The Honshu produced KanTO, which I knew wasn't right, so I waited.

Never heard of NOMO (sports), ZESTA.

Didn't like CCED or CONED.
TAT is awful if true.
Had bAH before YAH, which I also don't get.
Wouldn't know if JAYZ was German or Martian.

@PG - if by edgy, you mean youthful, forget it. If you mean raunchy, bring it on.

Tuttle said...

*head -> desk*

Dag, my mind totally elided that meaning of saw for some reason.

John Wolfenden said...

Good catch Kevin, as a former homebrewer I always thought there was something odd about OAST. Time to retire the word, constructors. I wish someone would use WORT, which refers to the wonderful-smelling concoction you get when initially cooking the ingredients.

I really wanted "Brightness units" to be some measure of luminance, but had to admit it's a pretty clever clue for IQS.

Is Iraq really the only place you can find a Green Zone? Something sticks in my craw about this one...seems like BAGHDAD would make more sense.

"Silent Cal" is a new one for me. I assume it refers to his hands-off, laissez-faire management style. I remember Reagan saying that Coolidge was his favorite president, presumably due to his distaste for government regulation. Of course, guess what happened right after he left office?

hazel said...

My mom says Rats! and I'm kind of a Dagnabit! person, sometimes a Dang nab!, but only when I'm around her (or my friends' kids). The rest of the time its plain old Sh*t, which I now think is a bit unimaginative. Good clue tho!

@PG - I hesitated between roti and SARI too, tho I'm not sure if rotis are true wraps. i think i use them more as scoops.

@kevin - thanks for explaining what an OAST is. know it only through crosswords as something related to beer.

@ Sfingi - is it JA or JAY that is Martian for yes? :-)

Anonymous said...

Calvin Coolidge was credited with a clever limerick, though I don't know if it was really his work:

I sat by the Duchess at tea.
It was just as I feared it would be.
Her rumblings abdominal
Were truly phenomenal
And everyone thought it was me.


IMO a pretty darn good puzzle.
I'm on the road so I had to solve it on paper at The Corner Bakery. That means, no computer or Google to tempt me. Finished it in salad time, so I guess that's pretty fast for me.
Loved the theme, the fill, and the cool clues.
Why do I have to pay taxes?
I'm old, I've paid for 6 1/2 wars and I just want to have peace !

mac said...

Good puzzle! You really did have to figure out the theme to understand the different languages in the clues. The first time we have 2-letter words as theme answers?

Oasts are sprinkled along the roads in England among the fields. I've seen houses made out of them, and they have odd-shaped rooms at different levels.

Who knew about oui-ja!

Rube said...

Got the name Hideo NOMO mixed up with Hideki Tojo, the WWII Japanese General. Similiarities end there. That was my only writeover.

Loved DARKMATTER, the theme less so. The discussion of OASTS is interesting, but I'll bet we still see a lot of this xwordesey word. OVATE is my WOTD. Will have to try some ZESTAs. Never heard of them.

CrazyCatLady said...

Fun puzzle! Had no idea where the theme was going until I got to the revealer. Couldn't figure out why YAH is derisive. I say YAH all the time as a nod to Crazy Cat husband's Swedish heritage. Had it been clued differently, it could have been a little add on to the theme answers. I had BAH at first too. Had Spicy instead of OVATE for Sandalwood leaves so that messed me up for a while. I was completely confused by the clue for 58 down Abba's gp. All I could think of was Abba the group. Finally PLO showed up in the crosses. The RHEA bird got me again. Had KIWI first. SARKY was my new WOTD.
@Doug P - Wow, I never knew that about OUI-JA. I always wondered where that name came from. Thanks for that little tidbit.

Great write-up PG. As always, thanks for your hard work!

Bud Light said...

From Wiki:

An oast, oast house or hop kiln is a building designed for kilning (drying) hops as part of the brewing process. They can be found in most hop-growing (and former hop-growing) areas and are often good examples of vernacular architecture. Many redundant oasts have been converted into houses

HUTCH said...

You have to pay taxes because tho' you are old, you are still a member of the human race.

Sfingi said...

@Hazel - It is jayz, pronounced w/o the ee at the end. As in, "Jayz, I think so."

There's a picture of a hops house at flickr. It's in Palatine Bridge, which is in Herkimer County, the county to the East of us. These were mostly German. The picture is copyrighted, so I couldn't put it here.