10.19.2010

T U E S D A Y   October 19, 2010
Anna Gundlach

Theme: Games People Play -- Four theme entries that begin with things one might use while playing a board game. Fun!


Theme Answers:
  • 20A: Guy in a spotlight (MAN OF THE HOUR).
  • 33A: Feature of much of Bach's music (COUNTERPOINT).
  • 43A: Coin for Long John Silver (PIECE OF EIGHT)
  • 59A: Symbolic but inconsequential act (TOKEN GESTURE)
  • 1A/73A: Where you might find the starts of 20-, 33-, 43- and 59-Across (BOARD GAMES).
Howdy, folks. This is Doug, bringing you another day of semi-keen insight and plenty of off-topic rambling. But don't worry. PuzzleGirl's fine, and she'll be back in the blogger's seat tomorrow if not sooner.

I believe this is Anna Gundlach's debut puzzle. Congratulations, Anna! Nice solid theme for a Tuesday. I imagine there's quite a bit of overlap between crossword junkies and board game aficionados, so this puzzle should hit the sweet spot for many solvers. The four theme entries are all interesting, and I love that she used BOARD and GAMES as the reveal entry rather than just GAMES. The rest of the fill was above-average, with MAALOX crossing HOT OIL and SASHIMI, and a VIKING hiding in a CAVERN. Good stuff.

Bullets:
  • 17A: Almost fail (GET A D). ...on your report card. It took me a while to figure this one out. "Get a D" is an iffy phrase in my book, so I'm going to almost fail this entry. And I hope it doesn't lead to GETANA, GETAB, GETAC, and GETANF.
  • 23A: Country in which Tetris was created (RUSSIA). It was technically the Soviet Union back then, but lots of people called it "Russia" anyway. Make sure you have your volume up when you watch this one:
  • 31A: Antacid named for its elements (MAALOX). Magnesium, aluminum, and oxygen. That's a cool piece of trivia!
  • 43A: Coin for Long John Silver (PIECE OF EIGHT). The first thing that came to mind was Long John Silver's restaurant. How sad is that? When I was in high school, I worked for a Long John Silver's rival, Skippers. Their mascot was a giant parrot, and the worst job in the place was standing out front wearing the parrot costume and waving at traffic.
  • 11D: Hushpuppies are often fried in it (HOT OIL). Everything at Skippers was fried in hot oil. I usually avoided parrot duty because I was one of the top cooks. Well, it wasn't really "cooking." It was throwing things into hot oil and then fishing them out with a basket.
  • 12D: Running by itself (ONAUTO). Hey, this was an entry in the very first puzzle I blogged, a couple of weeks ago. It's short for "on autopilot." Scully2206, I hope you remembered it!
  • 40D: Fruit that isn't pretti? (UGLI). What do you think? Cute clue or a total groaner?
  • 45D: Conundrums (ENIGMAS). The clue and the answer are both fun words. And ENIGMAS anagrams to IN GAMES, which is where you'll find the starts of the theme entries. Trippy.
  • 48D: Drive drove (CATTLE). That's an odd-looking clue. The "drive" comes from "cattle drive," and a "drove" is a "group of animals moving together." I like it.
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

25 comments:

Tinbeni said...

Doug P, Excellent write-up.
That Human Tetris clip was a hoot!
Thanks.

Liked just about everything in this puzzle.
Anna, if this is your debut, WOW! & Great job.

Well someone has to do it, SOOOOO, I am offically promoting PLUTO back to Planet status.
Hey science guys, you TWITs, accept it or the REAMS will come (and I aint talking paper).

Liked the HOT OIL / HYDROX / MAALOX crossings.

UGLI may not be 'cute' but they are delicious! Esp. when I have them in Jamaica (I hear it calling me ...).

Not a Snoop fan, so why should I know his cousin? NATE Dogg, all crosses.

I thought "Get A D" was clever. But like Doug said let's leave it at that. (You and I know it WILL become "Get an A" etc).

FUN Tuesday!

Scully2066 said...

Doug thank you very much for the super cool wrtie up and also remembering my question from last week. I did get ONAUTO this time around thanks to you! :)

Loved the puzzle today and with all puzzles I like, I learned new thngs. I didn't know Tetris originated in RUSSIA - Skipping stones are called DAPS and how MAALOX was named, but now I do.

My personal favorties were PLUTO (my #1 non-planet), VIKING (makes me think of one of my fav quarterbacks) and NILLA (always good in banana pudding - Yum)

Everyone have a great Tuesday!

Van55 said...

Wow! Two really outstanding puzzles start this week. There are a couple of tiny nits, as Doug pointed out, but they're way overcome by freshness and a nice theme.

SethG said...

GET A D is brutal. STK too. And DIRIGIBLES are not always aloft.

Not a big fan of the [With this, where you might find this or this or this or that], especially at 1A, but I really like the inclusion of the double-reveal, much of the fill, and SASHIMI.

Could have clued PRE with RACE, ACES with DEUCE, or, recently, VIKING with TWIT.

Tinbeni said...

As to the DAPS.

We had this recently and I researched the hell out of this.

Yeah, I know Russell Byars claims he set the "record number of skips" 51 on July 19, 2007.

And the Guiness Book of World Records recognizes the record to be 40 skips.

But, and it is a heavy BUT ...

The NASSA, North American Stone Skipping Association, in no way recognizes records of 40 or more skips very simply because you CANNOT count the skips from the videos presented as evidence.

NASSA encourages 'new' records, but the records cannot be just guesses at the number of skips.
NONE of the footage NASSA has seen verifies the number of skips claimed by the recordholder. NONE!

If other footage exists, then the NASSA wants to see it.

(Please note, I personally will do nothing that will get the NASSA upset. These people are serious "DAP fans").

Anna said...

Thanks for the kind words - this is my debut!
It's interesting to see the editing process up close: ETSY got changed to ETTE, DAPS was clued with fist bumps, and while i like GETAD i thought it was kinda sticky too :)
i did originally clue ACES/DEUCE with cross-references but for a tuesday puzzle Rich made the right choice, i think. The MAALOX clue i can't take credit for either, but i love it!

Doug P said...

Hi, Anna. Thanks for stopping by. ETSY is a fresh entry, and I think we're eventually going to start seeing it in puzzles. It's at least as well-known as UTNE.

I look forward to solving your next one!

badrog said...

Re MAALOX at 31A, Although magnesium, aluminum and oxygen are indeed found in this OTC antacid, there are a few mini-nits to pick with the clue/answer:
1. None of the 3 is in elemental form; both the Magnesium and Aluminum are in their respective hydroxide compounds (Mg(OH)2 and Al(OH)3).
2. Hydrogen should therefore supposedly be part of the brand name. But it looks like Ms Gundlach probably knows that, because 13D = HYDROX!
3. If you worry a lot about what you ingest, you might want to take a look at the list of non-medicinal ingredients in MAALOX. Yucky!

WotD: 6A, DAPS. I've skipped stones into rivers, lakes, bays and oceans around the world, but have never heard or seen it with this usage. Is there a difference? Is DAP dialectical in some way? Has anyone ever used it in normal speech or seen it in literature?

Re 43, Spent way too much time trying to figure out why PIECEOFEIGHT doesn't roll off my tongue as smoothly as the plural 'pieces of eight'. Vaguely remember playing a board game way-back-when that was actually called Pieces of Eight. Might've been a tie-in with 1950's Treasure Island, Disney's first completeley live-action film (with its parrot).

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anna and Doug. A clever bunch of clues and two of my favorite things in the whole world, sashimi & Tetris, got a mention. Thanks for the Tetris clip, Doug. I even enjoyed most of the above comments. A nice Tuesday.
Regards,
Missouri Mike

John Wolfenden said...

A delightful Tuesday puzzle. Looking forward to more from Anna.

To me, "Drive drove" for CATTLE is pretty brilliant, and I'm going "cute" as opposed to "groaner" for UGLIfruit.

Nice to see COUNTERPOINT. Bach may not be as hummable as Mozart, but he was the Master. The singer of my band in college took a class in counterpoint, and it was a big challenge for a very smart girl.

Tuttle said...

And DIRIGIBLES are not always aloft.

In fact, there has not been a "dirigible" - an airship with a fully rigid envelope - ALOFT since the Germans dismantled the Graf Zeppelin in 1939. The vast majority of airships ALOFT today are non-rigid blimps and the remainder (like 4) are semi-rigid Zeppelin NTs.

Not that I don't like the clue. Dirigibles were awesome!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

I really really liked this puzzle. Yes, Doug, I think it’s the game thing that puzzle solvers find so fascinating. If this was indeed Ms. Gundlach’s debut with the LAT, I say, “Rich, feature her more in the future!”

It was so good to see a nice comment from Anna too.

Even “Tetris”, and ACES, and DEUCE had a game flavor.

Loved that human Tetris vid clip that Doug provided.

Thought the “Drive drove” clue for CATTLE was outstanding.

And then we have all those marvelous brand names, NILLA, HYDROX, and MAALOX. I didn’t know that about MAALOX until Doug explained it. That is cool!

Speaking of cool stuff… how could I pass up that real cool classic punk rock video clip of DEVO, “Whip It”. Looks pretty tame compared to today’s music video standards. As corny as it was, you have to admit though, it was quite a catchy tune.
And DEVO is one of those frequent crossword visitors.

Ray KROC is also another frequent visitor to crosswords. He may have been the founder of the company as we know it today, but San Bernardino is the site of the first McDonald’s stand.

Had trouble spelling SASHIMI correctly… I wanted SUSHIMI.

Just once, I’d like to see VOUS clued as Voulez- ____… (you want). I’m a huge ABBA fan!

Got a real chuckle out of Doug’s Long John Silvers/Hushpuppies story. Haven’t we all had those marvelous first jobs?

Y’all have a sweet Tuesday!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Anna and @Doug
Now you got me wondering about ETSY.
What is it?

C said...

Fun puzzle to solve today, LAT is having a good puzzle week so far. Actually, the LAT has been consistently good for the past couple of months, kudos Mr. Norris.

Random thoughts while solving ... the hush puppy clue brought shoes to mind originally and then made me laugh about frying shoes in oil. Yes, I am easily amused.

Doug P said...

@JNH

Etsy.com is a website for buying and selling handmade items. I've seen it mentioned in plenty of articles, etc.

From etsy, here's the perfect Christmas gift for that crossworder on your list: Tissue box cover

*David* said...

Etsy is used quite a bit in the alt-xword puzzles like The Onion. It is only a matter of time until it gets used in the LAT.

Congrat on the debut I did like the NE corner of the puzzle. The theme didn't reasonate with me all that much and I never like starting off with a 1A connected to the theme.

CrazyCatLady said...

Thanks again Doug P. Great puzzle Anna. Congrats on your debut.

I was actually able to remember DAPS from our discussion a few weeks ago and @Tinbeni's discovery of NASSA. According to Wiki, stone skipping has different names in different countries. In RUSSIA it's called pech blini which translates to "baking pancakes."

Loved the split revealer. Favorite clue/answer was 46D Conundrums/ENIGMAS. I really like both of those words. Also liked 48A Spelunking spot/ CAVERN. I have a jewelry making friend who sells her creations on ETSY.

CrazyCatLady said...

And the anagram of ENIGMAS that Doug pointed out is pretty cool.

ddbmc said...

Ok, Doug, now you've gone and done it! I might have to go dig for my son's old Game Boy, just to play TETRIS again!

48D-Drive drove-CATTLE,slowed me down, until I did the crosses. Then remembered that Hugh Jackman (be still my heart!) was the DROVER in the movie, "Australia."

Thanks for the explanation of "etsy." Did find that reference on Google, but didn't see it referred to as 'MAJOR ETSY?" Would that be a vintage item more than 40 years old?

To Tinbeni's comment on DAPS, there was a nice piece on the stone skipping contest in Franklin, PA championship, done on Sunday Morning, CBS, by Bill Geist, this past Sept.(oringally broadcast in Oct. 09).
Stone Skipping

Thanks Anna and Doug, for a nice Tuesday romp!

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

@Doug P
If I bought that tissue box cover it would drive me absolutely crazy... seeing a blank grid that I couldn't solve. Yikes!

Tinbeni introduced me to a whole new sport... stone skipping. Now with @ddbmc's video I'm convinced that it'll become the next big Olympics event.

Sfingi said...

Never heard of NATE Dogg.

HYDROX, NILLA, mmmm.

Since I could never remember UTAH = beehive, I looked it up. I knew there were no bees in the Americas pre-Columbus, so apparently the Mormons brought 'em to UTAH. I've often wondered if Johnny Appleseed did the same.

I've been wanting to see ETsy in a puzzle for a long time. I waste a lot of time viewing such.
@John - ETSY is in the category of "Cute-Overkill." Up there with kitten and puppy cams. Was just looking at old letters to my mother thanking her for the tiny Winnie-the-Poohs she sent out in 1984. She would have loved ETsy.

@Badrog - thanx for the info.

Dan said...

Congratulations, Anna! Here's to many more.

And it's great to have you as a guest host, Doug...

ddbmc said...

Couldn't resist. Had completely forgotten about this song!
Games People Play by Joe South

mac said...

Quality puzzle and great write-up, but this one was tough for me. Impressive debut, Anna!

Eric said...

@Anna: I liked it! Thanks.

COUNTERPOINT was a gimme; I'm a huge Baroque fan, and Bach's where that started for me.
@JW: Bach is eminently hummable/whistlable; I do it all the time! True, you can't hit all the notes, seeing as our built-in instruments simply can't do polyphony. You just have to pick a monophonic path through it. A (very) few times in my life, I've managed to whistle one line while hearing some of the others in my head. Peak experience! (Which must have been all in a day's work for Bach -- how else could he have composed that stuff?!?)

I loved the MAALOX/HYDROX cross. Actually I first had NITROX. Cookies, scuba gas, whatever :-)

Didn't understand "Drive drove" till I came here, but got the answer anyway, with a few crosses, due to knowing "drover".

The clue for 40D is pretti cute. It's a shame I didn't even see it till Doug called it out -- UGLI is so crosswordese that I got it from UGL_ crosses with only the barest confirming glance at the clue.

Speaking of music, how's this for a slice of 70s nostalgia, from one-hit wonder Golden EARRING?