M O N D A Y   November 1, 2010
Gail Grabowski

Theme: Go Team! — Theme answers are familiar phrases with the letter string RAH hidden in them.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: TV's Della Street for nearly 40 years (BARBARA HALE).
  • 27A: School assignment that may elicit groans (EXTRA HOMEWORK).
  • 48A: Symphony venue (ORCHESTRA HALL).
  • 64A: Theme of this puzzle hidden in 17-, 27- and 48-Across (THREE CHEERS).
  • 69A: One of the 64-Across (RAH).
Happy November, everybody! We had a super busy and fun weekend here at the PuzzleHouse and I'm completely exhausted. As soon as the PuzzleKids are off to school, my plan is to clean my house. Or take a nap. One or the other. (The picture on the right is PuzzleDaughter with Rex Parker's daughter, Sahra.)

But first, let's talk about this puzzle. This is a solid, better-than-average Monday puzzle, which is pretty much what I expect from Gail Grabowski. I hate to say this, but I have to be honest: to me, TOMFOOLISH (29D: Silly) is just awful. I automatically entered TOMFOOLERY but then realized I had to fix it. I don't think, however, that my irritation was simply because I made the mistake. I think it's a legitimately bad entry. Who has ever said TOMFOOLISH? I mean, you barely even hear anyone saying TOMFOOLERY, but at least it's something you've heard of! (And by "you've," I of course mean "I've.") That said, however, I should reiterate that, to my mind, this is a better-than-average Monday puzzle. So really. No hard feelings.

Crosswordese 101: The tricky aspect of RIATA is that it has the same number of letters as LASSO. So before you fill in your answer, you need to check at least one cross. RIATA and LASSO are often clued the same as "Rodeo rope" or "Cow catcher," but if you see the word gaucho in the clue, the answer is more like to be RIATA. Today's clue (53D: Ranchero's rope) includes a similar tip-off.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 16A: "Double Fantasy" artist Yoko (ONO).
  • 66A: Sci-fi creatures (ETS).
  • 2D: Fall birthstone (OPAL).
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Everything Else — 1A: Flies high (SOARS); 6A: Taking things wrong? (THEFT); 11A: Work on hems (SEW); 14A: Enthusiastic about (UP FOR); 15A: Espionage double agents (MOLES); 19A: GI morale booster (USO); 20A: Disorderly sort (SLOB); 21A: How fries are fried (IN OIL); 22A: Basic earring (STUD); 23A: Space-saving abbr. (ETC.); 25A: V-shaped slits (NOTCHES); 32A: Old Prizm automaker (GEO); 33A: Trait transmitter (GENE); 34A: "That stings!" ("YEOW!"); 36A: Tab-grabber's words (ON ME); 38A: Alabama march city (SELMA); 41A: Small songbird (WREN); 43A: Quite a distance off (AFAR); 45A: Honored guests' platform (DAIS); 47A: Seasonal sprite (ELF); 52A: Visits unexpectedly (DROPS IN); 54A: RV connection? (S-T-U); 55A: Isn't up to snuff (AILS); 56A: __-press: wrinkle-resistant (PERMA); 59A: Home run hitters' hitters (BATS); 63A: __ chi: martial art (TAI); 67A: Church doctrine (DOGMA); 68A: Senator Hatch (ORRIN); 70A: Secretly watch (SPY ON); 71A: Trans Am roof options (T-TOPS); 1D: Second-stringers (SUBS); 3D: Woodstock hair style (AFRO); 4D: Burglar (ROBBER); 5D: Majorca Mrs. (SRA.); 6D: Mtge. fraud investigator (T-MAN); 7D: Bit of seasonal laughter (HO HO); 8D: "Seinfeld" woman (ELAINE); 9D: Chap (FELLOW); 10D: "The Waste Land" poet's monogram (TSE); 11D: TV setting for "M*A*S*H" (SOUTH KOREA); 12D: Happen next (ENSUE); 13D: Links selections (WOODS); 18D: Wealth (RICHES); 22D: Twisted fastener (SCREW); 24D: Follow (along), like a little brother (TAG); 26D: Common Christmas gift (TOY); 27D: Self-esteem (EGO); 28D: TV princess with a sidekick named Gabrielle (XENA); 30D: Half and half (ONE); 31D: Pinochle combos (MELDS); 35D: In good health (WELL); 37D: O.K. Corral brothers (EARPS); 39D: Yoga class need (MAT); 40D: Respiratory cavity (AIR SAC); 42D: Cowboys' org. (NFL); 44D: Coke alternatives (RCS); 46D: Used a rocker (SAT); 49D: Rap genre (HIP-HOP); 50D: Couch potato's lack, evidently (ENERGY); 51D: Lyndon's 1964 running mate (HUBERT); 52D: Socially active sort (DATER); 57D: San __, Italy (REMO); 58D: Not the least bit nice (MEAN); 60D: Prefix with dynamic (AERO-); 61D: Ballroom blunder (TRIP); 62D: IRS data (SSNS); 64D: QB's scores (TDS); 65D: Fresh from the oven (HOT).



Once again Gail delivers a delightful Monday puzzle… THREE CHEERS for Gail.

Incorporating that old worn-out RAH into a theme was quite clever.

I thought most of the clues were pretty original.

Some names to drag out of my gray-matter: BARBARA HALE, ELAINE Benes, and XENA Warrior Princess… all women I admire.

PG, I had no problem with TOMFOOLISH. It's not as commonly used as TOMFOOLERY, but it is a legit word.

M*A*S*H was set in SOUTH KOREA, I think near Seoul, but does anyone know what the acronym M*A*S*H stood for?

@PG and @Rex
Cute Kids!

Hope y’all got more treats yesterday than tricks!


I always thought ELAINE Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) made that show!

Anonymous said...

@John, MASH is the acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

Avg Joe

Van55 said...

I classify TOMFOOLISH as iffy. The rest of the puzzle is really very good. No fill compromises either for the theme or for the day of the week. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

M*A*S*H = Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

mac said...

Very good puzzle, but am I alone in finding a repeat of just three letters a little thin for a theme?

Liked notches, dogma and the clue for perma, not common crosswords. Nice to have the robber and theft in the same area.

badrog said...

Was a little surprised that TAI is not on the CW-ese list yet. As in today's 63A,__-chi (with the "martial art" added for Monday); or Mai ___, "tropical drink"; or "SE Asian language group". And I'd bet there are still more.

Thought the 29D TOMFOOLISH was just tricky enough, and the 69A RAH (locating it below the actual 64A Theme hint) just cute enough to make this puzzle more interesting than a typical Monday.

Nit-pick: Law-enforcement types might have trouble with 4D since a ROBBER and a "Burglar" are different types of criminal. Most definitely when it comes down to the actual crime they would be charged with if caught.

Joon said...

just to add to your CW101 lesson: the *really* tricky thing about RIATA is that sometimes it's REATA. both are legit spellings and both are used pretty often. neither one gets a "var." tag. so i always leave the second letter blank until i figure out the crossing letter, unless the clue is about the ranch in the james dean movie "giant." that one is REATA. but if it's about a lariat or lasso or gaucho's rope or whatever, it could be either one (although statistically it looks like RIATA is slightly more likely).

i didn't much care for the theme, i have to admit. not only is RAH pretty boring (even three times), but BARBARA HALE is totally unfamiliar to me, EXTRA HOMEWORK doesn't really seem like a cohesive phrase, and ORCHESTRA HALL really wants to be CONCERT HALL. so ... yeah. not my favorite monday puzzle.

Sfingi said...

My mind is clouded by the dreaded SSNS.

@John - Sorry to disagree. Except for Stiller and Meara, none of the actors on Seinfeld had enough talent to stand on their own. Julia Dreyfuss' shows fell one after the other like playing cards. Michael Richards famously self destructed at a comedy venue.

MASH was another show I couldn't stand for it's sexism.

Sorry to be so sour - sugar O.D. this weekend.

Van55 said...

@Sfingi -- I had totally forgotten about the dreaded SSNS when I wrote my comment. That really is weak, but for a Monday it's forgivable, I guess.

Surprised to find Joon so critical -- but pleasantly so. I'm sorry Joon, but I had you pigeonholed in my mind as a constructors' apologist. Glad to learn that my stereotyping was wrong. I still think this was a better than average Monday LAT -- for my own taste of course.

Eric said...

I'm not generally a fan of clues that refer to other answers, but I was amused by the one hanging off of the theme reveal. Not exactly FOUR CHEERS amusing, but that's now many RAH's there are in the puzzle :-)

Here's the back story on MASH units. Short version: They were invented in 1945 (not sure whether during, or only after the end of, WW II). The idea was to get surgical capability as close to the front as possible, to be able treat injuries more quickly. They were used in Korea of course, but also in Viet Nam and later. They've since been superceded; the last one was deactivated in 2006. The 212'th MASH's final deployment was to Pakistan in 2005; the U.S. State Department bought its tents and medical equipment from the Pentagon, and donated the whole unit to the Pakistanis for earthquake relief.

Rube said...

I, too, thought the three letter theme was weak. If not for the reveal, I probably would not thave seen it. All I can say about SSNS is YEOW. Also, there were too many partials for my taste. And, the letter sequence STU is pretty lame. On the positive side there was no obscure pop culture or RRNs. I have seen better Grabowski puzzles.

TomFoolery is a great review of Tom Lehrer's songs. A must see if you can.

Rube said...

I almost forgot.

Only one more! Go Giants.

C said...

Smooth Monday puzzle, no ups, no downs. I don't mind the occasional SSNS type fill. Theme wasn't much of a theme and I would be TOMFOOLISH to discuss it any further.

C said...

I definitely forgot, thanks for reminding me @Rube, Lets Go Giants!

CrazyCatLady said...

I thought this was pretty good for a Monday and I was OK with the theme. My only problem was that I had away instead of AFAR which led to TOMWOOLISH and WCS. Fixed that and finished. I agree with PG about TOMFOOLISH. I've never heard of Barbara Hale or Della Street. Liked seeing my late mil, SELMA right in the middle of the grid.

Go Giants RAH RAH RAH!

Anonymous said...

Never heard of Barbara Hale! Never heard of Della Street! Poor baby...and you must be a baby...of course, I had to wait for the crosses to get the rap genre. So it all evens out I guess. And someday I'll figure out how to stop being "anonymous."

Anon - See, I've put in a name! said...

@Anon 11:19 - Right above where you click the radio button for Anonymous you are given several options: Sign up for a Google Account, get one of five OpenIDs and use them, or enter a (consistent, or not) fake name in the text box labeled "Name" for the post.
And Bob's your uncle.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Anon 11:19 Thanks for the compliment. I wish it were so. The truth is I'm too old to remember anyone on Perry Mason besides Raymond Burr ; )

Yes, just open a Google account. Give yourself a name and a picture. It's easy.

Van55 said...

@Rube -- regarding STU, I agree with you. I am ususally the first to criticize random alphabet runs as crossword clues. As I did SSNS today, I totally missed it, probably because the answer was already filled in by the crosses, so I never needed to read the clue and answer.

I revise by evaluation downward and rate this as an average Monday LAT effort.

Scully2066 said...

Happy Monday all - I agree a solid Monday but very little flash and the theme was just OK. Three letter "RAH" included in long letter strings seems a bit of a stretch but it's Monday.

I tried to find something with sparkle but just couldn't. I always like seeing DOGMA (great movie) but not much else.

Looking forward to tomorrow!!

Nighthawk said...

Hand up about TOMFOOLISH and the slightly thin theme. But OK by me. And for a Monday, thought it fair to give SSNS and the RV hookup a pass.

@CrazyCatLady - as a refresher, besides Burr:Mason; Street:Hale there was William Hopper:PI Paul Drake; William Talman:DA Hamilton Burger; and Ray Collins:Police Lt. Arthur Tragg, later replaced by Wesley Lau as Lt. Andersen, who was later replaced by Richard Andersen as Lt. Steve Drumm. Oh, and the writer is CWese's ERLE Stanley Gardner. Feel refreshed?

Great pics of PuzzleDaughter and Sahra Parker. Love the stars customization. She's got her own "strato-caster." Thanks for sharing, @PG. Looks like a mini-march to restore fun.

Agree with @badrog. B+E of a dwelling at night is to be burgled. Robbery is taking by threat or use of force, any time of day.

Or by good hitting and pitching. Howdy Rangers. You was robbed!

capcha:copho - no explanation needed

Sfingi said...

Also, last day for nasty political ads! RAH RAH RAH!

@Badrog - also agree, learned early from Hubster, criminal lawyer, ret.
Your basic 2nd story man doesn't carry a gun and doesn't want to run into a human. If he does want to, then he's definitely a dog of a different breed.

Love Paul Drake! But, the Perry Mason stories are ridiculous. Once again, referencing Hubster, no one confesses in court.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Nighthawk - now that I've had the refresher course, I realize that I was watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, not Perry Mason.

OMG Giants rule!! Rah!

the redanman said...

M*A*S*H Se*ist????

Seriously? The 1950's in a sit com somehow PC?

Plus, I can't really ID the show as sexist. That's my only compaint. The puzzle was a Monday fer goshsakes ....