M O N D A Y   November 15, 2010
David W. Cromer

Theme: Leavin' on a Jet Plane — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with words that can be used in relation to air travel.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Lose a few pounds (TAKE OFF WEIGHT).
  • 37A: Act defiantly toward (FLY IN THE TEETH OF).
  • 54A: Find ideal employment (LAND A GREAT JOB).
  • 58D: You might be on one if you do the starts of 20-, 37- and 54-Across (JET).
I really hate to do this, especially on a Monday morning and all, but I have an issue with this theme. Never in my life have I heard the phrase "fly in the teeth of." I have to assume it's an actual, legitimate phrase, otherwise it wouldn't be in the puzzle. And yet. Of course I turned to our good friend Mr. Google to see if I was completely off base. The phrase "fly in the teeth of" gets almost 400,000 hits, most of which are definition sites. "Fly in the face of," on the other hand, gets 2.8 million hits, and less than half of the first-page results are definition sites. So I'm just going to say that I'm absolutely right, in that cute little way I do that is clearly joking, but possibly not joking at all.

The only place I had any trouble at all was at 10D: Summer itch cause. I first tried "hayfever," and when the HEA appeared, I tried "head cold," thinking that was a little strange. Luckily, it didn't take long to straighten all that out.

  • 5A: It's cut and styled (HAIR). Did I tell you all that PuzzleSon got his hair cut? It's on the drastic side and we're all super happy with it.
  • 13A: Kathmandu's country (NEPAL).
  • 29A: They're exchanged at the altar (I DOS). Oh, I did have a misstep here where I first tried "vows."
  • 21D: Deceptive moves (FEINTS). The funny thing here is that the first word that came to my mind was "dekes," which is a hockey term I learned from crosswords.
  • 57D: Bank takeaway (REPO). Do you all watch "Chuck"? We were watching an episode recently where Chuck's friend Morgan gets his car repossessed and Harry Dean Stanton shows up as the Repo Man. Awesome.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 28A: Legal thing (RES).
  • 66A: Norway's capital (OSLO).
  • 4D: Wild West movie (OATER).
  • 31D: "SNL" alum Cheri (OTERI).
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Everything Else — 1A: Estimator's words (OR SO); 9A: "Of __ I Sing" (THEE); 15A: Part of A.D. (ANNO); 16A: Sniggler's prey (EELS); 17A: Maliciousness (SPITE); 18A: Not so much (LESS); 19A: Bivouac (CAMP); 23A: Opposed (to) (AVERSE); 24A: Pekoe, e.g. (TEA); 25A: "Far out!" ("RAD!"); 32A: Make fun of (TEASE); 34A: Sweet snack with coffee (DONUT); 36A: Northern California peak (SHASTA); 41A: __ Pieces: candy brand (REESE'S); 42A: Brings up (REARS); 43A: Make into law (ENACT); 44A: Bank claim (LIEN); 45A: Fashion that doesn't last (FAD); 48A: Canadian A.L. team, on scoreboards (TOR); 49A: Crude in a tanker (OIL); 51A: Invent (CREATE); 58A: Monopoly square with bars (JAIL); 60A: Yves's girlfriend (AMIE); 61A: Country with a wall (CHINA); 62A: Poet __ St. Vincent Millay (EDNA); 63A: Heavenly music maker (HARP); 64A: Kids' flying toys (KITES); 65A: Clothes (TOGS); 67A: Open-and-shut __ (CASE); 1D: GM navigation system (ONSTAR); 2D: Fix potholes in (REPAVE); 3D: Volleyball smashes (SPIKES); 5D: One of two equal portions (HALF); 6D: From the beginning (ANEW); 7D: Maps within maps (INSETS); 8D: Talk radio host O'Donnell (ROSIE); 9D: PC support pro (TECH); 11D: Stately tree (ELM); 12D: Psychic's claim (ESP); 14D: Some summer babies, astrologically (LEOS); 22D: Collect (GATHER); 26D: Regarding (AS TO); 27D: Unable to hear (DEAF); 30D: "Of course I knew that!" ("DUH!"); 33D: Food, on a diner sign (EATS); 34D: Computer insert (DISC); 35D: Common pickup capacity (ONE TON); 36D: Afterworld communication meeting (SEANCE); 37D: Get all worked up (FRET); 38D: Letterman rival (LENO); 39D: Horse that isn't two yet (YEARLING); 40D: Golfer's gadget (TEE); 44D: Alpaca cousins (LLAMAS); 45D: Tex-Mex serving (FAJITA); 46D: Makes reparations (for) (ATONES); 47D: Lower in rank (DEBASE); 50D: Wyoming neighbor (IDAHO); 52D: __ of lamb (RACK); 53D: Value system (ETHIC); 55D: "Woe is me!" (ALAS); 56D: "__, Interrupted" (GIRL); 59D: Bustle (ADO).


Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, Excellent write-up.
The "little-dude" looks great with the new Coif. (Hey, what do I know, I keep mine "Marine" length, close my eyes and think I'm still the "Hippy-from-the-60's, HAIR on the shoulders).

I liked this theme and think the FLY-IN-THE-TEETH-OF may be an "Age" thingy.

Liked the mini-theme, TECH & DISC.

Really like to dine at places called EATS.

Fell into the VOWS before IDO'S trap.

Last week I had 2 offers from company's that want me to LAND-A-GREAT-JOB ... don't know what I'll do since that Moscow Consulting job kept me from doing the NYT until late in the day. (Sent the final rpt. back @ 7:15am this morning, so I'm Retired ... again).

capcha: eness, another "E" thingy!

ddbmc said...

Puzzle son=adorable. Nice HAIR.

I was steeped in hockey all weekend and actually got FEINTS,instead of instantly putting in DEKES. Maybe because the undercurrent of football still invades the hockey rink between periods, when all the dads charge for the lobby to check the scores! (Giants, did you forget your Wheaties this weekend?)

Argued with lawyer husband about LEGAL THING-his first thought-SUE, but ONSTAR was a gimme and I knew it was RE, but wasn't thinking RES, until I filled in SPIKES. DUH!

@PG, totally agree with FLYINTHETEETHOF? wtf? Yet, my quickest solve, to date. (No, I still can't compete with the experts!)

Not a lot of bite to the puzzle, but afterall, it is a Monday. Pleasant enough.

badrog said...

Only erasures were at 65A. 55D gave me ALAS, so I keyed in DUDS. But 39D YEARLING make me change DUDS to RAGS, and then 59D ADO made me change RAGS to TOGS. Never even saw the theme key at 58D JET. In fact, hadn't even noticed that there actually was a theme since all 3 long entries had come quite easily with the help of just a few simple crosses.

UPSHOT: I'm gonna have to find something better to do on Mondays.

Van55 said...

Very good Monday puzzle. Smooth with practically no crap fill. Theme is uninspiring, but what the heck?


I really like David W. Cromer as a constructor. Today he had a sweet little airplane theme which I liked., but I agree with Puzzlegirl on "Fly in the face of" being a better entry… oh well, it’s always good to learn some new variants. Most of David’s cluing was rather direct though.

Liked the words: FAJITA, YEARLING, and FEINTS.
AVERSE to the words: OR SO, I DOS, and AS TO.

Puzzleboy looks nice with his HAIR shortened, but I really think he looked quite cool (RAD) before. My older son, John, had real long hair when he was that age... kid's would TEASE him and so we thought it best to cut it all off.

Favorite talk show host: LENO
Most unfavorable talk show host: ROSIE O’Donnell

As an “arborophile”, I love this poem by EDNA St. Vincent Millay

City Trees

The trees along this city street,
Save for the traffic and the trains,
Would make a sound as thin and sweet
As trees in country lanes.

And people standing in their shade
Out of a shower, undoubtedly
Would hear such music as is made
Upon a country tree.

Oh, little leaves that are so dumb
Against the shrieking city air,
I watch you when the wind has come,—
I know what sound is there.

For a Monday, this puzzle was quite enjoyable.

Captcha: POOTTER (has anyone seen the new Harry Potter movie yet?)


mac said...

I must have heard "fly in the teeth of" somewhere, so I let it fill itself in without a second thought. Yearling, though, thought that was a name for a young deer. Read The Yearling as a little girl (Dutch translation, of course) and loved it.

Good puzzle!

Margaret said...

Off topic, but I must say: "The life of a repo man is always intense." Wish I'd seen the Chuck where Harry Dean showed up! Too good.

imsdave said...

No trouble with T--TH already filled in, but I agree that FACE would have been a bit more in the language. Good Monday stuff, and kudos to the constructor.

Mokus said...

Fly into the teeth of a storm is a phrase I heard as a youth but not lately. "Into" not "In".
@JNH Thanks for the poem, very nice.
I enjoyed the puzzle and my only erasure was VOWS instead of IDOS.
@PG Please share how one convinces a son to get his hair cut.

SethG said...

Easiest major-paper crossword I've ever done, even with a barely-there theme I didn't notice 'til after.

C said...

Very, very easy puzzle today. The clue for JAIL as an example, the only thing left out of the clue was "and it rhymes with mail"

I've heard 'flys into the teeth' before in regards to an action that is against the flow so I think some creative license was taken to get the 17 letters down to 15.

verb c said...

The problem is, that wasn't necessary. FLY OFF THE HANDLE, for example, is a 15...

Eric said...

Congratulations, @PG, you are now on the first page of Google results for FLY IN THE TEETH OF!
PER @Mokus and @C, "fly into the teeth of" yields "real" hits -- only 12,100 of them, and they tend to be about flying into the teeth of a storm, or enemy anti-aircraft fire, or "a steady 14 MPH headwind" -- that is, literally about flying. So on a hunch, I dropped the first word and Googled "into the teeth of", and then "in the teeth of". Bingo! That last yields 13.7 million hits.
Here are two entries in idiom dictionaries: Entry A, and Entry B. According to A, the primary definition of "in the teeth of" is straight into, confronting (as in the literally-flying examples above). Entry B adds nuance: if something happens or is done in the teeth of difficulties, the difficulties cause problems but do not stop it.
Entry A gives two more definitions; #2 is in opposition to or defiance of, which is the sense I think of for "fly in the face of" -- and indeed, that's the only definition in either entry to cross-reference to the latter expression.

The theme is a bit subtler than "words that can used in relation to air travel". TAKE OFF, FLY, LAND -- taken in sequence, they sum up a single flight. Of course, the theme's missing a few entries: GO THROUGH SECURITY, WAIT FOR LUGGAGE, ... :-/

The only thing that kept TOR from being a total gimme for this Torontonian is that I wasn't quite sure that the Blue Jays are Canada's only AL team. (For the record, since the one-time NL Montreal Expos left for Washington, the Jays are Canada's only major-league-baseball team period.)

Capcha: guesse -- appropriately enough!

Tom in the D said...

Thank God for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday LAT puzzles, make me feel better about myself, after not being able to finish Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week. Nice easy one today, finished it while sitting in mu truck, parked in a customers' driveway, while I waited for them to get home. Only write over was feigns for feints. See y'all tomorrow. @JNH, as far as I know,HP7 comes out Friday......can't wait.

John Wolfenden said...

One of my favorite old-timey expressions is describing someone who's dull or inattentive as "sittin' there with yer teeth in your mouth." Never heard of flying into them, though.

PG, enjoyed the Bob Seger clip. I wonder if he ever actually made it to Katmandu.

An inoffensive Monday, and I even learned what a sniggler is.

Rube said...

ORSO at 1A is a terrible way to start a puzzle. Throw in REPAVE at 2D and you're really off on the wrong foot. However, the puzz smoothed out from there and actually was pleasant, if too short lived.

Hand up for IDOS/vowS. Much prefer DUH over d'oh although the DONUT at 34A made me think of Homer Simpson, duh.

Speaking of TAKEOFFWEIGHT, wife just suggested a surefire business: The Somali Pirates Diet Plan. Here's their slogan: "Be taken captive for a month - weight loss guaranted."

Sfingi said...

Though it may be un-PC - Your son looks like a boy, now.

We say FLYINTHETEETHOF here. Or, maybe, old people do. Expressions are so local, in time and place. We say lie through your teeth; in Boston, it's lie in your teeth. None of these teeth-expressions are very good if you think them through.

@Wolfenden - better than sitting there w/o yer teeth, or yer teeth in yer hand.

Had vows before IDOS and HEADLICE before HEATRASH. Had em both, as a kid.

SPIKES is new, naturally, for me.

Other than that, easy.

Eric said...

@Sfingi: I think the "in the teeth of" metaphor (primary definition; see my previous comment) must be to being caught in the teeth of a predator (not to, e.g., punching someone in the teeth).

As for lying through one's teeth, I'm just guessing, but maybe it means lying while wearing a (phony) smile?

@Rube: DONUT should have been a gimme for me, but wasn't. DUH!


@John W
Bob Seger actually went to Kathmandu....however it was in the 1990's. He claimed it was a real eye opening experience for him, the plight of the people there.
One thing he did learn was the correct spelling of Kathmandu... he left the H out of his lyrics.

Sfingi said...

@Eric - Lying through/in one's teeth. I agree and know what it means - it's just the difference in the choice of preposition is local.

I got final Jeopardy today and it was sports! And the 2 guys didn't get it and bet their w-d. The answer was field hockey. (Granted, a girl's sport.)

Jim said...

FLYINTHETEETHOF seemed quite natural to me. Maybe it's age *and* East Coast.

CrazyCatLady said...

Just solved the puzzle at 10 pm PST. Great write up PG. Your kids look just like you. Just got back from my LA to SLO trip via OJAI, which is NNE of Ventura (the city not the county). Sorry folks.

Sooo Katmandu... I had a boyfriend back in the 70's who imported clothing from India for a company named Katmandu. He was....well, I don't even know how to describe him.

Great, easy Monday puzzle.
@JNH I live in a town that bills itself as The City of Trees and PHDs. We take our "City Trees" seriously, not so much our PHDs.