M O N D A Y   November 8, 2010
Neville Fogarty

Theme: Puzztastic! — Theme answers are familiar phrases whose first word rhymes with "bombastic."

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Last resort actions (DRASTIC MEASURES).
  • 27A: 2009 Clooney/Streep film based on a Roald Dahl book (FANTASTIC MR. FOX).
  • 44A: Scrunchie, e.g. (ELASTIC HAIRTIE).
  • 55A: Kitschy lawn ornament (PLASTIC FLAMINGO).
Hey, look who's here. It's Neville again! Remember last week how I posted a picture of Neville Longbottom on the post with Neville Fogarty's puzzle? Well, apparently that prompted him (Neville Fogarty) to change his Facebook profile picture and it's perfect!

So, the puzzle. I felt like I struggled with it, but when I finished it was pretty much exactly the same amount of time I typically spend on Mondays. Maybe it's because there's barely any crosswordese in it (which is awesome on a Monday). The theme is cute. I'm not crazy about ELASTIC HAIRTIE. I mean, sure, that's what it is, but that's not a phrase that trips off the tongue, ya know? And, yes, I understand what is meant by PLASTIC FLAMINGO but I don't think I've ever called it that. Pretty sure I've only called the flamingo yard decoration a "pink flamingo," which does nothing to distinguish it from the actual pink flamingo bird, but hey, that's how I roll. So, I'm gonna do a little sleuthing here. … Turns out "plastic flamingo" and "plastic flamingos" (in the plural) get a total of about 25K Google hits. Obviously, "pink flamingo" isn't going to give us the results we want because, unlike me, Google doesn't automatically distinguish between the lawn ornament and the actual bird. "Plastic pink flamingo," however, gets 250K hits. What does that tell us? Well, nothing, actually. But it was fun, right?

  • 16A: Loughlin of "90210" (LORI). Can't say I ever watched this show. Some of the boys on it were pretty cute though. Her name sounds familiar though. Hmmm ... Oh! She played Uncle Jesse's girlfriend-then-wife Becky on "Full House." The PuzzleKids luurrv that show.
  • 21A: Icy space streakers (COMETS). If I say "I didn't know COMETS were icy" does that just make me look stupid?
  • 22A: "The way I see it," in online shorthand (IMO). In My Opinion.
  • 31A: Display ostentatiously (FLAUNT). If you've got it ….
  • 35A: Soccer moms' transports (VANS). Just last week I started wondering when I'm going to be able to ditch the mini-van and get myself a nice little car. I think it might be soon.
  • 49A: Dali display, say (ART). I entered ART first then thought, "Nah, that's too easy," and changed it to "oil." Then back to ART.
  • 61A: Like some gases (INERT). I tried "noble" here first.
  • 63A: Glittery rock style typified by David Bowie (GLAM). I've never been much of a Bowie fan, but I do enjoy this song.

  • 11D: Rita who shouted "Hey you guys!" on "The Electric Company" (MORENO). Just took a quick look at Rita Moreno's Wikipedia page and wow, she's 78 years old. I loved her on "Electric Company." She's one of only 10 people who have won an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Emmy. But you knew that.
  • 13D: Actress Spacek (SISSY). I can't picture her without pigs blood all over her. That's unfortunate.
  • 22D: Uncertain (IFFY). Ooh, that's a great little colloquial word.
  • 41D: Saint Stephen's punishment for blasphemy (STONING). I'm not really up on my Bible, so I had to get this through crosses. (See what I did there?)
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 4D: Condé __ Publications (NAST).
  • 8D: Maiden name lead-in (NÉE).
  • 53D: Mennen shaving lotion (AFTA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Like 20 Questions questions (YES-NO); 6A: Put together, as a book (BIND); 10A: Ratchets (up) (AMPS); 14A: Halloween option (TREAT); 15A: Over, in Germany (UBER); 20A: Celery pieces (STALKS); 24A: Sorrow (WOE); 25A: __ moment: sudden realization (AHA); 26A: Vote against (NAY); 32A: Landlord's contract (LEASE); 33A: Holler (YELL); 34A: "__ the season to be jolly ..." ('TIS); 39A: Malia Obama's sister (SASHA); 42A: Gripe and grouse (KVETCH); 47A: "One Day __ Time" (AT A); 48A: Pull a scam on (CON); 50A: Biblical beast (ASS); 51A: Abandon on an island (MAROON); 53A: Giorgio known for snazzy suits (ARMANI); 59A: Peru's capital (LIMA); 60A: Message passed in class (NOTE); 62A: Posing no challenge (EASY); 64A: Lymphatic tissue masses (NODES); 1D: Since Jan. 1, on a financial report (YTD); 2D: Botch something up (ERR); 3D: Like corn and apples (SEASONAL); 5D: From Canada's capital (OTTAWAN); 6D: Water carrier (BUCKET); 7D: PCs from Big Blue (IBMS); 9D: Old Greek coin (DRACHMA); 10D: Former student (ALUM); 12D: Before the state's cut, as income (PRE-TAX); 18D: Words of defeat (I LOST); 19D: Flies in the clouds (SOARS); 23D: Masculine (MALE); 25D: Top poker pair (ACES); 28D: Oklahoma oil city (TULSA); 29D: Hipbone-related (ILIAC); 30D: Flu symptom (FEVER); 34D: Like a fine line (THIN); 36D: Reached, as goals (ATTAINED); 37D: Mark Harmon military TV drama (NCIS); 38D: Women (SHES); 40D: Fancy scarf (ASCOT); 42D: Destiny (KARMA); 43D: A, B, C, D, E, or K (VITAMIN); 44D: And others: Latin (ET ALIA); 45D: '80s-'90s Anaheim Stadium NFL team (L.A. RAMS); 46D: Apollo Theater site (HARLEM); 47D: More than enough (AMPLE); 52D: "The Star-Spangled Banner" start (O SAY); 54D: El __: climate pattern (NIÑO); 56D: KFC's Sanders, e.g. (COL.); 57D: Univ. sr.'s exam (GRE); 58D: NBA tiebreakers (OTS).


Van55 said...

This was a really good Monday puzzle. No quibbles at all.

Sfingi said...

Puzzle Girl - Wanted "melting clocks" for Dali. Would be timely for today, and an explanation why you felt you were struggling when you were just discombobulated with the time change.

So, I'm I supposed to know which Neville is which?

Pretty nice puzzle.


I don’t usually KVETCH much about Monday puzzles, but here’s something that was no TREAT. After solving I looked at the four theme phrases and said, “now what’s the theme?” ASTIC??? That’s it? What the heck is so clever about ASTIC? Is that even a word? So I looked it up… Anti Sidetone Inductive Coil. Huh? I’m still waiting for that AHA moment.
IMO this is a not-so-EASY Monday puzzle with an IFFY theme.

Once again we get the UBER/OBER dilemma.

Okay, okay, so what do I like? Well for starters I liked seeing NCIS, my favorite TV show. Also seeing Rita MORENO… loved her in West Side Story!
Then there’s TULSA Oklahoma, my best-city-to-visit on my big Route 66 trip.
Some good fill words: OTTAWAN, DRACHMA, ARMANI, and GLAM.

Time for some nice warm coffee! It’s a brrrr morning here in Chicago.


Oh Wow!!! I'm impressed with Puzzlegirl's writeup and Wiki link for Rita MORENO.
I didn't know that she's 78, won the "Grand Slam" of the entertainment world (Oscar/Tony/Grammy/Emmy), and was awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" from President George W. Bush in June 2004. She's quite an accomplished person.

Carol said...

Hi! I've been a "lurker" (using your site but not communicating with you) on your site for a year or so. I like to read it even if I get the puzzle (b/c its informative). It's made me love the LA Times puzzle even more.

You may have already noticed this in Friday's puzzle: the 51A clue, 1961 best actress, is inaccurate. "LOREN" is in the puzzle, but she won in 1962 for Two Women. The 1961 winner is Elizabeth Taylor for her first Oscar for Butterfield 8, which doesn't fit the 5-slot answer space.

You're an important part of my morning support network, so thanks for being there and fitting the puzzle into your regular schedule.

Carol Stewart-High
Asheboro, NC

Carol said...

Carol again: correcting the puzzle date for this error; it's in Saturday's puzzle, 11/6/10, not Friday.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Carol: Thanks so much for your comment! It's always nice to hear new voices around here.

I think this is actually something I'll put in the FAQ because it gets brought up relatively frequently. Oscars are awarded at the beginning of the year for achievements in the previous year. So even though Sophia Loren was given the actual trophy in 1962, it's considered a 1961 Oscar.

Thanks again and I hope to hear more from you!

SethG said...

A minivan is not a van, and a plastic flamingo is barely a thing.

The Oscar year is confirmed here.

Rex Parker said...

What Seth said. I still liked the theme idea, though.

Doug P said...

Nice puzzle today, Neville. Just right for a Monday. I think a plastic flamingo is more real than an elastic hair tie, but I can live with both of them.

Love the KVETCH/KARMA/VITAMIN mash-up. I also liked DRACHMA and STONING, which made me think of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." Seems like we read that in English class every year in junior high & high school.

Anonymous said...

I was put off by the fact DRASTIC and FANTASTIC overlap somewhat in definition, as do PLASTIC and ELASTIC, so was looking for a theme other than ASTIC. But, then again, today I would be put off by being handed huge baskets of untraceable cash.

Neville said...

Good morning, everyone!

This puzzle seems to have given people more trouble than the usual Monday - no reason we can't have a little bit of a challenge early in the week, right?

I was surprised at how many clues Rich left alone - including my full Rita MORENO clue :) He did edit the one for STONING. Originally: [How Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" ends] - Doug P, we're on the same wavelength! Happy to see that someone else is familiar with that story, though I'm not a fan at all. Just thought that I could make some high school suffering worth our while after all of these years.

VITAMIN/KVETCH/KARMA was also my favorite section. No wonder I idolize you as a constructor, Doug. I'll be back with more thoughts later.

The one on the right :)

Tom in the D said...

Nice Monday puzzle, not much GLAM, but not much to KVETCH about. Only had to check spelling on DRACHMA, cuz my AHA moment didn't come quickly enuf. Felt like an ASS!! Nice write-up as per usual, PG, and @ Neville, looking forward to seeing you in HP 7!! Have a good day, all.

C said...

Good puzzle for a Monday, pretty smooth answers. I enjoyed MAROON because it reminds me of Bugs Bunny, personal hero.

Rube said...

No writeovers today in a very enjoyable puzzle. Was pretty sure about NCIS but waited for all the crosses. Likewise, waited for all the crosses for _MRFOX. Was worried about the pop culture cross of Loughlin and Rita when realized that M_REN_ could only be Rita MORENO, giving me LORI. Maybe I should watch some garbage TV and second rate movies to better prepare for these pop culture clues.

ddbmc said...

Had to smile when the KITSCHY LAWN ORNAMENT answer appeared, along with @PG's picture. A college friend had a "Tacky Party," complete w/ Fluffer Nutter finger sandwiches & anything else on a Ritz, Genny Cream Ale and Boone's Farm wine. Anyone need 50 pink plastic flamingos for an event??

This was one of my faster solves-had to change DRACMAS to DRACHMA and OBER to UBER; had OTTAWA without the N, until FLAUNT. I, too, thought of "The Lottery," with STONING, so the trickier clue was indeed the one for ST. STEPHEN's transgression. Soap in the mouth would have been less painful! But Bible stories do tend to play up humanity's "inhumane" side.:)
Welcome, @Carol! Thanks,@PG and Neville (I know which is the "real" Neville :)

CrazyCatLady said...

Nice puzzle Neville. Not so EASY for a Monday, but lots of fun. I had an IFFY start with that YES NO and then had OBER instead of UBER.

I was glad the soccer moms were driving VANS instead UTES for a change.

Our church youth group, as a fund raiser, used to "flock" front lawns with PLASTIC pink FLAMINGOs. For a donation, they would plant 20 or 30 flamingos in a designated yard, under the cover of night. It was a kind of like TPing for cash, but less messy and cuter.

I'm going to plant my SEASONAL vegetables this afternoon, if it clears up.

Greetings Carol.

Eric said...

The theme didn't do much for me during the solve. Looking back, though, what can one say but Plastic Fantastic Lover? And as for drastic elastic, well, I think this pretty much sums it up...

I don't know German, but I know Google Translate, and it claims to know German :-/ According to it, "über" means, "over", "above", "on", and various similar senses; "ober" means "upper". So, preposition vs. adjective, among other things.

I was going to KVETCH about the "Destiny" clue for KARMA, but a couple of online dictionaries give "destiny, fate" as a secondary definition; the confusion isn't Neville's, but rather that of the broader English-speaking world. The problem is that to equate karma with destiny is to put the cart before the horse. In the religions that believe in karma, the word doesn't refer to one's fate, but to the things one has done which resulted in that fate -- in a sense, karma's the cause and destiny is the effect. (The word "karma" literally translates as "actions" -- meaning one's past actions (good or bad to be simplistic about it), which lead to certain consequences both in this life and in the next one). The following explanation is taken from this page:

The theory of Karma is common to many oriental religions. In its most popular form it states that there is a universal accounting system in which each individual must experience the consequences of all his actions (Karmas); good actions bring good results and bad actions inevitably result in suffering to the one who does them. The theory also states that the consequences of actions (also known as Karmas) need not necessarily be experienced in the present life, they can be carried over into future lives. Because of this, several sub-divisions of Karma have been postulated. The following classification ... is common to many Hindu schools of thought.

    1. Sanchita Karma. The store of Karmic debts accumulated from previous births.
    2. Prarabdha Karma. That part of one’s Sanchita Karma which must be worked out in the present life. Because the law of Karma implies determinism in human activities, Prarabdha is often translated as destiny.
    3. Agami Karma. New Karma accumulated in the present lifetime which is carried forward into future lives.

Anonymous said...

My Karma ran over my Dogma :-(

Avg Joe

I'm glad Eric shares my pet peeve said...

What does one do when one's Sanchita Karma results in one's Prarabdha Karma results in having to bitch countinuously about the common misunderstanding of Karma, as is my case?

Neville said...

For what it's worth, I had originally clued KARMA as [Buddhist principle often cited on reality shows], but that didn't pass muster :D

Eric said...

@IgEsmpp: Bitch about it with loving detachment, so that it doesn't bleed over into your Agami Karma? :-)

@Neville: Well then it's doubly not your fault....

Scully2066 said...

Thank you PG and Neville!!

Like this Monday offering - lots of movie and TV clues which I like and breezed right through.

Would have loved to seen some tasty TREATs to go with the word but can not complain. GLAM provided a bit of sparkle - always good to see.

On to Tuesday :)

imsdave said...

@Sfingi - the better question is:

Which Neville is witch?

Mokus said...

I loved this puzzle, the write-up & all the comments above. Great start to the week. The theme was great and reminded me of Grace Slick. My daughter used to leave scrunchies all over the house so that evoked a nice memory. Uber always makes me think of Cabaret and the chilling singing of Deutchland Uber Alles in that movie. Sissy Spacek will always be a hand popping up from a fresh grave.
I wanted 48, 49 & 50 across to be CON-ART-IST. I guess Noah left the IST off the ark. I started with Achieved instead of Attained but there wasn't an ISS on the ark either.
Have loved Rita Moreno since West Side Story in 1961. "Smoke that on your pipe and put that in!" When my kids watched Sesame Street she and Oscar ere favorites.
A very enjoyable puzzle, Neville. Thanks for the memories.

Nighthawk said...

Nice Monday puz and fun write-up @PG.

I did get slowed down on some of the little stuff, particularly 25A and 47A. Had 25A first as AtA, as "at a moment's notice" but got to 47A and realized it couldn't be there twice.
Had to wait for DRACHMA to clear it up.

As noted, fill was much better than average. Daughter is in college at Miss Stat U, so loved MAROON (more cowbell?).

Sorry to hear so many can't get past Sissy Spacek's "Carrie". I'm a fan and would recommend Robert Altman's 70's flic "3 Women", or the incredible Oscar winning work she did in "Coal Miner's Daughter", or the riveting Oscar nominated work with Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei in "In The Bedroom". Or try "The River" with Mel Gibson, Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart" with Jessica Lange and Diane Keaton, or the Costa-Gravas Oscar winner "Missing" with Jack Lemon, or even as Lorena in Larry McMurty's "The Streets Of Laredo" with Jim Garner, George Carlin, Ned Beatty, Randy Quaid and Sam Shepard.

@imsdave: the one on the left is a warlock, the one on the right is a wordjock.

Sfingi said...

@imsDave - I'm sure they're both nice boys.

@Nighthawk - glad I never saw Carrie.

@Eric - cool, but when you say Übermensch, I think the preposition becomes an adjectival part of the noun. And when certain self-proclaimed Übermenschen meet their Karma, they'll have some 'splainen to do.
And is Oberammergau Upper Ammergau or Over Ammergau?

CrazyCatLady said...

@Nighthawk I agree with you about Sissy Spacek. She's a talented actor.

@Sfingi You should try a Harry Potter film fest sometime. IMO they are pretty entertaining. I got dragged along by my daughter, but really enjoyed them. I've even read some of the books.

mac said...

Very nice puzzle, Neville! I love your name....

IMO on the other blog is usually IMHO (in my humble opinion) or IMOO (in my obnoxious opinion).

I love Bowie but didn't know about the Glam category. Funny Dali came up, his moustache was just selected as the world's most recognizable. Love Sissy Spacek, and she has done a lot of good work.

Welcome, @Carol!


Eric said...

@Sfingi: I dunno! Like I said, I'm just going by what Google tells me. (To be honest, part of why I wrote, admitting my almost-ignorance, was to try to stir people who know better to correct me :-))

You have a point. The counterpart of Oberammergau is Unterammergau, and Google Translate gives "under" for "unter", but as I said, "upper" for "ober". Regardless, I'd idiomatically translate those, in this context, as "upper" and "lower", by analogy with Upper and Lower Canada (old names for what are now the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, respectively, based on upstream vs. downstream), or Upper and Lower Silesia, etc. -- even, in Hamilton, ON, James St. vs. Upper James St., and similarly for other streets, the latter being the part of each that's above the Niagara Escarpment (which is what the Niagara Falls fall off of).

But then, "lower" translates into German as "nieder", which translates back into English as "low", and there are indeed Oberösterreich and Niederösterreich (Upper and Lower Austria).

It turns out there's some debate as to how best to translate "Übermensch"; see Übermensch in English. One relevant bit of that is: "The German prefix 'über' can have connotations of superiority, transcendence, excessiveness, or intensity, depending on the words to which it is prepended." Just speculating here: is it possible that "ober" lacks those connotations, and so is more neutral?

(The elite of those self-proclaimed Übermenschen had country places at Obersalzberg, which looks to be higher up the ALPS than is Untersalzberg -- but the city of Salzberg is lower still, being on the flats (or at most, foothills) just north of the mountains. *Sigh*)

I also checked this dictionary, which confirms much of what I've said, but also gives counterexamples. All in all, this bit of research just confirms for me the slipperiness of little words (and especially prepositions) -- they often just don't map one-to-one between languages.

Capcha: WINTA, which I'm dreading :-(

Tom in the D said...

All this ober/uber talk is mas/muy/mucho interesting

Neville said...

Mokus - glad I could bring back such memories for you!

mac - you can thank my parents for my name :)