S U N D A Y   November 21, 2010
Gail Grabowski (syndicated)

Theme: Tell Me No More — Theme entries all contain the three-letter abbreviation TMI (Too Much Information).

[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]

Theme Answers:
  • 27A: 1929 song co-written by Fats Waller ("AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'").
  • 44A: Tenderloin cut (FILET MIGNON).
  • 59A: Eleventh hour (LAST MINUTE).
  • 82A: "Just passing through" ("DON'T MIND ME").
  • 92A: Construction site sight (CEMENT MIXER)
  • 113A: Gulf War defense weapon (PATRIOT MISSILE).
  • 15D: Well-meaning error (HONEST MISTAKE).
  • 58D: Wartime operation (COMBAT MISSION).
  • 118D: Brief version of this puzzle's title hidden in eight long puzzle answers (TMI).
Hey, folks. Doug here again, back with you for another Sunday extravaganza. Very enjoyable puzzle today. All eight long theme entries are great. My favorite is HONEST MISTAKE or maybe "DON'T MIND ME." Good stuff. And TMI is fun too. If you're not familiar with the concept, it's what you say to a person when he starts talking about something that makes you uncomfortable (intimate details of his colonoscopy, the dead raccoon he found in his garage, etc.) When someone is "oversharing," feel free to say "TMI" or maybe just "Shut up!"

A TMI-based theme is one we probably wouldn't have seen a few years ago. TMI used to pop up in crosswords from time to time as an abbreviation for Three Mile Island, but I don't think an editor would like "Controversial nuclear plant hidden in eight long puzzle answers." But thanks to IMs and text messaging, constructors have all sorts of new entries to play with: TMI, LOL, OMG, IMO, etc. (If you're not up on your new-fangled abbreviations, there's a short list here.) There are a few tough entries to cover, so lets jump to bullets.

  • 21A: Fiber used in fishing nets (RAMIE). That's a bit of old-school crosswordese. Try not to confuse it with "Spider-Man" director Sam RAIMI.
  • 24A: Like a ruined roux (LUMPY). I learned from crosswords that "roux" is a kind of gravy. And you don't want lumpy gravy, especially so close to Thanksgiving.
  • 27A: 1929 song co-written by Fats Waller ("AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'"). This clue is the perfect example of something I try to explain to my non-crossword-solving friends. You don't have to know everything that's in a clue to solve it. I've heard of Fats Waller, but I know very little about him or his music. So I read the clue and thought "OK, it's an old song." I got a few crossing answers and filled it in, no sweat. And now I do know something about Fats Waller. Aren't crosswords great?
  • 36A: 23rd Greek letter (PSI). Dude, I filled this in instantaneously. A couple months ago, I decided to memorize the Greek alphabet so I could solve the Greek letter clues more quickly. I'm such a geek.
  • 50A: Mediation org. established by FDR (NLRB). Short for National Labor Relations Board. I've included all the non-boring parts of the Wikipedia article on the NLRB here.
  • 63A: Name on a compact (ESTEE). Cosmetician ESTEE Lauder, whose name you'll find on make-up compacts, or what ever you call those little mirror thingies.
  • 76A: Court addition? (IER). ...to make the word "courtier." Nope, there's really no good way to clue IER.
  • 99A: Many a bunt, on a scorecard (SAC). For you baseball-challenged folks out there, that's a SACrifice bunt. I like this SAC clue much better than one we had earlier in the week: "Anatomical bag." That's a TMI clue, IMO.
  • 42D: Silent films idol Conrad ___ (NAGEL). Anyone remember this guy? According to Wikipedia, "Nagel had little difficulty transitioning to talkies and spent the next several decades being very well received in high profile films as a character actor." He also hosted the 3rd, 5th, and 25th Academy Awards ceremonies. And Wikipedia tells me that he was the "host of the 1930 Emmy Awards," but I'm a little suspicious.
  • 109D: "Ally McBeal" lawyer (NELLE). OK, if you asked me to name a lawyer from "Ally McBeal," my answer would be...Ally McBeal. She's a lawyer, right? Turns out NELLE Porter was the lawyer played by Portia De Rossi on the show. I'm going to try to remember that one. I have a strange feeling it could show up in a puzzle at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and I'll be the only one who remembers it.
  • 111D: S. Grant foe? (ELEE). So you've got Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, eh? That's a pretty goofy clue, but I'll give Gail & Rich bonus points for coming up with a new wrinkle for ELEE.
Everything Else — 1A: Furtive utterance (PSST); 5A: "The Stranger" novelist (CAMUS); 10A: Resided (DWELT); 15A: Jumble (HASH); 19A: Scale sequence (LATI); 20A: Stove supplier (AMANA); 22A: Org. concerned with ergonomics (OSHA); 23A: School founded by Henry VI (ETON); 25A: Nice thoughts? (IDEES); 26A: Palindromic time (NOON); 30A: Monetary policy maker, informally (THEFED); 32A: "Gotta go!" (SEEYA); 33A: Time in an ad (TONITE); 34A: Broad lowlands (DALES); 38A: Snatched violently (TORE); 40A: Shell container? (GASTANK); 52A: Express discontent (MOAN); 53A: WWII photo site, briefly (IWO); 54A: Bout of indulgence (SPREE); 55A: Capital of Delaware? (DEE); 56A: Requiem (DIRGE); 57A: Record (DISC); 64A: Not snookered by (ONTO); 65A: Fort Erie's prov. (ONT); 66A: Creator of sublime lines (ODIST); 67A: Blossom bits (PETALS); 68A: Longish coat (MIDI); 70A: False appearance (GUISE); 71A: Revered Tibetan (LAMA); 72A: Firmly established (STABLE); 75A: Tapered transport (CANOE); 77A: Pain in the neck (KINK); 81A: Year's record (ANNAL); 84A: Black, to a bard (EBON); 85A: Blog comments (POSTS); 86A: Bit of work (ERG); 87A: Helpless, in a way (ALONE); 89A: Govt. smog watchdog (EPA); 90A: Hot pair (ITEM); 91A: Cheer alternative (TIDE); 95A: Tickle pink (DELIGHT); 97A: Buckwheat noodle (SOBA); 100A: Doesn't split (STAYS); 102A: Colorful pet store purchases (TETRAS); 106A: Reach one's destination (GETIN); 110A: Its members travel in a world of their own (JETSET); 116A: Morlock prey (ELOI); 117A: Low-tech note taker (STENO); 119A: City on the Po (TURIN); 120A: Damaging downpour (HAIL); 121A: Pull up stakes, briefly (RELO); 122A: Muscat native (OMANI); 123A: You might get a ticket for one (UTURN); 124A: Nerve-wracking exam, for some (ORAL); 125A: Finely honed (KEEN); 126A: Big name in Russian ballet (KIROV); 127A: Has a quick look (PEEKS); 128A: Cross a stream, say (WADE); 1D: Courthouse entries (PLEAS); 2D: "Socrate" composer (SATIE); 3D: Rock (STONE); 4D: Old-style photo (TINTYPE); 5D: Colombian city (CALI); 6D: Not to be missed (AMUST); 7D: Fast ballroom dance (MAMBO); 8D: Release, in a way (UNPEN); 9D: Greet informally (SAYHITO); 10D: Club with a big head (DRIVER); 11D: Dry riverbed (WADI); 12D: Fix, as text (EMEND); 13D: Alibi, maybe (LIE); 14D: Research site (TESTLAB); 16D: Since (ASOF); 17D: Flat, e.g. (SHOE); 18D: What a student might raise (HAND); 28D: Boom sites (MASTS); 29D: Lots (ATON); 31D: Fathers and sons (HES); 35D: Avoid a strike, e.g. (AGREE); 37D: Self-destruct (IMPLODE); 39D: Consumer application (ENDUSE); 41D: Vital supply line (AORTA); 43D: Mini exhibits? (KNEES); 44D: Everydog (FIDO); 45D: "Bingo!" (IWIN); 46D: TV series filmed on Oahu (LOST); 47D: Qom native (IRANI); 48D: Daring exploit (GEST); 49D: Figure on a pay stub (NET); 51D: Belarusian's neighbor (LETT); 56D: Judge (DEEM); 60D: Get up on (MOUNT); 61D: Shoot the breeze, e.g. (IDIOM); 62D: American of Japanese descent (NISEI); 67D: Curfew setters (PARENTS); 69D: Troubles (ILLS); 70D: Sacred river of India (GANGES); 71D: Fruit high in vitamin C (LEMON); 72D: Palatable (SAPID); 73D: Govt. security (TNOTE); 74D: First name in wilderness photography (ANSEL); 75D: Part of a high-tech tangle (CORD); 76D: Not active (IDLE); 78D: Alpine denizen (IBEX); 79D: "In your dreams" (NOPE); 80D: Tree trunk bulge (KNAR); 82D: Prayer object (DEITY); 83D: "Platoon" setting, for short (NAM); 88D: Slate and Salon (EMAGS); 91D: "Don't worry about it" (THATSOK); 92D: Radio-active sort? (CBER); 93D: Swallow something hook, line and sinker (EATITUP); 94D: Revue with fancy footwork (ICESHOW); 96D: Old telecom giant (GTE); 98D: Holy Roman emperor, 1209-'15 (OTTOIV); 101D: Primitive projectile (SPEAR); 103D: Itinerary (ROUTE); 104D: Based on __ story (ATRUE); 105D: Unsportsmanlike look (SMIRK); 107D: Jeweled topper (TIARA); 108D: Tale of an ancient siege (ILIAD); 110D: Schmo (JERK); 112D: Lacquered metalware (TOLE); 114D: __ regni: in the year of the reign (ANNO); 115D: Room renters (INNS).


badrog said...

As usual I neglected to read the title & never noticed the thematic TMIs or realized that there even was a theme. Yet all 8 fell without much difficulty.

Re 21A, the only place I've ever seen RAMIE in print is on apparel labels. For about 30 years I've been wondering what it might be. And so, many thanks to Gail, Rich, Joyce and Doug for supplying the impetus to finally look it up.

Re 43A & 63A, I've occasionally wondered if folks like Shell Oil Co. and ESTEE Lauder pay product placement gratuities to CW constructors/editors/publishers?

Re 111D, has anyone ever seen ELEE clued as "Mosynary start"?


It's so nice to actually finish a Sunday puzzle and with no errors... today I did that. (big grin)
Four things make today a DELIGHT.
1) Sleeping in late
2) Solving Gail's nice puzzle
3) Reading Doug's writeup
4) Going to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

I have to say as usual I get intimidated by these Sunday puzzles (21x21 grids with lots of long themes and unusual fill words), but today went pretty slick after I got over that initial fear.

I found nothing to nitpick in today's puzzle, but maybe the SGRANT/ELEE thing was a bit awkward.

I did think the TMI theme was pretty good especially in view of last week's "True Confessions" given by a few commenters.

I'm glad Doug explained the ESTEE clue "Name on a compact". I guess as a male, "compact" only conjures up a car model. Oh yeah, and I needed an explanation for SAC also. Thanks, Doug for such an enlightening and entertaining Sunday writeup. It's refreshing!

I too am a geek, because I also learned the Greek alphabet just for CWs, problem is that it always makes me write in PHI first.

Two new WOTDs: SOBA (which I'm sure I've seen before) and RAMIE.
Also I'm unfamiliar with NELLE from Ally McBeal.

I’m a huge fan of Erik SATIE and I love listening to his piano pieces, especially to play “Socrate” on a quiet Sunday morning.

Have a lovely day y’all.


Oh yeah, and TY Doug 4 Chat Acs.

Eric said...

The Hudson Bay section killed me (that's what Americans might call the rust-belt section...) Especially "Nice thoughts"; Nice as in France never occurred to me.

ONT was a gimme. I've been to Fort Erie maybe half a dozen times in my life, but I've driven (or been driven) through it on the way to the States ... um, probably well over 100. The Peace Bridge between Fort Erie and Buffalo is one of several border crossings across the Niagara River. Seeing as the next nearest ones are at the far ends of Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Niagara bridges have a pretty large catchment area.

SPEAR was a situational gimme. I'm in the middle of reading Valley of Horses, by Jean Auel. It's the book after Clan of the Cave Bear. Spears figure prominently -- and not always as weapons.

Has anyone seen the Mr. DEITY clips? Hilarious!

Mokus said...

I enjoyed today's CWP and completed it while watching IND@NE (NFL on CBS). After reading JNH's comment I felt like such a lowbrow although I learned the Greek alphabet while reading the Iliad in Homeric Greek. Take that, JNH!

CrazyCatLady said...

First of all - Thank you Doug P. for taking over Sundays. I think Puzzle Girl should give you a little publicity during the week so people know that someone's home on Sunday.

These are crazy days getting ready for the hordes to invade. Again I'm cooking two Thanksgiving meals this year to accomodate adult children who have multiple family obligations - plus various other all and sundry relatives.

Sooo - that leads me to 24 across LUMPY roux. Roux is a mixture of fat and flour. It could be butter, turkey drippings, oil, etc. It is the base of many classic sauces, gravies, gumbos, etc. It's not the actual gravy. You need to add a liquid which could be broth, wine, stock or water. LUMPY happens when you add cold liquid to the warm roux, or when you don't whisk the flour and fat long enough. It's a kitchen disaster we all face at some point.

@Eric - "The Valley of the Horses" was a great read. I read it in 1986 when I was on bedrest with my second child. Today I finished "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo." Thank goodness, because otherwise nothing else would get done around here. I'm going for the trilogy.

v-man said...

Pretty easy puzzle, only tripped up on camus and ramie never heard of that fiber. Ballroom dances are not my bag so I originally had tango then switched to sambo and rambo yikes! before I realized the "a" was correct. Then I finally remembered mambo. This puzzle was a little easier then the ny times sunday crossword.