11.11.2010

T H U R S D A Y   November 11, 2010
Don Gagliardo

Theme: A Day at the PuzzleHouse — Theme answers all start with words describing the PuzzleKids' various reactions to daily events. (Okay, maybe not the spitting.)


Theme answers:
  • 17A: Battle of the Bulge air assault division (SCREAMING EAGLES).
  • 23A: Doppelgänger (SPITTING IMAGE).
  • 34A: It's hard to get romantic with one (NAGGING HEADACHE).
  • 48A: Reason to see a mechanic (WHINING ENGINE).
  • 56A: Admonition to one acting out the starts of 17-, 23-, 34- and 48-Across (MIND YOUR MANNERS).
SPITTING IMAGE was the first theme answer I got and I think I only had two or three crosses in place at the time. At the risk of sounding like a complete idiot — I mean, really, at this point, what do I have to lose? — I'll admit that I can only remember what a "doppelgänger" is because of the recent "Doppelgänger Week" on Facebook. Obviously, I'd heard the word before that, but it was that event that really solidified it in my brain. So anyway when I got to 34 Across, the type of HEADACHE I thought of was "splitting" but that wouldn't fit. So I didn't really see where the theme was going until I got a little farther into it. SCREAMING EAGLES is a phrase I've heard, but not one that I could come up with off the top of my head. It's an awesome theme entry though, isn't it?

As usual for a later-week puzzle, there were several things that I just flat-out didn't know. Like:
  • 29A: Incarnation of Vishnu (RAMA). I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about Hinduism. Wikipedia tells me that RAMA, the "seventh avatar of Vishnu, … is pictured as the ideal man and the perfect human." No pressure though, RAMA.
  • 64A: Mythical animal kingdom ennead (LIVES). I still don't know what this means and can't figure it out by Googling. I assume it has something to do with a cat's nine lives, right? But how does "kingdom" fit in? I'm at a loss!
  • 6D: "__ Baba Bunny": classic Bugs cartoon (ALI). Now I definitely should have been able to infer this one, but I didn't spend much time and got it through crosses instead.
  • 8D: Leia's last name (ORGANA). I knew that Princess Leia turned out to be the sister of one of the main Star Wars guys, so "Solo" and "Skywalker" both went through my head. I don't remember ever hearing of ORGANA though.
  • 19D: Angular measurement device used in surveying (ALIDADE). From what I can tell, ALIDADE has only been used twice in any of the major crossword puzzles, both times in 2000. Once in a Newsday Saturday Stumper and once in a Saturday CrosSynergy puzzle. Personally, I think there's a good reason it doesn't show up more often, but maybe that's just me.
There were a couple other things that threw me off a little, like EDUC. for 1A: U.S. dept. with a Race to the Top reform prog. I have actually heard of the Race to the Top program because of the recent controversy over New Jersey's application (they didn't include the right numbers, they were asked about it and didn't know the numbers were wrong, then came back later and tried to say that they should have had an opportunity to change them — I don't know, there was more to it than that, here are more details, if you're interested). But PuzzleHusband used to work at the Department of Education so I'm super used to calling it "Ed." EDUC is a perfectly legitimate abbreviation, but it just didn't enter my consciousness. I don't ever recall hearing an "hourglass" referred to as a SANDGLASS (33D: Time-measuring device), so that held me up a bit. I haven't decided if I'm gonna let NO OIL slide as a 49D: Kind of salad dressing. If I put a hyphen in it, does that make it better: "no-oil salad dressing"? Maybe a little. Let me know what you think of it.

Bullets:
  • 10A: Lock style (COIF). So many different words for hair!
  • 30A: Alice's workplace (DINER). I hate it when I get so close to an answer but can't see it. First I thought of "Alice's Restaurant" and when that didn't fit I thought of Mel's Diner. My brain wouldn't just drop the "Mel's" in order to get the right answer though. Argh!
  • 40A: Important no. to most car buyers (MPG). I tried APR here first.
  • 43A: Sheer (STEEP). Very tricky. This is like a "sheer cliff" not "sheer stockings."
  • 51A: Reservoir borders? (ARS). A letter R ("ar") is on each end ("border") of the word "reservoir." (We talked about literal letters back in August of last year.)
  • 4D: Nest chorus (CHEEPS). I tried "chirps" here.
  • 11D: Checked out, as a book (ON LOAN). I read this clue as a verb and couldn't shift gears to make it an adverb until it became clear through crosses.
  • 13D: Uncle at 0001 Cemetery Lane, in '60s TV (FESTER). The Addams Family.
  • 18D: First name in shipping (ARI). Shipping magnate and Jackie Kennedy's second husband, Ari Onassis.
  • 39D: Callaway of golf equipment fame (ELY). We talked about ELY back in April of last year, but this guy didn't make the cut. Note to constructors: this is the second day in a row you included a golf clue that wasn't a gimme for me. I get it. You can stop now.
  • 46D: Rainforest rodent (AGOUTI). We'll cover this in Crosswordese 301.
  • 59D: Sra.'s neighboring counterpart (MME.). English = Mrs.; Spanish = Sra. (Señora); French = MME. (Madame).
Crosswordese 101: SLR stands for Single-Lens Reflex, a type of 35mm camera. A lot of times the clues will be, simply, "Camera type, for short." Other times the clue might include a particular camera brand — such as Canon, Nikon or Olympus. Later in the week, you are likely to see a clue attempting to be tricky by including the word "shooter" to throw you off (like today's 63A: Some shooters, briefly).

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 20A: Willows for weavers (OSIERS).
  • 41A: Coastal raptor (ERNE).
  • 1D: Gas acronym (ESSO).
  • 7D: Hall of Fame quarterback Dawson (LEN).
  • 35D: Feds (G-MEN).
  • 36D: "__ go bragh!" (ERIN).
  • 54D: Columnist Bombeck (ERMA).
  • 55D: Nieuwpoort's river (YSER).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 5A: Iconic rings (HALOS); 14A: JV team member, perhaps (SOPH); 15A: Warning (ALERT); 16A: Back in the day (ONCE); 21A: Cause to suffer (AIL); 22A: Word with meal or cake (OAT); 27A: Name on an airport shuttle (AVIS); 31A: Yang's partner (YIN); 32A: Clue (HINT); 33A: Cul-de-__ (SAC); 42A: It starts with "http" (URL); 46A: Desertlike (ARID); 47A: Teeny (ITSY); 52A: Besides (TOO); 53A: __ Tunes (LOONEY); 60A: Court entry (PLEA); 61A: Shopping list entries (ITEMS); 62A: "Woe __!" (IS ME); 65A: Peter or Paul, but not Mary (TSAR); 2D: Holliday and others (DOCS); 3D: Revolting situation (UPRISING); 5D: Target of pre-race stretching (HAMSTRING); 9D: "Shrek!" author William (STEIG); 10D: Minor player (COG); 12D: Cooling-off period? (ICE AGE); 24D: Bite (TANG); 25D: "Count me in!" ("I'M THERE!"); 26D: Mineral with basal cleavage (MICA); 27D: Writer Rand (AYN); 28D: Routing word (VIA); 32D: __ Hop: bouncing ball brand (HIPPITY); 35D: Feds (G-MEN); 37D: Kitten's quality (CUTENESS); 38D: Retail posting: Abbr. (HRS.); 43D: Overwhelms (SWAMPS); 44D: Rollercoaster ride, e.g. (THRILL); 45D: Former Disney chief (EISNER); 47D: Part of a conspiracy (IN ON IT); 50D: Charged particle (ION); 57D: Courtroom VIPs (DA'S); 58D: Test, as an engine (REV).

25 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

Happy Veteran’s Day y’all.

When it comes to theme CUTENESS, this puzzle was no THRILL to me, however it did have some good ITEMS, like: Princess ORGANA, Uncle FESTER, LOONEY Toons, Alice’s DINER, and Shrek’s daddy (William STEIG).

Things I just don’t understand:
51A “Reservoir borders” (ARS)
64A “Mythical animal kingdom ennead” (LIVES)
18D “First name in shipping” (ARI)
14A “JV team member, perhaps” (SOPH)… what the heck is JV?
Would someone please help me with these?

WOTD: Princess Leia ORGANA Solo (born Leia Amidala Skywalker), the fictional character in “Star Wars”. I never knew her full name.

Best clue: “Cooling off period?” (ICE AGE).

Worst clue: “Kind of salad dressing” (NO OIL). I’ve heard of NO FAT dressings, but never have I heard of one called NO OIL.

20A: OSIERS (Cornus sericea ssp. sericea) are actually in the Dogwood family (Cornaceae) and so they are technically not in the “willows” (Salicaceae).

Puzzlegirl, I just loved your writeup, especially your description of the Puzzlehouse... sooo funny!
And hey, thats a pic of my camera.
I swear, Sarah Palin is getting more and more to look like Tina Fey.
ALIDADE was also used in the NYT in 2007 by Mel Taub... unusually clued as "Surveyor's instrument for a laddie"

Whenever I see the word ITSY, I think of this fun Connie Francis hit tune (written by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss in 1960). I think it was Brian Hyland who originally recorded it and I believe his version hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August of 1960.

So much for Thursday frivolity!
See ya’ later.

PuzzleGirl said...

I explained both ARS and ARI in my post. JV = Junior Varsity, the second-level high school team (the first being Varsity). Most JV players are SOPHomores.

SethG said...

A waitress may work in a diner, Alice worked in Mel's Diner. If you're gonna be specific, be specific. This took me forever to get started, and kinda to get finished.

A laddie is an anagram of ALIDADE. That doesn't come from the NY Times crossword, it's from a second Sunday puzzle.

michael1 said...

ENNEAD referring to the nimber nine...A cat has nine LIVES! and ARI is for Aristotle Onassis famous as a shippin magnate BEFORE he married Jacquline.

Van55 said...

@PG, --I think RAMA is worthy of crosswordese 201. I learned it and know it only from crossword puzzles -- maybe from the pre-Shorts NYT days.

Although I rather liked today's theme, I didn't care for the fill at all.

Reservoir borders is a cheap trick clue -- again. I'm so over literal letter clues.

There's a ton of trite fill.

ORGANA and STEIG are not familiar to me, and having them side by side made me struggle a bit up there.

[Woe] ISME is icky.

Anonymous said...

Sandglass??? Really?

Anonymous said...

My husband was in the 101st Airborne division in Korea, but I didn't get the Screaming Eagles clue at all. He even has a license plate on his truck saying it. I didn't think they started in World War II. Shame on me! Dotty

Sfingi said...

The section that was a problem for me was the 3 parallel words that I did not know (ORGANA, STEIG, ALIDADE) crossed by one 3-letter word for cause to suffer. I thought of sIn and hIt before AIL. I figured the name was STEIG since at least it means something in German, don't follow Star-anythings, and Grampa (C.E. Merritt, C.E.) called his surveying instrument a sexton.

But I'm pleased that on a Thursday, I was down to one unsolved word.

@Anon - agree, hourGlass is better, but the letters were already there.

@John - Connie Francis is much better in Italian. More soul than WHINe.

*David* said...

Crossword constructors, us solvers are a pretictable bunch and most of us start at 1A. Most of us are also quite reasonable and expect some icky fill, but please don't hit us up with EDUC and then SOPH right below it, it ruins the start to a possibly wonderful puzzle. I never really recovered from that until I had my danish just now.

Anonymous said...

Why can't people put adjectives somewhere near the noun they're modifying? Animal kingdom's mythical ennead makes some kind of sense in opposition to Mythical animal kingdom ennead. I was looking for some sort of critter in Narnia or LOTR or other mythical animal kingdom.

I'm not sure that screaming, spitting, whining or nagging really fall under the category of manners.

C said...

There were some, er, interesting clues in today's puzzle. The ennead one takes the title for most obtuse of the day. There is so much to parse there that I am not so sure there is a there there in regards to the answer ... there. We'll never know if that was the constructor's or Mr. Norris' clue but somebody was trying something new out for the word LIVES.

ALI Baba Bunny, good Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Eric said...

When I saw the Battle of the Bulge clue, I was hoping we were going to get a Remembrance (= Veterans') Day theme -- especially as I'd just heard what I presume were some WW II-vintage planes flying by, on their way to the ceremony downtown.

@PG: I'm so with you on STEEP and ON LOAN and SANDGLASS. (Is there actually such a substance as non-sand glass?)

Also on ALIDADE, which isn't listed in this catalogue of surveying equipment, or in Wikipedia's list of surveying instruments -- which meant that I was unable to Google it until I already had the answer. There's a reason for that, it turns out. Strictly, an alidade isn't an instrument, but merely one component of several different kinds of instruments, though the word is sometimes generalized to the instrument as a whole. It's the thing you sight through. It can also be known as a "diopter" or "index arm".
@Sfingi: Are you sure it wasn't a sextant your grandfather was referring to? I didn't know surveyors used them, but they're well known as navigation tools ASEA. A sextant has an alidade (index arm), as it turns out.

Like many "al-" words (alcohol, algebra, algorithm), ALIDADE is from Arabic. Like ALI Baba (Bunny). For what it's worth. (Most of those "al-"s come from the Arabic definite article "al". I don't know whether the name ALI is etymologically related to that or not. The name is revered because Mohammed had a cousin and son-in-law named Ali, who became the fourth in the series of Caliphs (= "successors") to rule the Muslim world after the Prophet's death -- though Shi'ites don't recognize the first three, because they weren't Mohammed's relatives, and so consider Ali to have been the first rightful Caliph.)

Leia ORGANA was a gimme. So unlike @Sfingi, I only had two parallel unknowns linked by an unhelpful three-letter cross. That didn't help me; I still had to Google STEIG. It didn't help that I had ALARM instead of ALERT, and that the resulting SMENG sounded plausible, if odd, as a last name (I used to know someone with a name similar to that).

I could half-picture Uncle FESTER, and could totally hear his squeaky voice in my head, but the name wouldn't come to mind :-(

@PG: How does "kingdom" fit into "Mythical animal kingdom ennead"? Add a hyphen before it and the clue makes a lot more sense. (I've griped before about the decline of the hyphen; I guess I need to start a "Pet Peeves 101" list :-/).

So, which of those two is Sarah and which is Tina? I honestly can't tell!

Yay, "Alice's Restaurant"! I once heard on the radio a version he'd done in the 80s, I think it was. Besides the Thanksgiving/garbage and draft stories, there was a whole third section about Watergate. Hilarious! (I sooo want to tell the spoiler, but I'll resist :-))

OSIERS always makes me think of "Hoosiers". Go figure.

CrazyCatLady said...

I TOO, was mystified by the clue for LIVES. Turns out ennead is Greek for a collection of nine things and also a group of nine Egyptian dieties. IMHO it's a very round about way to get to LIVES. We always have a supply of Nine Lives around here. I wasn't happy with NO OIL or SAND GLASS. Had MICA in place already when I saw the clue. I'm glad I did, because I have no idea what a basal cleavage is. Finished with only one Google for for Princess Leia's last name, but I sure struggled.

Tough puzzle. Cute theme.

Pedantic guy said...

One of Murakami's books opens with the line (paraphrased here) "I'm a 'for all intents and purposes' kind of guy. I mean, I know the earth isn't flat, but for all intents and purposes, for 99.99% of my life, the earth may as well be flat, so I just live my life as if it were".

So, for all intents and purposes, a SLR is the prototypical 35mm camera, or its digital spawn, but that's not precisely true. There are 35mm cameras (range finders specifically) which aren't SLRs, and most medium format (e.g. 120mm Hasselblads) are also SLRs. SLRs simply permit the user to view the subject through the single lens. There are mirrors & prisms & other gadgetry, the core is that you compose, focus and shoot through the lens that actually produces the image.

By the way, to photographers, photographers are shooters, not cameras. But that's a different nit.

binkerbo said...

ennead refers to the ancient Egyptian gods. I don't see any connection to an animal kingdom there.

Helpful guy said...

@binkerbo - As mentioned above, ennead comes from the Greek for nine, and is the primary definition in the references cited. One of the specific usages, with a capital E, refers to the gods you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

@JHN - The internets seem to disagree with you about the OSIER/Willow/Dogwood issue. Yes, there is the Red Osier Dogwood, but Osiers are in fact willows, of the genus Salix

Rube said...

As I recall from the surveying course I took almost 50 years ago, ALIDADE is another name for a "level", i.e. a horizontally fixed eye piece or, in @Eric's term, index arm. Where a sextant can move in three dimensions, an ALIDADE moves only in a plane, usually horizontal. (They no longer require that course prior to your Junior year.)

I just saw, (Netflix), The Addams Family, with Christopher Lloyd as FESTER, last week. I would normally say this was a coincidence, but I rented because there was a reference to the Addams family recently either here or in the NYT puzz.

Writeovers were CHEEP/CHirPS, OAT/hoT [meal or cake], and _HEADACHE/_backACHE. Very enjoyable puzzle with a minimum of pop culture. (Got ORGANA from crosses, but Princess Leia is such a part of our culture that I feel I should have known her last name.)

I too am not sure of the relevance of the reveal to the theme answers.

ddbmc said...

If you are dealing with a cranky 3 or 4 year old, the reveal is quite fitting, IMHO!

WSOTD-ALIDADE, ORGANA, OSIERS, (ENNEAD)

Shamefully, never new where the SCREAMING EAGLES came from (do know a hockey team by that name!), but so nice to learn about it, on Veteran's Day. My husband's uncle, a medic, was shot down over Albania, with a group of medics and nurses, on their way to Italy, to transport injured soldiers, farther from the front lines, a story chronicled in: "Albanian Escape:The True Story of U.S. Nurses Behind Enemy Lines." Happily, Uncle James lived a long and healthy life, after surviving the perils of WWII. He passed away this past summer at the ripe old age of 94!

DNL-EDUC, SOPH, ISME, SANDGLASS (beach glass?), NOOIL, ARS (Eliza fell on it?)

Knew STEIG, as I adore the "SHREK" movies. Didn't know he did the illustrations for "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House!" Cool! Loved his cartoons in the New Yorker, too. (My one regret in life is that I never became a cartoonist!) Guess I better get started!

Theme was decent, but @PG's opening had me laughing from the get-go!

claude said...

Sandglass does not mean "glass made of sand". It means what the clue says--"an instrument (as an hourglass) for measuring time by the running of sand".

John Wolfenden said...

Definitely a lot of aggravating words today. DNF thanks to the NO OIL/LIVES cross. It's always frustrating when there's a perfectly good answer that's lamely clued. Instead of "Type of salad dressing" for NO OIL, why not "Cause for a seize-up?"

Was ready to take issue with "Cause to suffer" for AIL, but then realized it is sometimes used as a transitive verb, as in "What ails you?"

"Revolting situation" for UPRISING made me laugh. And I'll always be happy to see an AGOUTI, if only in a puzzle and not in real life.

Tom in the D said...

Hated it. DNF not even close. Maybe tomorrow is a better day. Nice write-up , THO, PG. I could kvetch about a lot of things, but that won't get me anywhere. Ciao

CrazyCatLady said...

@ddbmc I had the same thought about the theme. It reminded me of a toddler temper tantrum in the supermarket.

Princess Leia NEE Skywalker, ORGANA, Solo? Can someone explain. I only saw the first two "Star Wars" and that was a long time ago in a galaxy far,far away. I know Skywalker and Solo, but where does the ORGANA fit in?

Scully2066 said...

@CrazyCatLady - Not sure if this is correct but when baby Leia was spirited away after her birth she was taken to Alderan (Blown up by Deathstar) and then raised by the ruler there - making her a Princess. I believe the family name was ORGANA.

Nighthawk said...

Fairly smooth for the most part, but several major speedbumps for me.
Had nothing for 10A COIF for a long time (thinking something along the lines of "time" or "self"), had 22A as hoT for a good while, knew STEIG but for 21A put in AIL then erased it for a while due to the totally unknown ALIDADE and unheard of ORGANA. Didn't believe TOO for 52A b/c couldn't think of a dressing that began NOO_ _. Even wrestled with 59D, first thinking it was Mdm. Pleased that I saw the beginning and ending r's in resevoir and wasn't fooled, as usual, by 51A.
Finally got it all worked out.

Wonder when we'll see 27A clued as "Internet personae, for short"?

(tosabil: receipt for an opera performed in total darkness)