11.23.2010

T U E S D A Y   November 23, 2010
Dan Naddor

Theme: Friques and Giques — Theme answers are two-word phrases where both words end in IQUE.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Outside-the-box method (UNIQUE TECHNIQUE).
  • 37A: Exclusive group seeking old collectibles (ANTIQUE CLIQUE).
  • 59A: Indirect evaluation (OBLIQUE CRITIQUE).
This is a very cute, simple theme and the only gripe I have about it is that two of the entries are really fun to say out loud and the middle one … isn't. But maybe I just need to start pronouncing CLIQUE as I assume the French do. And then … ta-da! Problem solved.

It's a shame that the so many of the Qs turned out to be in short down answers. The two long dows with Qs — EXQUISITE and SQUISING — are pretty cool. It also felt like there were too many foreign words in the grid that were a notch above what we usually expect from a Tuesday:
  • 55A: Euro predecessor, in Portugal (ESCUDO).
  • 12D: Nicht alt (NEU).
  • 24D: Calf meat, in Calais (VEAU).
Bullets:
  • 5A: Tony winner Judith (IVEY). I'm actually more familiar with the poker player Phil IVEY.
  • 14A: Any of five O-ending brothers (MARX). No idea what this clue was going for until I had the X in place. D'oh!
  • 41A: Henner who played Elaine on "Taxi" (MARILU). I saw her on Letterman once many years ago and apparently she has this bizarre sort of photographic memory where she can remember everything she's done every day of her life. (Presumably, not every day of her life, but you get my drift.)
  • 53A: Opt for a career without the band (GO SOLO). Not always a good idea. I'm looking at you, David Lee Roth.
  • 3D: Son of Poseidon (TRITON). PuzzleSon will be so disappointed to learn that it's not him.
  • 38D: "Just do it" sloganeer (NIKE). Many many years ago I remember seeing a television ad for NIKE (or possibly Reebok) that was hilarious. It just showed a couple second of people involved in various strenuous exercises and the voice-over said things like "Push it," "Burn it," and "Go for it." Then at the very end, the guy goes "And it wouldn't hurt for you to stop eating like such a pig." I thought that was probably the funniest ad I'd ever seen but I assume they got some complaints about it because I don't remember ever seeing it again.
  • 45D: Rotation-causing force (TORQUE). Can't see this word without thinking about Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny."
  • 52D: Sheep fats (SUETS). I had no idea. Ew.
Crosswordese 101:I only see one crosswordese word in the grid that we've already covered (54D: Polo Grounds legend Mel OTT), so today I'm gonna give you a two-fer so you don't feel shortchanged. Have you ever noticed that there's an awful lot of crosswordese that begins with the letter E? Well today we'll talk about two E-names you need to know.

First is 22D: "ER" actor ERIQ La Salle. There's not much to say about him crossword-wise, except that I'm sure constructors rejoiced when Dr. Benton turned out to be a character worth having around for eight seasons.

Then there's ELOISE, the 21A: Plaza Hotel pixie. She's the six-year-old girl who lives in the "room on the tippy-top floor" of the Plana Hotel in a children's book series by Kay Thompson.

    [Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

    Everything Else — 1A: Entr'__ (ACTE); 9A: Stories of questionable veracity (YARNS); 15A: Visibly embarrassed (RED AS A BEET); 19A: Seated yoga position (LOTUS); 20A: In inventory (ON HAND); 23A: Ones who take things the wrong way? (THIEVES); 27A: Catches some rays (TANS); 28A: Johannesburg's land: Abbr. (RSA); 31A: College e-mail address ending (EDU); 32A: Water frozen in mid-drip (ICICLE); 35A: Missouri tributary (OSAGE); 40A: Cooked in 35-Down (FRIED); 42A: "Gross!" ("ICK!"); 43A: "Whirled peas" is one (PUN); 44A: Slanted type: Abbr. (ITAL.); 48A: Capone catchers, familiarly (THE FEDS); 58A: Hurled (THREW); 63A: Agreement before marriage (PRENUPTIAL); 64A: Wacky (NUTS); 65A: Small sample (TASTE); 66A: Fancy tie material (SILK); 67A: Heroic deed (GEST); 1D: Lucky charm (AMULET); 2D: With 35-Down, healthful cooking liquid (CANOLA); 4D: Especially elegant (EXQUISITE); 5D: Hot temper (IRE); 6D: White House no (VETO); 7D: Heaven on Earth (EDEN); 8D: Marina craft (YACHT); 9D: One-named New Age keyboardist (YANNI); 10D: Put up with (ABIDE); 11D: Mil. supply order (REQ.); 13D: Sault __ Marie (STE.); 16D: 1979 Iranian exile (SHAH); 18D: Battleship letters (USS); 25D: Brink (EDGE); 26D: Go after in court (SUE); 29D: Lowlife (SCUM); 30D: __ of faith (A LEAP); 33D: Spain's El __ (CID); 34D: Light brown color (ECRU); 35D: See 2-Down (OIL); 36D: Making a walking-in-mud sound (SQUISHING); 37D: St. Louis landmark (ARCH); 39D: Suffix with weak (-LING); 40D: Emotional outburst (FIT); 46D: Native Alaskans (ALEUTS); 47D: Most shameful (LOWEST); 49D: Boxer's maneuver (FEINT); 50D: Roman ending (-ESQUE); 51D: 60-Down spec (D-CUP); 56D: Twice CCCI (DCII); 57D: Word-of-mouth (ORAL); 59D: Choose (OPT); 60D: Victoria's Secret staple (BRA); 61D: "__ Misérables" (LES); 62D: Class (ILK).

    24 comments:

    SethG said...

    Well that gives a new meaning to NEUVEAU riche.

    The non-theme long stuff was nice, and I like THE FEDS. The theme? Fine, I guess.

    Van55 said...

    Why a briliant constructor such as Dan Naddor had/has to resort to Roman numeral arithmetic clues for random Roman numeral answers is beyond me. It taints the rest of the puzzle for me.

    The rest of the puzzle was quite elegant, though. Not quite EXQUISITE. Very enjoyable, if not magnifique.

    Sfingi said...

    Hey, what happened to Gananoque and Quebec? Monteswguieu? Quentin, quidnunc, quizlet, QEMU? Guess you can't have everything.But, what a lotta Q and U! 6/13?

    Didn't know IVEY or VEAUX; but a breeze, and cute.

    Sfingi said...

    That's Montesquieu.

    JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

    Another fun puzzle by Dan Naddor!

    Okay, here’s my OBLIQUE CRITIQUE---
    Putting together a puzzle with all those IQUE theme words with Q crosses is just EXQUISITE! All those Scrabbly letters too.
    Dan even put in a clue for PUN at 43A “Whirled Peas”.
    For me, a great puzzle is one that has a UNIQUE TECHNIQUE for construction, doesn’t overdo the crosswordese thing, and teaches me at least one new word… well here it is!

    Three new WOTDs: “Nicht alt” (NEU), ERIQ LaSalle, and “Calf meat in Calais” (VEAU).

    @PG Please explain that "My Cousin Vinny" Marisa Tormei TORQUE thing.
    And I'm glad you explained the clue for ELOISE. All I kept thinking of was that Heloise personage.

    I was absolutely sure that the suffix for “Weak” was LINK and not LING. Oh well, I guess either could be right.

    YACHT, YANNI, YARNS, yikes!

    Okay, it’s GROUCHO, HARPO, CHICO, and ZEPPO; but who’s the fifth of the MARX Brothers?

    I liked the CANOLA-OIL-FRIED trio and the DCUP-BRA duo.

    Getting hungry… time to go to “Honey Jams Cafe” for crêpes à la beurre Suzette.

    Argyle said...

    The fifth Marx was actually the forth Marx, in birth order.

    Milton (Gummo) Marx appeared on stage with his brothers but was drafted and never performed in the movies. - Wikipedia.

    Scully2066 said...

    Thank you PG - loved the write up especially the Cousin Vinny reference!!

    Liked the puzzle - the theme was cute but really liked some of the clues - full of sparkle, like EXQUISITE, TORQUE, TRITON, ICICLE and LOTUS.

    Lots of TASTE treats are FRIED in CANOLA OIL - couldn't let that go without a comment.

    Happy Tuesday all!!

    JaxInL.A. said...

    @JOHNSNEVERHOME, the fifth Marx brother is Gummo. I don't think he ever performed with them, though, hence is obscurity.

    The Marisa Tomei / TORQUE thing comes from the hilarious movie My Cousin Vinny, where she plays a very smart and skillful woman masked behind a thick New Jersey accent and strong fashion choices. She is an expert on car mechanics just from observing her family's business. She ends up testifying in a murder trial where she establishes her expertise by, among other things, talking about the torque (using the above-mentioned NJ accent) required for a particular repair.

    SethG said...

    Jax, the proper ignition timing would be 4 degrees before top dead center. The leaky faucet was tightened with a Craftsman model 1019 Laboratory Edition, Signature Series torque wrench. She routinely twists the maximum allowable torquage.

    JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

    @Jax and SethG
    Now THAT'S super funny!!!!

    Texas Aggie said...

    Friques and Giques was the only memorable aspect of the solve/critique. Thanks PG

    C said...

    I was going to comment on the puzzle then @PG distracted me with Marisa Tomei. What was I saying?

    Tuttle said...

    Dead on balls accurate?

    It's an industry term.

    Jeff said...

    Loved it! I wasn't hot on the NYT puzzle today, so this one put the smile back on my face.

    Totally agree with Van 55 though - I hate to see a random Roman numeral in any puzzle.

    Jeff

    Rube said...

    A "cute" little puzzle, slightly harder than today's NYT, and much more enjoyable. Unfortunately there were no new, non pop culture, words. However, did have to wait for some crosses for TRITON, so will use this as my WOTD.

    Had one writeover at LING/ness, but no biggie.

    Although I had forgotten it, I think we had this discussion about Marisa Tomei before. (It caused me to Netflix the movie at the time... she was great.)

    John Wolfenden said...

    A solid Naddor Tuesday, although "Whirled peas" isn't a pun. "Visualize whirled peas" is a pun, and a pretty good one. I remember seeing it on a billboard on Barham Blvd. around 10 years ago.

    Add GEST to the list of words above Tuesday difficulty level. My DCUP runneth over.

    hazel said...

    Marisa Tomei rocks in The Wrestler too. She and Eloise were the coolest things about this puzzle.

    Seeing names like MARILU Henner and ELAYNE Boosler always makes me a little sad - give them their star on the Crossworld Grid of Fame (which is definitely located in ERIE, PA) and move on.

    While I'm sure both maintain active productive lives, they really aren't in the spotlight any more, and their appearance in the grid always seems to carry with it a bit of desparation, which is unfair to them.

    Avg Joe said...

    I'm on the other side of your argument, Hazel. I thought that Jim and Elaine were the most interesting characters in Taxi and still always enjoy seeing the name. While true that Marilu hasn't been visible since the show (by contrast to Christopher Lloyd and many others) I think a lot of folks still remember her well.

    Overall, I enjoyed this puzzle. No real stumpers, but I felt I had to work all the way through. WOTD for me was GEST.

    badrog said...

    Didn't have any outrageous problems with 52D SUETS or 67A GEST while filling them in, but a little post facto research seemed to verify some of my usage doubts:

    SUET can be beef fat as well as mutton fat. It's apparently the hard fat around the kidney and loins. For some unknown reason I remember it as the stuff we put in the bird feeder as kids, some of which was indeed fatty cooking waste.

    GEST is defined both as an adventure tale or romance in prose or verse, and as an actual adventure or expoit. To me, none of these need be definitively "heroic". And when I got around to checking 'beau geste' and 'gesture', the element of heroism is even implied to be fake.

    And so SUET and GEST will share WotD honors for me.

    CrazyCatLady said...

    Had a lot of fun with the puzzle today. Another good Naddor IMHO. Got a laugh out of RED AS A BEET. Thought there was some very interesting fill for a Tuesday and thought the theme was cool. Only ICK factor was that Roman numeral clue crossing ESCUDO. Liked seeing OSAGE. I once lived on OSAGE Lane.

    @Seth G - NEU VEAU - good one : )

    @Hazel MARY LU shows up once in a while on talk shows. She writes books on nutrition/health/diets now. I agree with@Avg Joe - give me a Taxi rerun anyday. Funny, funny show.

    @badrog I remember putting SUET in bird feeders too.

    Avg Joe said...

    CCL, today is the one year anniversary of our cat Skamp coming home to live with us. She's a little bitty calico with a great big attitude. Sitting on my lap as I type.

    Nighthawk said...

    @PG, while I loved the write-up, you had me at the title - laughed for a good while - almost didn't get to the rest, thinking, it just doesn't get any better than this.

    Thanks also for the "My Cousin Vinny" reminder. Not only did TORQUE do it for me, but also, coming pretty close, was the fun pronunciation of ALEUTS.

    Also liked Sault STE. Marie over the SUE.

    Agree, Tuesday simple. But this Naddor is so much more fun that the usual Tues fare.

    Miss Congeniality: "Whirled peas!"

    CrazyCatLady said...

    @Avg Joe Your calico kitty sounds sweet. I forgot to mention the other day when we had CALICO in the puzzle, that calicos are always female. I guess it has to do with a chromosone. They are beautiful cats. The boss of our house is a six lb. gray, longhair with major attitude. She would sleep on the keyboard of my Macbook if I let her. She doesn't like to be ignored.

    @PG I agree with @Nighthawk that the title you gave the puzzle was very funny! You do a great job. Thanks!

    Sfingi said...

    @Badrog - that's what we used suet for.