11.30.2010

T U E S D A Y   November 30, 2010
Mark Feldman

Theme: Workin' at the Graveyard (whoa-oo whoa-oo whoa-oo whoa) — The first word of each theme answer evokes a cemetery.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: One debating the unpopular side (DEVIL'S ADVOCATE).
  • 31A: Healer using magic (WITCH DOCTOR).
  • 41A: Uncredited author (GHOST WRITER).
  • 55A: Wee-hours work period for 20-, 31- and 41-Across? (GRAVEYARD SHIFT).
Very smooth Tuesday fare today. I got the theme answers in order and after the first two thought "A Halloween puzzle?!?" I suppose it could be, but people work the GRAVEYARD SHIFT all year, so I guess it's okay. Speaking of the GRAVEYARD SHIFT … have you all ever worked at that time of night? I never have, but I used to work a second shift and when we'd get off at midnight, the late shift would be rolling in and I tell you what. Those were some strange people. Not sure how to explain it except to say they all just seemed a little … off. Maybe that's what it takes to be productive when you should be sleeping.

Bullets:
  • 15A: Little suckers (LICE). Um, breakfast test!
  • 23A: Washing aid for pupils (EYE CUP). I assume this is something used at an eye doctor's office? I'm not familiar with any sort of eye health stuff. I actually never wore glasses until I turned 40! Of course now I need three different pair and feel like a total old lady.
  • 25A: "Hold on __!" (A SEC). Because "to your hat" wouldn't fit.
  • 39A: About 1,609 meters (MILE). Just last night I was helping PuzzleDaughter study for a test on the metric system. Isn't it about time the U.S. just converts to the metric system and get it over with?
  • 40A: Game system played with gestures (WII). We just got the Xbox 360 with Kinect. Have you seen the commercials??? It's amazing to think that someday people will look back on it and go "Can you believe how we thought that was so amazing?"
  • 48A: Pitching miscues (BALKS). I recently did some research on BALKS (and by "did some research" I of course mean "read the Wikipedia article"). I pretty much can't remember anything I learned (did I mention the old lady thing?) but at the time I thought it was pretty interesting. Worth a look if you're a baseball fan and don't understand how the BALK rule works.
  • 51A: Where AMZN stock is traded (NASDAQ). I plopped this answer in without even thinking, but I already had the T in place on 55A so that QT mash-up looked all kindsa wrong. (54D: Wax removers (Q-TIPS).)
  • 1D: Fine porcelain (SPODE). This word looks vaguely familiar to me. I'm sure I've seen it in a puzzle before but today I needed every single cross.
  • 3D: Naproxen, commercially (ALEVE). I know way too much about pain relievers.
  • 5D: Held firmly (CLASPED). I tried "clamped" first.
  • 31D: Guitar effect (WAWA). Yes, that's the technical term for it.
  • 41D: Covers, as a driveway (GRAVELS). I guess I've been a city slicker too long — GRAVEL didn't even occur to me.
Crosswordese 101: GNAR is kind of a weird word, isn't it? I don't recall ever using it, or hearing it, or reading it. Of course, now that I say that, I should find it on the next page of the book I'm reading. Isn't that how it goes? Anyway, it's almost always clued straightforwardly as 55D: Growl, snarl, or "imitate an angry dog." The only way the clue is tricked out sometimes is by referring to a type of dog, e.g., "Grown like a boxer," or "Pointer's warning."

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:

  • 17A: Turow memoir subtitled "The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School" (ONE-L).
  • 59A: Oklahoma tribe (OTOE).
  • 6D: Turkish bread? (LIRA).
  • 30D: Pretty pitcher (EWER).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Roe source (SHAD); 5A: Scrape, cat-style (CLAW); 9A: 100 kopeks (RUBLE); 14A: Geographical extremity (POLE); 16A: Matriculate (ENROL); 18A: The "Habanera" from "Carmen," e.g. (ARIA); 19A: Blunt, as reality (STARK); 24A: Blood bank fluid (SERUM); 27A: Stew (SEETHE); 36A: "Man oh man!" ("WOW!"); 37A: Out of kilter (AWRY); 38A: Dove murmur (COO); 45A: Long-haired cat (ANGORA); 47A: Part of a family business title (SONS); 58A: Japanese cartoon genre (ANIME); 60A: Naysayer (ANTI); 61A: Deadly (FATAL); 62A: Zip (along) (TEAR); 63A: Chick's sound (PEEP); 64A: Head lock (TRESS); 65A: At __: arguing (ODDS); 66A: Messes up (ERRS); 2D: Sweetheart (HONEY); 4D: Epicurean delight (DELICACY); 7D: Fatty __ (ACIDS); 8D: Make, as baskets (WEAVE); 9D: Fireman, sometimes (RESCUER); 10D: Wild (UNTAME); 11D: Sassy kid (BRAT); 12D: Folk tales and such (LORE); 13D: "Benevolent" fraternal member (ELK); 21D: Having abundant vegetation (LUSH); 22D: Thereabouts (OR SO); 26D: Chanel of fashion (COCO); 28D: Nincompoop (TWIT); 29D: Burrow indicator (HOLE); 32D: Triumphant cry (I WIN); 33D: Math course (TRIG); 34D: Business orgs. (COS.); 35D: Little ones (TOTS); 39D: Form incorrectly (MISSHAPE); 42D: Robust (HALE); 43D: Worldly seven (WONDERS); 44D: Messenger molecules (RNAS); 46D: White House family (OBAMAS); 49D: Onetime capital of Japan (KYOTO); 50D: Filled up (SATED); 52D: Restaurant patron (DINER); 53D: Following (AFTER); 56D: Ceremony (RITE); 57D: Country way (ROAD); 58D: Toward the rudder (AFT).

25 comments:

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

WOW! Eeeeerie puzz!
Not as much fun as yesterday with its spooky theme, but quite doable.
Don’t know why the OBAMAS snuck in there.
A few good words: EYE CUP, DELICACY, SPODE, and WAWA.
Otherwise it was just a “meh”.

Well at least when I saw WITCH DOCTOR, I thought of Alvin & the Chipmunks… and that made me chuckle a bit.
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang
Walla walla, bing bang!

Gotta go… Pumpkin pancakes at Apple Villa DINER today.

Rex Parker said...

GHOST is the only one of the three I'd associate w/ a GRAVEYARD.

rp

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, excellent write-up.

I've been a DINER on SPODE porcelain all my life and thought it was just called China.
Note, it was left to me by Grandma. Older sib's didn't want it. I just liked the design.

Hmmm, DEVIL'S ADVOCATE sums me up.
As a CFO, Auditor or Consultant I always have to point out the "other-side" ... most of my co-horts are "toady yes-men."

Didn't know the commercial name of Naproxen, ADVIL. If I took a pill I think there would be a "news-flash" ...
Tin's on pills!!! Yikes!!!

Finally, tonight's Sunset is dedicated to the end of Hurricane Season.
Though I think my USF-Bull's win over my Miami, 23-20, in OT, last Saturday, (yup, the BA beat the MBA) was the real end for my beloved 'Canes.

Cheers !!!

Mokus said...

Couldn't agree more that the US should convert to the metric system. The scope of such an effort boggles the mind however.

PG, using an eye cup with the proper solution can be soothing and will relieve itching and redness.

A pleasant Tuesday and a clever theme. The graveyard shift is a peaceful time and a pleasant shift in the right job.

Only 25 days to shop, folks!

Van55 said...

Very nice puzzle with a lackluster theme for me. Didn't like UNTAME. Otherwise I thought the fill was fine.

Fittingly, I guess, my captcha is "FRADI".

Anonymous said...

@RP And that's being generous. I always thought ghosts hung around where they died, or lived, or something. Very few people actually die in the graveyard. Those that do get most frequently choose to be enurned in a 3 bedroom condo in the suburbs, just for a change of pace.

v-man said...

Very quick solve, though I must admit for as many puzzles as I've done, spode didn't ring a bell. Interesting how Obama runs through grave.He may very well be digging his own, poetic justice perhaps.

Anon 6:32 said...

I would like to retract my comment. Scooby-Doo is as reasonable and accurate point of reference for devils, witches & ghosts as any other one could posit when discussing such things. In the world of Scooby-Doo, they all hang around graveyards.

Eric said...

The NASDAQ x Q-TIP cross has a Q with nary a U -- like it!

A better description of the theme might be "supernatural nasties that do their evil work by night", but I don't have time to turn that into a short, catchy name. (The thing is, "graveyard" isn't meant to be taken literally here; said nasties do indeed work the GRAVEYARD SHIFT, the same as factory labourers). Obligatory gripe about including witches in the list: I know a few self-described witches, i.e. Wiccans, among my Pagan friends. They may be a bit odd (a lot of Pagans are, myself definitely included), but they're no more evil than the general population.

Here's a song called Graveyard Shift, by Vancouver punk band NoMeansNo. (I'm not a punk fan. I much prefer the totally different song by Einstein's Secret Orchestra, but couldn't track that one down.)

@PG: This is an eye cup. We had one when I was a kid. You use it to rinse out your eye if you get something in it -- fill it with water, tilt your head forward, bring the cup up to the affected eye, then tilt your head back, while holding the cup against your face. The cup is shaped to conform to your face, so as to keep the water from leaking out.

Anonymous said...

@PG: Good to see the photo of the WAWA convenience store in your write-up. WaWa means "wild goose" in the Lenni Lenape language. The Lenni Lenape is a Native American tribe here in Southeastern PA where the Wawa dairy originated.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

My son, the CSO Trumpeter, has been described by jazz aficionados as "the best WAWA boy east of the Rockies".

Burner10 said...

Of late technical difficulties preventing my ability to enjoy all the fine posts on this blog and to express appreciation to our fabulous host. Nov 30 is close enuf to Oct 31 for me to enjoy the theme's seasonalness. GNAR! I always use the phrase gnarly multitudes when anticipating a trip to the Huntington beach at the peak of the season. And now I see how gnar perfectly describes me, perhaps not the multitudes.

imsdave said...

Good Tuesday puzzle.

@pg - never worked a graveyard shift, but being in IT for a long time, I've had my share of late late nights. My favorite (only in retrospect) was the time we had a major database outage and I ended up working 51 hours straight. The punchline is that I got two parking tickets from company security (which automatically revoked my parking privileges).

Gotta love corporate America.

Tom in the D said...

Not a bad puzzle for a Tuesday. My beef is with "wa-wa". I play guitar, and I use a "wah-wah" pedal. Other than that, I'm fine with the rest. Just happy to be back from vacation, doing the lat cw again. Have a good day all.

Anonymous said...

I used to manage Denny's restaurants (open 24 hours) and worked the all night shifts. Drunks, Crazies, they are all out there @ night. 4 AM the body shuts down regardless what you might be doing.

SethG said...

The theme may not be coherent, but I do like all of the theme phrases as entries. PEEPS are scary, too.

John Wolfenden said...

I started out like PG, thinking the puzzle was cool and breezy, like the L.A. basin today.

But the NW corner stumped me. SHAD, SPODE and EYECUP combined seem like Thursday or Friday-level difficulty.

I don't think I've ever seen MISSHAPE used, although I don't deny it's a word.

"Head lock" for TRESS is an excellent clue.

CarolC said...

Unlike most of y'all I started off wondering why if this was Tuesday nothing was coming to me. Starting with CHINA instead of SPODE meant I was AWRY from the beginning. Once EYECUP showed up, I was back on track and on a TEAR and finished quickly.

@PG, as an engineer I used to work different shifts doing system testing and integration, including graveyard. My favorite shift was a split shift from 4am to noon; I could get some sleep before getting up to go to work and still have daylight after I got off. Most memorable shifts were supporting a satellite launch on July 4 of the Bicentennial. I worked dayshift, was off and got to see fireworks, then back for graveyard. Fun, kind of.

Thanks for the writeup. I enjoyed the "hat, I thought I had a hat" picture. Fits in with those senior moments. . .

hazel said...

i kind of agree with rex. the theme IS a bit of a mash-up. but i like all the answers in and of themselves and i do think of witches ghosts and devils all kind of hanging together (on Halloween, though). Does kind of seem like a Halloween puzzle that's been repurposed.

Lots of mayhem (AWRY, MISSHAPED, ERRS, BALKS), the FATAL RITES, some UNTAMED BRATS. seemed kind of fiendish and cool to me.

Rube said...

From the Urban Dictionary definition of GNAR, "A shortened version of the word gnarly, meaning high on the scale of dangerousness and coolness. Often used among the skateboard crowd."
Personally, I like this def better than "growl" for GNAR which, like @PG, I've never heard except in Xwords. In addition to GNAR sounding like a mashup of Growl and Snarl, a combination of Snarl and dog would be "Snog". (Unfortunately, that's already taken.)

What I found amazing about this puzz is its lack of pop culture clues. ONE L is about as close to pop culture as is in this puzzle. And that title has appeared several times in puzzles over the past year. (Well, maybe WII, but you have to be living under a rock not to have heard of this. Same for ANIME.)

Roe source for SHAD should be clued with ", e.g.". All fish have roe. Some other marine animals do too.

Very enjoyable Tuesday puzz.

CrazyCatLady said...

Smooth solve for me today except for two ERRS. I had Advil before ALEVE and Simmer befor SEETHE. I liked the very mini cat theme, CLAW and ANGORA and maybe GNAR. The goulish theme was ok too.
SPODE's Christmas Tree pattern is probably the most popular Christmas dinnerware in the US, maybe even the world. I was happy that I knew BALKS from my son's Little League days.

@PG Thanks for the WAWA picture. When I was a kid in SE PA, the milk man delivered our WAWA milk with the picture of the goose on the bottle. My elementary school took field trips to the dairy where we got to see the cows being milked and the milk being bottled. The cows grazed on the hillside next to Baltimore Pike.

Agree with you about LICE. Don't want to think about them while eating my cereal.
@SethG I agree with you again. PEEPS *are* scary.

Sfingi said...

Cute easy puzzle.

Eyecups are collectibles, now. $50 will get you a nice green glass one. There are also aluminum and various antique plastics.

@Seth - what does PEEPS signify to you? I have a T-shirt with a picture of the yellow marshmallow variety and the words, "Just hanging with my peeps."

@Rube - SHAD roe used to be a common expression referring to all roe, maybe because it dates back to the colonial days. It's also in Ella Fitgerald's version of "Let's fall in Love."

Once worked the graveyard when I was with a contractor at an AFB that used to be here. We entered each line of our programs on punch cards which were read into a computer which filled the entire "temporary" building. The Air Force got daytime hours. Wow, I'm old. Compare that to WII. Hey, somebody had to start somewhere.

Graveyards are actually nice places, and some are beautiful. My grandparents would park their car in them to take a nap. Especially down South, so many people are afraid of them, that they are safe.

Scully2066 said...

Thank you PG for your write-up as always - about 20 years ago I worked a graveyard shift at a hospital in the basement next to the morgue. Some nights I swear I was hearing ghosts but most nights I slept when I could and listened to the radio when I could get reception. Those were very long nights.

Loved seeing DELICACY - those are usually very tasty, just like those PEEPs at Easter time.

Have a great Tuesday and on to Wednesday everyone.

Graham said...

Whenever I see "Spode" I tend to immediately think of the Jeeves & Wooster villain
Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup, founder of the Black Shorts, and longtime adversary of Bertie Wooster.

Rube said...

@Sfingi. Thx for pointing out the shad reference in the lyrics to "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)". I even read The Founding Fish (a book mostly about Shad in the Eastern US) a few years ago and didn't catch on to the universality of the expression "shad roe". I guess that if it's not caviar, then it's shad roe.