M O N D A Y   December 20, 2010
Gary Cee

Theme: Pregame The first word Both words of each two-word theme answer can precede the word "game" in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Miniature data storage device (MEMORY CARD).
  • 24A: Teen group sleepover (PAJAMA PARTY).
  • 47A: Like an actor who doesn't miss a line (WORD PERFECT).
  • 60A: Bobby Vee hit with the line "I come bouncing back to you" (RUBBER BALL).
  • 38A/40A: With 40-Across, in an advantageous position (and what both words in 17-, 24-, 47- and 60-Across can be) (AHEAD OF / THE GAME).
I tried to get this post written last night but with the Osmonds, Bobby Vee, and Eric Clapton in the grid, I got sucked into the YouTube vortex and had to get my butt to bed before I could write pretty much anything. So now it's morning and I'll have to spit this out quickly before I dash off to work. So hold on. Here we go!

Oh, before I get to the bullets, a note about how Bobby Vee got his start. The story is kind of interesting and it occurred to me that some of you might not be familiar with it. It's one of those things that I more or less grew up with, being from Fargo and all (along with a love of Roger Maris and a freakish ability to withstand sub-zero temperatures). I know you all know about "The Day the Music Died" back in 1959 when Buddy Holly's plane crashed. Well, that plane was on its way to the Fargo-Moorhead area and when it (obviously) didn't make it there, Bobby Vee's band volunteered to play the show and that was his big break. So there you have it.

  • 14A: Home of the Osmonds (UTAH).
  • 19A: Like many a movie twin (EVIL). I know that siblings can be very different from one another, but the whole "EVIL twin" thing is pretty damn ridiculous if you think about it.
  • 33A: Heckle (JEER). This is actually where I first got sucked into YouTube. I remember a bit Seinfeld used to do about hecklers, so I went looking for it. Couldn't find it, but trust me: there are a lot of comedian v. heckler clips out there!
  • 42A: Seaman's call for assistance (SOS). Heh heh, you said "seaman."
  • 62A: Ricelike pasta (ORZO). Not to be confused with the alcohol "ouzo" or the automatic weapon "uzi." Three completely different things.
  • 5D: 1971 Clapton classic (LAYLA). Unfortunately, I didn't have time to actually find an appropriate video of this before I was miraculously able to tear myself away from YouTube, so you'll have to go find one yourself. Look, I can't do everything for you.
  • 6D: Pop-up path (ARC). I actually tried URL here first, thinking the pop-up in question was a pop-up ad. D'oh!
  • 37D: Storied loch (NESS).
  • 42D: Wager that isn't risky (SAFE BET). Anyone else try sure bet first?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 31A: Above-the-street trains (ELS).
  • 43A: Baseball's Slaughter (ENOS).
  • 52A: Encl. with a manuscript (SASE).
  • 64A: Sicilian volcano (ETNA).
  • 26D: Orbital high point (APOGEE).
  • 28D: Pop your pop might have liked (NEHI).
  • 56D: Forearm bone (ULNA).
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Everything Else — 1A: Things to make notes on (PADS); 5A: Gate clasp (LATCH); 10A: Woeful word (ALAS); 15A: Impressive display (ARRAY); 16A: Coke or Pepsi (COLA); 20A: Faraway friend who likes to write (PEN PAL); 21A: Traditional stories (LORE); 23A: New England hrs. (EST); 27A: Bolivian high points (ANDES); 32A: Second afterthought, in a ltr. (PPS); 34A: Writer's deg. (MFA); 35A: Itzhak Perlman's instrument (VIOLIN); 41A: Tears to shreds (RIPS UP); 44A: Not masc. (FEM.); 45A: Old Mideast org. (UAR); 46A: Digs for (SEEKS); 51A: "Toto, __ a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" (I'VE); 53A: Gap (HIATUS); 58A: Require (NEED); 63A: Judges hear them (PLEAS); 65A: Wine glass part (STEM); 66A: Occupied, as a desk (SAT AT); 67A: Hurdle (over) (LEAP); 1D: It gives you gas (PUMP); 2D: To __: precisely (A TEE); 3D: Rhett's last word (DAMN); 4D: Hit the mall (SHOP); 7D: Song refrain (TRA LA LA); 8D: Pool shots (CAROMS); 9D: Beast that grew two heads every time it lost one (HYDRA); 10D: King topper (ACE); 11D: Where romantic couples park (LOVERS LANE); 12D: Crème de la crème (A-LIST); 13D: Like the sea (SALTY); 18D: Jay-Z performances (RAPS); 22D: "Silas Marner" foundling (EPPIE); 25D: Funny Foxworthy (JEFF); 27D: Barely open (AJAR); 29D: Suspended animation (DEEP FREEZE); 30D: Took off the board (ERASED); 34D: Floor-washing aid (MOP); 35D: Videotape format (VHS); 36D: Response to "You all right?" (I'M OK); 39D: Down in the __ (DUMPS); 40D: Raced (TORE); 45D: Bond girl Andress (URSULA); 46D: Hullabaloo (STIR); 47D: Indigent imbibers (WINOS); 48D: In full view (OVERT); 49D: Wild West brothers (EARPS); 50D: Where the toys are (CHEST); 54D: One slain by Cain (ABEL); 55D: Westminster gallery (TATE); 57D: Open-handed blow (SLAP); 59D: __ Pérignon (DOM); 61D: Sheep sound (BAA).


Rex Parker said...

Wow, way to avoid saying anything about this puzzle.

Your title, PREGAME, is, in fact, a better revealer. Those theme answer words can come ahead of GAME, not THE GAME.

Still, an ambitious, dense, reasonably cool puzzle (though Word Perfect is a word processing program—I've heard of LETTER PERFECT, but not WORD-)


Anonymous said...

Word Perfect was the gold standard in word processing and then came Word-- a much lesser product. But as always the LCD wins out. ( as a former IBMer who attempted to sell Displaywrite )

SethG said...

My problem with the theme is that three of the answers are essentially classes of games, while a perfect game is a specific instance of one specific game.

I strangely got the reveal before any of the theme answers, and I expected animals.

SethG said...

Er, never mind.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether or not to give a partial pass to the akwardness SethG points out due to the fact that both words in the phrase get the game treatment. I'm thinking no.

There's an error on the grid, 12D is ALIST. I'd tell PG offline, but she's too busy giving an honest days work for an honest days pay to correct in the background.

Van55 said...

I thought this was a better than decent Monday puzzle with a relatively high degree of difficulty for it's day of publication.

Not enamored of the theme, but it is dense for sure.

Wanted a photo of URSULA Andress in her prime with PG's blog today. Who's the wrestler she gave us instead? Is that Dan Gable?

Sfingi said...

I was thinking PAJAMA GAME, the old musical comedy with Doris Day. But, then, Rex would have complained that 3 of the answers used the 2nd part and one used the first to complement GAME.

Anonymous said...

@Sfingi - BOTH parts go with GAME.
PAJAMA Game, the musical. PARTY game, is probably a thing, just can't come up with one as an example. Charades, there, I came up with one.
PG's first sentence is a boo-boo.

Anonymous said...

So what is a 'rubber game'?

Avg joe said...

Here's clip from Pajama Game, "7 1/2 Cents":


@Anon 7:29, a rubber game is the 3rd game of a series when the first 2 were split between the opponents.

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl, Wonderfull write-up.
Thanks for the Bobby Vee info.

I really liked the themes and the reveal.
Fave was Vee's RUBBER BALL.
Perfect gift for a "perpetual 8yo" if you're checking your list, Santa.

For 'Indigent imbibers' WINOS, I was thinking Avatar but it wouldn't fit.

As I entered ORZO, thought about Ouzo, too.

All-in-all a FUN Monday.

Cheer's to all at Sunset.


I liked this puzzle, but it took me a little longer than most Monday puzzles which I can finish while eating breakfast.
I really didn't understand the theme (even WITH the reveal) until I came to this blog.

I didn't know that story that Puzzlegirl told about Bobby Vee. That's another story of how "one man's bad luck is another man's good fortune!" I see that all the time.
I was delighted to see the Osmonds (Donny & Marie) on Huckabee's show last night... I so admire them.

WORDPERFECT was anything but perfect. I think the reason why one word processor (WORD) prevailed was because of bundling and pricing and nothing more. Seems that featurewise they all do pretty much the same thing. I'm still using the unsupported WORKS for Windows. It works fine for me. (NPI)

I always liked this Clapton song... maybe cuz I had a huge crush on a girl named LAYLA.
Never got her to LOVER'S LANE though. :-(

Shouldn't the entry (DEEP FREEZE) have the same past tense as the clue "suspended animation"?

Hey! Hey! NEHI was a pop that I liked as a kid, NOT MY FATHER! BTW, the NEHI Corp. started in 1928. Forget the COLA, I thought their orange soda was yummiest and that their "Knee High" advertisements were pretty cool too.

Gary Cee, you get a C+

Y'all have a lovely Christmas week.

PPS, make that a B+ for Gary.

Anonymous said...

John, suspended is an adjective, not a verb, in that phrase.

Eric said...

RUBBER GAME = trampoline Twister :-)

Sfingi said...

@Anon729 asked what I wanted to ask. Thanx @AverageJoe. Sports'll always do me in.
In that case, no wonder everyone thought it was an outstanding CW.

@Vans -you prolly know this already, but if you hit the picture of the young man, you'll see he is a Mr. Ness, and that's the connection. My waist wasn't that small my entire life. Oh, and it's real wrestling, but I won't say that in front of the clowns, or they might punch me.

Van55 said...

A "rubber game" is generally the deciding game of a series when the parties are tied. The seventh game of a world series, for example.

CrazyCatLady said...

Liked the puzzle, but had no idea what a rubber game was. Thanks to @Avg Joe and @Van55 for explaining. And now baking day begins. First to fall, bourbon balls.

Anonymous said...

Rubber game comes from the game of bridge.

To earn a bonus for winning a rubber one has to win two games. After the first you are vulnerable, and some of the scoring changes. When each team has won a game, the next is the "rubber game".

After a rubber is won, the scores revert to the initial level. So there can be many "rubber games" in a bridge match.

As far as I know it has no history to the deciding game of a multiple game playoff. Game Seven, is Game Seven, not he rubber game.

Van55 said...

The phrase "rubber game" probably does derive from the card game of rubber bridge. However, in rubber bridge, the first team to win two games wins the "rubber" even if the other side has won no games.

In fact, "rubber game" has come to be defined as the deciding game in any series where the teams are tied.


About to say the same thing as Van55 said...

Oh Van55, you and your fancy definitive sources.

Really old 13 year old said...

Man, in my previous 55 years here on earth I've never wanted to say "Blowing them up, tying them in knots until they look like a giraffe or something" as badly as I do now .

Tinbeni said...

Hmmm ... How many bourbon balls to you have to imbibe before you 'fall' ???

Do they have a recipe for Avatar balls?

I'll be on the next flight out.

C said...

You know, for a Monday puzzle, this wasn't too bad, I actually had to take the controls off auto pilot and pay attention. Works for me.

Sfingi said...

When people start arguing about sports is when this person has to get out the toothpicks to hold my eyes open and not drool on the keyboard.

Yeesh, I'm 3 and out.

Eric said...

I also found this harder than the usual Monday. Not hard, just harder. Makes up for the super-easy week last week, I guess. XMas present from Rich?

The series-of-games sense for "rubber" dates from almost 200 years before the familiar stretchy-sap sense; its origin is unknown. This article says it's originally from the game of bowls, i.e. lawn bowling. Oddly, the stretchy-sap sense of the word comes from rubber's use as a pencil eraser -- an extension of the earliest sense, which is (go figure) "thing that rubs". Here's the full etymology.

Many of our current uses for the substance itself couldn't happen until vulcanization was invented. In prehistoric times, though, the Olmecs (which means "rubber people" in the Aztecs' language) used the stuff for RUBBER BALLs for sports -- which brings us bouncing back to Bobby Vee.

Here's the song -- very clearly Holly-inspired -- and here is Bobby Vee's own take on the day the music died (middle three paragraphs of that section).

Van55 said...

@sfingi -- do you drool from your eyes????


Avg Joe said...

Yup. What Van said. Despite the origin, the term rubber game is in common usage in the sports world.

The 7th game of the World Series is probably the prime example, but it's used a lot more than that. The only real criteria are that there have to be an odd number of games and that the "rubber" be a deciding game, regardless of who wins. For instance if 2 basketball teams were scheduled to meet 5 times in a season, had 4 games behind them and were tied at 2 each. The upcoming game would be the rubber. Conversely, again using the World Series example: If the victors won in 4, 5 or 6 games, there would be no rubber.

Even I'm bored of this now :-)

@CCL: Did you see the piece about Marilu Henner on 60 Minutes last night? That was pretty mind blowing.

Eric said...

Here's the song RUBBER BALL -- very clearly Buddy-Holly-inspired -- and here's Bobby Vee's own perspective on the day the music died (middle three paragraphs of that section).

CrazyCatLady said...

@Tinbeni - Ha ha! Don't think you want to waste good single malt on cookies. I just use old reliable Jim Beam. 4 oz makes 4 dozen, so you'd probably have to eat the whole batch to get a mild buzz. They sure smell good - on to lebkuchen.

@ Avg Joe - didn't see it last night, but saw it on the news this morning. Pretty amazing - so was her closet. Having that memory would sure help with crosswords.

I think CA is about to float away. It's a dark and windy night and it's only 2:25 in the afternoon.

Larry S said...

Hand up for what turned out not to be a SurE BET.
I thought the wrestler was showing us his ULNA.

Avg Joe said...

CCL, I've been watching the national weather this evening cuz I've got sons traveling Thursday from TX to NE. It looks like CA is getting inundated with biblical proportion rains at the moment. And nobody is willing to predict the inland course it will take, so the impact on us in the center of the US remains to be seen. I hope it subsides soon. Stay dry.

Captcha: salure - what you say as a tribute to someone after eating 4 dozen bourbon balls.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Avg Joe - It's been wild here today and supposedly will be worse tomorrow and Wednesday. A cold front is going to collide with the pineapple express and cause a DEEP FREEZE. DAMN, I need to SHOP. They say here that it's moving east and will end up in PA, NY and MA by the end of the week. ALAS, it's a bad time to travel. Hope your kids stay safe.


These LA TV weather people are sooo excited (a nice way to put it).

captcha je coat - what I need to don to take the dogs out.