S A T U R D A Y   December 25, 2010
Doug Peterson

Theme: None

I'm not gonna lie to you. This isn't my favorite Doug Peterson puzzle. (Sorry, Doug, but it's your own fault for setting the bar so damn high.) There's some good stuff in it, but nothing that made me go "Wow! Great puzzle!" Which is what I usually expect from Doug. I had to laugh at myself when I realized "Saint Peter" was totally wrong for 1A: Noted list keeper. Don't know why I didn't think of SANTA CLAUS! Some of the long entries are really awesome, like GENTLE BEN and DOUBLE CHIN, although I must say I'm skeptical about the clue for the latter. 12D: Chewing gum could help prevent one? Seriously? Speaking of cluing: The clue for NICK AT NITE really struck me as bizarre (60A: Ad exec's pithy description of 1-Across?). NICK AT NITE is actually a great entry, and it really doesn't need that cutesy clue. What's up with that? Some of the other longer entries have no sparkle whatsoever. Yeah, I'm looking at you, SAFETY RAIL and INVESTMENT. Overall, this was a decent workout. Not as difficult as I like my Saturdays to be, but I'm sure a lot of people don't have hours to spend on a puzzle today, what with it being Christmas and all.

  • 17A: Superhero who had an arch foe named Bull's-Eye (GREEN ARROW). Once you get past Superman, Batman and Spiderman, I'm pretty much out of superhoes.
  • 28A: __ Bass Fishing: video game (SEGA). Now that sounds like an exciting game.
  • 34A: Tenn. awards org. (CMA). Country Music Association.
  • 35A: Surprises for some swingers (OFF-SPEED PITCHES). I'm sure this was the seed entry for the puzzle and I had a really hard time with it. I'm a baseball fan, but I don't recall ever hearing this phrase. I mean, I can figure out what it means and it makes sense that there's a name for it, but it didn't come to mind the way some other baseball terms — say, "ground-rule double" or "sacrifice bunt" — would have.
  • 41A: Penn. is on it (EST). Eastern Standard Time.
  • 44A: "'Tis he, that villain Romeo" speaker (TYBALT). I wasn't 100% sure of this guy's name and for a while I thought it ended with a D, which made that center area pretty tricky to figure out.
  • 6D: Palminteri of "A Bronx Tale" (CHAZZ). I totally know who CHAZZ Palminteri is, but I wouldn't have guessed that his name ended with two Zs.
  • 10D: Place for pins and needles (SEWING KIT). This answer made me chuckle. The SEWING KIT we use here at the PuzzleHouse is one of those little plastic boxes with a couple little spools of thread and a plastic thimble that you can buy, say, in a hotel gift shop. It has belonged to PuzzleHusband since before we got married 12 years ago. And there's still plenty of thread in it. I guess you could say I don't do a lot of mending.
  • 28D: Meal during Nisan (SEDER). Nisan is a Hebrew month that shows up in the puzzle occasionally. Although not as frequently as ADAR.
  • 45D: "Twilight" protagonist (BELLA). I happen to know that Doug is a huge "Twilight" fan. And don't even talk to him about Edward. He's Team Jacob all the way.
  • 56D: Solo in sci-fi (HAN). Yes, yes, I know I've posted this video a couple times already. But it really never gets old to me.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 11A: Deuce follower, at times (AD IN).
  • 16A: Isle of Mull neighbor (IONA).
  • 20A: Biblical reformer (EZRA).
  • 53A: __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range (URAL).
  • 2D: Its Plus version has a lubricating strip (ATRA).
  • 14D: Cartoonist credited with the modern image of 1-Across (NAST).
  • 55D: Tech sch. overlooking the Hudson (RPI).
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Everything Else — 15A: Depot (STOREHOUSE); 18A: Expeditions, e.g. (SUV'S); 19A: Latvian chess champ of 1960-'61 (TAL); 21A: "Ri-i-ight" ("I'LL BET"); 23A: Not well-defined (HAZY); 24A: Gets down, in a way (KNEELS); 25A: They might be stolen (BASES); 29A: And such: Abbr. (ETC.); 31A: "Haven't decided yet" ("I MAY"); 32A: Battle of Salamis victors (GREEKS); 38A: Gallic title: Abbr. (MME.); 39A: Take over (INFEST); 40A: Breakfast item (LINK); 42A: Change one's position (STIR); 43A: Philippics (RANTS); 46A: Time for action (D-DAY); 48A: Composed (SERENE); 49A: A-line designer (DIOR); 50A: "That's odd ..." ("HMM …"); 53A: __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range (URAL); 54A: Military foothold (BRIDGEHEAD); 57A: Diamond with records (NEIL); 58A: Bath additive (EPSOM SALTS); 59A: Nut for drinks (KOLA); 1D: Mil. squad leader, perhaps (SSGT); 3D: "The First __" (NOEL); 4D: Roman numeral (TRE); 5D: Trojan War survivor (AENEAS); 7D: Hampshire hauler (LORRY); 8D: Subtle quality (AURA); 9D: Private entertainers, for short? (USO); 11D: Target area (AISLE); 13D: Bond, for one (INVESTMENT); 22D: Numerical extreme (LEAST); 23D: Cries for attention (HEYS); 24D: Doesn't go bad (KEEPS); 25D: Tundra or coral reef, e.g. (BIOME); 26D: Auto feature (AM/FM STEREO); 27D: Toddler's bed attachment (SAFETY RAIL); 30D: Staved containers (CASKS); 32D: '60s TV role for Bruno the Bear (GENTLE BEN); 33D: Ready for another voyage (REFIT); 36D: Fibonacci, by birth (PISAN); 37D: Makeup of Martha's Vineyard's Gay Head Cliffs (CLAY); 43D: Hardest to get hold of (RAREST); 46D: Got by (DID O.K.); 47D: Bane of liberal religion (DOGMA); 48D: Doomed (SUNK); 49D: Piece in the game Reversi (DISC); 50D: Pad opener (HELI-); 51D: Simpsons creator Groening (MATT); 52D: Inventory abbr. (MDSE.).


D said...

Having a farm background, I wanted SEMI for "7D Hampshire hauler"; first thought being Hampshire, as in swine, but obviously not correct number of letters. Ironic (for me, anyway) that this breed was thought to have originated in England and was more than likely hauled by a LORRY.

Doug P said...

Merry Christmas, everybody. First off, I've got to give credit to Rich Norris for coming up with the SANTA CLAUS/NICK AT NITE mini-theme. I tried to put a long Christmasy answer in the middle too, but it came back to baseball for some reason. :) I also wanted to have something RED to go with GREEN ARROW. Well, I got Bella in there, so it wasn't all bad. If you're at the ACPT, you'll be able to recognize me because I'll be wearing these shoes.

Best "Star Wars" video ever!

backbiter said...

I don't know why, but I expected a Christmas theme today. So without hesitation I entered Santa Claus in 1A:. Got that right, ok whew. I couldn't figure out why the rest of the puzzle wasn't holiday oriented. OH YEAH , DUH ! It's Saturday. Themeless Saturday!

Happy Holidays eveyone!

Cheers *clink* Ahhh

Van55 said...

I struggled a bit with this one. Liked 1A and 60A today in honor of the holiday. The rest fell in place in time.

Good effort, Doug!

Mokus said...

Totally enjoyable puzzle. Favorite clue was 13D which had me first thinking James Bond? Glue or cement bond? Bond between friends? Post a bond to get out of jail? None of the above? Savings bond?
I love off-speed pitches because instant replay and slow motion shows batters screwing themselves into the ground when they expect heat and get a pitch in the 70s.
I suspect many of us have collections of sewing kits from various hotels over the years. The needles are handy for splinters.
Scratching head over "Deuce follower" being "ad in." I wanted "...there arose such a din" as part of St. Nick's landing on my roof.
Time to wake up the guests.

Sfingi said...

DNF After a certain point, I decided I had spent too much time.

There were several things I didn't get because I didn't even know they were sports, and wouldn't have got anyway: ADIN, BASES,

HTG for CLAY, GENTLE BEN (thought he was the human, never watched it), DISC (it seems Reversi is the same as Othello), SEGA (can't believe they'd make a game about fishing), IONA (it's teeny compared to Mull).

Had spare TiREs for AM FM STEREO; had BiLLy for BELLA (don't watch that kid stuff).

Got GREEN ARROW, but never heard of it.

Agree with Puzzle Girl. Several were just to far out.

CarolC said...

Puzzle Girl, thanks for taking the time even on Christmas to share with us! Merry Christmas to the Puzzle Family!

This was a DNF for me also. Had LOW instead of OFF SPEED PITCHES, and MME correctly, but that was it for that block. I couldn't figure out what tundras and coral reefs had in common. Still any puzzle on Christmas that starts with SANTA CLAUS is all right by me.

Captcha of "upsidsfe" surely has someway to turn it into a baseball clue. . .

Merry Christmas to all!

C said...

OFFSPEEDPITCHES, pure win. When Mr. Peterson works BACKDOORSLIDER into a puzzle, I will nominate him for some high office of his choice.

CAPCHA as I open a beer: inaled

Merry X-mas, all!

Anonymous said...

weird clues dnf for sure i too expected more christmas clues even if there is no theme i drove a mile to buy the paper as i am not home what a waste, by the way can someone explain capcha to me,thanks merry christmas

Rube said...

Expected more Christmas stuff today, themeless Saturday regardless.

Wanted Green Lantern first, then Green hornet. Needed many crosses to get GREENARROW.

SEGA's Wii Bass fishing game was featured on a "Big Bang Theory" episode a while back. The kids got me one for Christmas, (groan).

Like @PG, wanted TYBALd. This caused much trouble.

Thanks Doug P for showing up. Always enjoy hearing from the constructor. I'm also sorry that a Christmassy center didn't work out.

Merry Christmas to all.

SethG said...

Off-speed pitch seems perfectly normal to me, but STATUE OF LIBERTY and QUARTERBACK DRAW are 15s if you ever wanna go with football instead. And I never knew the Coca Cola guy invented Santa.

Merry, all.

Mokus said...

@ANON 2:27 A CAPTCHA or Captcha (pronounced /ˈkæptʃə/) is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer. The process usually involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. Thus, it is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test, because it is administered by a machine and targeted to a human, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is typically administered by a human and targeted to a machine. A common type of CAPTCHA requires the user to type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen.

*David* said...

Sone parts went very fast like the NW/SW. The center and NE took more time due to errors. Problems were TYBALL(T) and TREY versus ADIN. The bubble gum clue was ehhh interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Nast was a famous political cartoonist 150 years ago who first drew a rolly polly Santa (before, Santa was depicted as a skinny old guy wearing green - like "Father Christmas"). He also created the GOP elephant and the Democrat donkey. He was credited with helping bring down Tamany Hall's Boss Tweed, who called the shots in the governing of New York City at the time.

That being said, I thought this puzzle sucked - way too tough for a breather after Christmas! Bah Humbug!

Avg Joe said...

Mixed emotions about this puzzle while working it, but it was so challenging for me that I'd give it high marks upon completion. I had to work a lot harder to finish it than on most Saturdays, but did finish and felt it was a worthwhile fight when completed.

I had a lot of the same trip ups mentioned earlier. Being from a farm background, the Hampshire clue threw me badly. Bond conjured up spydom, not investments. Hands up for Green Lantern and Green Hornet. Green Arrow was a reach back into grey areas I did not know existed, but it came through. Tybalt occurred as the first possibility, but couldn't decide on the second letter being Y or I ...nonetheless loved to see it in a puzzle. Shakespeare is not a forte of mine, but the most unforgettable scene for me is Romeo standing after the death of Mercutio and screaming "TYBALT!"

A good puzzle, a long slog, but a completed project. All in all, a good days work.

Thanks Doug. Both for todays effors and for being a regular on this blog. Thanks Angela for your daily work in making this all possible and the ancillary refereeing. Thank you all for making puzzle solving a bit more interesting. Merry Christmas to all.

Houston_Brit said...

Isn't 11A "Deuce of A DIN", and not AD IN? (same result).
Clues were weird today, DNF, had to look up SE corner "MDSE"..?? No idea..!! NICKATNITE - excuse me...? Got OFF SPEED, then was stuck for a long time. Had MACH in 2D for ages, stuck there for ever till I had to change it..!!! We Brits have a hard time with a lot of the sports slang/trivia here.