12.28 Tue

December 28, 2010
Ed Sessa

Theme: Scat! — The last syllables of the theme answers can be put together to make a Frank Sinatra lyric.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: *Amount of money to pay (BALANCE DUE).
  • 24A: *Beach Boys hit with the line "the first mate, he got drunk" (SLOOP JOHN B).
  • 30A: *Shaggy's dog (SCOOBY-DOO).
  • 44A: *Aggressive African swarmer (KILLER BEE).
  • 50A: *Drops on the grass (MORNING DEW).
  • 62A: Trademark Sinatra lyric heard at the ends of the answers to starred clues (DO BE DO BE DO).
Howdy, folks. PuzzleGirl is still feeling a bit under the weather, so this is Doug blogging again. Get well soon, PG, and "Say boo to the flu" (see 29A).

I'm not a big Frank Sinatra fan, but I really liked this puzzle. Lots of theme answers and a nice reveal that I didn't see coming. I could hear Sinatra singing "Do be do be do" in my head, but I wasn't sure which song it was from. Let's go to the video:

Quite a musical puzzle today. Besides Ol' Blue Eyes, Ed Sessa referenced the Beach Boys, Beethoven, Eminem, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, and Perry Como. And for good measure, he included the catch-all answer BAND (19A: Rock group). I'll give the puzzle 4 stars. It's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

  • 15A: Cap'n Crunch, e.g. (CEREAL). My favorite selection from the Cap'n Crunch family of cereals is Peanut Butter Crunch. Delicious sugary peanut buttery balls.
  • 20A: Popular tattoo spot (ANKLE). For women, right? I don't think many guys get ankle tattoos. Or maybe I'm just not looking at guys' ankles enough. The ankles on the right belong to Rex Parker's favorite crossword aficionado.
  • 29A: "___ to the flu": vaccination slogan (SAY BOO). I didn't know there were any vaccination slogans. This one has its own website, so it must be legit. I never get a flu shot. I figure getting sick is better than getting a shot, but I'm kind of a baby.
  • 38A: Supporter of Boris Godunov, say (TSARIST). Want to make a crossword with Russian movie puns? Here's your first theme entry: "The Accidental Tsarist."
  • 44A: Aggressive African swarmer (KILLER BEE). The idea of swarming killer bees scares me to death. Even worse than getting a shot.
  • 66A: Always, rarely or never: Abbr. (ADV). All three of those words are adverbs. Tricky, eh?
  • 3D: Velvety smooth (SILKY). A shout-out to veteran constructor Barry C. Silk.
  • 28D: NYC dance company (ABT). American Ballet Theatre. If it's American, why do they spell "theater" wrong?
  • 43D: Batter's grip aid (PINE TAR). Baseball players smear this sticky stuff on their bats to get a better grip. It's well-known to anyone who remembers the infamous Pine Tar Incident involving Billy Martin and George Brett.
  • 47A: Reds, on scoreboards (CIN). More baseball with the Cincinnati Reds. Trivia nugget of the day: During the McCarthy Era, the Reds changed their name to the Cincinnati Redlegs so people wouldn't think they were a bunch of Commies.
Everything Else —


imsdave said...

I flat out loved this puzzle - unique and lively theme, all the musical stuff - BALANCEDUE over ARREARS - ROBROYS (though I'm sure Tibeni would never adulterate scotch that way).

This is a 5-star Tuesday.

Thanks Mr. Sessa!

Nighthawk said...

Nice solid fill and fun stuff.

Hand up for confidently slamming in Natasha at 38A before sorting it out on crosses.

@Doug, Great PINETAR clip!

Sfingi said...

Thanx for spelling out ABT and ADV.

Otherwise, easy.

Avg Joe said...

I liked it too. The theme was ambitious and it worked. Especially liked all the music related fill in addition to the theme answers.

Second entry for a Russian pun puzzle: "Putin on the Ritz". :-)

Anonymous said...

Loved the entries for Russian puns!

Liked the puzzle too!

Van55 said...

ABT/TSARIST crossing was a bit testing for a Tuesday, but gettable. Won't SAYBOO to this puzzle, dobedobedo!

CrazyCatLady said...

Fun smooth solve and I liked the theme. What's not to love when you have SCOOBY DOO, Cap'n Crunch CEREAL and AJA in the same puzzle. And then you get a picture of Natasha Fatale and Boris!

Thanks Doug! Great write- up.

C said...

Anything with PINETAR gets an A rating from me. I really liked solving this puzzle, fresh answers were discovered. Not difficult at all, just enjoyable.

xxpossum@html.c said...

H.T.G. the right top, but that just means the writer's do'n his job.And what an EXCELLENT job it was!!!SCOOBY-DOO & CAP'N CRUNCH? WHOA!! Flash'n back to when I was still do'n EASY level puzzles.Great puz, Mr. Sessa! @ Pzl Grl: Slam ya some Theraflu so you can be back by Fri.L8R!

Mokus said...

When Cincinnati became the Red Legs I thought it was a poor choice. During the Civil War the Red Legs in Missouri and Kansas were a bunch of murdering and thieving guerrillas. My STL "Redbirds" didn't worry about HUAC or Sen. Joe.

Enjoyed the puzzle and the writeup.

Avg Joe said...

I have to say that I am shocked...SHOCKED...that no one has mentioned The Romper Room in relation to this theme. Here's a clip of Do Bee:


3rd entry for a Russian Pun theme: "Dmitri in St. Louis" :-)

Eric said...

This was a FUN one, as @Tinbeni likes to say. I liked the theme, both concept and execution. It's especially cool that no two "do"s or "be"s are spelled the same (except in the reveal of course, where they have to be).

Great to see SYD Barrett shouted-out to.

I was wondering about the "Prefix for ... night" part of the clue for TWI. Turns out that's another baseball reference -- a twi-night is a double-header whose first game starts in late afternoon.

@Doug: Thanks for the Boris & Natasha pic. I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't not make that connection :-) Coincidence: Jay Ward Productions, the animation house responsible for Rocky & Bullwinkle (& Boris & Natasha), also created the 2A Cap'n Crunch character, and did ads for the CEREAL. Story about Jay Ward (I can't track down the reference, alas): It seems he had a British right-hand-drive car, and a big dog. He used to drive around LA, slouched down doing the low-rider thing, with his dog sitting up in the passenger (i.e. left-front) seat. Anybody looking would be suitably freaked out by what looked like a dog behind the wheel!

Get well soon, @PG!

Tinbeni said...

Why ... Why ... when you have the PERFECT Ingredient to start with ... would anybody have ROB ROY'S ???

And ... then ... more than one ???

I'll stick with Avatar, neat.

Anonymous said...

To do is to be, Socrates
To be is to do, Plato
Do-be-do-be-do, Sinatra

CrazyCatLady said...

@Avg Joe I absolutely thought of Do Bee from Romper Room. For a while there was a commenter on the blog who was a local TV Romper Room teacher back in the day.

@Tinbeni I had the same thought about the Rob Roy. Ick.

Hope you all on the East coast are digging out. We're getting more rain and wind here tonight. Going to bundle up in front of the fire. Hoping the San Luis Creek doesn't invade my comfort zone.


Great great puzzle!
For most of the reasons expressed above, but even moreso because it sparked an exciting writeup from Doug.
Thanks Ed, Rich, and Doug.
I too am not particularly a fan of Ole Blue Eyes, but hearing that clip made me a fan... do be do be do! Actually I think he just forgot the lyrics and um....

mac said...

Thanks Doug, great write-up, and you got up so early! Poor PG, stay warm and get better.

Can you believe it, I watched that pinetar clip.

You mean to say these are the ankles of Christina Applegate??? Hope those are not permanent tats.

The puzzle? I liked it a lot, lively and solid at the same time. Nice memories of my two years in Boise.