W E D N E S D A Y   December 1, 2010
Ed Sessa

Theme: We Have Met the Enemy …. — Hidden in each theme answer is the letter string NME, which sounds like the word "enemy" if you say it out loud.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Viral illness associated with a rash (GERMAN MEASLES).
  • 35A: List that comes from the top (DROP-DOWN MENU).
  • 43A: Possible response to "Gotcha!" (THAT'S ONE ON ME).
  • 57A: Pie with a fluffy topping (LEMON MERINGUE).
  • 56D: Foe hiding, in a way, in the puzzle's four longest answers (ENEMY).

Well, so far the day hasn't gone exactly as I had planned. PuzzleDaughter woke me up at 4:30 because her throat really hurt, but we had to wait until 8:00 to get to the doctor. Let's just say there was a lot of whining and whimpering between 4:30 and 8:00. Poor girl. Anyway. I assume she has strep but don't really know for sure because … she talked the doctor out of giving her the strep test. Man does she hate the strep test! She gave him these pouty eyes and he fell for it! Unbelievable! But he gave her a prescription anyway and now we're back home, she's sleeping on the couch, and I'm trying to catch up. So I'm just going to post the grid and the theme here and you guys can chat it up in the comments. See you back here tomorrow.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 65A: Humorist Bombeck (ERMA).
  • 36D: Reed instrument (OBOE).
  • 58D: Hot times in the cité (ÉTÉS).
  • 63D: Year, in Yucatán (AÑO).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Chews the fat (GABS); 5A: "Here's to ..." tribute (TOAST); 10A: Lingerie size (C-CUP); 14A: Inuit word for "house" (IGLU); 15A: Like bighorns (OVINE); 16A: Obsessed fictional captain (AHAB); 17A: Modeler's aid (GLUE); 18A: More inclined to butt in (RUDER); 19A: Comes together (GELS); 23A: Paint base (LATEX); 24A: A major, e.g. (KEY); 25A: Healthful resort (SPA); 28A: 911 responder, for short (EMS); 29A: Lanchester of "Witness for the Prosecution" (ELSA); 33A: Like Fran Drescher's voice (NASAL); 38A: Cuba or Mallorca (ISLA); 41A: Thumper's friend (BAMBI); 42A: Agenda listing (ITEM); 46A: Like some waves (TIDAL); 47A: Have to have (NEED); 48A: Fond du __, Wisconsin (LAC); 51A: "School's out" response (YAY); 52A: "Eeeuuw!" ("ICK!"); 55A: Bloodsucker (LEECH); 62A: Tight (TAUT); 64A: Sister's daughter (NIECE); 65A: Humorist Bombeck (ERMA); 66A: "Going __, going ..." (ONCE); 67A: On the wrong side (of) (AFOUL); 68A: Track competition (MEET); 69A: Stir-fry cookers (WOKS); 70A: Full of juicy tidbits (NEWSY); 71A: Longings (YENS); 1D: Embarrassed reaction, maybe (GIGGLE); 2D: Shining brightly (AGLEAM); 3D: Exclaims suddenly, with "out" (BLURTS); 4D: "Do something about it! I dare you!" ("SUE ME!"); 5D: Betwixt and between (TORN); 6D: Egg, to Ovid (OVUM); 7D: Right-hand man (AIDE); 8D: Tiptoe (SNEAK); 9D: Succinct (TERSE); 10D: Place with bars (CAGE); 11D: Where to find four knights (CHESS SET); 12D: "Friendly skies" co. (UAL); 13D: "Masterpiece" airer (PBS); 21D: Hatchet man (AXER); 22D: "Coal Miner's Daughter" subject Loretta (LYNN); 26D: Glass section (PANE); 27D: Former senior, for short (ALUM); 30D: "Rio __": John Wayne film (LOBO); 31D: Wingspread, say (SPAN); 32D: Madison Ave. figures (ADMEN); 34D: Dijon honey (AMIE); 35D: Statistical input (DATA); 36D: Reed instrument (OBOE); 37D: Red, white or Blue Nun (WINE); 38D: Bitty start? (ITTY-); 39D: Islamic branch (SHIA); 40D: Gambler's favorite woman? (LADY LUCK); 44D: Svelte (SLIM); 45D: 1551, on monuments (MDLI); 48D: "Uncle Tom's Cabin" villain (LEGREE); 49D: Keen judgment (ACUMEN); 50D: Marked deck users (CHEATS); 53D: Movie barbarian (CONAN); 54D: Swiss Army __ (KNIFE); 58D: Hot times in the cité (ETES); 59D: Catty remark (MEOW); 60D: Old gold coins of France (ECUS); 61D: Bank (on) (RELY); 62D: Auto club service (TOW); 63D: Year, in Yucatán (AÑO).



Awww, hope Puzzledaughter feels a lot better! Poor girl! I just hope like heck it’s not strep. Oh how I remember all those sleepless nights with our sons having croup or strep… the nasties of raising kids. Also those ugly GERMAN MEASLES and chicken pox… ICK!

Nice theme, NME in four theme words = ENEMY (56D), but this puzzle was far too easy even for a Wednesday… and even for an old fogey who’s starting to learn all that crosswordese by going here (CW101).
I know I’ve thanked Puzzlegirl for her writeups in general, but today I’d like to present a TOAST for her diligence in explaining all the crosswordese and for putting up that CW101 dictionary. Often I run AFOUL, but it’s those little CW101 words that often are the KEYs to unlock the puzzle for me. For all you newbies out there, take advantage of that real powerful solving tool. For puzzlers it’s a lot like what the Readers Digest has (had) called “How to Increase Your Word Power”… another great resource. Now there’s actually a book published on that.

When we criticize a good theme puzzle, we oft forget that it’s the crosswordese that’s the GLUE that holds everything together.

Simple words I love to see: GABS, YAY, GIGGLE, MEOW, and of course CCUP.

Words I DON’T like to see: LEECH, LEGREE, CHEATS, and AXER.

Finished this easy puzzle online in 5:42. YAY !!!!!

Rio LOBO was just another typical John Wayne shoot-em-up film, but it did have some wonderful guitar music at the beginning… listen.

Time to go have my scrambled OVUM and lardum.


I've seen ECU used in puzzles eight times this year... three times just this week. Perhaps it too should be entered into the CW101 "hall-of-fame".

Van55 said...

I couldn't figure out the theme even with the reveal, and I didn't waste much time looking for it. After coming here and seeing PG's explanation I still didn't care. It quite obviously didn't help with my solve, nor do I find it clever or amusing in retrospect.

As for the puzzle, it was simple enough that I didn't need anything like all of the clues. Last week I saw that the LAT was really increasing the level of difficulty. Today, not so much.

JaxInL.A. said...

It's not fun to have a sick kid. I hope that she feels much beter soon.

Even after speeding through this puzz I could not figure out the theme. Thanks for clearing that up.

John Wolfenden said...

My daughter is fighting off a cold too. Knock on wood it doesn't happen too often...all those years of preschool illnesses have paid off.

For the second day in a row I breezed through the puzzle only to get stuck in the NW. Yesterday there were tricky crosses, but I can't really offer that as an excuse today. BURSTS instead of BLURTS, CACKLE instead of GIGGLE, etc.

Thought "Hot times in the cité" for ETES was cool, the rest of the cluing fairly standard and uninteresting.

Mokus said...

I enjoyed today's puzzle and the Dijon honey clue was my favorite. Get their mustard all the time but haven't found a Dijon honey yet. Quelle dommage!

Tinbeni said...

PuzzleGirl if you remember, one day last year
I thought you had the "cold" and made a suggestion for a cure.

This time I realize it is PuzzleDaughter who is under the weather ... but she is in great care, her LADY LUCK is having a WONDERFUL mother !!!

As for the puzzle, I caught the theme, NME ... ENEMY early since I did it from the bottom up.
I often wonder why I do so many of these things using that method.

A few write-overs, trim became SLIM, and cell became CAGE. Easy fixes.

Cold front went over us last night bringing some much needed rain. It's clear now ... but much colder.
Only 59 at noon.
@JNH I know you would shake that off as nothin' but we Floridians go into hibernation if it hits 48.

A TOAST to all at Sunset!
(At that time, I'll take that "cure" myself!!!)

SethG said...

With friends like these, who needs latin mnemonics?


Well if you came up here (Chicagoland) right now, you'd have to bring that permanent anti-freeze of yours... it's 27 degrees and snowing here.

my nickname with a virus? God forbid!!!

Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle at my own mistake. For the clue "hatchet man", I wrote Ames. Remember the (now famous), Tonight show with Ed Ames teaching Johnny Carson how to throw a hatchet.....

Sfingi said...

Whatever happened to the love of "breasts fitting into champagne glasses"? (Arthur Koestler and France) Or, "More than a handful's wasted." (Who said that?)

My son almost never got sick (God bless us), owning an immune system he must have inherited from his great-grandfather, who survived the 1917 flu. Or a Great-Grandmother who was the only one in the household to not get TB. However, he got chicken pox twice, both times exceedingly mild, totally ambulatory. This gene was not from me. Of course, there were times I was just avoiding gym.

@PG - hope she gets well fast.

Easy puzzle, though I never found the enemies in the long answers. (Pogo "we met the enemy and he is us.")

Where do you draw the line? Gleaming, AGLEAM. But there's no "ashine." Something is AFOUL, but not "astink."

Had trIM before SLIM.

Eric said...

I too found the theme pretty uninspiring -- I couldn't decipher it until I had all of the theme entries and the reveal -- but there was lots of great stuff in the fill: ACUMEN, LEGREE, BLURTS (what a fun word!).

For the most part I agree with @JW about the cluing, but there were a few gems among the dross:
- "Like Fran Drescher's voice" -> NASAL
- "School's Out response" -> YAY. Love the fog!
- "Dijon honey" -> AMIE (this probably should have had a "?", especially since MIEL, the French word for "honey", fits)
- "Red, white, or Blue Nun" -> WINE
- "Gambler's favorite woman?" -> LADY LUCK

LEGREE reminds me of The Cremation of Sam McGee, a classic bit of Canadiana by Robert W. Service. Just because the names rhyme, y'know?

There were a number of French coins called ÉCUs, from the Middle Ages up until the French Revolution. Even after that, the name stuck informally for other coins.
ECU is also the European Currency Unit, a forerunner of the Euro. It apparently wasn't a "real" currency (not sure what that means), whereas the Euro is. Even so, a few countries -- EIRE, Belgium -- struck ECU coins (not sure whether France was among them). From what I can tell, these coins seem to have been commemoratives and the like; I don't know whether they were ever legal tender.

When I clicked through to that Rio LOBO theme, YouTube recommended Ennio Morricone's themes for the "Dollars" movies: Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Wonderfully evocative stuff.

Avg Joe said...

I got hung up on the Fran Drescher's voice clue. Even though "Thoroughly Disgusting" wouldn't fit, NASTY would. So I had to wait for the crosses to get the last 2 letters.

Eric, If you like Robt. W. Service you might also check out "The Shooting of Dan McGrew". I still have my Mothers book containing both. They were my favorites when I was a little tyke.

rz said...

It was pleasant Wednesday fare, but I too didn't get the theme until PuzzleGirl learnt me it good.

I liked AMIE directly over ENEMY. If you like to keep your friends close and your ENEMies closer, make sure they're only one box apart.

capcha: shrit - when you find the tag is in the front

Larry S said...

I'll put in my vote for, it's okay to sometimes have themes that are only discovered with the reveal clue. ENEMY/NME was a pleasant discovery, I didn't BLURT out YAY, but neither did I say ICK. (Not a fan of YAY and ICK, but cute that one followed the other.)

Rube said...

Found this ridiculously easy for a Wednesday puzzle. Brings back memories from about a year and a half ago when LAT puzzles were so easy, RP threatened to drop this blog. (Rich N. responded soon thereafter by increasing the difficulty level to just somewhat less than the NYT.)

Found nothing very stimulating about this puzz... no new words, no tricky clues. Not so sure about EMS. Wanted EMT. Wiki disambiguation says Emergency Medical Services. Whatever.

Thx @pg for taking time to do this blog while taking care of @pd. Hope she gets well soon.

Rex Parker said...

Did not like. "NME" is just not a great letter string accomplishment, and even if it were, only two of these answers do the string thing well (GERMANMEASLES, LEMONMERINGUE)—letter string touching all words.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember hard red measles? four little boys under seven with them and chickenpox ... those were the days??? And, for a first, I did a Wed. puzzle in its entirety....yes!!!

CrazyCatLady said...

I commented earlier, but apparently my comment got lost in cyberspace. I ran AFOUL when I tried to find anagrams of ENEMY in the theme answers. Did not work. Also had a problem with AGLEAM. ICK. Other than that, an easy Wednesday puzzle. Liked the NYT way better today. MEOW....

CrazyCatLady said...

PG I hope PD is feeling better. My kids had strep a few times. It's painful.

Eric said...

@CCL: That happened to me yesterday. I posted a comment, saw it on the page, then went out. A couple of hours later, it had vanished without a trace.

Sfingi said...

@Eric - loving your comments.

The John Wayne movie I liked was Rio Bravo with, believe it or not, Dean Martin. It was his best movie. Also had Ricky Nelson. Strange combo.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Sfingi - my high school boyfriend's uncle was Dean Martin. His mother's sister was Dino's first wife, Betty McDonald. They had a great photo album with pics of the early Rat Pack. This was back in PA in the 60's. Everytime I went over to his house they pulled out those pictures. It was kind of freaky, but cool.