01.22 Sat

January 22, 2011
Barry C. Silk

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Theme: None

I solved this puzzle while watching college wrestling on TV, so I didn't give it my full attention and can't really tell how hard it is, but I know I liked it. Lots of good sparkly fill and only a couple groaners. I'm looking at you, DARERS! You too, C-D-E! (33A: Challengers / 22A: Letter run.) I can't decide how I feel about SCRATCH AWL (28D: Point maker). I've never heard of it, but I think it might be kinda cool. With only some of the letters in place (and without looking at the clue), I thought it was going to be SCREECH OWL. Ha! Make sure never to use your SCRATCH AWL on your SCREECH OWL! They hate that! But SCRATCH AWL was an entry in one of the four triple-ten stacks in this grid. And every other entry in those sections is solid, if not awesome. The only one I don't really like is ELECTORATE (67A: Voters), but that's just because it looks too much like EXPECTORATE to me which is obviously a personal problem.

HAha! PuzzleHusband just asked if I needed help with the blog. He told me that he recently won Blogger Magazine's Blogger of the Year Award. Pretty sure he's making that up. Ya know what, though? One day I'm gonna let him write a blog post and then you all will just appreciate me that much more. Now he's watching a show about the Mexican drug trade and says he wants his new nickname to be "El Chapo." And he's going to work on a nickname for me. This is what my life is like, in case you were wondering.

  • 15A: Like some avian plumage (IRIDESCENT). I'm sure peacocks aren't the only ones with IRIDESCENT plumage, but that was the first picture that came to my mind.
  • 20A: Union requirement (DUES). I had a bad feeling for a minute that the "union" in the clue meant "wedding" and that the answer might be RING, which would be … bad. Since, ya know, a RING isn't actually required. I was ready to get all self-righteous and fire off a snippy email to Rich, but then I decided to just chill and it turned out my first instinct was wrong anyway. Funny how often that happens.
  • 23A: Aid for making columns (TABS). Yes, yes, yes, Thank You! TABS are what you should use to make columns. TABS! Not spaces! If you use spaces your columns won't line up properly. And if they're not going to Line Up Properly then why the hell bother having columns? (Maybe you can tell I'm something of a word processing snob.)
  • 26A: Flu treatment, at times (INHALER). Huh. I've only heard of INHALERs used for asthma, not for the flu. But hey, if it works, I'm all for it.
  • 34A: Three-time Grammy Award winner for comedy (CHRIS ROCK). I can't believe I was able to find this clip. I thought for sure I'd have to send SethG out for it. (And no worries, it's clean.)
  • 37A: "Same here" ("ME TOO"). Tried DITTO first.
  • 44A: Michigan city where the first Domino's Pizza opened (YPSILANTI). Well, it's got that going for it.
  • 57A: Holly portrayer (BUSEY). Did Natalie Wood play Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's"? Nope, that was Audrey Hepburn. Well, that wouldn't have helped me anyway since this clue is referring to Buddy Holly. I once saw a really funny tweet from Gary Busey, but just now when I went back to find it, it turns out it's not really Gary Busey, it's just a fake Gary Busey. Damn.
  • 1D/7D: Something read during a lecture? (RIOT ACT). That's all kindsa awesome.
  • 9D: Lecture reaction, perhaps (ENNUI). Again! I'm getting really bored with ENNUI showing up in the puzzle every day! (See what I did there?) Also Casey KASEM (36D: 1985 National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame inductee). Was he just in yesterday's puzzle? Or is that some other puzzle I'm thinking of? Well, it was recently anyway.
  • 29D: "That's news to me!" ("I HAD NO IDEA!"). With some of the crosses in place, I first tried "I DIDN'T KNOW." I like the real answer better.
  • 51D: Silvery food fish (SMELT). Wait, does "food fish" mean it's fish that people eat or that it's fish you use to, I don't know, feed animals or something? I'm confused. In any case, SMELT doesn't sound like something a human should eat. But maybe it's not something humans eat, so it's all good.
  • 64D: "Lookin' Out My Back Door" band, briefly (CCR). Yessiree.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 48A: First name in architecture (EERO).
  • 61A: Court edge (AD IN).
  • 2D: First name in humor (ERMA).
  • 11D: Turkish bigwig (AGA).
  • 40D: Former Maltese currency (LIRA).
  • 60D: River of Flanders (YSER).
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Everything Else 1A: Vacation destination (RESORT AREA); 11A: Invoice nos. (AMTS.); 16A: Sikh leader (GURU); 17A: Almighty (OMNIPOTENT); 18A: Rush order (ASAP); 19A: Café container (TASSE); 28A: Sample, in a way (SIP); 31A: Flights (LAMS); 38A: 69-Across source (RAIN); 39A: Popular toast (SKOAL); 41A: Morning or evening, e.g. (NOUN); 42A: Let in (ADMIT); 46A: One- to ten-yr. investments (T-NOTES); 49A: Org. that included the Benelux countries (EEC); 50A: Waist management items (CORSETS); 52A: Big mouths (MAWS); 54A: Covered up (HID); 55A: 19-Across prefix (DEMI-); 63A: Special treatments (RED CARPETS); 66A: Sport (WEAR); 68A: Singing syllables (LA LA); 69A: Urban runoff cause (STORM WATER); 3D: Some are deadly (SINS); 4D: Lyric poet (ODIST); 5D: Nullifies (REPEALS); 6D: General on a menu (TSO); 8D: Marsh stalk (REED); 10D: Be present (ATTEND); 12D: It helps maintain posture (MUSCLE TONE); 13D: Silk Road component (TRADE ROUTE); 14D: Like some fast planes (SUPERSONIC); 21D: Bedroom accessory (SHAM); 24D: They need tending (BARS); 25D: Like some 24-Down (SMOKY); 27D: Play area (ARENA); 30D: Existing at the beginning (PRIMORDIAL); 32D: Reach (SCOPE); 35D: FDR, HST, etc. (INITS.); 43D: Miffed, with "off" (TEED); 45D: Uncultivated (LOWBROW); 47D: Roughly 35-cubic-foot measures (STERES); 53D: Old Toyota (SUPRA); 56D: Logical beginning? (IDEO-); 58D: Pants part (SEAT); 59D: Usher ending, once (-ETTE); 60D: River of Flanders (YSER); 62D: Gp. with many pieces (NRA); 65D: Bill source (ATM).


Avg Joe said...

What a workout! And so little black. I had to go over most of the grid before I could find a toehold. CCR was the first fill, and I started upper left. Ditto on DITTO. Eventually it all fell into place, but I bet it took half an hour.

I do NOT like the clue for SCRATCHAWL. I like the answer a lot, but the clue is just plain wrong. That's a tool used for marking in woodworking (among other things). It has a point, but it makes lines. It can also be used as an ice pick in a pinch, but I can't think of a single instance where it would be used to make a point. Bleah.

But overall, it was a good solid puzzle and made me earn the victory.

My Back Door is a fine CCR tune, but THIS is their best of all time.

SethG said...

Please tell me you use tab stops. Because just using however many tabs you appear to need is no better than trying to line up columns with spaces. Turns out, I also have a tabs pet peeve.

I don't have a scratch awl pet peeve, because I don't know what a scratch awl is. That W was hard, ChapoWife.

Orange said...

Señora Chapo, I have partaken of fried smelt. Small, silvery, tasty when fried.

I continue my long, fruitless vigil for a [He who ___ it dealt it] clue.

Avg Joe said...

I've eaten smelt too. Can't say I'd recommend it.

@Orange: LMAO!

v-man said...

I thought it was a challenging solve but I got it 100% correct. Enjoyed the long stack answers. However I don't understand skoal for popular toast but I'm sure google will have the answer.

pollux said...

Re CHRIS ROCK. It's rare to find a niner with but two consonants.
I'd never seen YPSILANTI in a crossword. It looks like it should spell something backwards but doesn't.
13D seems an appropriate salute to the puzzle's creator.

Fowler said...

Missed ADIN, dammit. SCRATCH AWL was definitely a stretcher, but the crosses said it had to be. Overall, (and excepting ADIN) this was a remarkably easy one for a Saturday.

Rube said...

Had no idea what a SCRATCHAWL was, but thanks to @AvgJoe now know what is meant. I agree with AG, an awl is used to make holes in leather or other similar materials. A punch is used to make holes, or indentations, in wood or metal. If you try to use an awl on metal you'll bend the tip, making it useless. Personally, I use a pencil to make lines on wood, metal, or leather.

That being said, this was a great puzzle. Did not like LAMS or DARERS and had to google for the K of KAZEM. Fortunately CCR and BUSEO came with the crosses. Had to come here to find out who they were, even though I like the song and knew them back in the days.

I'm always impressed how constructors can get things like triple tens to work, but with Barry Silk it's apparently all in a days work. Well done.

mac said...

I think this was the easiest Barry Silk I've done. Lots of good words as usual, but Kasem and scratch awl needed most if not all of the crosses!

Nice write-up, Chapita!

SteveD said...

Pretty easy but fun puzzle. I love smelt, catch them fresh at the marina and run home to fry them up and chow down with a little lemon & tartar sauce. Real mild & buttery flavor.

rz said...

Quite a workout for me too. Had some fun cluing (CORSETS as "Waist management items"), but also had a few weak spots mentioned above (also add CDE and LALA).

Not to split hairs or nuthin' but I know the denizens of CrossWorld demand accuracy - Treasury Notes (T-NOTES) are: "... government securities that are issued with maturities of 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10 years and pay interest every six months." There is no one-year T-Note. Their one-year security is called a T-Bill.

I know there's confusion on this topic and I've seen conflicting statements in Wikipedia, Investopedia, and other sources, but this is the direct quote from the U.S. Government's TreasuryDirect website:


They exclusively print 'em, market 'em, auction 'em, and sell 'em. I guess they get to call 'em whatever they want.

captcha: "nogrance" - the odorless parfum

CarolC said...

Either all of us who thought the puzzle was hard are silent or I'm the only one. DNF for me - the left side other than CORSETS and AD IN defeated me. I was happy to get YPSILANTI after working hard. I'm ok with ELECTORATE, maybe because I volunteer as a poll worker. Never heard of KASEM.

Loved the peacock and the can of TAB. I do use TABS but just wasn't sure enough to put it in, and since I wasn't getting the whole SMOKY BARS thing, it wouldn't have helped. No more SMOKY BARS here in CA (there's some kind of exception for cigar lounges), but I remember them fondly, well actually hazily both for the smoke and the aftereffects, from my youth.

C said...

I liked today's puzzle, easy for a Barry Saturday. The puzzle, though, pales in comparison to the write up and comments today.

Who knew that tabs could create such passionate responses?

CrazyCatLady said...

I HAD NO IDEA what a SCRATCH AWL was. I was looking for something to do with points in sports.

Can't imagine living in a city named YSPSILANTI. I have a hard enough time living on a street with a name that no one can spell or pronounce.

There is a major controversy in CA over the endangered Delta SMELT, a useless, inedible fish. Massive amounts of water are redirected from the central valley to keep these fish (that no one cares about) alive.

This was basically a DNF for me, but fun nevertheless.

Nice write-up Puzzle Chapita.

ddbmc said...

If I smelt a smelt, I could not have dealt with it! @Orange-w/AvgJoe, LMAO! Living with all men who don't say "METOO," but rather "WHO,ME?"

Tough one for me, but then I'm still a CW novice. SCRATCHAWL came with crosses. Can never remember EERO Saarinen,(Must commit to memory!)-find his designs to be magnificent! Was just out at JFK last weekend, too!

CAPTCHA:fartums Really? Today? I knew something SMELT funny!ROFL

mac said...

@CrazyCatLady: I have never understood how anyone can move to a town called Hicksville.

Avg Joe said...

@V-Man, on your question regarding SKOAL. It's a statement made when toasting. Sometimes clued as Skol, derived from Skal. Here's the Wikipedia entry. Look about 2/3 of the way down the page. It also mentions a number of others such as Prosit and L'Chaim. (The latter of which you absolutely must hear pronounced to ever get close to saying it correctly.) These are probably worth considering for CW 101, eh La Chapa?

Must be a strange day for captchas. Mine is: slaphan.....dancing so gaily now all...

CrazyCatLady said...

@mac LOL You're right. That would probably require a great deal of overcompensation. My father's family is from a tiny village in upstate NY called Shortsville. Fortunately they were tall people.

Avg Joe said...

Now you've done it, CCL!

I just couldn't help it.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Avg Joe Um, What? What ever it is, let me just say I HAD NO IDEA.

CrazyCatLady said...

Oh now I see LOL. My favorite song - just kidding.

backbiter said...

Chiming in late on this one. That damned Kasem gets me everytime. Casey Kasem? Kasey Kasem? Anyway I entered Kasey and it slowed me up just a tad. You'd think I have it down by now since I listened to him throughout my teen years. Everything else is no different than what was mentioned above.
That aside, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let El Chapo fill in for a day. I could not stop laughing when I read that. I already appreciate you PG, but I suspect that blog would be gut-busting hilarious. Cheers Everyone!