01.07 Fri

January 7, 2011
Gary Steinmehl

Theme: And sometimes Y (but not this time) — Familiar phrases have a vowel tacked onto the front. The vowels progress from top to bottom — A, E, I, O, U.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Proof of quartz sales? (AGATE RECEIPTS).
  • 30A: Brewery's best? (ELITE BEER).
  • 38A: "Mad Max" and "Twelve Angry Men"? (IRATE MOVIES).
  • 46A: One of many at a Syracuse University football game? (ORANGE TOP).
  • 58A: Making a mess at the warehouse? (UPENDING CASES).
I'm not going to lie and tell you I understood the theme while I was solving. I definitely didn't. I tried. Lord knows, I tried! But it didn't make any sense to me until I saw it all laid out. I'm not exactly crazy about the "I" entry. I guess the base phrase is "rate movies," and that's weak. But the rest of them are pretty good. ORANGE TOP actually made me chuckle. I found the rest of the puzzle just crunchy enough to be interesting, but not really hard enough for a Friday. (I know, I know, it's like I'm beating that dead horse that was sliding into home plate in that Mr. Ed video the other day.)

I did have a couple trouble spots. The first was that whole 13D: Before and 22D: Before, before? thing. I popped ERE in where PRE- was supposed to go, but realized I had been tricked pretty quickly. Also SCENA was rough (5A: One usually includes an aria and a recitative). My first thought was "opera" but that seemed a little too simple so I waited for some crosses. Eventually, it looked like the answer was supposed to be "scene," so I threw that on in. But "Esti" really didn't look right to me and I know ASTI from past puzzles (see CW101 below), so it was an easy enough fix.

  • 1A: Lip (BRIM). Oh, I really wanted this to be "sass."
  • 10A: Rhode Island's motto (HOPE). Short and to the point. I like it.
  • 16A: Clue in a hunt (ODOR). Okay, this is funny. When I entered this answer I thought, "Wouldn't 'scent' be more appropriate? I mean, ODOR has such a negative connotation …." Like, what do I think the smell actually is out there in the woods? Cinnamon and rose petals?
  • 34A: Is after you? (ARE). Conjugation trickiness. (And isn't that the best kind of trickiness?)
  • 36A: Oscar-winning role for Forest (IDI). If you're gonna have an evil oppressive leader in the puzzle, this is the way to clue him. (And not with a little joke like "Mean Amin?" Haha! Get it? He was a tyrant that had hundreds of thousands of people killed! So he was mean! And that rhymes with his name! Haha!)
  • 45A: Sweet ending (-OSE). -OSE is a suffix used with different types of sugars (fructose, glucose, etc.).
  • 65A: Law partner (ORDER). DUN dun! (Wasn't sure how to spell that, but you get my drift.)
  • 8D: Roger Maris wore it (NINE). Home town boy does good.
  • 11D: Adventures (ODYSSEYS).

  • 29D: Stirrup site (EAR). Who decided to name all those parts of the EAR all wacky?
  • 42D: Anteater's sound effect in the comic "B.C." (ZOT). This answer came to me immediately. I guess I used to pay attention to "B.C."
  • 49D: Some judges sit on them (PANELS). Because "butts" wouldn't fit.
Crosswordese 101: It's hard to believe we haven't covered ASTI yet. ASTI is an "Italian wine province" — in fact, you're likely to see exactly that clue in early-week puzzles. Today's clue is similar — 9D: Wine town near Turin. Other words that will tip you off to ASTI are Piedmont, spumante, vineyard, and Martini & Rossi. Later in the week, the clue might not mention wine at all, so tuck it away in your head as simply an Italian province too, and that will come in handy.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 13D: Before (ERE).
  • 27D: Scrap (ORT).
  • 41D: Head lines? (EEG).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 14A: Jim-dandy (A-ONE); 15A: Kachina carvers (HOPIS); 17A: Amounting to nothing (NULL); 18A: "Give me __" (A HINT); 19A: Texters do it (TYPE); 23A: __ moon (NEW); 24A: Ballot marker (X'ER); 25A: "One Good Cop" actress (RUSSO); 28A: Money in the bank, e.g. (ASSET); 37A: However (YET); 42A: Self-realization sect (ZEN); 44A: Bill (TAB); 50A: Lit up (AGLOW); 54A: Resort area near Reno (TAHOE); 55A: Org. offering jumps (AAA); 57A: First mate? (EVE); 63A: Pure and simple (MERE); 66A: Some are noble (FIRS); 67A: Head line (PART); 68A: City where de Gaulle was born (LILLE); 69A: Cameo, maybe (ROLE); 70A: Fellows (GUYS); 71A: Like Falstaff (OBESE); 72A: Cameo material (ONYX); 1D: Yogurt flavor (BANANA); 2D: They make you red in the face (ROUGES); 3D: Wedding creations (INLAWS); 4D: Get all mushy (MELT); 5D: Slice (SHARE); 6D: Hold together (COHERE); 7D: Work with a wide scope (EPIC); 10D: Place to chill (HOT TUB); 12D: Top 40 genre (POP); 21D: Hollywood "spear carrier" (EXTRA); 26D: Take in (SEE); 31D: People bend over backwards for it (LIMBO); 32D: Promising words (I DO); 33D: Save for later viewing (TIVO); 35D: Feminizing ending (-ETTE); 38D: Rushed (IN A HURRY); 39D: Put away (EAT); 40D: Composer Albéniz (ISAAC); 43D: Chunk of time (ERA); 47D: Apartment caveat (NO PETS); 48D: "My stars!" ("GEE!"); 51D: Skin wound (LESION); 52D: Too (OVERLY); 53D: Setting for many Thomas Hardy novels (WESSEX); 56D: Go along (AGREE); 59D: __ contendere (NOLO); 60D: Small quantity (DRIB); 61D: Like doodling (IDLE); 62D: Full coif (AFRO); 63D: Automaker's concern, briefly (MPG); 64D: Water under le pont (EAU).


Anonymous said...

38 across, "irate" means upset, as in "Mad" Max and Twelve "Angry" Men.

Avg Joe said...

This one was hard work from the start for me. Had the most trouble in Washington, and the last to fall was NULL.

My first theme fill was IRatemovies, 2nd was Upending.. and knew that 46a had to be orange something. Very few fills came automatically, but Zot was one of them, which was helpful.

I fell for the ERE vs PRE at 22d and worked with SASS and GUFF at 1a for way too long. Finally getting PRE helped me suss out Agatereceipts, then the rest fell into place.

Agree that IRATEMOVIES just lays there. The rest are at least mildly clever. But at best a B minus puzzle.

*David* don't call me "Ebert" said...

Not too difficult except the NW where I put in SASS first and had to clear that area out. Nice tricky cluing there with ROUGES and INLAWS. The rest went quite quickly, I felt the puzzle was a bit schizophrenic in how the rest of the puzzle came together so easily. I got the theme after I had EIOU and I was looking for the add a letter Friday but it did fool me longer then usual. I guess I can give it a seven on the David sabermetric scale.


Omigosh, I completed a Friday puzzle before finishing my breakfast, got it 100% correctly, and didn't use Google... what a nice way to wrap up the week!
I don't know why, but I figured out the theme strategy right away and that sure helped speed up the solving. Very nice puzzle, Gary!

The only thing I objected to (as Puzzlegirl also mentioned) was, the clues for 13D and 22D are reversed. I've seen other puzzles where the clue "Before, before?" was ERE.

Funny vid clip on ODYSSEYS.

Seems like "Place to chill" for HOT TUB is an oxymoron.

WOTD for me: SCENA... I too thought of OPERA.

No other words were new to me, and that's a little disappointing.

Abies procera, the Noble FIR, is a western North American conifer, commonly found in the Cascade Mountains and near the coast of Northern California, Oregon and Washington. They make the best Christmas trees.

Have a super duper weekend y'all.

Doug P said...

OK, looks like everybody tried SASS at 1-Across. Me too.

I'm with PuzzleGirl on the "rate movies" phrase. Not good. But the picture of Jerry Orbach and the funny video made up for any puzzle deficiencies. And the "dead horse" comment made me laugh out loud. :)

Avg Joe said...

I admit when I saw the Law and Order clue and automatically heard that doink doink sound in my head. But it's all your fault PG that I've wasted time trying to find out how it's made. :-)

I still can't come up with a satisfactory answer, but it's pretty clear it's a question that's been asked a lot.

At any rate here it is

C said...

SASS at 1-A through me off my game and somehow forced me to scramble through this puzzle. I mean I REALLY wanted SASS there to the point I was almost making up words to make it work. I disregarded the theme altogether and went with SLATERECEIPTS which got me nowhere so then I decided to ignore the clues and start using answers I liked to support my SASS answer. After all that fun, I decided to rejoin sanity and entered BRIM and finished the puzzle.

Larry S said...

Yep, that northwest was a masterful mess of ambiguous clues. Sometimes I'm mad when I finish something like that, if the clues are bad. But these were all legit, just vague.

Sure glad I did this on the computer and not on paper with ink--can't think of a time I changed so many answers, starting with 'sass' and 'opera.' And, "Hey, this thing can't have two ERE's, can it?"

I thought there were be some grumbling about XER. Pretty lame.

Rex Parker said...

RATE MOVIES!?! => start your theme over again. It's a Terrible theme answer. Puzzle is fine otherwise, but that's a dealbreaker for sure.

CarolC said...

@PG, love, love, love the video clip! SE was a problem for awhile because I really wanted UPDO for the full coif, but everything fell into place once I gave up and changed to AFRO. Luckily I didn't fall for SASS because I couldn't think of a yogurt flavor that started with S. Then just had to slog through until I finally got the M for BRIM. Yep, I also tried OPERA and had to unwind from that.

Took me awhile after solving to get that AAA offers JUMP starts.

Another day, another puzzle. Other than something satisfying about quartz, AGATE, and ONYX, nothing much stands out.

Rube said...

Had sass & opera, of course, which gave me rINg for what Roger Maris wore. Did they have world series rings in those days? Got the theme with ELITEBEER and ORANGE___, helping with the overall solve. Had trouble in the SE with _order instead of _CASES.

Have a hard time accepting AFRO as a coif, but then, this is crossword land.

Enjoyable puzzle, but agree re IRATEMOVIES.

KJGooster said...

The easy streak continues, and not in a good way. Just seemed pretty dull all around.

I immediately threw in ORANGE MAN for ORANGE TOP, which held me back a bit. SASS for me, too. BRIM is always, always tough for my brain to come up with, no matter how it's clued. The only time I might get it right away would be if clued "Fill it to the rim with _____,"which I remember from watching TV as a kid.

And what Rex said about the theme.

John Wolfenden said...

Hand up for SASS, totally wrecked my NW corner.

I'm with RP on RATE MOVIES. Sorry, that's just not a phrase. I liked 90% of this puzzle but the other 10 left a bad taste in my mouth.

SethG said...

BANANA clued with yogurt? Okay.

This took me just a minute less than today's NYT.

Vega said...

Loved "Jim-dandy." Hated IRATEMOVIES.

mac said...

The top half was practically bare the first go-around, then it quickly filled in. Must have been the panic.

I think commenter no. 1 explained the i-rate very well.

Never heard of Jim-dandy. Another hand up for sass and opera.

Tuttle said...

I immediately put 'scat' in for 16A. Screwed me up all over the place. I guess that's what I get for having actually hunted.

I don't think anyone has a problem with irate=mad/angry, it's the "rate movies" part that seems like just a couple of words and not a common phrase like "gate receipts", "lite beer", "range top", "pending cases" or, in this case, "rated movies" would be.

Van55 said...

I struggled just a bit with this one, mostly in the NW.

I didn't get the theme immediately, but once I did, I found it pretty damned droll for a simply add-a-letter.

All in all a solid Friday workout. Enjoyed it!

Avg Joe said...

@JNH shoot me an e-mail if you are inclined. I live on 20 acres and have some questions about trees.

Best place to reach me is lvlhedded@yahoo.com Put trees or somesuch in the topic so I don't delete it as spam. TIA Joe

Avg Joe said...

Totally off topic, but I'm kinda excited. I just found a decent video of a song I saw the Dukes of September Revue perform in, well, September. This is Donald Fagan, Michael McDonald and Boz Skaggs fronting a great band and largely performing covers just for fun. Not your basic Greatest Hits tour, but it was fantastic.

Anyway, here is Something In the Air from that show.

CrazyCatLady said...

I also fell for sass and opera. Took me forever to get BRIM. RIM came to mind, but didn't fit, obviously. Yogurt comes in a whole lot of flavors these days so that wasn't helping. I agree that RATE MOVIES is lame. Other than the tough start in the NW, it was an okay puzzle. Always love a Thomas Hardy clue. DRIB was cute. I tried iota and a tad first, before getting it through the crosses. I have to agree that there were a lot of tough clues today. I guess it must be Friday. This week sure went by in a flash.

mac said...

@AvgJoe: thanks for that link. There's some life in those old dogs yet.

Avg Joe said...

@Mac. You're welcome. I saw that show in Council Bluffs, IA. When it was over I felt like I'd been to an old fashioned tent revival. No other way to describe the feeling. Boz is one of my favorites, but Michael and Donald don't lag too far behind. I was on air for days.

mac said...

@AvgJoe: our son went to school and spent part of his gap year with Boz's son (and Boz) in San Francisco. A lot of music was played!

Now this is a new one: E-Mooff

Anonymous said...

for 45A: sweetose is a type of corn syrup that preceded high fructose corn syrup