01.05 Wed

January 5, 2011
Donna S. Levin

Theme: Horse Sense — It's a quote by the talking horse, Mr. Ed!

Theme answers:
  • 18A: Start of a quote (TIME TO).
  • 27A: More of the quote (HIT THE HAY).
  • 46A: More of the quote (OH I FORGOT).
  • 61A: End of the quote (I ATE IT).
  • 63A: Speaker of the quote, whose show premiered in syndication 1/5/1961 (MISTER ED).
  • 7A: 63-Across, for one (PALOMINO).
Good morning, everybody, and happy anniversary to Mr. Ed! I'm not going to be able to talk about this puzzle without also talking about today's New York Times puzzle, so if you plan to solve the NY Times and haven't done so yet, you should think about doing that now. In fact, let me see if I can find Rex's spoiler kitty just to give us some extra room before the spoiling begins.

Whoa. Did that freak you out? No, not the spoiler kitty — the puzzles! I solved the LAT puzzle first and started putting this write-up together, then decided I needed to get to bed and would finish in the morning. So I printed out the NYT and took it to bed with me. When I looked at the NYT constructor's name, it said "Mr. Ed Sessa." I thought, "Well, that's odd. They don't usually use courtesy titles in the… heeeeey, wait a minute!" And sure enough. Same theme. I find that bizarre. I wonder if it's happened before. I haven't been doing both puzzles long enough to know. I mean, I'm sure they've both run Valentine's Day puzzles or Thanksgiving puzzles or whatever, but Mr. Ed?!? That's pretty random. And then to use the exact same quote. I tell you one thing, it made solving the NYT quite a bit easier.

But I don't want to take anything away from Donna's puzzle. Both Donna and Ed treated the theme differently and I think they both did a very good job with it. For more details about Ed's version of the theme, you should check out Rex's blog. Over here, we're gonna get right to the bullets.

  • 8A: "Casablanca" star (BOGART). The typical "Casablanca" answer is ILSA, so it was kinda fun to see Bogey here today.
  • 16A: 2009 sci-fi movie that is the highest-grossing film in history (AVATAR). I find this sad.
  • 19A: Biblical queen's land (SHEBA). I can't see the word SHEBA without thinking about the Bonnie Raitt song where she rhymes SHEBA with AMOEBA. That's some great songwriting there, is what that is.
  • 23A: __Kosh B'Gosh (OSH). Also a clue/answer in the NYT puzzle today. It just keeps getting weirder.
  • 25A: Swipe (STEAL). Familiar to Dora the Explorer fans.
  • 38A: Make damp (MOISTEN). I can't remember who it is, but one of my friends really hates this word. Say it out loud. It's kind of icky, right?
  • 57A: Dispatch boat (AVISO). And this is one of those words that seems like it should mean something altogether different than what it actually means. Shouldn't this mean, like, "written warning"?
  • 66A: Intimate confidante (ALTER EGO). Can't say I've ever thought of an ALTER EGO as an "intimate confidante," but okay.
  • 67A: Three sheets to the wind (STINKO). Out in the real world, drunks are trashed, loaded, and shit-faced. In CrossWorld, SOTS are STINKO and SOZZLED.
  • 33D: Hawaiian crooner (DON HO). Love it that we get two people entries where both names are used. See also ….
  • 39D: 2008 Harvey Milk portrayer (SEAN PENN).
  • 46D: Buckeyes' sch. (OSU). I guess they won last night. Ugh. I tell you one thing, Coach Brands would never put up with that mess from his wrestlers. (I actually asked PuzzleHusband last night, "What do you think Coach Brands would do if his wrestlers did that stuff?" and he said, "Probably make them run the stairs at Carver-Hawkeye Arena a couple times. I think a lot of time wrestlers get punished with extra workouts." But my point is, they wouldn't be playing in a Bowl game that's for sure. If wrestling had Bowl games. You know what I mean!)
  • 50D: Dustin's "Midnight Cowboy" role (RATSO). RATSO Rizzo. One of the greatest character names of all time.
  • 59D: Super Monkey Ball publisher (SEGA). Crosswordese 101 to the rescue!
Crosswordese 101: I ROBOT is the name of a 1950 classic collection of short stories in the science-fiction genre written by Isaac Asimov. One of the stories is titled "Robbie." (I haven't read the book, but I think I get it — Robbie? Get it?) The book was made into a movie starring Will Smith in 2004.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 69A: Villagers' tormentor in "Fiddler on the Roof" (TSAR).
  • 36D: Hugely successful, in Variety (BOFFO).
  • 41D: NY campus that's home to the Engineers (RPI).
  • 54D: Yours, in Tours (À TOI).
  • 59D: Super Monkey Ball publisher (SEGA).
  • 64D: RR depot (STA.).
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Everything Else — 1A: "Truth in Engineering" automaker (AUDI); 5A: Low-risk fin. investments (CD'S); 14A: Kirk's Enterprise, for one (STARSHIP); 20A: Enthuse (GUSH); 22A: Red root veggie (BEET); 31A: More than salty (LEWD); 34A: Game with Skip cards (UNO); 35A: Actor Gibson (MEL); 36A: Workman's wheeled cart (BARROW); 41A: "William Tell" composer (ROSSINI); 42A: Load up with, as work (PILE ON); 43A: Coppertone letters (SPF); 44A: Org. with Ducks and Penguins (NHL); 45A: Bit of foliage (LEAF); 49A: Sip slowly (NURSE); 51A: Vein find (ORE); 52A: Trade (SWAP); 55A: Luminous glow (AURA); 65A: Bucking beasts (BRONCS); 68A: Super-secret intelligence gp. (NSA); 1D: Nile slitherers (ASPS); 2D: Six-sided state (UTAH); 3D: Chip's buddy (DALE); 5D: Scoreboard letters for "Da Bears" (CHI); 6D: Parking lot mishap (DING); 7D: __ support: alimony (SPOUSAL); 8D: Enjoy a soak (BATHE); 9D: Prefix with duct (OVI-); 10D: Risk takers (GAMBLERS); 11D: Fits to __ (A TEE); 12D: Distance ÷ time (RATE); 13D: Harness race pace (TROT); 15D: Shatter (SMASH); 21D: Place to wallow (STY); 24D: Macho guys (HE-MEN); 26D: "Sorry to say ..." ("ALAS …"); 27D: A dromedary has one (HUMP); 28D: Packed like sardines (IN OIL); 29D: Patterned fabric (TOILE); 30D: Cooped-up layer (HEN); 32D: Clasp tightly in distress, as one's hands (WRING); 37D: Droop (WILT); 40D: Bean curd (TOFU); 43D: Civil War general who captured Atlanta (SHERMAN); 47D: Emulate Cicero (ORATE); 48D: Go back (REVERT); 52D: A boy and his sis (SIBS); 53D: Witch blemish (WART); 56D: Troubles (AILS); 58D: Infuriates (IRES); 60D: Olfactory stimulus (ODOR); 62D: "Ugh" relative (ICK).



Wow! Thank you, Donna (and Rich) for putting a long awaited quotation type puzzle in the LAT. I love quotation puzzles, but usually those of a more literary bent... I wouldn't exacly call MISTER ED a literary character though.

I like that the theme reveal "MISTER ED" was appropriately balanced with PALOMINO.

Also, I like all of the reminiscense names: BOGART, RATSO, and DON HO.

DON HO, was an amazing Hawaiian singer, famous for his "Tiny Bubbles". I'm sure Don Imus could refer to the widow of DON HO without getting into any trouble.

Seeiing SEAN PENN tucked in between ICK and STINKO was very funny to me... I just don't like that guy.

I too find it sad that AVATAR was the "highest-grossing film"... maybe it was highest in grossing me out.

Whenever I see UTAH in a puzzle, I think of the vast beauty of that state. I spent a bit of time there in 2010... it's awesome!!!

There were lots of things in this nice LAT puzzle that pleased me. Even moreso than the counterpart NYT.

SethG said...

Starship built that city.

I solved the NYT last night, and by the time I solved this this morning I forgot exactly how the quote went. My first stab at 46A was OH I ATE THE. By this afternoon, I'll forget it again. Hopefully.


On Monday Puzzlegirl justifiably went into a rant about historical inaccuracies in Virginia's textbooks. We can't forget that even our revered Union General William Tecumsah SHERMAN has been grossly maligned in textbooks across the country as one who "slaughtered women and children and burned Atlanta TO THE GROUND". It's apalling that we as parents must be constantly vigilant as to what trash is being fed to our children in our public schools.
BTW, with regard to Ms. Masoff's misuse of "Internet research", aren't crossworders the most guilty of that?

KJGooster said...

I'm not a real fan of the quote-theme, perhaps because my local paper runs "A Daily Crossword," which uses them all the time. Today's is cute, but it seems like the rest of the clues were dumbed down to a Monday level to make up for it, so overall a very fast solve for me.

I usually solve the NYT in syndication so hopefully I'll have forgotten this quote altogether in 5 weeks.

KJGooster said...

Hmmm, even though it's right there in the clue (63A: Speaker of the quote, whose show premiered in syndication 1/5/1961), it didn't register until now that Mr. Ed debuted 50 years ago today. Guess that's why all the fuss.

Avg Joe said...

I agree that it's Monday level difficulty. But I enjoyed it, and have pleasant memories of the TV show. Can't say that I've ever wanted to go back and watch reruns, though.

When Palomino was emerging at 17a, I was expecting the theme to relate to another famous horse:

"More hay, Trigger?"

"No thanks, Roy. I'm stuffed!" :-)

Rex Parker said...

God I love Spoiler Kitty. I want that image on a T-shirt.


Sidknee said...

Speaking of Avatar: how awesome would Star Wars have been in 3-D I-Max !?

Anonymous said...

That's actually a Bonnie Raitt cover of a song by John Hiatt. Just to give credit where credit's due...

Doug P said...

I saw Mr. Ed in reruns a few times when I was a kid, and the only thing I remember is that he hit a home run off Sandy Koufax:

Mr. Ed and the Dodgers

His "slide" is frightening. I hope that's a mannequin and not a dead horse.

KJGooster said...

@Doug P:

That clip/comment may not be awesomer than Spoiler Kitty, but it's close.

Cranky Guy said...

Since Mr Ed was in black and white, HTF was I supposed to know he was a Palomino?

C said...

Hmmm, the LAT puzzles have been easy in a non-thinking sort of way this week, hope this isn't a preview for 2011.

AVISO, old school NYT answer making its way to the LAT. Is the LAT going hipster on us?

Joon said...

PG: no, i don't get it. and i have read i, robot.

Van55 said...

I think I enjoyed this one more than the identically themed NYT. The inclusion of OSH as an answer in both is most mystifying. At least Ms. Levin didn't use the dreadful ILEAC.

I don't generally approve of fill in the quote themes. Maybe I will make an exception for this one.

Easy, but enjoyable solve.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose a horseshoe fell out of someones newspaper this morning? (I can't be the only Rubicon fan/mourner here, can I?)

Avg Joe said...

It's not about Mr. Ed, but I found This old Goofy cartoon about horse racing that's purty funny.

Sfingi said...

Has it really been that long? But, Hee Haw, I liked the puzzle. I've been wanting a quote. I know Rex has no use for them.

@Average Joe - Hee Haw, again.

I did a CW in a local Penny Saver that was dreadful and made me appreciate the LA, NYT and USA Today more. It had huge chunks of black, 2-letter words, parts of words that are no sort of affixes, and it wasn't signed (embarassed, I guess).

One of Tecumseh Sherman's cousins, VP James Schoolcraft "Sunny Jim" Sherman, born in Utica and whose statue is near the McDonald's in Utica, was very pro American-Indian, and would talk with any Indian who came to his office.

Let's forget about MEL Gibson and use Brooks or Torme.

There's another horse clue - In German, one of the words for horse is ROSS. That must be why ROSSINI is in the puzzle.

Nighthawk said...

Yesterday's shoe theme, and today's palomino show (and @AvgJoe's comment about Roy and Trigger) brought to mind and old Rogers story.

Seems Roy was on a hunting trip on a ranch. To get ready, he had purchased a brand new pair of boots, which he left out the first night, only to find, in the morning, that they had been chewed to pieces. At breakfast, some of the hands showed up with a mountain lion they had put down after they found it over a calf it had killed. Although Rogers was engrossed with his host in conversation at the time, one of the hands interrupted. He said, pointing to the mountain lion: "Pardon me Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?"

Speaking of Roy, I like DALE crossing PALOMINO.

My WOTD was AVISO. Not in my MW Collegiate 11th (2009), nor my OxAm 2nd (2009), nor even my NYT XWord dictionaries. Finally found it in my schoolboy edition of The Concise Oxford (with revisions to 1959). My guess is this word is not much "in the language." But nice to have an antique every once in a while.

Kinda fun theme, and seemed sprinkled with fresh fill to me.
Liked A TOI, IN OIL, LEWD, and WART.
But some blah fill too. Didn't like AILS and IRES, for example.
Agree, ALTER EGO seemed askew for an answer to 66A's clue, but still nice to see it in the puz.

As usual, great fun write-up @PG.

Cool connection with the German ROSS --> ROSSINI @Sfingi.

And please, when are we going to get a break from RPI???

Avg Joe said...

@Nighthawk, I saw that one coming from your opening sentence. GROAN

(seriously, this is a pretty catchy tune, and it's nice to revisit it from it's hey day rather than the Bette Midler remake from the 70's.)

And on another music related note. @anon 8:17, you are correct that "Thing Called Love" is a cover of John Hiatt by Bonnie Raitt.... But Bonnie looks a helluva lot better singing it.

John Wolfenden said...

This puzzle practically solved itself. I'm looking for more of a challenge on a Wednesday, but I did like the theme reveal.

Seemed like Monday fare, with one late-week word thrown in: AVISO.

I also loved the pouncing kitten. If you haven't already seen Invisible Cat Pictures already, it's good for a laugh.

reeffisherman said...

I take some exception to saying that Will Smith stared in a movie based on the books "I Robot"

Although it is true that Will Smith stared in a movie called "I Robot" it certainly is not a movie based on the books of the same title. The producers of the movie obviously "borrowed" the title without any though of acutally using the story lines from the book...

mac said...

Easy but good puzzle. What a weir coincidence, even the Osh.

I love the idea of a speaking animal, although it could be a problem. And I love that spoiler kitty and the invisible cats.... Whenever I click on a link like that I know I'll be at the computer a while.

I wonder if the Virginia public schools will use the sanitized Huckleberry Finn. So sad.

Dora the Explorer? Just finished a great book she figures in quite a bit. It's "Room" by Emma Donoghue.

@Sfingi: don't tell me they're your cousins!

Eric said...

@Sfingi: The clue for the ROSSINI answer is also a horse reference of a sort -- the William Tell Overture was used as the theme music for the Lone Ranger.

So, all this horse talk brought a random pop-culture sentence to mind: "A horse is a horse, of course, of course." Not so random after all, as it turns out; it's from the Mr. Ed theme song!

@PG: Sots were STINKO in the 20s. They've been sozzled since the 1870s, and have been sots for centuries. Crosswords have a longer memory than the language, I guess. (It's like, when's the last time you saw a doctor wearing one of those round things on their head that cartoon doctors always wear? And just what is that thing, anyway?)

There have been a few Robbie the Robots: 1935 in Doc Savage; 1940 in the Asimov story (the I Robot collection dates from ten years later, as @PG says). The iconic visual image is from Forbidden Planet (1956) -- which traces its ancestry to both Shakespeare (The Tempest) and Asimov (the Three Laws of Robotics). Asimov first published the Three Laws in 1942, but had evolved them over the course of several preceding stories, of which "Robbie" was the first.)

@JNH: The above is Internet research of the first order -- which is fine in this context; it's only a "misuse" if you start basing important stuff on it without corroborating it first :-)

Sfingi said...

@Wolfenden - hilarious invisible cats. Check out "My Blackberry's not Working" on the One Ronnie, BBC (Remember the 2 Ronnies? One must have died).

CrazyCatLady said...

Way late here today. Easy puzzle, but fun Mr. Ed theme. Weird about the NYT. Liked this one better. I loved the spoiler kitty too, of course.

The only thing I have to add is this. I was a horse crazy kid that hung around horses and stables from a very early age. I would watch Mr. Ed and wonder how come he never made any rude noises or left big piles like the *real horses* I knew. I also wondered how Wilbur could possibly have his typewriter next to Mr. Ed's stall. That was one poor, sanitized PALIMINO. He sure was a pretty guy though - the horse, not Wilbur.

@Doug P loved your baseball clip!