02.01 Tue

T U E S D A Y February 1, 2011
Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski

Theme: Everybody Out of the Pool! — The first word of each theme answer can be related to pool (billiards).

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Coach's pregame lecture (CHALK TALK).
  • 24A: Home seller-and-buyer's short-term loan (BRIDGE FINANCING).
  • 41A: 1929 women's air race, as dubbed by Will Rogers (POWDER PUFF DERBY).
  • 51A: Production number director's cry (CUE THE ORCHESTRA).
  • 65A: Summer shindig, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 24-, 41- and 51-Across (POOL PARTY).
The theme didn't help me on this one at all. I assumed the first words of the theme answers were related, but I didn't see how until I got the reveal. And then … okay. I guess I've never been a good enough pool player to need POWDER. Is it for the players' hands? I know the CHALK is for the tip of the CUE and a BRIDGE is that cheater thing that's supposed to help you aim or keep the cue steady or something. I assume any self-respecting pool player would never be caught dead with one, but I've used one plenty of times myself personally.

The theme answers themselves are fairly colorful, I will say that. CHALK TALK is awesome. And even though BRIDGE FINANCING is a fairly boring concept, the words themselves are cool. POWDER PUFF DERBY? Never heard of it, but am happy to learn about it. Love how the nickname is just dripping with condescension. "Well, hello, little ladies. I understand you have learned how to fly a plane in direct contradiction to societal norms as well as, no doubt, the wishes of your families. That's really quite an amazing achievement, girls! Now make sure you don't mess up your pretty little cheeks on your way across the country!" And then there's CUE THE ORCHESTRA. I can imagine someone saying that, but for me it really doesn't work as a stand-alone phrase worthy of inclusion in a theme.

I started out strong throwing BOSS in for [1A: One in charge] right away, but then ran into trouble. I tried BY BUS where BY CAB was supposed to go (1D: How many city folks travel). I'm not proud to say that I knew right away [2D: Fireworks watcher] would be OOHER. That's one cringe-worthy entry there. And I can never remember how to spell 3D: Puppeteer Lewis's first name. It's SHARI. After that, though, I was pretty much off to the races.

Highlights in this grid for me include:
  • 9D: Pampered (SPOON-FED).
  • 58D: Joe's "Midnight Cowboy" pal (RATSO). I remember seeing the character's full name — RATSO RIZZO — in a Barry Silk puzzle sometime in the last year and since then he seems to be turning up quite frequently.
  • 35D: Instinctive, as a feeling (GUT). Like the clue.
  • 9A: Resell at a major markup (SCALP). Probably not a good idea to get me started on SCALPing. It makes me completely insane. Remember when it used to be possible to see a concert without taking out a second mortgage? Ah, the good old days.
  • 28A: TV revue since '75 (SNL). I remember watching the "Samurai" sketch on the very first episode of "Saturday Night Live" and thinking "This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life. No way this show survives." Of course I was only 10.
  • 60A: Gambling letters (OTB). Off-Track Betting.
  • 61A: Gambling city (RENO). It's the biggest little city in the world, you know.
  • 63A: Absolut rival, for short (STOLI). Vodka!
  • 36D: Company with a web-footed spokescritter (AFLAC). And there's that stupid duck again.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 20A: Raptor's roost (AERIE).
  • 23A: Diarist Anaïs (NIN).
  • 45A: 1944 invasion city (ST.-LÔ).
  • 49A: Oktoberfest cry (ACH).
  • 6D: Harem room (ODA).
  • 66D: Andean tuber (OCA).
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Everything Else 5A: Ticketless rail rider (HOBO); 14A: Pirate's syllables (YO HO); 15A: Bean product? (IDEA); 16A: More virtuous (PURER); 19A: University of Maine town (ORONO); 21A: Late-night Jay (LENO); 29A: Acting instructor's deg., perhaps (MFA); 30A: Start to knock? (ANTI-); 34A: Pop music's Lady __ (GAGA); 37A: Surround securely (EMBED); 44A: Rail rider (TRAIN); 46A: Spot for a hoop (LOBE); 47A: WWII espionage gp. (OSS); 62A: Assumed identity (ALIAS); 68A: Fruit served in balls (MELON); 69A: Way to store pix (ON CD); 70A: Prepare for a shot (POSE); 71A: Speak at length (ORATE); 72A: Soup veggies (PEAS); 73A: Job opening (SLOT); 4D: Three-dimensional (SOLID); 5D: Wallop (HIT); 7D: Attorney Melvin (BELLI); 8D: Like wine barrels (OAKEN); 10D: Mangy mongrel (CUR); 11D: Rice-__ (A-RONI); 12D: Bolshevik leader (LENIN); 13D: Plug projection (PRONG); 18D: Tapped barrels (KEGS); 22D: '60s-'70s service site, briefly (NAM); 25D: Certain Caltech grad: Abbr. (ENGR.); 26D: Envelope parts (FLAPS); 27D: Desert mount (CAMEL); 30D: Well-chosen (APT); 31D: Fish-fowl connection (NOR); 32D: Bygone intl. carrier (TWA); 33D: Jerk (IDIOT); 38D: Short relative? (BRO); 39D: Recede (EBB); 40D: Change, as one's locks? (DYE); 42D: Elect to a Hall of Fame, say (ENSHRINE); 43D: Nina of "Spartacus" (FOCH); 48D: "What did I tell you?" ("SEE?"); 50D: Disorderly mound (HEAP); 51D: Women's mag (COSMO); 52D: Put into words (UTTER); 53D: African virus (EBOLA); 54D: "Hop __": Dr. Seuss book (ON POP); 55D: ABC's Arledge (ROONE); 56D: High-fives, e.g. (SLAPS); 57D: Divided Austrian state (TIROL); 59D: Up to this point (AS YET); 64D: Subdivision unit (LOT); 67D: Mormons' gp. (LDS).


Sfingi said...

Easy, but I didn't understand the theme. Know nothing about POOL or most other games. Never heard of CHALK TALK. Seemed like a lot of the type of crosswordese you rarely find anywhere but on crosswords.

GAGA is new, but I expect to see it many times from now on.

I expect many sportsters will love it. Off to buy the NYT and USA Today - my version of changing the channel.

Arthur said...

I too saw the first episode of SNL having no idea of what it was. I, however, was in "enhanced mode" as I watched it and thought it was the funniest thing ever.

I didn't get why they went with the aquatic POOLPARTY over a billiards theme in the reveal.

imsdave said...

Enjoyable Tuesday. I have to admit that uncovering the theme was a snap. I've been working my way back through the NYT archives, and just yesterday did a BEQ puzzle (5/6/1997) with the same theme.

More snow here in north central CT. It's beautiful, but enough is enough.

captcha - alyofugg - can't come up with a funny definition for it, but it amused me anyway.

Rex Parker said...

I was not an OOHER today.

Avg Joe said...

Hands up for ByBus and knowing that OOHER was coming (with equal distaste).

Powder is indeed used on your hands. It makes the cue slide more easily through your fingers when shooting. And a bridge is used more by serious players than you'd realize. It's for long shots, especially when there's another ball in the way. Can't have a pool theme without tossing in Trouble

Weather here in SE Nebraska is nasty, but there's only about 2" of snow. With 30MPH winds, it's ugly out there. Be safe everybody.

Nighthawk said...

Yet another nice write-up, @PG.
Liked the pic of the BOSS.

My early SNL viewing was like @Arthur. I was a recent college grad. Those first SNLs were Sat. night party show-stoppers. Converstation stopped as eyes turned to watch. We thought it was the TV equivalent of college faves Firesign Theatre albums. Nick Danger, Private I.

Had all the theme clues filled when I got to the revealer and had POOL filled but still had to stop for a second to think of what the end should be. So, I agree @PG, not too related.

@RP. Pithy (no lisp intended).

The mid-Atlantic stumped me for a while. Just didn't think the 37A clue was very good. When I think of EMBED, I think of more an insertion connotation, while the clue implies the thing is stationary and the stuff around it is added. Seemed opposite to me. For 46A, was thinking of basketball context, but chuckled when I realized the answer. Nice bit of intentional misdirection, but on a Tues? Had "kin" for 38D, which was clued so vaguely as to be almost useless, I thought.

CarolC said...

Easy solve but I'm with Rex on this one. Liked CHALK TALK and was hoping for a rhyming theme, but 'twas not to be.

Had BY CAR but RR wasn't going to work. Wanted TRAMP to go along with HOBO, and ANTE for start to knock? thinking that had something to do with poker but EDEOT obviously needed to be IDIOT so easily fixed. (Googled to find there is something called knock poker but it's clearly an adulteration. . .)

One thing that bugs me every time I see it is the clueing for ENGR. Caltech produces scientists by and large and MIT produces engineers, but certainly Caltech does produce engineers and MIT likewise produces scientists so it's a nit. At least the school was correctly written as Caltech and not Cal Tech (shudder). Did I mention I am biased?

Thanks PG for the writeup and for explaining the theme.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to give a well-deserved shout-out to a great composer, John Barry, who passed away last Sunday. Among other themes, he wrote the wonderful slow-rambling music to that movie Ratso was in.

He is best known for his numerous soundtracks, but if you ever come across his album "The Beyondness of Things," I highly recommend it. It will tear at your heartstrings.

SethG said...

Playing pool does not require powder. Maybe billiards or snooker or something else high-falutin' might, but pool is what I might play at a bar.

*David* said...

I didn't get the theme right away and didn't move as quickly through this puzzle as the others. I put in PERCH for AERIE which slowed me down on the top. The bottom went a lot quicker.

Tons of crosswordese in this one with SHARI, ODA, OCA, BELLI, ST LO, and FOCH. Does FOCH get clued as WWI general, that's what I always think of first.


Yeah, not an OOHER for me either.
It started out too easy but got harder as I went downwards. Didn't get the theme until I got to the reveal. I should have used Andy's trick of solving the reveal first. Speaking of Andy (@Tinbeni), I'll bet he's on the Pravda Crossword Confidential sipping his STOLI. Why he'd wanna leave Florida for Russia this time of the year, beats me!
In case you East-Coasters were jealous of us Chicagolanders, we're just now getting our 14" of snow dumped on us. Good crossword puzzle and CHILI-eatin' weather.

Have fun y'all !

C said...

I followed @PG's route to the T. BOSS then BYBUS and an instinctive OOHER which then brought me to amend to BYCAB. After that, it was all downhill and enjoyable. My favorite crosswordese of all time, ODA, made an appearance. Thinking about remodeling and adding an ODA on ...

CrazyCatLady said...

Confidently wrote in OOHER and thought EWWW!! Hand up for having BY BUS before BY CAB. Pretty smooth solve, but the theme didn't make much sense. Got POOL CUE, and POOL CHALK, but not POWDER or BRIDGE. Had no idea about the POWDER and never knew what that thing with the handle was called (or if I did, I forgot). The only entries that really made me smile today were 54D "Hop ON POP" and 15A Bean product? IDEA. Oh yeah, and that picture of Bruce. Thanks PG.

I'll refrain from telling you all what the weather's like in Southern CA, although we are supposed to get some nasty Santa Anas tonight.

syndy said...

Never heard of chalktalk and thought they had made it up so when it turned out to be a theme item it made me cringe,but if its a real thing my bad.Is melvin Belli crosswordese haven't seen him since Startrek.Aside from the theme answers really like this puzzle(ooher not good but still better tha oooh) FLYSCIS-what you say to a ladybug

John Wolfenden said...

Put me in the "meh" category as well. I would put ANTI for "Start to knock?" in the same category as OOHER. Well, maybe not quite as bad.

ORONO and Melvin BELLI are pretty obscure for a Tuesday.

Had SPOT for SLOT, and didn't know that in German TYROL is TIROL. Guess I wasn't using my BEAN, or my MELON for that matter.

Mokus said...

Would have finished earlier but it was such a beautiful morning I paddled my kayak for a couple of hours. The temperature was only 60 degrees so of course I had to wear a shirt. I'm jealous of you folks who experience real winters.
The best pool movie ever is The Hustler with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason in the role of Minnesota Fats. While it's not required I have found it helpful to powder my hand when shooting eight-ball. Women, on the other hand, usually powder their noses with powder puffs prior to jumping in their fighter jets.

Avg Joe said...

@Mokus, I grew up in a little town in NE Nebraska of 1,200~ people. We had a small pool hall with 2 8-ball tables and a snooker table. It was just a little 25' storefront building with maybe 1,500 square feet. I misspent part of my youth in that building. Sometime around 1967 or so Fast Eddie Felson came through town and put on an exhibition. The place was packed to the rafters, since he was probably the most famous person to ever come to town. He could do things on that snooker table that defied gravity. One of the things from my childhood I'll never forget.

Vega said...

I still laugh uncontrollably at the samurai sketches. And "NO COKE! PEPSI!" Anything from that generation of SNL, really.

So funny that so many of us tossed in OOHER without a second thought. And that is all I have to say about this puzzle.

Duane said...

Thanks Avg Joe for the Music Man reference. One of the all time great movies. For 36D I automatically entered Geicko. A web-footed creature, no? Here in Lakewood Ohio it's a nice cool (11 degrees)day with just a touch (2 ft) of snow. Be safe out there.

Avg Joe said...

Before anyone calls BS on my last post, I have to call it on myself. After doing a google, I realize that evidently I'm re-creating a memory as I saw it at the time, not as it really was.

I only saw "The Hustler" when I was 7 or so, thus have no recollection that Eddie Felson was fictional. I do recall that the guy who visited my hometown billed himself as Fast Eddie, but don't remember if he added the disclaimer that he was the person the character was based on or whatever might have been accurate.

At any rate, I apologize for making a statement that is clearly fiction. My bad. I'll shuffle off in disgrace now.