02.02 Wed

W E D N E S D A Y February 2, 2011
Bernice Gordon

Theme: Owie — Clues for the theme answers consist of one word that follows the pattern O[x]IE.

Theme answers:

I enjoy this type of theme from time to time. The theme answers are not stand-alone phrases but (for me anyway) require a few crosses before they can be put together in any kind of sensical way. I think I prefer the clues to be a little more … I'm not sure how to explain it. It just seems like the letter pattern isn't enough to hold them together. I like it when all the theme answers are clued with the same word or words whose meanings are related. These clues feel like they fall a little too much toward the "random" end of the spectrum. I don't know. Just a personal preference, I guess.

That said, the theme answers are all pretty solid, except for MAN FROM MUSKOGEE. What are Oklahoman women called? Okettes? It looks to me like a concession was made there to get the desired answer to fit in the grid. All the other theme answers are straightforward and unambiguous. OPIE was, indeed, a CHILD IN MAYBERRY. An OBIE is, in fact, a THEATRICAL AWARD. Now, I suppose there may be some question about whether Garfield and ODIE are FRIENDs. I was actually chatting with someone about this last night and I said I think Garfield and ODIE are friends in the same way Archie Bunker and the Sammy Davis, Jr. character were friends. They pick on each other relentlessly, but you know when it comes right down to it, they care about each other. And, yes, that was the first comparison that came to my mind. Maybe I need to watch more current TV. House? Doesn't Dr. House have a "friend" like that. The woman who runs the hospital? That other doctor whose played by the guy who was in "Dead Poets Society"? But I digress.

  • 5A: One way to cope (ADAPT). I wanted this answer to be a phrase that starts with a preposition. Like "with gusto" or "by the numbers." Yes, I know neither of those phrases makes sense, that's not the point.
  • 16A: Attorney general under Clinton (RENO). It's the biggest little city in the world, you know.
  • 19A: Earth, in Essen (ERDE). German!
  • 65A: Leaf-to-branch angle (AXIL). I had to discard the crossword-tastic ADIT and ANIL before I could get to this answer.
  • 66A: Threshing instrument (FLAIL). Who knew?
  • 68A: Anatomical blood carrier (VENA). Must some kinda high-falutin' word for "vein."
  • 69A: Specialty (FORTE). I always pronounce this word like "fort," not like "for-tay." I like to think I'm right and everyone else is wrong.
  • 13D: Down under kids (JOEYS). A JOEY is a young kangaroo.
  • 27D: Dragsters' org. (NHRA). National Hot Rod Association.
  • 38D: Roger of "Cheers" (REES).

  • 63D: Church section (NAVE). You are forgiven if you tried APSE first.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Midwest native (OTOE).
  • 72A: Shore eagles (ERNES).
  • 73A: River to the North Sea (YSER).
  • 1D: Northwestern pear (BOSC).
  • 53D: Pop singer Lopez (TRINI).
  • 62D: "The Whiffenpoof Song" collegians (ELIS).
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Everything Else 1A: Purchases (BUYS); 10A: Key of Brahms's Symphony No. 3 (F MAJ.); 15A: Speeder's downfall (RADAR); 17A: Long story (SAGA); 18A: African title of respect (BWANA); 23A: China's Sun __-sen (YAT); 24A: Gallery administrator's deg. (MFA); 25A: Cry of success (YES); 26A: "Wait, there's more ..." ("AND …"); 29A: Ring 5-Downs (REFS); 32A: Last: Abbr. (ULT.); 40A: __-B: dental brand (ORAL); 41A: Trail (LAG); 42A: In charge of (OVER); 48A: Just fine, at NASA (AOK); 49A: Hors d'oeuvre spread (PATÉ); 50A: Fairbanks-to-Anchorage dir. (SSW); 51A: To the rear (AFT); 54A: Afternoon break (TEA); 56A: Sportscaster Cross (IRV); 67A: Sculptor's material (CLAY); 70A: Queen's home (HIVE); 71A: Blue-pencil (EDIT); 2D: Where Pioneer Day is celebrated (UTAH); 3D: Teammate of Mickey and Whitey (YOGI); 4D: Simmons alternative (SEALY); 5D: Settler? (ARBITER); 6D: Early light (DAWN); 7D: "Bonanza" brother (ADAM); 8D: Flier until '91 (PANAM); 9D: Waiter's burden (TRAYFUL); 10D: Thrown in (FREE); 11D: Like Hood's men (MERRY); 12D: Tennis great Agassi (ANDRE); 21D: Thrown missile (DART); 22D: __ Cynwyd, Philadelphia suburb (BALA); 26D: Tiny particle (ATOM); 28D: Campus VIP (DEAN); 30D: Kodak product (FILM); 31D: Rascal (SCAMP); 33D: "__'Clock Jump": Harry James recording (TWO O); 35D: A, in communications (ALFA); 36D: Cancún quencher (AGUA); 37D: Miles per gal., points per game, etc. (AVGS.); 39D: Made faces, perhaps (DREW); 44D: Roast, in Rouen (ROTI); 45D: Painter of Southwestern scenes (O'KEEFFE); 46D: Puts down (STIFLES); 47D: "The King and I" actress, 1956 (KERR); 51D: Desert growth (AGAVE); 52D: Sent, in a way (FAXED); 55D: "It's __ nothing!" (ALL OR); 57D: French hot springs town (VICHY); 59D: In need of tuning (FLAT); 60D: Do some mending (DARN); 61D: Location (SITE); 62D: "The Whiffenpoof Song" collegians (ELIS); 64D: Certain colorist (DYER).



We're all "holed-up" here in Chicagoland... nasty blizzards!
We've already exceeded the all-time records for February and what's scary is, we keep hearing this from the weather forecasters---
"Wait, there's more ..."
Hope y'all are safe and snug!
Anyways, it's a good time for sipping hot TEA and working crossword puzzles.

Bernice Gordon constructed what I'd say is an A+ puzzle. Very cute theme. Especially liked the MAN FROM MUSKOGEE for OKIE.

Some great 4 and 5-letter fill, like: BWANA, MERRY, JOEYS, VICHY, ROTI, AXIL, and VENA.

Liked the clue "Settler" for ARBITER, except I spelled it ARBITOR. What are the rules for when to use "O" instead of "E" on certain words?

I just read a wonderful book about the amazing Geogia O'KEEFFE---
"Portrait of an Artist" by Laurie Lisle, C1980.
Anyone else read this?
I've been to her museum in Santa Fe, NM and her home in Canyon, TX (near Amarillo).
Next time I want to go to Abiquiu ... maybe this year, if I take the Route 66 trip again.

A nice bad weather soother for ya' ---
Brahms Symphony No. 3 in F MAJ.

Happy Groundhog Day (He won't see his shadow today. Yessss!).


I guess FORTE can be pronounced either (or either) way.

Sfingi said...

Nice puzzle. Snowed in in Upstate, but it looks like Rex got it worse.

TEA - yuck.

Das Lied von der ERDE - Ja.

Speeder's downfall - death. RADAR if he's lucky.

Wanted sLip for CLAY, but decided that would be too technical for Wed.

Didn't know how to spell MUSKOGEE (a Cree tribe), and never heard of Roger REES, so Nattick at 38D x 43A.

Time to shovel.

Rex Parker said...



Fill on this one was pretty tired.

Not the worst puzzle I did today...



Orange said...

I went to AXIL via the ARIL route, PuzzleGirl.

Lake-effect snow is in full force in my part of Chicago! Was much calmer this morning before about 8:45.

Like Rex said: Bala twoo!

badrog said...

PG, if you really want something that holds these 4 theme words together a little more, how about "A strong hint to folks at this blog that OKIE should be on the CW101 list". The other 3 (OBIE, ODIE, OPIE) already are! But I'd hope it could be linked to a puzzle with a Haggard, Steinbeck, Joad, Grape, Wrath, or some such in the clue rather than to this one.

*David* said...

This one felt like a time warp both on theme and on fill, it was like opening a time capsule circa late 90's. I felt the themes were also a bit arbitrary in nature especially OKIE. BALA Cynwynd was a new one, I'm sure we could find a sister city in Wales.

Joon said...

*david*, it could be because bernice gordon is (as far as i can tell) the oldest active crossword constructor. she's ... 96? 97? something like that. i agree that this has the feel of an old puzzle. not saying that's good or bad, but it's not really up my alley.

PG, you are right about FORTE, but that doesn't mean everybody else is wrong. it seems likely that it's a loan word from french, which would make the one-syllable pronunciation more accurate, but FORTE means "strong" (or "loud," and probably some other things) in italian, too, and people who learned the word through music will have learned the two-syllable pronunciation.

John Wolfenden said...

Loved seeing OKIE from Muskogee...who can forget Merle Haggard's anti-hippie anthem?

PG, I agree with your friend that Garfield and ODIE are actually friends, frenemies perhaps.

The AXIL/TRINI cross did me in, but I got over it. An enjoyable Wednesday.

ddbmc said...

@Joon, thanks for the explanation on our constructor. Puts the puzzle into perspective! Still a nice diversion from shoveling snow and chipping ice.

@JNH and @ORANGE, stay safe in all that snow! Even the NY area news shows are covering the misery out your way.

So glad the groundhog didn't see her shadow!


Sfingi said...

@Joon - FORTE is also found in Italian. The original name for the piano was the pianoFORTE, since it incorporated soft and loud by means of the pedals; whereas, the harpsichord had to have two keyboards. In Italian, one would say FOR-tay.

This puzzle made me wonder what happened to TRINI Lopez. He does benefits. He's 73. He worked for Jack Ruby way back. I'm feeling very old. now.

C said...

Easy puzzle for me today, a lot of words in my wheel house (baseball term) Direct write in for all theme answers. Enjoyable nonetheless.

BALA TWOOO sounds like something Madeline Khan's character in Blazing Saddles says to Sheriff Bart.

Nighthawk said...

@PG, yes, VENA is that. The VENA Cava is the big one that returns oxygenated blood to the right atrium of the heart. Understandably, more "tip of the tongue" for Bernice at mid 90's.

I agree about the end of the spectrum at which the theme clues sit, but I kinda liked the short clues and long answers contrast, and because the answers were so straighforward, I thought they nudged the theme back more to the spectrum center.

@Sfingi - Jack Ruby? Really? Curiouser and curiouser.

I liked the inclusion of OKEEFFE crossing two of the theme answers, the "western" one and the "frenemy" one, recalling both her inspirations and her long distance marriage to Steiglitz, and who, like Ms. Gordon, continued to produce good work well into her 90s.

Nicely done, Ms. Gordon!

SethG said...

I knew Bala Cynwyd, crosswords have taught me bwana and erde and axil and yser, I had to get twoo and fmaj and ssw and roti entirely from the crosses.

mac said...

I needed this pleasant puzzle today.

@PG: LOL re: sensical! I'm not sure about forte, depends if it's derived from French or another language. Fort would be pronounced "fore" in France, forte would be "fort". My trick: I never use an expression I'm not sure how to pronounce. I must not be alone, I've only ever seen this in print.

Having lived in Ardmore for 9 months I knew Bala Cynwyd (and Bryn Mawr, for that matter).

I'm in a small hotel in Charlotte Street in London. Just made it out of NY in time yesterday morning!
On to Holland early Friday.

Rube said...

I'm a great C&W fan, but needed almost all the crosses to realize that this OKIE wasn't from the dust bowl. Never saw Mayberry but, due to crosswords, the OPIE answer was a virtual gimme. Used to have a hard time keeping all those artsy awards straight. Finally realized that OBIE meant Off Broadway and got that one untangled.

Writeovers were SEALY/SErta, ULT/nth, and AVGS/AVeS/AVer.

Anyone remember a similarly themed puzzle in the NYT a while back where a similarly aged constructor used obscure 3 letter words as clues and you had to put in the definition? A real bear.

Enjoyed this immensely.

Duane said...

52D Sent, in a way got me in that I saw it as "fated." Alas, 65A answer "atil" wasn't gonna make it. I always pronounced it "for-tay" until I heard a movie director say "fort." Seemed he was wiser than me but it also seemed to fly over everyone's head, thus I say "for-tay" and see it as the accepted pronounciation.

Anonymous said...

Rube, answer grid for that puzzle is here.

Anonymous said...

RE: the pronunciation of "forte": you would be entirely correct in pronouncing it "fort" if the word were French (as in, the feminine form of the adjective meaning "loud" or "strong"), but "forte" in this sense (and when used in music) is actually borrowed from Italian. And of course, in Italian, final "e"s are pronounced "ay": notte (no-TAY, meaning night), madre (just like the Spanish: mah-DRAY, meaning mother), morte (mor-TAY, meaning death), etc. Like the French, "forte" in Italian means "strong" or "loud", so in the sense used in the crossword, it means "strength". Hope that helps!

CrazyCatLady said...

Grew up near BALA Cynwd in Swarthmore, not far from Byrn Mawr and Ardmore. My parents' friends lived in a house called Penny Bryn. It's all Welsh to me. TWOO - I have no idea...?

CrazyCatLady said...

And they're all in the same general area as *Conestoga* HS.

Captcha - fingi A relative of Sfingi?

Avg Joe said...

This sure has been a tough crowd on "Two O". A little weak as a stand alone answer, sure. But as part of a phrase, it makes perfect sense. I filled in the last O and waited for the crosses to tell me the rest. It fell into place. Game over.

Captcha: Kingst....part of a trio?

Sfingi said...

Most of our musical expressions are Italian. Most of our fashion oriented expressions are French.

When I taught, I used a workbook called Vocabulary for the College Bound Student by Harold Levine. It was originally written ages ago, but continues to be carried by AMSCO. It's marvelous because he divided the English language into the languages from which it was formed - Anglo-Saxon, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek - which cleared up some of the mysteries to the students, especially foreign born. It then had a variety of exercises for each section.

Mokus said...

The puzzle was enjoyable.
The comments were enjoyabler.
Esp. liked the FORTE discussion.

captcha: mergola, bribe paid to SEC by Rupert Murdoch.

backbiter said...

This puzzle was okay. Like pg, I thought the clues were too disconneted as well.

Sammy Davis, Jr. appeared in only one episode of All In The Family as himself and genuinely did not like Archie. He was not a recurring character. I think you meant Mike Stivic. That makes way more sense, and is also true.


Anonymous said...

she may have meant george jefferson