02.07 Mon

M O N D A Y February 7, 2011
Thomas Takaro

Theme: Head Games — Theme answers are 15-letter familiar phrases that end with a word for a body part. I wanted to say "part of a face" but EARS aren't really part of the face, right?

Theme answers:

  • 17A: New perspective (FRESH PAIR OF EYES).
  • 25A: "Doesn't bother me a bit" (NO SKIN OFF MY NOSE).
  • 43A: Listen very carefully (PRICK UP YOUR EARS).
  • 57A: How the poor live (FROM HAND TO MOUTH).
Nice, simple Monday theme for us today. I really like that all the theme answers are 15 letters long. There's a bit of crosswordese in the grid, but it's at a perfectly acceptable level for a Monday. I'd say this is an all-around solid puzzle for us to start off the week. There were only a couple places that made me pause at all. My first thought for [10A: Agile] was SPRY, not DEFT. The clue for MOI seemed a little on the difficult side for this early in the week (24A: "Dites-__": "South Pacific" song). I assume Greene will be along any minute now to tell us everything we need to know about this song. And I wasn't 100% sure on how to spell 5D: New York's TAPPAN Zee Bridge (I tried TAPPEN first). Other than that, though, a nice smooth solve.

  • 21A: U.S., French and Australian tournaments (OPENS).
  • 23A: Emissions watchdog org. (EPA). The Environmental Protection Agency.
  • 38A: "__ the loneliest number": '60s song lyric (ONE IS). That's Three Dog Night, right?
  • 46A: Section of L.A.? (LOS). The question mark is a hint that the answer isn't going to be an actually neighborhood in Los Angeles, but instead is a part (section) of the name "Los Angeles."
  • 62A: Hummus holder (PITA). Have I told you about the hummus place right in the building where I work? It's called "Perfect Pita" and it's the best hummus I've ever had. I was getting it pretty much every day for lunch, so I decided I should just buy some hummus at the grocery store and bring it in to save money. Well, I opened up that first container of grocery store hummus, took one bite, and thought to myself "What is this crap?!" I am forever spoiled. There will be no more sub-par hummus in my life.
  • 18D: "Come on, let's go for a ride!" ("HOP IN!"). You know I'm a fan of the colloquial phrase. This one is awesome.
  • 19D: Bank robber "Pretty Boy" __ (FLOYD). Wikipedia tells me he wasn't exactly a fan of his nickname. I always kinda wondered about that.
  • 24D: Lyon ladies: Abbr. (MMES.). French!
  • 33D: Some turnpike ramps (EXITS). Have you all seen this new-fangled intersection that some cities are trying now. It's called, hmmm … let me see if I can find it. Yep, it's called a "diverging diamond." The article I saw was about the first diverging diamond in Springfield, Missouri. It's supposedly both safer and less expensive than building a bridge. Looks like a great idea.
  • 41D: Smidgen (SKOSH). I do love this word. Quite a bit more than a SKOSH.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Draft classification (ONE-A).
  • 4D: '60s militant gp. (SDS).
  • 6D: "Dies __": hymn (IRAE).
  • 11D: "Only Time" New Age singer (ENYA).
  • 13D: Soviet news source (TASS).
  • 53D: Sicilian smoker (ETNA).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Steve of Apple (JOBS); 5A: Snug, as jeans (TIGHT); 14A: Old-fashioned exclamation (EGAD); 15A: One-way street sign symbol (ARROW); 20A: Turkish topper (FEZ); 22A: Hurdles for future attys. (LSATS); 34A: Deathly white (ASHEN); 35A: Did electrical work (WIRED); 36A: Roman peace (PAX); 37A: Inst. of learning (ACAD.); 39A: First name in jeans (LEVI); 40A: Word after box or cable (CAR); 41A: Burst of growth (SPURT); 42A: '90s candidate Ross (PEROT); 47A: Commercial suffix with Water (-PIK); 48A: __ Dei: lamb of God (AGNUS); 51A: Prophets (SEERS); 54A: Barfly (SOT); 60A: Rivers, to Rosita (RIOS); 61A: __ cum laude (MAGNA); 63A: Grand Ole __ (OPRY); 64A: Thrown weapon (SPEAR); 65A: Put in the overhead bin (STOW); 1D: Bezos of Amazon (JEFF); 2D: Grimm baddie (OGRE); 3D: Folksinger Joan (BAEZ); 6D: "Dies __": hymn (IRAE); 7D: Boyish smile (GRIN); 8D: __ d'oeuvre (HORS); 9D: Seesaw complement (TWO); 10D: Knocks off (DOES IN); 12D: Pedal pushers (FEET); 23D: Barely made, with "out" (EKED); 25D: Civil rights org. (NAACP); 26D: Acting award (OSCAR); 27D: Lamb Chop creator Lewis (SHARI); 28D: Admit it (OWN UP); 29D: Flaming (FIERY); 30D: Corn chip (FRITO); 31D: Verdi work (OPERA); 32D: Really enjoy, as food (SAVOR); 38D: Magnum __: great work (OPUS); 39D: Onion relative (LEEK); 42D: Bender of rays (PRISM); 44D: Bumbling (CLUMSY); 45D: Hubbub (UPROAR); 48D: Jackson 5 hairdo (AFRO); 49D: Golf club part (GRIP); 50D: American-born Jordanian queen (NOOR); 51D: Piece of cake (SNAP); 52D: Outskirts (EDGE); 54D: One of a deck's foursome (SUIT); 55D: Maestro Klemperer (OTTO); 56D: Melting period (THAW); 58D: Early hrs. (AM'S); 59D: Covert __: spy missions (OPS).


Avg Joe said...

I'd agree with all your points, PG. Good puzzle, Monday difficulty, fun solve.

I always get tripped up by SKOSH when I see it in a puzzle. I hear and use the term almost daily, but rarely if ever see it spelled out. I always want to spell it ala Nova Scotia.

"One" was made popular by Three Dog Night, but was actually written and originally recorded by Harry Nilsson .

Yay PACK!!

Sfingi said...

Easy. It looked like a review of crosswordese.

MOI and TAPPAN easy for NY oldster, but this one never heard of SKOSH - must be a new word.
TAPPAN ZEE, is, ofcourse, Dutch.

Had HOP oN before HOP IN - a bike or snowmobile, rather than a car.
Had NO SKIN OFF MY Neck before NOSE. Never used either expression.

NAACP has birthday on the 12th (1909)

For some reason, in the beginning of the century, men would wear fezzes at home or at certain organizations. My great uncle Tyler Mairs of Broooklyn did this, and I thought it was strange.
Both EGAD and FEZ figured in "Our Boarding House," a nespaper comic from the '20s-'50s. Major Amos Hoople wore the FEZ and said EGAD.


SethG said...

I'm more familiar with skin not coming off of my back or teeth.

Lots of ins and ups. Otherwise, nice work.

Anoa Bob said...

I did a double and then triple take on the theme. The first entry has two body parts, PAIR OF EYES, as does the second, SKIN and NOSE. The fourth theme entry also has two parts, HAND and MOUTH. But what about the third theme entry? Three body parts? EARS for two but was PRICK meant to join the others!? Or am I channeling the 14 year old in me?

Avg Joe said...

I found an interesting site that explains the derivation of Skosh .

Turns out it's from Japanese "Sukoshi". Did not know that. Always thought of it as a colloquialism. It's in common use here in the upper great plains.

MPPuzzler said...

I enjoyed the theme and found it pretty easy. There was a clothing ad (Levis?) a while back that offered a size for older men with a SKOSH more room in the seat. Does anyone else remember?

CarolC said...

There's also a bit of a Latin theme going on with IRAE, PAX, AGNUS, and MAGNA.

PG, love the Mr. Potato Head. It really fits the theme! Of course if Anoa Bob is right, it's not quite complete. . . It would be interesting to hear from the constructor on that.

Another beautiful day in LA. Good luck to y'all that are suffering from the tough winter weather elsewhere in the country.

gespenst said...

At MPPuzzler - that ad is EXACTLY what came to mind when I saw "SKOSH"! I don't know that I've heard it anywhere else ...

hazel said...

A solid Monday puzzle, plain and simple. A little ESEy, but I think that goes with Mondays.

Barfly is a great great movie.

@PG, really good hummus is super easy to make. I wish I would have thought about making some yesterday....

Anonymous said...

Easy fun puzzle all the way around. I easily got "Prick up your ears," although that is a current use of "Perk up your ears." I assume that comes from the way animals "Perk up their ears" when they're listening, and it seems more correct. "Perk" means to lift or straighten up, while "prick" is to pierce or catch at something, as in pricking your finger. (Not mentioning the previous post on a third body part!) Interesting how language somehow changes from the original.

mac said...

Nice puzzle! If you do add the hand, it could be the senses of sight, smelll, hearing, touch and taste. How do we fit in the prick? One at a time, please!

I escaped the snow in CT, but we've had very stormy weather in Holland since Friday morning.

Anonymous said...

As a musical theater lover, I knew "Dites MOI" in a second without any crosses. But I recognize that that is just because of my unusual resevoir of musical theater trivia. If it had been an equally difficult piece of sports trivia, I probably would be complaining that it was too hard for a Monday. Overall, an easy solve.

Anonymous said...

Prick also means to cause to stand erect, and "prick up your ears" is about 400 years old. Animals prick their ears.

Nighthawk said...

Cool link to the piece about the diverging diamond interchange, @PG.
I wonder what they will say about the one they plan to put in near Alcoa, TN, which is very close to Knoxville!

With the "ONE IS The Loneliest Number" at 21A, I couldn't help thinking, in fractured French, for 24A, though I realize it's not the show tune, of this song.

I thought there seemed to be more than met the eye going on in this puzzle, in addition to the inner 14yo catch. My Dad, in WWII, tried to join up to be a pilot, but he was color blind, so was rejected - not ONE A for flying. The other classic ONE A rejection was for flat FEET. I liked that FEET and the -EYES were next to or crossing ONE A. Likewise, eating (PITA) and drinking (SOT) answers sandwiching MOUTH. And who, remembering Ross PEROT's Presidential run, can ever forget those giant EARS and that great Texas nasal (NOSE) twang of his? (Bet you can't think of the following phrase without hearing it in that twang: "Giant sucking sound... .")

Those thoughts just added a bit of a GRIN to a nice fun and smooth Monday.

Had one temporary glitch at the 10A/D cross when I put in gOES IN, leaving me to headscratch for a second about gEFT.

balizi: tough Italian cops?

cheeseguy101 said...

native of Springfield, MO here. Although the Diverging Diamond interchange was met with a great deal of skepticism here, it is extremely effective in moving traffic. It eliminates the need for left hand turns crossing the on-coming traffic from all four directions which makes things move rather easily in a busy interchange.

Sfingi said...

"PRICK UP YOUR EARS," was a 1987 book and movie about the gay lovers Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, in which the later kills the former out of professional jealousy. The writer, Stephen Frears was suggesting the real title should be "PRICK UP YOUR ARSE," Thus adding another body part.


It may be a Monday, but even so there's no excuse for all the excess in crosswordese. I'm not just talking about words that are in the CW101, but words we see over and over again, like EGAD, LSATS, EPA, FEZ, BAEZ, etc.
The theme is just okay and not much new in the fill words, except maybe "Dites-MOI".
Many of the clues were CLUMSY, like "Section of L.A." (LOS).
I frown on all the stupid short phrases, like: DOES IN, HOP IN, OWN UP, and ONE IS.
I don't recall doing any Thomas Takaro puzzles before, but I'd probably give him a C- grade.
The best part of today was Puzzlegirl's DEFT writeup. Thanks for the info on the "diverging diamond"... has a lot of appeal for this "roadie". HOP IN, lets go for a ride!
ODed on FRITOs yesterday, so today I skipped breakfast.

Anonymous said...

The thumb reminds me of that old joke:

What do you say to a one-legged hitchhiker?

mac said...

@Sfingi: I saw that film, it was shockingly brutal but very good. Why does it make me think of Francis Bacon?

Anonymous said...

Two reasons: "Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon" had similar themes. That's the painter. Francis Bacon the philosopher used the phrase "she pricks up so many ears" in Essays - Of Fame.

mac said...

The painter was a descendant of the philosopher.

mac said...

The coincidence of all this is strange. Life is a circle.

Avg Joe said...

Since we're talking about sub-themes, there's quite a few music related clues. ENYA, OPRY, BAEZ and ONE IS are the most obvious. OPERA also fits the bill.

But there's also FEZ (Steely Dan), LOS Lobos and Pink FLOYD.

Or maybe I'm just thinking too much:-)

Sfingi said...

@Mac - Does that series constitute one comment?

The BBC production and both Bacons seem to have some relevance to the other movie/book.

So many movies, so little time.

Anonymous said...

mmmm bacon.

How about kevin Bacon and Samantha Eggar in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'?

Hummus Atun said...

Grocery store hummus is generally yucky. You can make your own very cheap and easily. It's just bean dip with garbanzo beans. Can of garbanzo beans (or you can cook them yourself, I guess, if you're so inclined), tahini, garlic, olive oil, and whatever else you want to put in there, throw it in the blender, and you're good to go.


Thanks for the HUMMUS recipe.
I've been putting humus in my garden soil for years... hey, now I can actually eat the stuff!
I have to admit that us midwesterners are not real hip when it comes to foods like this, but I'd like to try making my own after I pick up some tahini (is that the same as sesame paste?)
Any ideas for throwing in additional ingredients? I can think of olives and some berries.
Anyone else?

Sfingi said...

Hummus - Visit Utica and take out from several restaurants: Acropolis, Phoenician, Symeons, and several smaller ones, Barady's, Massoud's.

Check out CNY eats A Taste of Utica Cookbook.

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's hummus is delicious and inexpensive, for those of you lucky enough to live near one.


Mokus said...

Late as it is I am compelled to comment on SKOSH. In 1962 I joined a company with many Korean veterans at Ft. Benning. They used "skosh" constantly and for years after I thought it was a Korean word until I looked it up and discovered it was of Japanese origin. I suspect that GIs introduced the word to us following WWII & Korea.
I loved the puzzle and only wished that the throat could have fit in somehow.