2.17.2011

02.17 Thu

T H U R S D A Y February 17, 2011
Elizabeth A. Long


Theme: Making Ends Meet — In six places in the grid, the letter string END intersects with another letter string END.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Fancy greens dish (ENDIVE SALAD).
  • 1D: Supplementary items (ADDENDA).

  • 32A: #1 tennis player for much of the '80s (IVAN LENDL).
  • 26D: Binge (BENDER).
  • 38A: In reverse position (END FOR END).
  • 31D: Corrects, as text (EMENDS).
  • 50A: Feminist's concern (GENDER GAP).

  • 49D: Hanging (PENDENT).
  • 58A: Bit of modern folklore (URBAN LEGEND).

  • 71A/72A/73A: What this puzzle does literally at six different intersections (MAKES / ENDS / MEET).
Very ambitious theme today with slight points deducted because I've never heard the phrase "END FOR END." END TO END? Yes. END OVER END? Yes. END FOR END? Not so much. It sounds like it might be a regional thing like … well I can't think of an example now. I'll try to come up with one by the end of the write-up. (See what I did there?) Other than that, though, the theme answers are all interesting and the fill definitely shows some sparkle here and there. (Here = NINJA. There = VIXEN.) Even the crosswordese is more of the high-end variety. If that makes any sense. AGAVE and NACRE? Seems classier than ERN and ATRA somehow. Yes, I'm evaluating the classiness of crosswordese. Maybe I've been at this too long ….

Bullets:
  • 14A: Merrill in movies (DINA). So you heard I went to the John Mellencamp concert last night, right? Well let me tell you something. That audience was full of Old People. Then it occurred to me that I fit right in. Yikes! Luckily, today I did this puzzle and realized I've only just vaguely heard of DINA Merrill. Whew!
  • 16A: "__ Smith and Jones": 1970s TV Western (ALIAS). I'm not familiar with this particular show. Is ALIAS a person's first name here? Or are there two people and they go by the ALIASes "Smith" and "Jones"? Or is it just one person who uses both "Smith" and "Jones"? I don't know anything about this show except that it's very confusing.
  • 35A: "I can help" ("ASK ME"). I tried LET ME first, which seems more like something I would actually say in place of "I can help." I wasn't thinking about those ASK ME buttons that people wear. Now that I think about it, though, where have I seen those? Department stores?
  • 36A: 2012 Ryder Cup captain Davis Love __ (III). I've never understood why he's always listed as "Love III" on the leaderboard. I mean, unless his dad is playing too, I don't think we're going to get him confused with "Love II." But the point is, this is a great clue for an entry that we might otherwise think of as sub-par. (Thank you very much. I'll be here all week.)
  • 53A: __ myrtle: tree or shrub in the loosestrife family (CRAPE). With the CR in place, the word finally came to me but it was spelled wrong. CREPE =/= CRAPE apparently.
  • 2D: He plays Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter films (FIENNES). Do Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson look alike at all? Because in my head they do.
  • 3D: Where the teacher might casually sit (ON A DESK). Random!
  • 10D: Clay, today (ALI). Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad ALI in 1964.
  • 27D: A quarter of cuatro (UNO). Spanish!
  • 33D: Instrument in Schubert's "Trout Quintet" (VIOLA). So yeah, about the Mellencamp concert. You know the violin plays a prominent part in his band, right? I guess he would probably call it a fiddle. Well PuzzleDaughter started playing violin this year but wants to quit because it causes her to miss art class every week and she loves art. I was thinking that I would let her quit because she's not really enjoying it and I don't feel like pushing her. But then at the concert last night the violin player was so awesome that I could barely keep my eyes off her and I thought "That could be PuzzleDaughter!" I mean, if you think about it, touring with John Mellencamp is a pretty good gig for a violin player. (P.S. Yes I know that the violin and the VIOLA are different instruments.)
  • 39D: Provocative sort (DARER). If you were looking for a clunker in this grid, you've found your winner. You thought it might be ON A DESK, didn't you? Maybe it's a tie.
  • 44D: "Jeopardy!" ques., really (ANS.). The puzzle community has been all abuzz this week about "Watson," the Jeopardy-playing computer. I, on the other hand, have forgotten to set my DVR and have completely missed it. So far. Things could change tonight. But don't count on it.
  • 62D: Bit of Lagasse lingo (BAM). I glanced at this clue the first time through, decided I had no idea what it meant, moved on, and then must have finished it up through crosses because it even took me a minute as I was preparing for this write-up to figure out what the heck it means. It's a reference to Emeril Lagasse, the TV chef.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 68A: Tequila plant (AGAVE).
  • 4D: Rajah's wife (RANI).
  • 41D: Mother-of-pearl (NACRE).
  • 63D: Turkish title (AGA).

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: __ effort (A FOR); 5A: Without restraint (AMOK); 9A: "__ luego" (HASTA); 15A: Microwave (NUKE); 17A: List maker (DEAN); 18A: Swank's "Amelia" co-star (GERE); 19A: Stealthy Easterner (NINJA); 23A: Storm hdg. (NNE); 24A: Out of sorts (ILL); 25A: Cloud in Orion (NEBULA); 30A: Spay or neuter (DESEX); 37A: News organ? (NOSE); 42A: Cross over (SPAN); 45A: Be less than healthy (AIL); 46A: Greek with lessons (AESOP); 54A: Skirmish (TUSSLE); 55A: Where Eth. is (AFR.); 57A: Chess pieces (MEN); 62A: Howled (BAYED); 66A: Upscale hotel chain (OMNI); 67A: Without thinking, with "by" (ROTE); 69A: It often involves steady losses (DIET); 70A: Privy to (IN ON); 5D: Guardian, maybe (ANGEL); 6D: Vegan's morning meal (MUESLI); 7D: Cajun staple (OKRA); 8D: Stabilizing part (KEEL); 9D: "Water Music" composer (HANDEL); 11D: Offense (SIN); 12D: Atlantic City casino, with "The" (TAJ); 13D: "__ matter of fact ..." (AS A); 21D: Sly female (VIXEN); 22D: Musical based on a comic strip (ANNIE); 28D: Mormons, initially (LDS); 29D: Bar option (ALE); 34D: __ conditioning (AIR); 40D: __ leaf (FIG); 42D: Certain NCO (SGT.); 43D: Little, in Lille (PEU); 47D: Identical item (SAME ONE); 48D: Summer shoe style (OPEN-TOE); 51D: Gets by (ELUDES); 52D: Gave one star, say (PANNED); 56D: Moves like a moth (FLITS); 59D: Portend (BODE); 60D: Exiled African tyrant (AMIN); 61D: Dreadful (GRIM); 64D: Asian ox (YAK); 65D: First lady? (EVE).

30 comments:

SethG said...

No, it's definitely ON A DESK.

ENDs meeting isn't such a feat in general, but ten ends, meeting symmetrically, much nicer. Bonus points for including Ivan Lendl, which just leads me to yet again look for and fail to find a video of his commercial for Snapple. Ivan Lendl, it turns out, could not pronounce "Snapple". I think the commercial ran in 1991, the same year then 40-year old John Cougar Mellencamp first became John Mellencamp.

When I searched for END FOR END in books, one of the first results was in the book "How Boat Things Work". That's a funny title.

Pete said...

Thanks for the visual of the ENDS - makes the achievement much clear. That being said, I'm not a fan of having to color in a grid to fully appreciate the accomplishment.

Watson cheated - It may have kicked ass, but 95% of that was due to the fact that it was faster on the buzzer.

Anonymous said...

John Mellencamp first became that name when he was born in 1951.

SethG said...

Thank you for the important point of clarification.

imsdave said...

Except for that bizarre ENDFOREND, this was brilliant! Excellent work Ms. Long.

Davis Love's dad (Davis Love Jr.) was a tour pro and one of the most respected teachers the game has ever produced. No clue about his grandfather however.

Sfingi said...

Nice and Easy. Easier than yesterday.
No Googling, and it's Thurs. Didn't know CRAPE.
Had letME befoer ASKME, didn't know if we were going towards DESEX or unSEX.
Pondered how AESOP lines up with AEiOu.

Mini-theme: ILL AIL.

Captcha - shircuse. A version of Syracuse. Since natives call it Saracuse, no problem.

Anonymous said...

Oh, "Alias Smith and Jones." Concept were two outlaws, Hannibal Hayes and Kid Curry, trying to get right with the law. They adopted Smith and Jones as their new last names.

Pete Duel played Hayes at one point. Here ends the brain-dump.
Ann

lit.doc said...

This was one of the most enjoyable Wednesday puzzles I’ve done in ages.

@PG, me too re END FOR END. And my initial reaction to CRAPE didn’t involve the E.

Favorite fill was 35A as it reminded me of my favorite coffee cup, the inscription on which reads “ASK ME about my lobotomy”.

*David* said...

@litdoc Too bad its Thursday, sorry couldn't resist.

Interesting theme, gets a bonus point for that. Decent overall fill, had never heard of DINA or that CRAPE tree, bush, thingamajig.

Reno911 said...

Not sure on your confusion for end for end. I've used it often and heard it used often to swap around items in use. For instance, in construction, one would flip a board end for end to have the better looking end more prominently displayed. There are more examples but this post is getting long.

Anonymous said...

Alias Smith and Jones was a fairly successful series, until Peter Duel committed suicide. Very sad. Crape instead of crepe was an "oh well" dissappointment. The "end for end" was odd, but then it's a crossword puzzle. I agree and rather satisfying puzzle today.

lit.doc said...

@*David*, irony is dead. ;)

John Wolfenden said...

I knew that PG's illustration would help me visualize the theme. Which in itself makes it not that great a theme, but I liked it.

I would add DESEX to DARER on the clunkers list. I've heard "alter" and "fix" but not DESEX. Makes me think of Lady MacBeth: "Oh ye gods, unsex me now..."

MUESLI is a cool word I enjoy seeing.

Watching my 9-year old daughter screwing up her face trying to remember her times tables makes me feel like knowing something by ROTE doesn't necessarily mean "without thinking." I guess she doesn't know them by rote if the answer doesn't come to her off the top of her head. A minor quibble, but it seems like there is thought involved in rote knowledge, you've just done it enough times to make that neural pathway fast.

Ruth said...

Ralph Fiennes =/= Liam Neeson. Not at all.
The cool thing about DESEX is that it can be typed all with the left hand (if you aren't a hunt-and-peck type) and DESEXED RETREAD DEADBEAT GASBAG is a phrase not requiring a right hand either.

Anonymous said...

watson was a big yawn. it would have been more interesting if they eliminated the buzzer time effect or shown everyone's "question" but then it wouldn't have been jeopardy. watson needed a better avatar and also a little humor injected into it would have helped.also it may be that the show was loaded with factual rather than tricky language questions. fiennes and neesom not so much. i wasn't conscious of today's theme but it went down fast and easy.

CrazyCatLady said...

No, I think DARER should get the dud answer of the day award.

Liked the puzzle. Didn't put up too much of a TUSSLE and liked the ENDS theme. PEU and NEBULA were nice to see. I have three CRAPE myrtles in my front yard. They bloom in the heat of August when everything else is wilting.

C said...

@PG, I really liked the graphic at the end, made everything seem that much classier which I didn't think possible.

Good easy puzzle today. VIXEN wins for me.

Mortuorum said...

DARER is clearly the stinker of the day. Otherwise, a very solid Thursday effort.

Ian said...

A) Darer was a clunker.
B) Never heard "End for end" either.
C) The similarity between Fiennes and Neeson is the reason why my wife was so confused watching Schindler's List. And I have to admit, they do look rather similar to me as well.

Ian said...

Oh! Almost forgot. When I first read the ENDFOREND clue, I immediately put in BACKWARDS. Things would have gone a lot smoother had I not done that.

mac said...

Nice puzzle, pretty quick with the same "let me" hickup, plus didn't know the expression end for end. The purple graphic was very helpful.

No, don't think the Irish Liam Neeson looks like the Brittish Ralph Fiennes. The latter sat right behind me at Wimbledon once. We saw very little tennis, it rained off and on....

SethG said...

I don't think Liam Neeson looks like Ralph Fiennes. I do think Ralph Fiennes looks like Liam Neeson, and I'm sure if you showed me a picture of either one I'd say it was Liam Neeson and then think about whether I was right.

No one looks like Ralph Fiennes.

Lisa Robertson said...

OMG!!!! You're right, I thought I was doing Liam Deeson!

Avg Joe said...

Clearly it is pick on Ralph Fiennes day. What I really wonder about is that pronunciation. What's up with that?? Did he wake up one morning when he was 17 and say: "From this day forward, I shall be known as 'Rafe'. It shall be done!"

While most folks did get the memo, it would just be so much easier if he'd changed the spelling to match.

Avg Joe said...

As a footnote, it only seems appropriate to include a link to The End today in honor of the puzzle.

Separated at birth said...

Liam & Ralph. Which is which?

Anonymous said...

I relate, Puzzlegirl! Fiennes & Neeson are always endforend in my mind as well.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

BAM !
Finished full and fast!

Right off I found fault with 1A "A FOR effort". It really should be " E FOR effort".

Also, I know it's dictionary-correct, but I don't like seeing MEN for "chess pieces". It's totally sexist to call the Queen (or any other piece for that matter), a man. Definitely a GENDER GAP issue.

I thought: shouldn't 16A be ALIASES, but then I see that it's a program title.

But overall, I really did like this puzzle. Thought the theme was quite original, but what impressed me was the grid symmetry.

Pretty funny to think of Donald Trump in the White House and seeing it renovated to look like the TAJ Mahal.

Of course, the reference to HANDEL, the composer of "Water Music" made my day. My son, the CSO trumpeter plays this masterfully. AND PULEEZ DON'T CALL THIS WEDDING MUSIC.

JOHNSNEVERHOME said...

We can't grow CRAPE Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
here in Illinois, but it sure is a gorgeous shrub. I've seen botanists spell it CREPE also, so don't feel too bad if you did too.

Hoyt said...

Good to know Ruth ..especially if you have stuff you need to do with the other hand. I have a crap-e pear tree in my back yard. Damn thing almost killed me. A huge limb fell on my head when I was standing right under it. Whats the odds of that?