02.26 Sat

February 26, 2011
R. M. (Bob) Peoples

Theme: None

I'm getting a late start this morning and have a lot to get done today. PuzzleHusband has called a Budget & Finance Committee Meeting for this evening so I need to pull together spreadsheets, charts, and PowerPoint slides. Not really, but I do need to crunch some numbers along with all the other stuff working people get done on the weekend, now that I'm a working person. (Aside: I've found that working full-time really eats up a big chunk of the day most days.)

Before I forget, though, I want to let you know that we heard a rumor that tomorrow's syndicated puzzle would have an Oscar theme, so we found a guest blogger who actually knows a little something about the Oscars to fill in. If you do tomorrow's puzzle and/or if you're interested in the Oscars, you should come on back to LACC tomorrow.

So, today's puzzle. The good news is that I'm not going to whine about it not being hard enough. (LACC readers respond: "That is good news!") Overall, I found the sheer number of plural entries very distracting. IDEAS and LILIES are passable, but HAIR GELS and CALLER ID'S? Not so much. I also felt like in a lot of cases the struggle didn't seem particularly worth it for the pay-off. But there is definitely some good stuff in this grid. I particularly like the ATTACK AD / FROM HELL stack in the southeast corner (58A: Part of a smear campaign / 61A: Worst of the worst).

Other highlights in the grid for me include:
  • 33A: Skunk River city (AMES IOWA). Obviously, I'm not a fan of the college in this particular town, but I do like seeing both the city and state in the grid. Kinda like when we see a person's full name instead of just first or last.
  • 37A: Utter fiasco (WATERLOO). I'm sure this clue is fine, but it's not how I personally think of a WATERLOO. Of course, my first idea of WATERLOO is … another town in Iowa.
  • 1D: Without notes (BY HEART).
  • 3D: "Most assuredly" ("QUITE SO").
  • 9D: Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth (LAKE POETS).
  • 42D: Eccentric (ODDBALL).
  • 1A: It might make marks on your dog (BBQ GRILL). That would be a hot dog.
  • 21A: One concerned with bites (DENTIST). Pretty sure this clue is here so that even once you understand that the "dog" in 1A is a "hot dog," your mind will keep going to bite marks and not be able to figure out what other kind of marks might be on your dog. Not that that's what happened to me or anything.
  • 30A: Subj. partner (PRED.). Predicate. I'm all "Verb? But that's not an abbreviation."
  • 52A: Ones going to court? (SUITORS). Cute clue. Not a court of law, but courting as in wooing.
  • 54A: Sony competitor (NEC). The only CW101 word in the grid that we've already covered.
  • 57A: Verdi title bandit (ERNANI). Crosswordese 301.
  • 5D: 1997 Emmy winner for TV's "Rebecca" (RIGG). That second G was the last letter I entered into the grid. Never heard of this miniseries, although I have heard of Diana RIGG.
  • 49D: Shaped like a megaphone (CONED). I tried CONIC first.
  • 55D: Outfit you don't want to be seen in, briefly (CAMO). Hands-down best clue in the grid. Love it.
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    Everything Else 9A: Walks quickly (LEGS IT); 15A: "Great job!" ("YOU DID IT!"); 16A: Johnson & Johnson skin care brand (AVEENO); 17A: Some mousses (HAIR GELS); 18A: Destinies (KARMAS); 19A: Auto insurer's request: Abbr. (EST.); 20A: "__-Jin": Clavell novel (GAI); 22A: Rate __: be perfect (A TEN); 24A: Entrapments (SET-UPS); 26A: H.S. support group (PTA); 27A: Start over, in a way (RESET); 29A: Make go away (SHOO); 31A: Geographical parallel (TROPIC); 35A: Entirely, with "from" (HEAD TO TOE); 40A: Logo, e.g. (SYMBOL); 44A: "__ Esau": kids' rhyme book (I SAW); 45A: Advanced (LENT); 47A: Restaurateur known for satiric wall art (SARDI); 48A: Recipe amt. (TSP.); 49A: Post product (CEREAL); 51A: Network meeting point (NODE); 56A: Japanese band (OBI); 60A: Brought home (NETTED); 62A: Some smart phones (DROIDS); 63A: Spoon (CANOODLE); 2D: Bigmouth (BOASTER); 4D: E. Berlin's land (GDR); 6D: Head lights? (IDEAS); 7D: Ornamental flowers (LILIES); 8D: West Point grads: Abbr. (LTS.); 10D: Mary Ann __, George Eliot's birth name (EVANS); 11D: Goldfinger portrayer Fröbe (GERT); 12D: Part-time, in a way (SEMI-PRO); 13D: Het up (IN A STEW); 14D: Taco relative (TOSTADA); 21D: Milano cathedral (DUOMO); 23D: One crying uncle? (NEPHEW); 25D: Choice words (THAT ONE); 28D: Level (TIER); 30D: Acquaintance of Simon (PIEMAN); 32D: Revealing numbers (CALLER ID'S); 34D: Edamame beans (SOYS); 36D: They don't just sit around (DOERS); 37D: Giving-up point (WIT'S END); 38D: One offering comfort (ASSURER); 39D: Draw on (TAP INTO); 41D: Put up with (BROOKED); 43D: Remain in mothballs (LIE IDLE); 46D: Asian enlightenment doctrine (TANTRA); 50D: Gave away (LET ON); 53D: Filmmaker Jacques (TATI); 58D: Jets' org. (AFC); 59D: John who played Sulu in "Star Trek" (2009) (CHO).


    Rex Parker said...

    Didn't bother to finish. Dealt with one hard-through-obscurity Peoples puzzle today. This one (DUOMO, LAKE POETS, GERT, ugh) was just too much for one day.

    IN A STEW x 2. That says it all.


    Anonymous said...

    Yep, what Rex said. Just awful.

    SethG said...

    You tried CONIC first because CONIC is an adjective.

    I love hard puzzles. This was hard and terrible.

    Doug P said...

    Yes, a real slog today. I loved FROM HELL, but the rest left me cold.

    PuzzleGirl mentioned this in the write-up, but I'll remind you again. Check back tomorrow for the L.A. Crossword Confidential Academy Awards Extravaganza, featuring a special guest blogger. You won't be disappointed.

    shrub5 said...

    There was much I didn't know here (TANTRA, ERNANI, TATI, LEGSIT, LAKEpoets.....) but most of these I was able to get through crosses. I had many of the same thoughts as PG: too many plurals and plurals no one uses (KARMAS, SOYS). Yet there were many fresh clues and answers, too. I especially liked SARDI, CANOODLE, DROIDS, PIEMAN and WITS END.

    Lost a lot of time in the SE. At one point I had
    BROO-ED for 'put up with', had no idea, did an alphabet run, thought about D, flew right past K, nothing, so decided I must have something wrong. Needed to google for the opera bandit ERNANI and looked up Skunk River to get AMES IOWA. Had a little chuckle as I learned there is a North Skunk and a South Skunk.

    I am shocked, repeat shocked, at @RP's DNF comment. I haven't started the NYT puzzle yet so I'm bracing myself for something awful.

    Avg Joe said...

    I had a lot of trouble with this one, but am not as down on it as everyone else seems to be. Probably spent close to an hour on it, and googled 5 or 6 things, but did finish and felt like a challenge had been met. Several very clever clues and misdirects added to both the challenge and the satisfaction at completion. I'd give it a solid B.

    Anonymous said...


    Anonymous said...

    ... short for camouflage

    Rube said...

    HTG for the AVEENO/GERT and the CAMO/CANOODLE crossings. Don't think I've ever heard of Canoodle. Must be a Southern thing. Was trying to make sense of Can ladle, but nothing worked. The clue for CAMO totally faked me out. Not familiar with Aveeno... a girl thing. How am I going to remember a guy who acted in a 45 year old movie when I can't even remember who was in the movie I saw last night?

    Very good fun puzzle. Not exactly NYT Saturday -- i.e. 6 tophats -- hard, but definitely a challenge.

    ERNANI has been in 3 puzzles I've done in the last few months.

    Anonymous said...

    I've never though of a WATERLOO (37A) as an "utter fiasco". A decisive defeat or an epic victory, yes, but without any connotations of mismanagement or incompetence. Grump.

    Anonymous said...

    CANOODLE isn't just a Southern thing. (Why would it be? Because you don't know it?) Orrin Hatch even called Clinton "perhaps the first Presidential canoodler in history". It's been around for at least 150 years. AVEENO isn't just a girl thing, but it's newer than that.

    StudioCitySteve said...

    Any time I finish a Saturday puzzle in less than an hour any grumpiness I might be harboring just disappears.

    Liked a lot of the clue/answers - LAKEPOETS, NEPHEW, PIEMAN, CALLERIDS, BROOKED to name a few. LEGS IT was grump-worthy.

    CAMO was awesome.

    Anonymous said...

    What's with brooked for put up with?

    Anonymous said...

    From thefreedictionary.com:

    brook - To put up with; tolerate: "We will brook no further argument."

    Ruth said...

    Waterloo = a great ABBA song. Not a real ABBA fan, but love that song.

    SteveD said...

    For 55D my brain just wouldn't let go of BVD's. This puzzle was a total wreck for me. Usually on Saturday I flail with the NYT for awhile, then go to the LAT for a break but not today. Both puzzles destroyed me.

    Anonymous said...

    I did a lot better than I hoped for at first. AFter only getting a couple of words in, I set it down and came back a couple of hours later. SE corner had me beat though. Liked YOUDIDIT"!

    mac said...

    Clinton the first presidential canoodles in history? Hahahaha. The press was just a little more pleasant, even to his predecessor.

    Odd puzzle. I like them tough, but several terms, including the plurals, just are not good. When did you ever say BBQ grill? It's either one or the other. When you look at the finished grid, there are just too many abbr.'s and plurals. (Is Gert a Gertrude or a Gerhardt?) I do love canoodle (and canoodling), from hell, attack ad, brooked, quite so, wit's end, tap into, oddball.... Hey I guess I liked a lot of this puzzle! Are we sure it should be "lie idle"??

    Now I'm checking out Doug P's Newsday puzzle! Onward.

    Jeanne said...

    I gave up on the upper right hand corner. Legsit? But 21 across had me convinced "one concerned with bites" was Dracula. I had "tostada" but reconsidered when I came up with Dracula. Jeanne

    Longbeachlee said...

    Are you sure Camo isn't camosole, a gown you can see-through? No I don't really think so, but I did before I read these comments. Yeah I even know it is camisole, but when you're desperate an alternate spelling explanation will calm your anxiety. I still like my version better.

    Bohica said...

    Haven't been here in quite some time, still recognize most of the regulars... but when did the place get redecorated? The old page seemed worldly and rich, I feel like I'm in a '50's era roadside diner now... no feng shui here.

    *David* said...

    Got west side of puzzle, east side was disaster but it was simply stuff I didn't know. AVEENO, AMESIOWA, LAKEPOETS, EVANS, GERT, and CHO made for some outside help in order to finish. Probably my worst DNF week in a year or so on all the puzzles I did.