04.05 Tue

April 5, 2011
Donna S. Levin

Theme: Surf's Up! — Theme answers are phrases that end with a word that can describe moving water.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Chocolate-ribboned ice cream flavor (FUDGE RIPPLE).
  • 27A: One setting a new high (RECORD BREAKER).
  • 49A: Salon treatment (PERMANENT WAVE).
  • 56A: "Nifty, huh?" ("ISN'T IT SWELL?").
I have a few thoughts I could share about this theme and the crosswordese and other general stuff, but I'm honestly too busy laughing at this clue/answer pair:
  • 23A: Two-outs-in-a-single-AB stats (DP'S).
Let me explain why this is hilarious. I met Donna Levin at the ACPT last month. I didn't get to talk to her much, but we spent part of our time together participating in a conversation about sports references in crossword puzzles. Here's the thing. Puzzle editors are all men, and it's not uncommon for women to find many sports references obscure. Women constructors also find on occasion that editors question (or reject) entries that are perfectly reasonable but fall outside of what would typically be considered men's knowledge base. Yes, I know these are wild generalizations. There are women right here on this blog that I would consider baseball experts (hi, Hazel!) and my girlfriend who writes for Yahoo Sports can definitely hold her own in football and absolutely knows more than you about MMA, I don't care who you are. But that was the gist of the conversation. One thing I didn't go into much, though, was that sports clues/answers don't usually bother me. I'm a casual sports fan and feel like I know quite a bit about, for example, professional basketball and tennis in the 1980s. So when those clues come up it makes me feel really smart. The other thing I've been thinking about since that conversation with Donna is that the sports world has really opened up for women in the last 40 years or so (thank you, Title IX). It's been a slow process, but it's still creeping along. I won't be a bit surprised over the next few decades to see (a) women becoming more comfortable with sports references and (b) sports references encompassing more women in sports.

Anyway! I say all that to say that seeing DP'S in a Donna Levin puzzle really cracked me up. I couldn't even make sense of the clue while I was solving! And I like baseball! As it turns out, DP means Double Play and AB means At Bat, which now makes total sense to me but I've gotta believe that clue is not Donna's. LOL!

  • 14A: Kareem's alma mater, briefly (UCLA). More sports!
  • 17A: Custardy Spanish dessert (FLAN). Mmmm, flan.
  • 34A: "All By __": Celine Dion hit (MYSELF). I can only hear Paul McCartney singing "All By Myself." Is Celine's hit a remake? I'm not interested enough to actually go look it up.
  • 52A: Aptly named boss at the quarry where Fred Flintstone works (MR. SLATE). I've been catching up on some old puzzles and seems like I've seen a lot of MR. SLATE lately.
  • 66A: Capone henchman (NITTI). Not Walter Mitty. Totally different guy.
  • 68A: Sask. neighbor (N. DAK.). Shout-out to the Fargo girl!
  • 26D: Big butte (MESA). Excellent, excellent clue.
  • 29D: Tightwad (CHEAPSKATE). Isn't MR. SLATE something of a CHEAPSKATE?
  • 31D: Sometime ally of Godzilla (RODAN). I got this totally through crosses. No idea.
  • 43D: Dried Ocean Spray treat (CRAISIN). My favorite mistake I ever made in a puzzle was entering CRAISIN where CRAWDAD was supposed to go.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 15A: Airline with famously tight security (EL AL).
  • 37A: Spread in a dairy case (OLEO).
  • 41A: Inter or et follower (ALIA).
  • 67A: Vaulted cathedral part (APSE).
  • 70A: Inner Hebrides isle (SKYE).
  • 6D: Jai __ (ALAI).
  • 27D: P-like Greek letters (RHOS).
  • 28D: Perry's creator (ERLE).
  • 38D: Turow's Harvard-based story (ONE-L).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Shoppers' aids (BAGS); 5A: Chantilly product (LACE); 9A: Religious subgroups (SECTS); 16A: Hackneyed (TRITE); 18A: O'Hara homestead (TARA); 19A: Nattered away (RAN ON); 24A: Mai __ (TAI); 25A: Asian cat breed (SIAMESE); 32A: Windsor Castle initials (HRH); 33A: Fabled fiddler (NERO); 39A: Spots on a screen? (ADS); 42A: Setting where a medium isn't rare (SEANCE); 45A: Nepal's continent (ASIA); 48A: Pioneered (LED); 54A: Livy's "I love" (AMO); 55A: Mouse spotter's shriek (EEK); 62A: Stockpile (AMASS); 64A: __'acte (ENTR); 65A: Thought (IDEA); 69A: Isaac with a bow (STERN); 71A: "... the slithy toves / Did __ and gimble ...": "Jabberwocky" (GYRE); 1D: Fit and muscular (BUFF); 2D: Bill of Rights-defending org. (ACLU); 3D: Pleased (GLAD); 4D: Serenaded (SANG TO); 5D: Leave on the casino table (LET RIDE); 7D: Kvetch (CARP); 8D: Pass by (ELAPSE); 9D: Like poorly cleaned windows (STREAKY); 10D: Important time (ERA); 11D: Gal with a fairy godmother (CINDERELLA); 12D: Sporty car roofs (T-TOPS); 13D: Good judgment (SENSE); 21D: Merit (EARN); 22D: Jodie's co-star in "Nell" (LIAM); 30D: Bikini part (BRA); 35D: Actor Schreiber (LIEV); 36D: Tire near the finish (FADE); 40D: Atlanta-to-Miami dir. (SSE); 44D: CPR providers (EMT'S); 46D: Where Alice saw the Cheshire cat (IN A TREE); 47D: Bank foyer conveniences, for short (ATM'S); 50D: Virgil's epic hero (AENEAS); 51D: Knocking the socks off (WOWING); 52D: Ways partner (MEANS); 53D: Send payment (REMIT); 57D: Toll rd. (TNPK.); 58D: Part of a spout-climbing spider's description (ITSY); 59D: Whirlpool (EDDY); 60D: Father of Cordelia (LEAR); 61D: Dam site (LAKE); 63D: Orch. section (STR.).


Avg Joe said...

Fun puzzle. It put up a fight, yet was still Tuesday level.

PG, All By Myself is a remake, but not from McCartney. It was Eric Carmen.

On your discussion of women knowing sports, I think you'll find the Jump Start comic strip from Sunday both appropriate and hilarious.

Sfingi said...

After I finished, I remembered to check and see what the phrases had in common. OK.

Had a personal Natick at RODAN crosses ADS, but quessed correctly. Not much interested in monsters, but my son told me it's really Godzira.
In the same category, horror movies, (ho-hum to me) is LIEV Schreiber, of whom I also never heard.

Asked hubster what DP was - double play - he went on to tell me the most famous, etc., etc., as I dozed for a moment.

Abbreviations: UCLA, ACLU, NDAK, STR, SSE, HRH, DPS, ATMS, TNPK; Semi: TTOPS, ONEL. Too many?

Mini-theme, violinists: STERN and NERO. That was funny.

JaxInL.A. said...

Any puzzle that stacks UCLA (my alma mater) on top of flan (one of my favorite desserts), on top of FUDGE RIPPLE (see above), all with the motion of the ocean in the background, is just fine with me. 

Now let's see if Donna Levin will stop in and tell us whether the DPS clue is hers (and for a bit of praise on a nic puzzle). @sfingi, thanks for the violinist observation.

I didn't mind those abbreviations; none seemed too forced. Or maybe I'm just developing a tolerance for them.

Major Congratulations to Doug Peterson on his CS puzzle today.  Not only did he make a delightful, elegant puzzle that is just a QX short of a pangram, with loads of crunchy Ks there, but he has merited a stellar Sam Donaldson write-up over at @Orange's place. Check it out.  
(Sorry for talking about another blog here, but given Doug's role in this forum I figured PG wouldnt mind.)

the redanman said...

Good solve, was waiting for TSUNAMI to be un-PC in the last wave clue as they were getting bigger

then SWELL

Just seems the order might have been different ...

This was a joy compared to today's slog at the NYT. Although there was indeed a TRITE answer ...

CarolC said...

@PG, thanks for the hilarious writeup on the DPs in the ABs. Luckily for me I just filled in CINDERELLA and TTOPS and ignored it.

RODAN I saw while hanging out in the student lounge watching Godzilla (anglicized?) movies many moons ago.

Never heard of NITTI so once it was filled in I went to check if it should have been GOTTI but realized that's a different generation of mobster (as opposed to monster above).

Captcha is "montalai", fitting nicely with Jai ALAI and Mai TAI. Only missing Mont Blanc or one of the various xword MTs.

Nice puzzle, Donna

Will Malan said...

I kind of liked the ACLU/UCLA play...almost palindromic

Ron Worden said...

Nice easy solve good for a tuesday. fudge ripple is like a instant hot fudge sundae.Liked the construction of the last two across clues,skye and gyre. To P.G. not sure of the Paul McCartney reference. The orginal All by Myself was by Eric Carmen. A solo smash hit in the seventies. He was also the lead singer for a group called the Rasberries.

Anonymous said...

I liked it--more interesting than a lot of Tuesday level puzzles.

Tuttle said...

Not much interested in monsters, but my son told me it's really Godzira.

Gojira is the standard transliteration of ゴジラ. Rodan should be "Radon" (from pteRAnaDON) but you can see why they changed that in the English dub.

I love me a good, goofy-assed Japanese monster movie. Ghidora and Destroy All Monsters are Rodan's best appearances. I personally prefer the Gamera giant-turtle movies though. They're way sillier, if you can imagine such a thing.

C said...

Fun puzzle, totally shredded it like PuzzleSon in the picture at Playa Guiones (at least that's what the wave looks like to me, I check out the waves at that beach everyday dreaming of being there and not being in my cube)

CAPTCHA is awardenn, did I win something?

*David* said...

On early week puzzles I miss many of the clues, didn't even see the DPS clue. Only erase was trying to put MOTHA in for RODAN with the O in play. A bit faster then yesterday's.

RAC'em said...

Since we're on the subject...how 'bout them Os?

John Wolfenden said...

Interesting discussion about gender and puzzlers, PG. The perceived obscurity of an answer is definitely subjective, as we see on this blog every day.

I thought "Setting where a medium isn't rare" for SEANCE was terrific. Ditto the Alice in Wonderland mini-theme.

A lot of abbreviations, yes, but the only ones I had an issue with were STR and TNPK.

Looking at PERMANENT WAVE on my laptop screen jogged a memory from high school. My favorite band at the time, Rush had an album of that name whose cover had a woman on it with said do. Never got the double-entendre until now. Thanks, Donna!

HumbleBrit said...

It's INCY, not ITSY - took me ages to figure that one out as it was totally wrong. INCY WINCY SPIDER - ITSY BITSY TEENIE WEENIE (BIKINI)


ModestYank said...

Perhaps it's INCY across the pond. ITSY's more popular around here.

Itsy Bitsy Spider.

mac said...

Good puzzle and really fun write-up. I agree with PG word for word. I don't watch sports a lot, but my husband does and he talks about it. I must somehow absorb a lot of details.

Good thing I got Rodan through crosses, wouldn't know him otherwise.

I'm on my way to the Northsea coast, with real breakers and swells!

florida grandma said...

I got the DP and I am long before
the Title IX era. But had issues with others like NITTI and had to rely on crosses. Fun puzzle again today.

@mac--your mother-in-law gift sounds very much like a tussie mussie to me:-)
I forgot to mention that tussie mussies are also used as table top decorations or even place cards on dining table. Very versatile little items.

backbiter said...

Um, DP means something totally different to me. But I'm a perv.
Caught on to the theme with ripple and breaker. Fun puzzle. I didn't like ACLU and UCLA crossing each other. Might as well have been the same answer. That's like dog crossing god. That is my only gripe.