04.06 Wed

April 6, 2011
Patti Varol

Theme: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — References to the movie all over the grid!

Theme answers:

  • 1A: *"Bohemian Rhapsody" group (QUEEN).
  • 6A: *Poet Whitman (WALT).
  • 52A: *Cry of surprise (HEIGH-HO).
  • 68A: *Frosted flakes (SNOW).
  • 69A: *Chess side (WHITE).
  • 23A: *Painfully shy (BASHFUL).
  • 26A: *Tormented by pollen, say (SNEEZY).
  • 31A: *Cross (GRUMPY).
  • 40A: *Medico's address (DOC).
  • 44A: *Like a quiet town (SLEEPY).
  • 13D: *All smiles (HAPPY).
  • 48D: *Not very bright (DOPEY).
  • 48A: *He won 26 Oscars, including an Academy Honorary Award (consisting of one full-sized and seven miniature statuettes) for the film depicted in this puzzle's starred answers (DISNEY).
Wow. The theme was just everywhere today! Some of it seemed kind of random but once it's all put together — pretty impressive. I love that the theme answers were all clued as something other than a Disney reference (except for DISNEY, of course). I believe this is Patti's debut puzzle so I just want to say, "You nailed it, girl." (I also want to say that I've been told I met Patti at the ACPT last month and … I just don't remember. Sorry! Nothing personal! Next year let's do lunch!!)

With so much theme, I'm a little surprised that I found two entries that really stood out to me as awesome: WAFFLE (6D: Hem and haw) and STAGE MOM (42A: Parent who minds how her kid acts?). Speaking of STAGE MOMs, I think we've talked about "Toddlers & Tiaras" here before, haven't we? Well, the first season is now available on Netflix instant stream (or whatever that's called) and I watched the very first episode and I must say it was completely horrifying. Even more than I thought it would be. Those STAGE MOMs are absolutely nutty. And I certainly don't mean to leave the dads out. They're wacky too.

There were two places in the grid where knowing a little more than I needed to slowed me down. That happens to people who are experts in certain areas. A clue will seem completely obvious to the rest of us, but the expert is going "Well, in the northern hemisphere the blah-blah-blah genus is more prevalent, and it's probably not the blah-blah-blah, because that's found only in a few villages in Pakistan…." My areas of expertise are not quite so lofty as horticulture or medicine, however. Today, in fact, they're John Irving books and country musicians. Yep, I had to think quite a bit before coming up with GARP for the 19A: Irving hero. My first thought was Owen Meany because that's one of my favorite books of all times. Then I considered Charlotte Simmons even though that's not actually John Irving, it's Tom Wolfe, so maybe being an expert wasn't actually my problem here? The other clue that caused me to think a little more than necessary was 54D: Brooks of C&W. I actually thought of Kix Brooks first. That's right, Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. I mean that's just sad. Not that there's anything wrong with Kix Brooks, but come on. He's not exactly in the same league with GARTH.

Hey, remember how we were talking yesterday about women and sports references? Did you catch the clue for CTR today? CTR is, of course, an abbreviation for CENTER, which is a position in a lot of sports including basketball. The clue in today's puzzle, though, explicitly references women's professional basketball — 47A: WNBA position. I love it when stuff like that happens that makes it seem like I know what I'm talking about.

That's about all I have time for today. So, in conclusion:
  • 24D: Stop in Québec? (ARRET). French!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 10A: Exotic food fish (OPAH).
  • 27A: Torino time period (ORA).
  • 67A: "Son of Frankenstein" role (YGOR).
  • 3D: Hosp. test (EEG).
  • 7D: On the safer side (ALEE).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 14A: Año Nuevo month (ENERO); 15A: Irish Spring variety (ALOE); 16A: Wife of Zeus (HERA); 17A: Sudoku fill-in (DIGIT); 18A: Fronded plant (FERN); 20A: Starbucks pickup (COFFEE); 22A: Man with morals (AESOP); 28A: Good thinking (REASON); 34A: Overhauls (REBUILDS); 39A: Aladdin's helper (GENIE); 41A: Red simile words (A BEET); 45A: Dojo discipline (KARATE); 55A: Quarterfinals complement, e.g. (OCTAD); 56A: Danube capital (VIENNA); 58A: Like a noted piper (PIED); 59A: Watch (TEND); 60A: Roads scholar? (TRAMP); 64A: Feminine suffix (-ENNE); 65A: Corleone family head (VITO); 66A: "We're out of choices" (OTHER); 1D: Proof abbr. (QED); 2D: Cycle prefix (UNI-); 4D: "Love Story" novelist Segal (ERICH); 5D: __ this world: bizarre (NOT OF); 8D: Passed-down stories (LORE); 9D: Downing Street number (TEN); 10D: "My goodness" ("OH GEE"); 11D: "__ porridge hot ..." (PEASE); 12D: Paella ingrediente (ARROZ); 21D: Faulkner's "The Sound and the __" (FURY); 22D: Like some reports (ANNUAL); 23D: His 3,000th hit was a homer (BOGGS); 25D: Healthful hot spot (SAUNA); 26D: Cry noisily (SOB); 29D: Starbucks pickup (AROMA); 30D: NYSE overseer (SEC); 32D: "Top Gun" foe (MIG); 33D: Didn't wait for Christmas (PEEKED); 35D: "May __ of service?" (I BE); 36D: Hanger-on (LEECH); 37D: Pool statistic (DEPTH); 38D: Start to foam? (STYRO-); 40D: Palme __: Cannes film award (D'OR); 43D: Has the okay (MAY); 44D: Spotted (SEEN); 46D: Market index, familiarly (THE DOW); 49D: Best part of the cake, to some (ICING); 50D: Shorthand pro (STENO); 51D: "Unsafe at Any Speed" author (NADER); 53D: Attached to a trailer hitch (IN TOW); 56D: Vital thin blue line (VEIN); 57D: Passionate about (INTO); 59D: RCA products (TV'S); 61D: Sushi bar tuna (AHI); 62D: Congregated (MET); 63D: Not post- (PRE-).


Barry S said...

Impressive debut puzzle, Patti! Enjoyed solving it.

imsdave said...

Huge props to Ms. Varol. Amazingly smooth considering the theme density.

Captcha - fanshe. Poor grammer, but a great description of my admiration for this constructors' effort today.

v-man said...

Wow a lot of theme answers for a puzzle of this size and totally missed the queen answer as one of them. Always enjoy on the very rare ocassion my name, Vito, is in the puzzle however it's always a Corleone reference. It probably stems back to never hearing my name called by Miss Sally on Romper Room. Not sure if that was just a local show or not. Anyway a pretty smooth solve.

StudioCitySteve said...

Really nice for a debut - good job! I'm with @PG - STAGEMOMS was great!

However - Pease Porridge? Sorry, it's Pease Pudding. Really. It is.

Do I get the long-distance solve prize today? I'm in Milan airport.

Pete said...

I totally missed the theme, and in doing so got annoyed at the clue for HEIGHHO. Now I feel foolish. In retrospect, I wish STAGEMOM had somehow been changed to STEPMOM, just to fill in the story.

SCSteve - Never heard of Pease pudding. Google says PEASE Porridge is more commonly used, but historically I'm guessing you're more correct.

RAC'em said...

If you're talking about the stuff in the pot nine days old, I go with porridge.

CarolC said...

Good puzzle, especially for a debut. Loved the Disney theme and answers. Thanks, Patti.

@PG, I got GARTH right away but my hubby went immediately for Kix Brooks when I asked him.

My favorites of the day were Starbucks pickup AROMA and SNOW for frosted flakes.

I grew up with Romper Room and:

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot nine days old, etc.

Doug P said...

What PuzzleGirl said! Great puzzle today. I love the fact that theme is literally crammed into every corner. Impressive & fun-to-solve construction.

@Pete - Isn't STEPMOM more of a "Cinderella" thing?

c w stewart said...

Really nice puzzle considering the theme density. Congratualtions, Patti on you debut.


Avg Joe said...

It's all been said by y'all already, but I'll chime in with another "Excellent debut puzzle" rave.

It started out very smooth, but got more difficult the further down you went. Clever and difficult cluing, but still sussable.

Pete said...

@Doug P - Evil Step Moms are universal in lore. The evil queen in Snow White was her Step Mom.

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter whether it's PEASE porridge or PEASE pudding? It's just fetid mashed-up peas.

John Wolfenden said...

This puzzle sets two records in my book: 13 theme answers and the clue for 48A is so long it doesn't fit in the clue space when solving online.

Loved the picture of the STAGE MOM. L.A. has the dubious distinction of being home to more of them than any other city I'm sure.

The NW gave me some problems, with the ENERO/ERICH cross and having EIGHT for DIGIT.

Pretty smooth...my only nitpicks are:

- Something like "None of the above" might be a better clue than "We're out of choices" for OTHER.

- Isn't HEIGH HO a working song, not a cry of surprise? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Looking forward to more from Patti!

...another vote for porridge.

Doug P said...

Oh, interesting, Pete. I didn't know there was a "Snow White" stepmother connection. When I think of stepmoms, I think of Carol Brady. Definitely not evil.

Wilhelm G said...

@Doug P - The whole evil stepmother mootif in fairy tales is just a Freudian thing, hating the woman who's the competition for the affections of Daddy. It has to be a stepmother otherwise it would be way too icky. Then the prince comes along and makes them irrelevant.

Wilhelm G said...

@Doug P - The Brady Bunch would have been way different if the daughters belonged to Daddy, the sons to Mommy.

*David* said...

I liked this one quite a bit and interesting grid shape, felt like lots of mini-puzzles inside the grid. It went much faster once I got Mr. Disney, lots of other themes could work with him.

Anonymous said...

Interesting ... this has been done twice before. Once in 1994 and again in 2005.

I think it is a fine puzzle as well, but it is a re-cycled theme.

C said...

I agree with all the previous comments, excellent debut puzzle, encore!

My one quibble, which may only have an audience of one, is that the first two answers I put into the puzzle were QUEEN and WALT which were both starred. I was able to infer Snow White as the thing that could hold those two words together which then made the puzzle very easy after two answers. I am happy to give up challenge for quality, though, so no more than a quibble.

CoffeeLvr said...

Perhaps a side effect of my new sleep medicine, but I actually did not see (all of) the theme until PG clued me in. And I even have a ceramic set of SNOW WHITE and the 7 dwarfs. (I wanted dwarves, but the spell checker disagrees. Still think I am right.)

All this time, I thought the 7 were singing Hi-Ho. Of course, when you first hear it before you can spell, no wonder you think of the cracker box.

Sfingi said...

@Doug P - A stepmom was the one who plotted to get Hansel and Gretel lost in the woods.

Very cute puzzle, relatively easy.
I had JESus before AESOP (man with morals)!
and openED before PEEKED, HEavens before HEIGHHO (cry of surprise).
Wanted Rip van Winkle for Irving hero.

Mini-theme Starbucks pickup.

Speaking of side-kicks in Disney versions, I was afraid we'd have the parrot, Iago. In the real Pinocchio, the cricket is killed early on. But, I must say, Rapunzel's chameleon, Pascal, is a cute addition. The Disney gang loves side-kicks.

My grandmother was forever telling me I look PEaK-ED, 2 syllables, meaning pale, I guess. As you can see by my photo, that's my normal look.

Captcha - annessan - is that Jennifer?

syndy said...

Had H---HHO* and wondered which dwarf this was,so when I got HEIGHHO I laughed OH he was the one getting high in the other room!mostly lived the puzz alot -BUT "ABEET" is that a partial partial?

CrazyCatLady said...

Agree with Puzzle Girl et al that this was a very nice debut. Got the theme by the time I had filled in QUEEN, WALT and BASHFUL. I was wondering where the Prince was though. Wasn't there a prince in Snow White? Or maybe I'm thinking of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a GENIE. Then there was that other DISNEY character, TRAMP. Like @ Sfingi, I first thought Irving was Washington instead of John since I was still in TAPPAN Zee mode from the weekend. Really liked WAFFLE crossing COFFEE.

@/Studio City - Wish I was in Milan.

Anonymous said...

I have never in my life been surprised and said Heigh Ho, nor have I ever heard anyone else do so. I also always thought the dwarves sang Hi Ho because they were happy. But, who cares, I really really liked this puzzle. It was fun thinking of all the dwarves.
em jay

NJ Irish said...

Agree with PG, great debut puzzle, loved the Disney theme though didn’t get it from filling in Queen had to had a few dwarves
first., then the mine/mind lamp came on.

Way to go Patti, more please.

HUTCH said...

Thank you,constuctor, for a puzzle I finally solved and which made my Wednesday happy [not grumpy].Decent clues unlike Saturdays. Please do it again.eboarca

backbiter said...

I was running late for work so time to solve this morning. I just finished it now. And Wow, what a fun puzzle. If that's a debut then I can't wait for upcoming puzzles from Patti Varol. Very nice, indeed.



Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the puzzle and got all but four in NE (good for me on a Wed). Mini themes fun and other Disney's thrown in (afore mentioned Genie/Tramp). I too thought opened and heavens at 1st. Also wanted Biggio for 23d, but I knew that was a single he tried to leg into a 2-bagger.

For what its worth my Bostonian Father-in-Law (RIP) would say Heigh-ho! when someone called...

Warm in Houston....

Susan said...

er...what is pease porridge for goodness sake? Could it possibly be from 'pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold, pease pudding in a pot 9 days old'? Someone please explain! What's the point in trying to do a crossword when the clues are just plain wrong? Very disappointing Patti! You've lost all credibility with me!

patti said...

Thank you, everyone, for your high, high praise of my puzzle. There are more in the works, but I have my doubts that I can top this one. Thanks for making my day!