04.22 Fri

April 22, 2011
Scott Atkinson

Whassuuuppp, my crossword peoples! SethG here today, filling in for PuzzleGirl and her mobile family. SethG is also mobile--I've been busy, so I'm a bit behind on my puzzles. This is the first newspaper puzzle I've done in almost two weeks, so if it turns out that the same theme ran elsewhere yesterday or something don't expect me to mention it. I'll catch up soon, and I'd bet this theme didn't run elsewhere yesterday.

Theme: Spernooisms, aka THE OLD SWITCH ER OO — Theme answers switch the letters ER for OO in common phrases to make less common but wackier phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 5D: The poop deck is a partial deck above a ship's main afterdeck. Below the beforedeck is the [Convicts' level on a prison ship?], the PERP DECK.
  • 11D: Vitus Jonassen Bering was the Danish explorer in the Russian Navy who discovered Alaska. The people who already lived there could see Russia from their igloos. They were less than enthralled, and they yodeled mean stuff at him or something. Anyway, that's why the [Narrow passage where catcalls are heard?] came to be known as The BOOING STRAIT.
  • 24D: A tattoo artist inks, while a TATTER ARTIST is a [Creative user of worn-out clothes?].
  • 41D: When you BOOT Bert LAHR, you [Evict a "Wizard of Oz" actor?].
  • 7D: Deceptive swap that literally resulted in 5-, 11-, 24- and 41-Down (THE OLD SWITCHEROO). This is 16 letters, which is why this puzzle is not a square.
Short write-up today, because I've got to get back to being busy. Before I go, here's some
  • 1A: (SHEEP) were Bo-Peep's [Victims of a storied loser]. She was una perdedora.

  • 10A: [Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus's group] was ABBA. I assume "Ulvaeus" didn't help you much here. Swedish music!
  • 45A. 47A. Speaking of Alaskan passages, The ARCTIC is the [Northwest Passage ocean], the SOVIET was an [Old Russian council].
  • 66A. May, June, July, and August are the only months with no Rs in their names, and oysters apparently like cold. That's why [Like non-oyster months, traditionally] are R-LESS.
  • 38D. 38A. It's cute to cross a cross reference, so you get [See 38-Down] for 38-Across. But that's totally not enough reason to give a pass to CONV. CTRS. being [large pol. arenas]. Ugh.
  • Slate is an E-mag with EDS, birds that CAW would live in a Corvine, and KONG isn't a donkey, and the PEBBLE isn't fruity. Any questions?
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imsdave said...

Very solid grid, brilliant concept, but the execution of the theme fell a little flat for me.

Thanks for filling in Seth - nice job.

Mokus said...

Seth, did that make the native Alaskans foreign policy experts?

I thought of Ben Hur on the PERPDECK of the Roman galley straining at his OAR.

I enjoyed the puzzle and the theme, esp. BOOTLAHR. One of my more enjoyable Friday solves.

Anonymous said...

so, what's an atoz?

VirginiaC said...

@anon. think A to Z.
Great write up, but what was that first video? Awful noise first thing in the a.m.

Tuttle said...

birds that CAW would live in a Corvine

Huh? Am I missing a joke or something? Birds that CAW tend to be members of the genus Corvus; corvines.

I was just reading about Marcus Valerius Corvus who got his cognomen (last name) from a battle wherein a raven settled onto his helmet and distracted a giant Gaul allowing Valerius to slay him.

Anonymous said...

Wow! First a 16x15 this week, and now a 15x16. What did we do to deserve this fun anomaly?! I do the puzzles online - I wish I could have seen how they looked in print.

I thought this was a great puzzle - not flat at all. I loved that we literally had to switch ER and OO. Very clever!

Have a great Easter!

C said...

Thanks to SethG for sitting in for PG. Hmm, they both end in G, are they related?

@VirginiaC, Beck (the artist behind the noise in the first video) is an eclectic dude whose music, IMO, can go from utterly brilliant to WTF? back to completely brilliant in the span of three songs ... on the same album. I like him. He's also a scientologist FWIW. Beck is definitely not everyone's cup of musical tea.

ALEPPO is a word I like saying out loud, I don't know why.

StudioCitySteve said...

@Seth - nice fill-in job, more that I can say for the puzzle. CONV CTRS is horrible, as you've already mentioned. Not fond of POTOK and PRES crossing DIOS, especially with my shaky Spanish happy with DIOZ and equally valid PREZ.

Themewise - OK, I get it, but TATTER in the singular and plural "clothes" in the clue? Nope.

Palamedes said...

@ anonymous:

From a to z -- all inclusive

*David* said...

A nice breezy 16X15 puzzle that was meant to be enjoyable more then anything else. No real spots of resistance just kept on moving through it and then going back and revealing the theme. Interesting to have CARICATURE and YOUAREHERE, 10 letter words not being part of the theme.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Aleppo the missing Marx brother...?

Anonymous said...

OOP'S # 51 down is Iviza not ibiza

John Wolfenden said...

I liked seeing a full-length theme revealer right down the middle. I thought I was about to sail through this puzzle but had a spot o' trouble in the West with ALEPPO/AST. How could I have been doing crosswords this long and not learned about the Atlantic time zone?

Some pretty sparkly cluing. My favorites: "Like non-oyster months, traditionally" for RLESS, "North, once" for UNION and "Horse halter" for WHOA, although that last clue probably should've had a question mark on the end.

I worked on a show about a custom car shop and had to rack my brain to come up with BONDO. Wrote down CMAJOR with 100% confidence, then had to eat humble pie.

I guess I liked it more than most of you.

CoffeeLvr said...

I struggled with this puzzle last night and did not see the SWITCH of ER and OO til I was making my coffee today. The theme reveal down the middle was great, but the four theme answers are just so lame, except for PERP DECK. Booing Strait definitely the worst, and it was the first I solved.

I had much trouble in the center south; kept going back and forth between Coo and CAW - I won't forget that again. I also was stuck on PAck instead of PATH for a hiker. So I gave up and let the software solve the puzzle. Also had an error in the West, Chaim POTeK. Knew the author right away, just not the spelling.

I cannot seem to print these LAT puzzles. Is there a trick I don't know about? I will work on a difficult area longer offline than online.

CoffeeLvr said...

Oh, I wanted to also say Thanks to SethG for providing my blog fix today. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

To John Wolfenden: I hope your humble pie didn't taste too bad, because the "correct" answer is wrong. While A Minor has no sharps or flats in the key signature, the A Minor scale and music written in that key use a black key (G Sharp).

Anonymous said...

A melodic minor has a g sharp. A natural minor does not, so no humble pie involved for John.

John Wolfenden said...

Thanks for the clarification. I played in an orchestra when I was a teenager and it did seem odd that a minor scale wouldn't use any black keys. That's a...dare I say black mark against the puzzle?

chefwen said...

@CoffeeLvr - I had the same problem for two days, everything else on my computer was working fine so I assumed it was the site. Finally, in my frustration, I turned the works off and back on again. Problem solved.

I'm in the "liked it" camp.

mac said...

Liked it too.
Athol gave me some trouble, odd name. Agree that the conv. ctrs. are pretty homely.

Anonymous said...

"Bondo" is a trade name for a polyester auto body filler - it is not an adhesive, per se, despite its name.