04.27 Wed

April 27, 2011
Victor Fleming

Theme: Black Tie Optional — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase ending in a word that can be part of a dress shirt.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: One of a pool table pair (SIDE POCKET).
  • 24A: Illegal football tackle involving grabbing the inside of the shoulder pads from behind or the side (HORSE COLLAR).
  • 36A: Album holders (RECORD SLEEVES).
  • 48A: Seafood entrée (LOBSTER TAIL).
  • 58A: Item featuring the ends of 17-, 24-, 36- and 48-Across (DRESS SHIRT).
Good morning, everybody! And big thanks to My Boys™: Doug, Seth, Sam and Neville. It was so nice to take a couple days off and know the blog was in good hands. I appreciate you guys!

It's still a little nuts around here because there are a few random moving details to take care of this week, but for the most part we're in our new house and it's awesome. This is gonna be a great house for us and I'm excited about being here. But, hey! Let's talk about the puzzle!

Today we have a very nice Wednesday offering from Judge Fleming. The theme wasn't immediately recognizable to me because I had to skip over the HORSE COLLAR theme entry, having no idea what that might be from the clue. I had the HO in place early and assumed the answer would start with HOLD, but that didn't last long. So I had SIDE POCKET and RECORD SLEEVES first, then jumped back up to the northeast and filled in HORSE COLLAR and by then the theme was clear. (Wait. Do dress shirts typically have tails? Discuss.)

  • 14A: Sex educator Hite (SHERE). I always have to think about how to spell her name. I can never remember how to spell SHERI/SHARI Lewis either.
  • 20A: Franken and Gore (ALS).

  • 29A: Trick (CON). Was it yesterday we had the PRO/CON puzzle? (I'm a little behind….)
  • 31A: Head, to Cécile (TÊTE). French!
  • 47A: Big name in stationery (EATON). Once, a long time ago, I commented that I always wanted the stationery answer to be CRANE and it never was. Amy took that opportunity to teach me that there are so many other ways to clue CRANE, it would never be clued as the stationery company. Good point!
  • 62A: Major-__ (DOMO). This was honestly the first thing that came to mind, but I didn't think it would be right. I don't even really know what this means. Something computer geeky. I remember seeing it back in the Usenet days. Or, what was the thing before Usenet? It had initials. A couple Rs maybe?
  • 64A: Part of SSS: Abbr. (SYST.). I don't have time to look it up, but I'm gonna say this stands for Selected Service SYSTem.
  • 1D: Battery partner (ASSAULT). I'm really bad at figuring out these types of clues. I always think about it the wrong way around. Like, I was thinking "Battery and _____" and wasn't coming up with anything. Obviously.
  • 3D: Voting map designation (RED STATE). This is a great entry.
  • 4D: Infuriation (IRE). Not thrilled about seeing both IRE and IRATE in the same grid (54A: Foaming at the mouth, so to speak).
  • 11D: Jacket features (LAPELS). Bonus non-theme theme answer!
  • 13D: Aristocracy (GENTRY). This made me chuckle. I hardly ever think of Vic Fleming without also thinking of his sometime collaborator, friend, and all-around lovely woman Bonnie GENTRY.
  • 25D: Where to study mathématiques (ÉCOLE). More French!
  • 32D: One walking in front of a train (BRIDE). Me: "Dumb-ass?"
  • 34D: Fashion monogram (YSL). Ya know what? I'm gonna count this as even more French!
  • 35D: Like "Nip/Tuck," rating-wise (TV-MA). Mature Audience? Again, that's just off the top of my head.
  • 38D: Humbly takes the blame (EATS DIRT). Raise your hand if you tried EATS CROW first.
  • 47D: Inventor Otis (ELISHA). Of elevator fame. Not to be confused with ELIHU Yale. I say that because I often confuse them. Well, I don't actually confuse them, I just forget which one of them has which first name.
  • 52D: AOL communications (IM'S). Instant Messages. Do people still use AOL? I guess they do.
  • 58D: Bridge installer's deg. (DDS). Ha! I went to the dentist yesterday. Nothing serious, just a regular old six-month check-up. I swear to God, though, while I was there I heard the song 63A: "HERE I Go Again": Whitesnake #1 song. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.
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Everything Else 1A: Stinging (ACRID); 6A: Texas Rangers CEO Nolan (RYAN); 10A: Go, as through mud (SLOG); 15A: Billion add-on (-AIRE); 16A: Hobbler's support (CANE); 19A: Take the stage first (OPEN); 21A: Old-fashioned wedding vow pronoun (THEE); 22A: Inhabited, with "in" (DWELT); 23A: Final: Abbr. (ULT.); 27A: Prevaricators (LIARS); 30A: Bond, for one (SPY); 32A: M16 attachment (BAYONET); 40A: Practiced with the platoon (DRILLED); 41A: When repeated, a food fish (MAHI); 46A: Citrus drink (ADE); 53A: Shipping lane milieu (SEA); (IRATE); 55A: Prefix with sphere (HEMI-); 56A: Sot's syndrome, briefly (DT'S); 57A: Moore of "Ghost" (DEMI); 65A: Part of a process (STEP); 66A: Starlike flower (ASTER); 2D: More in need of a sweater, say (CHILLIER); 5D: Ocean-bottom areas (DEPTHS); 6D: Indy entrant (RACER); 7D: "Uh-oh!" ("YIKES!"); 8D: "__ you for real?" (ARE); 9D: Court divider (NET); 10D: Displeased look (SCOWL); 12D: Quarter-mile, maybe (ONE LAP); 18D: "Gotcha!" ("OHO!"); 22D: Charity, e.g. (DONEE); 26D: Funnel-shaped (CONED); 28D: Stamp for an incoming pkg. (RECD.); 33D: Freud contemporary (ADLER); 37D: Get on the soapbox (ORATE); 39D: Shape-maintaining insert (SHOE TREE); 42D: Agitated (IN A STIR); 43D: Skips over in pronunciation (ELIDES); 44D: Extremely (SORELY); 45D: First family (OBAMAS); 49D: Clown heightener (STILT); 50D: Most crosswords have one (THEME); 51D: Fabulous fellow? (AESOP); 59D: Rubbish (ROT); 60D: "For __ a jolly ..." (HE'S).


Anonymous said...

Great puzzle. No SLOG.
Gore and Franken. Two comedians.
Liked bridge installers deg. (DDS).
YEA for "more French"!
Also an EATS CROW person.
Captcha: ACTORNA
Movie celeb that's not available

John Wolfenden said...

Welcome back PG.

Wow, what a difference from yesterday's puzzle. A cornucopia of captchas! From ELISHA Otis to SSS to HORSE COLLAR. And I can't help but wonder if that sex educator endured many jokes about her stature ("What do you find so attractive about her?" "I'd say it's her...SHERE HITE.")

Other cool terms abound, like SIDE POCKET, BAYONET, EATS DIRT and SHOE TREE. Does anyone use a shoe tree anymore?

Also liked the cluing on "One walking in front of a train" for BRIDE and "Fabulous fellow" for AESOP.

Nice work, Victor Fleming. Just the man to use SPY in a puzzle.

tutu said...

Welcome back girl, ya still got it! Thanks Mr. Fleming & @PG. Oh and the picture of B.G. reminded me of your write up about the ACPT & Merl Reagle & the game with the states,yada yada,is the answer Nimoy? Sorry if it has already been answered. So glad the move went well but I had no doubts.

cw stewart said...

Nice puzzle, Victor! Yes, dress shirts have tails..anyway my mother was always insisting that my dad "tuck in" his shirt tail. I loved the clue for bride...one who walks in front of a train. This puzze was just a nice smooth solve and had lots of interesting words.

Tuttle said...

MajorDOMO was an old email application that won't even compile anymore (written in PERL, but not updated in over a decade), but the word itself means the highest (major) person of a household (DOMO) staff.

Eats crow guy too. Never even heard EATS DIRT used in this sense. And I thought IN A STIR meant 'in jail'... or is that just 'in stir'?

Anonymous said...

Best clue ever for YSL: "French sewer".

CoffeeLvr said...

I agree, PG, don't like IRE and IRATE in the same grid. I also don't care for IRATE and ORATE sharing a puzzle. Love the clue for AESOP.

@JohnW, I use shoe trees in my leather shoes, especially loafer style. I put them in after wearing the shoes, especially in warm weather. I think the shoes do hold their shape better.

sjok said...

SSS = "Selective Service System" which, as a youth, I avoided by joining the US Army Reserves. I was a terrible soldier.

Rube said...

A pleasant Wednesday diversion, this puzzle. I wonder if the young'uns know what a RECORD SLEEVE is? Would really rather not see abbreviations like ULT in my xwds. Have no idea what "Nip/Tuck" is so needed all the crosses to get TVMA. I guess TV ratings are important to some people, but for those of us who primarily watch the History Channel, NOVA and the like, ratings are not of much concern.

StudioCitySteve said...

All of the above, really nice puzzle, and welcome back @PG

One thing - I'm never sure about a prevaricator being a liar though - to me, it's more subtle than that - someone who doesn't quite give a straight answer rather than an out-and-out liar. I've got used to the "crossword" definition I suppose, but I'd never use it like that in speech myself.

hebow44 said...

OK I give up. Can someone help me with this Captcha reverence I keep seeing in crossword blogs? I looked it up on Wikipedia, but that definition didn't seem to fit. I'm sure it has something to do with being clever! Just the way I felt getting the bride clue.

C said...

Heh, I found myself arguing with the TAIL portion of the theme and I was sure it made no sense as that was part of a Tuxedo jacket. So I stormed over to @PG's corner to get my vindication in regards to my opinion and I realized I was wrong. I have found the down side to wearing T-Shirts only, no shirt TAILs which can lead to arguing with perfectly acceptable crossword theme answers. I'll never be able to wear a T-shirt the same now ...

Neville said...

DRESS SHIRTS definitely have tails - even more so than polos. Some might argue that T-shirts have tails because you can still tuck them in.

Big ups for DOMO-kun! ^_^ Back in university (a full year ago), there was an automated majordomo@ email address that would email you if you wanted to subscribe to an email list. I remember using it for Outing Club, but it appears it was only otherwise used for fitness classes, theatre productions, and one sorority. Hmm. Domo arigato, major-domo roboto.

Had the same GENTRY moment while solving - that was a treat!

Anonymous said...

The captcha is the weird little sequence of letters you have to type when you make a comment, to make sure you're a human & not a computer. Sometimes they spell something humorous.

Spammers always find ways around these things. From the wikipedia article: "Spammers pay about $0.80 to $1.20 for each 1,000 solved CAPTCHAs to companies employing human solvers in Bangladesh, China, India, and many other developing nations."

mac said...

Nice puzzle, and especially nice to see the shout-out to the lovely Bonnie Gentry!

Sorry, I only knew the old meaning of major-domo.

Good to have you back, PG, and hope you and your family will feel at home in the new house soon!

badams52 said...

Echoing all other sentiment on the BRIDE clue and the DDS clue. Didn't put in EATScrow cause I couldn't even think of a phrase for being humble besides eating humble pie.

I gues PG could say that she is irked by seeing ire and irate in the same puzzle. :)

Orange said...

Welcome back, PuzzleGirl!

Pretty sure I have dibs on Sam and Neville as My Boys™. :-) Poacher!

@hebow44, just ignore the captchas aside from typing them in when commenting. If you're not gonna build a cartoon around a non-word, what's the point? Ah, I remember the days when Blogger captchas were just random, unpronounceable bunches of letters and nobody could make jokes about them.

chefwen said...

I really wanted 32D to be "idiot". Couple of write overs, rabid before IRATE, eng before DDS, in a snit before STIR and lived in before DWELT.

A nice puzzle, thank you Mr. Fleming and welcome back PG.

Anonymous said...

I had "lived" instead of "dwelt" in the upper right for a while, and that really jammed me up until the end.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the nice comments. A dress shirt has a tail. Dress shirts, thus, do have tails. Rich and I actually discussed this during theme approval for this puzzle. A certain dress coat has tails. But, semantically, a shirt has a tail. As in, "Tuck in your shirt tail, young man!" Thus, an earlier stage of the theme layout, with a TAILS phrase was ineligible. It is important to note, as I am sure you all did, that each theme entry uses the "part" in a non-shirt context. That is what makes a theme such as this, although it is difficult to teach to new constructors.


Rube said...

Thx for showing up Vic. It's always enjoyable to hear from the constructor. Re each theme word appearing in a non theme way: I think we are so accustomed to seeing this that we don't really think of it -- at least that's my situation.

Thx again.

Rojo said...

I had fun with this one, but after checking this post, I no longer have any thoughts on it, because I just want to listen to some Otis Redding.

Elevators are nice, but Otis Redding is one of the greatest of all time.