05.17 Tue

May 17, 2011
Dan Schoenholz

Theme: One of these things is not like the others — The last words in three theme answers rhyme and the fourth one … doesn't.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Built like George on "Seinfeld" (SHORT AND STOCKY).
  • 33A: Three-term New York governor (GEORGE PATAKI).
  • 43A: Sport played on 58-Downs (ROLLER HOCKEY).
  • 59A: Coors Field player (COLORADO ROCKIE).
So so very disappointed with this one. Cute idea, well-executed for the most part — about what I expect from a Tuesday puzzle. If only it weren't for the fatal flaw. (That fatal flaw will get you every time!) PATAKI doesn't rhyme with STOCKY. It also doesn't rhyme with HOCKEY. Or ROCKIE. It just doesn't. But of course you knew that already. I went to YouTube to see if I could find a clip of him pronouncing his own name — ya know, just to be sure — and found this, which is pretty damn funny now that I think about it:

I like to think I'm the kind of person who can go with the flow, roll with the punches, whatever. But it's hard to get past this particular issue. It's a rhyming theme. And one of the theme answers doesn't rhyme. There are times when I don't appreciate a theme answer but find that others do. And lord knows we've had conversations here and on the other blogs about regional variations in pronounciation. But this is a person's name. A well-known, living person who has probably said his own name in public with cameras rolling a couple thousand times or so. And there's this thing called the Internet now? It's pretty easy to check stuff like this is what I'm saying.

And here's the last thing I'll say. WALKIE TALKIE fits. It has 12 letters, which is exactly what's needed to balance out ROLLER HOCKEY. So, no. Sorry. Terribly, terribly sorry. As 11-year-old PuzzleSon would say: "Epic fail."

Ya know what? I think I'm just going to walk away from the computer right now and try to forget this ever happened.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 37A: One-named Irish singer (ENYA).
  • 38A: Kwik-E-Mart guy on "The Simpsons" (APU).
  • 72A: Tammany Hall cartoonist Thomas (NAST).
  • 30D: October birthstone (OPAL).
  • 41D: Snaky fish (EEL).
[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else 1A: Half a '60s pop quartet (MAMAS); 6A: Trail mix (GORP); 10A: Messes (with) (TOYS); 14A: Precise (EXACT); 15A: Roman love god (AMOR); 16A: "... pretty maids all in __" (A ROW); 17A: Formal rulings (DICTA); 18A: It's usually returned after ordering (MENU); 19A: Irene of "Fame" (CARA); 23A: Fed. disease research org. (NIH); 24A: Mediocre (SO-SO); 25A: Golfer's concern (LIE); 26A: Noun modifier: Abbr. (ADJ.); 29A: "The Matrix" hero (NEO); 31A: "Absolutely!" ("INDEED!"); 39A: Beef-and-veggies concoction (STEW); 48A: Opt not to be a state of the Union (SECEDE); 51A: "Lil'" rapper (KIM); 52A: Corrida cry (OLÉ); 53A: Script or text ending (-URE); 54A: Comply (OBEY); 57A: One of a matching pair (HIS); 64A: Hurried (HIED); 65A: Adidas rival (NIKE); 66A: Country star Travis (RANDY); 68A: 43,560 square feet (ACRE); 69A: Change for a five (ONES); 70A: Mink cousin (OTTER); 71A: "Survey __ ...": game show phrase (SAYS); 73A: Bright signs (NEONS); 1D: T-shirt size: Abbr. (MED.); 2D: Allies' opposition (AXIS); 3D: Speed ratio (MACH); 4D: Heed, as advice (ACT ON); 5D: Transfixed (STARING); 6D: Lisbon's Vasco da __ Bridge (GAMA); 7D: Portents (OMENS); 8D: Sonata's last movement, perhaps (RONDO); 9D: Frederick the Great's realm (PRUSSIA); 10D: Tijuana treat (TACO); 11D: Prophet at Delphi (ORACLE); 12D: Terrier type, familiarly (YORKIE); 13D: Went back and forth (SWAYED); 21D: You, way back when (THEE); 22D: Honky-__ (TONK); 26D: Grow up (AGE); 27D: Home computer site (DEN); 28D: Elation (JOY); 32D: Computer insert (DISC); 34D: Bloody at the steakhouse (RARE); 35D: Goon (APE); 36D: The NBA's Mehmet Okur, e.g. (TURK); 40D: Decision when the ref stops the fight (TKO); 42D: Ex follower (WYE); 44D: Polecat's defense (ODOR); 45D: It borders Israel to the north (LEBANON); 46D: Sunshine cracker (HI-HO); 47D: Pi preceder (OMICRON); 48D: For example (SUCH AS); 49D: Beethoven's Third (EROICA); 50D: Bloody Mary stalk (CELERY); 55D: Twin Cities suburb (EDINA); 56D: Joins, as oxen (YOKES); 58D: Enjoy the ice (SKATE); 60D: Poems sometimes beginning with "To a" (ODES); 61D: Take a break (REST); 62D: "He's Just Not That __ You": 2009 film (INTO); 63D: Garden site (EDEN); 67D: 12-mo. periods (YRS.).


Anonymous said...

Don't get your knickers in a knot. It does rhyme, though it isn't a perfect rhyme. An extra syllable removes the perfection but not the rhyme.

Bill said...

I thought "Roller Hockey" was weakly clued from "skate". Yes, roller hockey is played on skates, roller skates that is... duh. The clue for 58D is "enjoy the ice", which pretty much implies ice skates.

I was less disturbed about the rhyming, but since I get the puzzle from the web site, I don't ever know what the name of the theme is anyway so it is usually of little help.

Mari said...

Agree with Bill. I thought the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I didn't first see the rhyme pattern . . . I saw 4 ways to spell "key" on the ends of four words -(ky) -(ki) -(key) and (kie) . . . I could be wrong . . .

Steve said...

@PG - agree with "epic fail" - I'll add "meh", just to show that I'm not a dinosaur.

I really really didn't like "ROCKIE" although I got it right away - I'm totally not convinced that a player on the Rockies is a Rockie .. I I could live with ROCKY - I'm trying to think of a similar team name ending but I'm struggling to come up with one.

I did like SECEDE and I don't know why, but I always like seeing EROICA, it's a fun word.

Steve said...

Oh - @Bill - they don't name the theme in the print edition either, except on Sundays. It's up to you to figure out the theme (if you want to, that is).

Rex Parker said...

Just "fail." Not very epic. I mean ... those answers mostly rhyme. That is the best thing I can say about them. In my part of NY, PATAKI does not rhyme w/ the others, but I can see where maybe it's supposed to.


Pete said...

Does Rich not adhere to the proscription of a word or name (George) appearing in both a clue and an answer?
I think Pataki's pronounciation of his own name makes any other ponounciation wrong.

Neville said...

My gripe with WALKIE TALKIE: I pronounce the Ls in both of these words. That said, based on how I pronounce PATAKI (ACK!), I like it better.

Fill: nothing to write home about.

The temple-rubs are great, but I think that this one deserves even a facepalm. I bet PuzzleSon knows this one, too.

VirginiaC said...

I agree with Bill. The puzzle went smoothly for me and I enjoyed it. Am I the only person on the planet who thinks Letterman's an ass?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous...I agree with you on the "key" theme.

sjok said...

I always pronunc Pataki as potocky, not potacky so it rhymed for me. The ones I didn't like were "Gorp" which I hqave never noticed on the grocery shelf and would not buy it if I did. To me, "gorp" sounds like an onomatopeic word for regugitating. "Dicta" is something I have never seen or heard being used and probably its use is restricted to arcane legal writings. I also don't like a "lil" rapper answer crossing the country of origin of a basketball player.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they all end with "key", but when 3 rhyme, the 4th should rhyme too. Bad puzzle.

Tuttle said...

I don't rhyme Pataki with the others, but they did provide three different spellings of the -oky sound. Four if you do rhyme Pataki with the others.


OK, my nit for the day. 11-D. ORACLE and prophet are synonyms. The specific ORACLE/Prophet at the temple of Apollo at Delphi was the Pythoness.

To make it worse, "prophet" is derived from the Greek while ORACLE is derived from the Latin. So at Delphi they would have referred to the Pythoness as "prophetikos" not "oraculum" (or whatever the correct declension and gender of those words are).

That said, the "Oracle of Delphi" is such a common term it was no problem at all to get.

Margaret said...

I've only seen PATAKI written and I did think it rhymed with HOCKEY; no idea he pronounced it with the ACK sound! Huh. The things you learn. I sure never saw him on Letterman, because @VirginiaC is not alone.

C said...

I never ever thought the theme was about rhyming, rather, all of the different ways to spell the "key" sound at the end of a word. I non-anonymously agree with the @anonymous crowd.

Puzzle itself was OK, nothing too sparkly or too drab.

*David* said...

Pataki rhymes in this section of California, nothing else really to say about the puzzle. It did go by remarkably fast. My only thought was RONDO originally clued as Boston Celtic guard.

JaxInL.A. said...

I have a gripe with 17A, "formal rulings." The answer, DICTA, is wrong. When a judge writes a ruling (also called an opinion), part of it says what the outcome of the case is, and why. Part of it might go deeper into the history of that part of law, or talk about implications for other kinds of cases, or other stuff that is related but not directly on point or part of the formal ruling. THAT stuff is DICTA. In fact, when a lawyer wants to ignore part of an opinion, s/he will characterize it as DICTA. The clue is just wrong.

As for the rhyme, well, it gave occasion for PG's entertaining rant and that funny clip, so I count it as successful. I don't know why I find it amusing to have LEBANON mirror PRUSSIA, But there's some nice fill. Fine for me for a Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Walkie talkie wouldn't have worked because they wanted the rhyming answers to all have the endings spelled differently (-cky; -ki; -ckey; -ckie)

Nighthawk said...

@JaxInLA is totally correct. In fact, when a lawyer has based part of her argument in a case on language from a prior opinion that is not part of the "holding" (the "ruling") in that prior opinion, the opinion of the court in the case the lawyer argued will often include the most scathing phrase about that lawyers argument the court could possibly make, saying that the lawyer's argument is totally unfounded because she relied on "mere DICTA" from the prior opinion. Mere DICTA is completely irrelevant to a "formal ruling" in the prior case.

Anonymous said...

Steve, re: is a member of the Rockies a Rocky....is a member of the Red Sox a Red Sock?

Anonymous said...

The pronunciation is the same as Helga Pataki from "Hey Arnold"

Marvin Belli "King of Torts" said...

In United States legal terminology, a dictum (plural dicta) is a statement of opinion or belief considered authoritative though not binding, because of the authority of the person making it.

There are multiple subtypes of dicta, although due to their overlapping nature, legal practitioners in the U.S. colloquially use dicta to refer to any statement by a court that extends beyond the issue before the court. Dicta in this sense are not binding under the principle of stare decisis, but tend to have a strong persuasive effect, either by being in an authoritative decision, stated by an authoritative judge, or both.

Anonymous said...

Dicta is indeed a formal ruling. A subtype is judicial dicta which is an opinion, etc... by a court that is not essential to its decision. Most practicing lawyers are familar with JAXINLA's interpretation, but according to Black's Law Dictionary 9th Edition, the puzzle clue appears to be valid.

Steve said...

@Anonymous 10:54 - wow, that's a good one. I'm going to invoke the "sheep/sheep" rule here and say that he's a Sox.

We need a sportswriter from the Boston Globe to tell us for sure.

You'd say that The Babe retired as a Yankee, but would you say that he started his career as a Sock? A Sox?

I'm sure you'd have the copy editor rewriting the sentence completely to avoid the issue "Former Sox pitcher Babe Ruth retired today as the greatest Yankee power hitter of all time"

Issue avoidance can be tempting :)

Anonymous said...

@SJKO = GORP is "Good Old Raisins & Peanuts", the original trail mix. You would never find it as such in a supermarket, you just buy raisins and peanuts & dump them in a bag. They mix themselves on the trail.

CoffeeLvr said...

I knew GORP instantly, but unlike Anon @12:17 PM, I think of it as Granola, Oats, Raisins, and Peanuts. I do recognize the redundancy here (oats are an ingredient in granola), but that's how I learned it. The internet supports both uses. I still some times make my own trail mix, but have upgraded the ingredients to include almonds and other nuts, dried cranberries, M&Ms or Reese's Pieces, and cereals with larger bits than typical granola. The sad part is that I eat it on the road behind the wheel instead of on the trail. I share with my bicycling son.

Barry said...

Agree with having a misfire on the theme. I actually remembered the pronunciation of Pataki from the Letterman show. Back then, he often made light of the names of various political figures (like Butrous Butrous Gali).

Was annoyed at the COLORADO ROCKIE, like Steve, until I googled up the singular of Rockies and found people saying that the Rockies themselves consider the correct singular spelling to be "Rockie." Googled "Rockie starter" and got 33 legitimate hits. Googled "Rocky starter" and got 3 legitimate hits (after taking out martyr and daihatsu from the results. Apparently, just like Steve says, the writers often just avoid the necessity of using the singular of Rockies. Easy enough to do.

Had no clue on GORP or GAMA, making the north central my last area to fill and didn't like DICTA

But I like ERIOCA (always liked that word) and CELERY in the puzzle.

Overall, an okay puzzle with a misfire on the theme.

xxpossum@html.com said...

Gorp? Really? Whatever. L8r.

Sfingi said...

In my part of NY, they all rhyme. But, in VT, HOCKEY is pronounced hawky.

Anonymous said...

Twist your knickers any time you want, PG. I agree with you.


brainylagirl said...

Along with the (ice) SKATE --> ROLLER DERBY and the weak-rhyme (see what I did there), my nit to pick came with the very first clue. EXACT and precise are not synonomous. They each refer to a particular phenomenon. It's not redundate, for instance, to say that a person shooting a bow & arrow does so with exactidude and precision. One refers to the ability to hit a mark (exact), the other to repeatedly hitting the same area or point (precise).

brainylagirl said...

@JaxinLA - Thanks for that little precis on court dicta vs. ruling.

Greg said...

Interesting to find out about "ROCKIE" although ROCKY makes much more sense to me.

Glad someone remembered what "GORP" stood for, its been a long time since Kindergarten when we had it for a snack.

Puzzle wasn't an epic fail--better than last Friday's.

tutu said...

Slammed in short and stocky @ 20A, ( hugh fan) got to 30A and thought, a theme on "Georges?" Ha! Not into sports, but what about philly-phillie? Not sure if thats what you meant. I have seen gorp a few times in cws. The lessons on dicta were appreciated. May I say welcome back sfingi! Thanks again P.G. you are always spot on

Conrad said...

I think GORP is going to be my new substitute cuss word.
Ex. "What the gorp is "gorp"?! Stupid gorpin' word..."