05.28 Sat

May 28, 2011
Bonnie L. Gentry

Theme: None

What better way to start out a long holiday weekend than with a tough Saturday themeless. This one was a pretty good workout, don't you think? There are a couple entries that stood out to me. I like HIPSTER (1A: Hardly a square), especially because the other day I tried to enter it into a grid where POP STAR was supposed to go. HAIL A CAB (28A: Decide not to walk, perhaps) looks good in the grid and has a pretty tricky clue. I tried TAKE A BUS first. And what can I say about EGG AND I (64A: Ma and Pa Kettle debut film, with "The")?! Never heard of the movie and I have to admit the title made me laugh.

Today I'm going to walk you through some of the trickiness in this grid, and then we're going to call it good so you can get outside where you belong.

First, the ambiguous word clues.

  • 24D: Apple and peacock, e.g. (LOGOS). What the heck could an apple and a peacock have in common? No wait, maybe the reference is to colors? Apple red? That's not really a color. Oh, I get it! They're both used as LOGOS for a couple of pretty well-known companies.
  • 31D: Place for snaps (ALBUM). "Snapshot" seems like an old-fashioned word to me. Is it used much any more? In any case, a "snapshot" can also be referred to as a "snap" (kind of like "picture" and "pic"), and you might find snaps in a photo ALBUM.
  • 37D: American enticements (LOW FARES). Enticements for American people? Enticements to become American? To come to America? Huh?? Ohhhh, American Airlines! That company uses LOW FARES to entice people to fly with them.
Next, let's take a look at the question mark clues. Remember: A question mark typically means that you have to think about what each word means and not look at the phrase as a whole.
  • 15A: Duty-free? (ON LEAVE). "Duty-free" means without tax, right? Right. But the question mark means you need to think about the words in a different way. Like someone who is "free" of all their "duties."
  • 17A: Moving locks? (HAIR REPLACEMENT). I don't really have a go-to definition for the phrase "moving locks," so this one doesn't really feel like a question mark clue to me. Does the phrase "moving locks" mean something? In any case, the "locks" in this clue aren't related to canals or security, but rather to hair.
  • 41A: Team feature? (NO I). In this case, you shouldn't be thinking about actual features of actual teams, but rather a feature of the word "team" itself. As the saying goes: "There is no I in team." (But there are three Us in "Shut the f*** up.")
  • 58A: Exact opposites? (BALLPARK FIGURES). The phrase "exact opposites" makes me think of two people that are, well, exactly opposite. An outgoing person and a wallflower. A cynic and an idealist. But in this clue, you need to think about how you might descripe the opposite of the word "exact."
  • 61A: Letters read with feeling? (BRAILLE). Was your first thought some type of love letter? A Dear John letter maybe? "Letters" in this clue doesn't refer to correspondence, it refers to the actual components of an alphabet. Letters written in BRAILLE are — literally — read with feeling.
  • 11D: Long ride? (LIMO). Nope, not a road trip, just a stretched out automobile.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: Service rank (ONE-A).
  • 39D: Caspian feeder (URAL).
  • 48D: Willem of "Spider-Man" (DAFOE).
  • 57D: Piedmont product (ASTI).
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Everything Else 8A: Duplicate (REPLICA); 16A: Unlikely to cheat (ETHICAL); 20A: Muddy, as water (ROIL); 21A: Signal agreement (NOD TO); 22A: Juice source (BATTERY); 24A: "The Sea-Wolf" captain (LARSEN); 33A: Made an impressive delivery (ORATED); 34A: Corner key (ESC); 35A: Exclusive (SOLE); 36A: Gain notoriety, as via 38-Across (GO VIRAL); 38A: See 36-Across (YOUTUBE); 40A: Eclipse, to some (OMEN); 43A: Appear unexpectedly (CROP UP); 44A: Got comfy in a sofa (SANK DOWN); 46A: Women-only residences (HAREMS); 47A: Nonbeliever, to some (INFIDEL); 49A: Crossing the keel (ABEAM); 53A: Pre-med subj. (ANAT.); 54A: Magical beginning (ABRA); 62A: Raving (ON A RANT); 63A: Fixes, as pumps (REHEELS); 1D: Cream-filled treat (HO-HO); 2D: __ instant (IN AN); 3D: Bend at the barre (PLIE); 4D: Medical supplies (SERA); 5D: Gob (TAR); 6D: From time to time (EVER AND ANON); 7D: Find a new home for, in a way (REPOT); 8D: Not at all complicated (REAL EASY); 9D: And more: Abbr. (ETC.); 10D: Derived from benzene (PHENYL); 12D: Bumped off (ICED); 13D: Jargon (CANT); 14D: Glee club member (ALTO); 18D: Pliant (LITHE); 22D: Suds, so to speak (BEER); 23D: Glancing (RICOCHETING); 25D: Bakery emanation (AROMA); 26D: First bird off the Ark, in Genesis (RAVEN); 27D: Deserve no stars (STINK); 29D: Notable Titanic casualty (ASTOR); 30D: Compact, perhaps (COUPE); 32D: Summons (BEEPS); 42D: How hard crosswords are usually not done (IN INK); 45D: Golf ball feature (DIMPLE); 49D: Can. or Mex., e.g. (ABBR.); 50D: Reveal (BARE); 51D: Where Goliath was slain (ELAH); 52D: "I Just Can't Live __": Carrie Underwood song (A LIE); 54D: Mystique (AURA); 55D: Cereal material (BRAN); 56D: Rip to bits (REND); 59D: Completely (ALL); 60D: __ rule (GAG).


Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

Not sure that the clue for BALLPARKFIGURES is right.... It seems to me that the opposite of exact is WRONG (OK,OK maybe inexact which would then work). But on the other hand, a ballpark figure is an estimate that could (or could not be) right. Breezed right through this one nonetheless. I hate getting a long answer (see above) on crosses and still end up scratching my head. Loved ONLEAVE clue. And for some reason like the word RICOCHETING (French!)...REPLICA took me a bit of time as I was looking at duplicate as a verb.

Glad to see cluing for INFIDEL was less controversial than its cousin subversive from a while back (yeah I can't let that go but was just SO surprised at the vitriol that was thrown out on these here pages about that. All of a sudden PG had to be an OPED editor).

Kind of wish it had been a bit harder as now I have the NYT to do and then 3 days to kill....Spring just never sprung here and so cold/rainy weekend. Here's to all of our Vets!!!! Thank You for your service!

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

Mea culpa,,,,not rainy here. SNOWING!! Sheesh not a lot but c'monnnnnnnn summer!!

Anonymous said...

Can't believe I finally got the whole thing--although it took me forever. Put "oreo" instead of "HoHo," "adopt" instead of "repot," "call a cab" instead of "hail a cab." Had "ba" for the beginning of "juice source" so tried "bananas" even though I've never heard of "banana juice." But very satisfying when I finally had everything fall into place.

JaxInL.A. said...

Well, unlike today's NYT puzzle, which played for a while then bit me and ran away, this one tussled, romped a bit and then rolled over nicely.

It had fresh stuff like YOUTUBE next to GO VIRAL, old fashioned stuff like EVER AND ANON, some science stuff like PHENYL, and clever misdirection like American enticements and Letters read with feeling.

Nice job, Ms. Gentry. And I'm glad you are feeling better, PG.

Rube said...

Some great misdirection in this one. @PG mentioned some. Another that got me was "Compact, perhaps". Rouge? Close? Oh, now that I've got all the crosses, I see that we're talking cars.

The SE was the hardest for me. Had mob for ___ rule and oats for "cereal material" for the longest time. Fortunately, knew DAFOE somehow, erased the whole section and ABRA made all clear.

Excellent Saturday challenge. Just my speed and DNG.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dave. The clue "exact opposites" for ballpark figures seemed completely wrong to me. My understanding of ballpark figure is closer to "more or less."

CoffeeLvr said...

Really like the horizontal spine of the puzzle with a YOUTUBE video GOing VIRAL.

One nit, ONE A was a Selective Service (Draft Board) classification, not a military (service) "rank" as the clue calls for.

Otherwise, I found both challenge and satisfaction here, what more can you ask from a Saturday puzzle.

I have no problem with BALL PARK FIGURE opposing an EXACT number. As in "I would have to look up the exact number, but a ball park figure is . . ." @DaveinBend, there are a lot of circumstances in my life with more choices than "EXACTly right" and "wrong," as I am sure there are in yours.

Great write up, PG!

Anonymous said...

"Exact opposites" must be a perfect clue, because some people obviously can't fathom the play on words even yet.

Mokus said...

@anon 1:04 Yes! A perfect clue and my favorite among many clever clues in today's puzzle. An enjoyable exercise and, PG, I'm already outside on the patio where I belong.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

Oh ,,,,I get the clue and all in all it is clever in the right context. (opposite of exact is an estimate)... I guess I was just stuck in a different frame of mind...as an example the old GIGO for computer or if someone says "this is not the exact thing I was looking for"....They mean it is the wrong thing.

I might've taken a different angle and clued it... RBI?...with the contention they are rounded off so just an estimate.... And thus ends my construction career. It's all perspective I suppose.

mac said...

A lovely puzzle from Bonnie Gentry, solo!

I had to laugh with the team feature clue! Go viral - YouTube in the center was fantastic. And "sank down" on sofas in harems gives me visions of those ladies in poofy pants. Repot also was very well clued.

There are plenty of duty free sailors in NY - it's Fleet week.

Alexscott said...

I have to agree that "Exact opposites?" is a great clue. Wrong isn't the opposite of exact, inexact is. (You can be exact and still not be right.) And BALLPARK FIGURES is a great term for estimates, which by definition are inexact.

This was a hard one, definitely not one to do IN INK. I really liked some of the clueing, especially "Letters read with feeling?" for BRAILLE. Hated the clue for ABBR., that always tricks me and just seems mean.

*David* said...

Nothing too bad but writeovers which seems to happen more often when I'm filling in phrases such as putting in TAKE for HAIL or OFF for the ING in Richochet. Lots of toeholds inthis puzzle so didn't feel Saturdayish for me.

Anonymous said...

Hard Puzzles SHOULD be done in ink - if the clues are clever but relevant.Problem with this one is the relevancy - so the pen was put down and the puzzle went into the recycle bin.

a guy said...

Relevant to what? I found the clues cluish, the puzzle puzzle-like, and your comment confusing.