6.01.2011

06.01 Wed

W E D N E S D A Y
June 1, 2011
Donna S. Levin


Theme: Different words for stomach — Theme answers all begin with words that can mean stomach.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Abdominoplasty, familiarly (TUMMY TUCK).
  • 23A: Pepto-Bismol target (STOMACH ACHE).
  • 36A: Bourgeois (MIDDLE CLASS).
  • 49A: Lint receptacle? (BELLY BUTTON).
  • 59A: Easy A (or where to learn about this puzzle's theme?) (GUT COURSE).
I can't say this is my favorite Donna Levin puzzle ever. Theme answers include five different words for stomach, but three of them actually mean "stomach" in the phrase and two don't. And one of them has Pepto-Bismol in the clue. Um, hello? Breakfast test? Plus, GUT COURSE is a phrase I learned from crosswords. I know it's legitimate and that some people have actually used it and find it familiar and think I'm an idiot because I haven't heard it, but there ya go. So, the theme doesn't really do anything for me. Luckily there's some very nice fill. My favorite entries are:
  • 30A: Self-help guru Deepak (CHOPRA).
  • 2D: European stew (GOULASH).
  • 38D: Classical language of India (SANSKRIT).
I also really liked seeing HOME ROOM for some reason (3D: Where school attendance is usually taken). There's nothing really flashy about it, but it caught my attention anyway. Oh and MALICE (21A: Evil intent). I've always liked that word.

Some of the cluing really stood out for me too.
  • 28A: Poet who wrote of the wasp, "I distrust his waspitality" (NASH).
  • 56A: Enjoys surreptitiously, as a smoke (SNEAKS).
  • 66A: Salad, at times (SIDE).
Lots of short two-word answers (or two-short-word answers, I suppose). Not complaining — I kind of like them — just observing.
  • 16A: Ready for use (ON TAP).
  • 19A: Salad dressing restriction (NO OIL).
  • 6D: Become disenchanted with (SOUR ON).
  • 32D: Talks off the cuff (AD LIBS).
  • 41D: Prepares (GETS SET).
  • 44D: Show enthusiasm for, as an opportunity (LEAP AT).
  • 47D: Available for siring (AT STUD).
Other than that:
  • 21D: 1960s Borgnine sitcom role (MCHALE). Took me a minute, but it came into focus with a couple crosses in place.
  • 35D: Org. that stages an annual June open (USGA). United States Golf Association.
  • 52D: Frère of a mère or père (ONCLE). French!
  • 57D: Autobahn auto (AUDI). I have seriously got an itch for a new car. I've been driving a mini-van for, hmm, five or six years I guess. And I'm tired of it. I want a zippy little car. One where I don't have to be so concerned about getting the proper angle when I'm trying to park in the stupid parking garage at work. Guess it's probably time for a Budget and Finance Committee meeting here at the PuzzleHouse….
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: Turkish title (AGHA).
  • 5A: Dept. of Labor agency (OSHA).
  • 60D: Israeli weapon (UZI).
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Everything Else 9A: Isn't serious (JESTS); 14A: Aloof (COOL); 15A: Lovey-dovey exchange (COOS); 20A: One at the top of the board (LEADER); 22A: Hearing aid? (EAR); 26A: General __ Chicken (TSO'S); 29A: Envy, e.g. (SIN); 33A: Sandra's "Speed" co-star (KEANU); 39A: Anklebone (TALUS); 40A: More than interest (ENGAGE); 43A: Chef's phrase (ALA); 46A: Parts of the hip (ILIA); 48A: From square one (ANEW); 54A: Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. (STE.); 55A: Nimbi (HALOES); 58A: La Scala production (OPERA); 62A: Loses one's temper (RAGES); 63A: Fifth color of el espectro (AZUL); 64A: Stopped working (DIED); 65A: Surgical tube (STENT); 67A: __-bitty (ITTY); 1D: Tread the boards (ACT); 4D: __ mater (ALMA); 5D: Hawaii's "main islands," e.g. (OCTET); 7D: Ad __ (HOC); 8D: Inquire (ASK); 9D: Syndicated columnist Goldberg (JONAH); 10D: First name on an historic WWII bomber (ENOLA); 11D: Zeno's followers (STOICS); 12D: Meditative martial art (TAI CHI); 13D: Bad temper (SPLEEN); 18D: NFL rushing units (YDS.); 22D: List-ending letters (ETC.); 24D: Succeeds (MAKES IT); 25D: "Just __!": "Be right there!" (A SEC); 27D: Polish partner (SPIT); 31D: Dietary guideline letters (RDA); 34D: Tandoori bread (NAN); 37D: Doozy (LULU); 42D: Maa, in "Babe" (EWE); 43D: Detests (ABHORS); 45D: Purport (ALLEGE); 50D: Actress Sophia (LOREN); 51D: You often get a rise out of it (YEAST); 53D: Classical beginning (NEO-); 59D: 57-Down filler (GAS); 61D: Big name in ice cream (EDY).

28 comments:

Sfingi said...

Very cute puzzle.

There were some I didn't know, and learned, but got by crosses, the way I like it.
These included: JONAH Goldberg, the movie Speed, USGA (sports), and CALUS, another homophone with callous and callus. HALOES as the plural of HALO stands to reason, though I never pondered it before, because it isn't a Latin word.

Had OuTEr before OCTET, which shows how little I know about our Prez's birth state.

What do STOICS do for fun? Hubster suggested Stand at Attention.

Anonymous said...

Where was 'calus'?

Alexscott said...

There was no CALUS. The answer for Anklebone was TALUS. The cross for "calus" would get you an ethnic slur, which is not quite the partner for Polish (polish) that I think the puzzle writer was going for. But it's kind of funny in a cringe-worthy sort of way.

GUT COURSE didn't make any sense to me as an Easy A, either. Would love to know the origin of that phrase. I think I would have liked the theme better if not for that last answer. I agree that the fill was really good, the best part of the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Get a Mini Cooper. You will love it!!

VirginiaC said...

Ogden Nash is my favorite poet!

I've never heard "gut course" and got the whole thing from crosses. I still thought it must be wrong until I came here.

VirginiaC said...

My brother works for Mini - says as a rule they start having major, expensive problems between 60 & 80,000 miles

CP said...

Fun puzzle. Made a goof by reading the clue to quickly at 67A, thought it was "Bitsy" and not "Bitty," so I wrote in ITSY and not ITTY, so got stuck for a bit until I read the clue again.

Gut Course? Never heard of it.

CoffeeLvr said...

@PG, I want a new car too, but son's recent university acceptance for two more years will probably preclude that for a while. I will suggest the company with its name on my retirement checks, the new Focus can even parallel park itself.

When I started, I thought the theme might be double OO words, what with COOL, COOS, & NOOIL. I didn't slow down enough to consider that theme entries have to be long.

I liked the theme a lot, all the phrases were familiar to me, and I am not troubled with the use of STOMACH as a synonym for the whole digestive system. GAS is a bonus theme entry, no?

Lots of anatomy, SPLEEN, ILIA, TALUS, even STENT as a stretch.

*David* said...

I liked the puzzle quite a bit and am more lenient with the terms for tummy. I had one section I needed to write over where I put in ENTICE for ENGAGE. It would have been nice if ILIA was above TALUS but the proximity was noted. AZUL crossing ONCLE was another nice mix of foreign language words coming together.

hebow44 said...

So nimbi is the plural of nimbus which is another name for halo that changes to haloes when multiplied. Thank goodness for crosses. Agreed with Alexscott that gut course took some of the shine off this puzzle.

Car two cents. We are VW people. You get most of the components of the Audi for half the price. Our diesel wagon gets 50+ mph on highway. Now if diesel would only return to a sane price.

Steve said...

Liked it, even though I've never heard of GUT COURSE, so UZI, GAS and SIDE were my last fills.

Learned nimbi, the Hawaii clue was clever and I surprise myself with how much Spanish I actually know - AZUL went straight in and I didn't know I knew it, if that makes sense at all.

I might have a stronger stomach than @PG - not much fails my breakfast test, that might be a bad thing.

@CoffeeLvr - love your "bonus theme entry"

C said...

Fun, enjoyable puzzle. I had not heard of GUT COURSE before, either, so happy to learn something new today. Funny thing, in all of my schooling, I never had a HOME ROOM.

I am not a domestic car owner but I would second @CoffeeLvr, Ford has been doing some innovative things recently with their new cars. Worth a look.

Tuttle said...

HALOES as the plural of HALO stands to reason, though I never pondered it before, because it isn't a Latin word.

Actually, it is. Accusative form of hálos which would have been pluralized hálossa (I think).

"Halos" is also an acceptable English plural.

My car advice: Mazda. All their cars are fun and last for yonks. I've got a Miata with 150k, an MX-6 with 225k and a B2300 with 50k (really just a rebadged Ford Ranger). Never had to do anything but scheduled maintenance on any of them.

CrazyCatLady said...

I figured out the theme at STOMACH ACHE and thought to myself, "EWE." I actually had Stomach Acid first and No Fat before NO OIL so that area took a while to unwind once I had TAI CHI in place.

GUT COURSE or class for easy A was very familiar to me, but that was a long time ago.

@CoffeeLVR LOLed at GAS.

We had a BMW 325i which was fun to drive, but once it hit about 70,000 miles it was in the shop every other month. Love my trouble-free soon to be 10 year old Lexus.

Steve said...

I've been with my wife for 7 years and I've never "cooed" to her.

Rube said...

This OCTET concept for Hawaii is new to me. Knew of 7 main islands, but never heard of Kahoʻolawe. Apparently it was a bombing range from WWII until 1990 and is located near Maui.

As Engineering undergraduates, our only chance at a GUTCOURSE was the once-a-year elective when Juniors and Seniors. Mine was a Music Appreciation class taught by Henry Cowell. Fascinating. Could be that this is an East Coast term.

Nimbi is my WOTD. Good puzzle.

Margaret said...

Add me to the list of people who don't like GUT COURSE. I've heard the phrase occasionally but never understand it. To me it sounds like the opposite of an Easy A -- I always think it sounds like something that takes guts, which should be hard.

CrazyCatLady said...

From Mirriam Webster - Gut Course: A course (as in college) that is easily passed.

First known use 1948

My favorite gut course was "the Philosophy of Heraclitus." I went to college in the NE.

Anonymous said...

GUT COURSE: don't really know anyone who uses it, I have always assumed it meant hard work, . We called easy A's 'Mickey Mouse'.
Did not pass the breakfast test for me. Even before the STOMACHACHE, TUMMYTUCK and abdominoplasty had me queasy.

tutu said...

Loved this puzzle but maybe only cuz my mom was a Bourgeois. Her last name of course.
52D around here is"NONC"!
A new car for P.G.? An REO fer sure! Unless you have enough change for a SST!
Sorry, I'm easily amused.

Nighthawk said...

Found this one to be a real GUT. Took me half the time yesterday's did.

Astronomy 101 was the major GUT at my college. Held two days a week after lunch, attended by mostly football players, and others on herbal assistance, consisted of looking at the ceiling of darkened planetarium in cushy seats that lay back. Tests required only the identification of a few constellations. Can you say "Big Dipper?"

JONAH and TALUS took a few crosses, as did GETS___. OCTET came from crosses, but didn't ever see it.

@CrazyCatLady. EWE! Indeed.
@CoffeeLvr. Your bonus is Perfect!
@Steve. And probably no billing either. But never too late to start either one.

Rick said...

Bad temper = spleen?

Gut Course = easy A? Must be a West Coast thang...it's called a Slide here(Southeast). "Stagecraft 101" was mine...test had a picture of a hammer and you had to write what it was.

Dave in Bend, OR said...

Meh ....Agree with @PG that there was some OK fill and the stomach references were not completely on target.

@Rick maybe you have heard "venting one's spleen"? Also loved your "slide" class. Question is did you get an "A"?

Gut course new to me as well - got it on crosses and am in line with @Margaret,,,sounds like a course that you would have to "gut it out" to pass.

And @PG if you follow tutu's advise, please tell me what you think of your "new" Flying Cloud or Speedwagon!

Mokus said...

Must be a generational thing. I attended colleges in St. Louis and Atlanta during the late 50s & early 60s. Both schools offered a few gut courses and Astronomy was the favorite alternative to Chemistry if one was a Liberal Arts major.

I enjoyed the puzzle because it was my quickest solve since I started keeping track.

CrazyCatLady said...

@Mokus' comment reminded me that I also took "Physics for Art Majors."

Cute article.

guts at Yale

mac said...

OK puzzle, but I do not like the theme. Tummy is one of the silliest words in the language to me.

@Steve: if you started now, she would probably wonder....

Sfingi said...

@Tuttle - not usually up this late - going thru old bills to prove I paid storage every mo. since 2003!
Anyway - looked up etymology - Halo Latin from Greek Halos. Anyway, had a Greeky feel to me, esp with the H.

I'd love to take a gut/fun course on Hawaii, if anyone would give it here. I get to take courses free as a Sr. Cit.

I'd love to bill and coo with Hubster, but he's got his SnorePak on by now.

Anonymous said...

I went to college in the 80s in Massachusetts -- I heard "gut course" all the time. Don't know how common it is now.