07.01 Fri

July 1, 2011
Mike Peluso

Theme: Get real! — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with the letter string ACT removed, creating a new wacky phrase clued wackily.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Free garden supply? (COMP[act]ED SOIL).
  • 24A: Cost at a Walmart competitor? (TARGET PR[act]ICE).
  • 38A: Become more forgiving? (L[act]OSE INTOLERANCE).
  • 50A: Pessimistic brat? (NEGATIVE IMP[act]).
  • 62A: "We're on to you!" (and a hint to how this puzzle's other four longest answers were created) (DROP THE ACT).
Is it just me, or have we had some fun puzzles this week? As far as I'm concerned, the trend continues today. Even though the resulting phrases in the theme answers weren't particularly sparkly, I had fun trying to figure them out. And I couldn't get them solely through crosses, because some of the crosses were tough. Overall, that made this one a real puzzler for me which is, of course, what this whole obseshobby is about, right?

I had trouble up and down the west coast today. I'm pretty sure I've never seen the word CAMPO (1A: South American plain). I mean, I've seen it in Spanish phrases and names, but I didn't know what it meant. And the weird thing is that I had two perfectly legitimate guesses: LLANO and PAMPA. Obviously PAMPA gave me some good letters, but I couldn't get that initial P to work, which was really frustrating there for a while.

It also took me a while to figure out the northern California block because, sad to say, I don't know my Marx Brothers and the clue for ALE (30A: Bass, e.g.) was so vague it could have been just about anything! It was Felipe ALOU (27D: Winningest manager in Expos history) who finally broke that section open for me. (Hi, Crosscan!)

Finally, southern California was really tough. The random direction is never a good thing, and in this case it was tough to figure out. I mean, I guess when it's holding down the ends of words, you can sort of guess that a couple of the letters will be S's, but the clue for OPUS (60A: Work) didn't feel like the answer would be plural, so I had to consider an E there too. I don't love the clue for ZAPS (64A: Sci-fi shots), but I'm not going to complain too loudly because it really was the perfect (that is, tough but gettable) end to a fun solving experience for me.

  • 16A: Antihero? (GOAT). Well, Merriam-Webster.com defines GOAT as "a licentious man: lecher," so I guess that makes sense. I don't think I've ever heard the word GOAT used that way.
  • 19A: Tahoe bar, say (AXLE). The vehicle, not the lake.
  • 20A: Cheese from Veneto (ASIAGO). Funny cheese story. I saw a magazine article the other day about cooking that listed various substitution ingredients you might use if you find yourself without something you need. For parmesan cheese the substitute was pecorino. That cracked me up. If I don't have any parmesan cheese, what do you think the chances are that I have some pecorino lying around?!
  • 45A: Petting zoo chorus (AWS). This particular chorus is coming from the humans, not the animals. (You wanted BAAS or MAAS, right? Yeah, me too.)
  • 47A: Metaphorical hiding place (CLOSET). Come on out, people!
  • 65A: Shekels (GELT). We've been seeing a lot of this word lately, haven't we?
  • 5D: James Bond and JFK have worn them (OMEGAS). These are … watches? Right?
  • 7D: "... and gentle as __": Matthew (A DOVE). I tried A LAMB first.
  • 36D: Vier times zwei (ACHT). German! (Sorry, no French today.)
  • 46D: Stuffy type (STODGE). Wait, what? Again, not sure I've ever heard this. I stried STOOGE first, but that O wasn't getting me anywhere. Then I remembered STODGY, so … STODGE. Alrighty then.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 6A: Fifth pillar of Islam (HADJ).
  • 19A: Tahoe bar, say (AXLE).
  • 43A: Foreign minister under Meir (EBAN).
  • 67A: Harper's Bazaar artist (ERTÉ).
  • 10D: Turkish title (AGA).
  • 27D: Winningest manager in Expos history (ALOU).
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Everything Else 10A: Back country transports, briefly (ATV'S); 14A: Poppy product (OPIUM); 15A: Bean product? (IDEA); 21A: Cognac designation (VSOP); 23A: It may follow sex (-ISM); 27A: Main response? (AYE SIR); 29A: Feminine principle (YIN); 31A: Boomers are swelling its ranks (AARP); 34A: Vast expanse (OCEAN); 42A: Only brother not in any Marx Brothers films (GUMMO); 44A: Comic Margaret (CHO); 54A: Palme __: Cannes award (D'OR); 55A: Words of agreement (NOR I); 56A: Super Bowl party array (SALSAS); 66A: Hartford-based insurance giant (AETNA); 68A: The same, to Alain (EGAL); 69A: Discomfiting look (SNEER); 1D: First name in soft drinks? (COCA); 2D: Mil. addresses (APO'S); 3D: "La Bohème" role (MIMI); 4D: Leave the larva stage (PUPATE); 6D: __ Honor (HIS); 8D: Jefferson, notably (DEIST); 9D: Heap (JALOPY); 11D: Destructive, as a relationship (TOXIC); 12D: Sibelius's "__ Triste" (VALSE); 13D: Keep from flowing (STEM); 18D: Gray painted by Basil Hallward (DORIAN); 22D: Conviction, maybe (PRIOR); 25D: Fireplace insert (GRATE); 26D: Old empire builder (INCA); 28D: Polite rural reply (YES'M); 30D: Subj. for solvers (ALG.); 32D: Steal from (ROB); 33D: Not quite win (PLACE); 35D: Confer ending (-ENCE); 37D: Paleo- opposite (NEO-); 39D: Slate, e.g., for short (E-MAG); 40D: Hoover, for one (IOWAN); 41D: Join (ENLIST); 48D: Midwestern natives (OMAHAS); 49D: It may be vented (SPLEEN); 50D: Without face value (NO PAR); 51D: Blow (ERUPT); 52D: Thrift store abbr. (IRREG.); 53D: One of two in Mozart's string quintets (VIOLA); 54D: Drop off (DOZE); 57D: Bloat, maybe (SATE); 58D: Promgoer's concern (ACNE); 59D: Have the lead (STAR); 61D: Captain's hdg. (SSE); 63D: Scandalous '80s initials (PTL).


DLB said...

GOAT as used is a sports term. The player whose misplay causes the loss is termed the GOAT hence the anti-hero.

Conrad said...

Man, a big fat DNF for me today. This puzzle was a struggle right from the get go, and I finally threw in the towel with the bottom left corner wide open.

I really wanted COMPEDpost for that first theme entry, and the theme itself remained a mystery even after I got'em all. I just couldn't see LactOSE INTOLERANCE.

All in all, feels like today was a step above the rest of the week in terms of difficulty.

@DLB - thanks for that. I tried every kind of antihero I could think of, including sandwiches (though what makes a sandwich "anti", I have no idea).

tutu said...

I ain't gonna lie, this s*&# was hard!

The write up was exactly like my experience, not sure I understand Bass-Ale

Thanks for 36D comment!

Helpful Guy said...

Bass Ale? Let me Google that for you.

tutu said...

Thanks HG that was pretty cool! You see I don't google when I work puzzles, tho I do look up in dictionary which is probly same difference, but, what do I know,
again thanks

csantathemom said...

of the five instruments in the Mozart string quintets only one is duplicated, that being the violin! Please explain why viola is the answer. thx

Helpful Guy said...

@csantathemom: That's easy. You're wrong.

hazel said...

@dlb - that was my thought as well for GOAT - more like a scapegoat than a lecherous old man goat.

from dictionary.com app (which is fabuloso)

1 a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.

2 Chiefly Biblical. a goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Lev. 16:8,10,26

This was a good old-fashioned Friday puzzle. I liked the struggle, but the theme was a little unwieldy for my taste. searching for the dropped acts was not the highlight. Still, a very satisfying solve.

@helpful guy - you might want to think about changing your name! maybe try to work a smartypants in there somewhere! :-)

KJGooster said...

Slightly More Helpful Guy said...
@csantathemom: Mozart's string quintets add an extra viola, and are therefore scored for two violins, two violas, and cello.

KJGooster said...
Good puzzle today, though I agree that the theme answers lack sparkle. The COCA/OPIUM cross in the NW would have fit nicely with yesterday's TOKED.

And @PG, 68A: The same, to Alain (EGAL) = French!

Fowler said...

I enjoyed this one very much--"tough but gettable," as PG says. Well, I did screw up on STODGE, as I settled for STOOGE. It made sense to me, except that it left me with OR ON THE ACT (instead of DROP THE ACT) which seemed to make sense because the clue was "We're on to you!" (Or we're ON THE ACT, see?) But the real bummer was that I did not get PTL as the scandalous '80s initials.
BTW, in my teaching we hold periodic critiques of my students' work, and the subject student is designated as the GOAT.

Rube said...

My solve closely followed @PG's... tried STODGy and Alamb first as well as llano & pAMPa. Additionally wanted Snacks before SALSAS and meme before EGAL. Had puz as "Subj. for solvers" which gave me Zeppo -- YESM cleaned up that mess.

When I got __THEACT, figured out the trick, but it sure didn't help in the solve of the themem answers. Still, really enjoyed this challenge. Just the right level of difficulty without dragging on too long and no Googles required.

Who or what is PTL?

Anonymous said...

This puzzle kicked my heinie! First DNF in quite some time. That whole southern portion was completed with the help of the red letters. Ugh! Nothing was dropping for me...

I didn't even see LactOSE INTOLERANCE, and I am (LI)!

BTW, I've always thought the GOAT was the


Steve said...

Really nice tough puzzle. Took me ages to see LactOSE even when it was filled.

More on the GOAT - the last member of the graduating class at West Point (i.e. with the lowest GPA) is the last to receive his/her degree and is known as the Goat. As a small compensation for the ignomony, each other member of the class contributes a silver dollar to be presented to said Goat. It's usually around $1,000, so not a bad thought!

csantathemom said...

thank you KJGooster, you have been more than helpful, you are also polite!

CrazyCatLady said...

I got off to a bad start by putting in pampa for CAMPO, pops, for COCA and puppae for pupate. Once I had ASIAGO in place I was able to clear that area up. We had that Bass clue a few weeks ago, so I didn't fall into that trap again. And I now have committed GELT to memory. I was finally able to finish without a Google, but it was tough go with many erasures. Even after I understood the theme, I still couldn't see LactOSE INTOLERANCE.

I still don't understand SSE is. And yes, I did google it.

@Rube PTL= Jim and Tammy Fae Baker

Have a great weekend everyone. Thanks for a week of great write-ups PG.

Anonymous said...

Another well-constructed clue confuses the masses.

"You're either a hero, or a goat" seems to be a common enough phrase, according to google. "From hero to goat" as well, especially in sports headlines.

Sfingi said...

@Helpful guy - Thanks a lot. I lost my whole comment and had to start again.

@DLB - Actual Thanx.

@Gooster - Actual Thanx. I thought it meant there were only 2 string quartets with VIOLAs. Actually, I didn't think much. VIOLA fit.

Though I finished, HTG 4x. HADJ (could have been alms), ASIAGO (Northern cuisine, but now I know where it's from), ALOU (sports), ADOVE (wanted Alamb).

CAMPO is also field in It. Tried Chaco. Didn't like PAMPa w/o a final S, anyway.

Got the theme, which is probably why I finished on a Friday, but couldn't place ACT in the 2nd and third.

I have a woman's OMEGA from the '60s. Should see if it works.

CrazyCatLady said...

Sorry I posted accidently without proofing.

I still don't understand *what* SSE is.

*a* tough go

CrazyCatLady said...

I just got SSE. I read Captain's hdg as Captain's headgear. D'OH!

Steve said...

@CrazyCatLady - actually, you're not so far off the mark head-gearwise, the yellow sailor's storm-hat is called a Sou'wester - because winds blowing from the South West usually heralded stormy weather.

I know the answer was SSE, not SW, but wanted to make you feel better :)

Mokus said...

@Steve - when I lived and boated on the Atlantic coast north of Boston we called those yellow hats nor'easters because of the nasty storms out of the northeast.
Bass makes a great ale and you should try it sometime. PTL for beer.

*David* said...

Whew felt like a Saturday, made tons of mistakes up on the top that took forever to unravel MOET for VSOP, MASON for DEIST, A LAMB for A DOVE. I first put in LLANO then PAMPA and finally got to the last one I knew of CAMPO. Great work-out with the locations of the ACT not being obvious making the themes tough fills. Lots of fun and quite satisfying to finish on a half day Friday.

CrazyCatLady said...

Over my comments but, @Steve and @Mokus - SSWer or NNEer, I love those hats. They go perfectly with galoshes.

Pampa sounds like what a person from Georgia would call a disposable diaper.

Dave in Bend, Oregon said...

@PG we do have d'or -that clue always drives me crazy as I can nevr remember it.(French!) as well. TARGETPRICE kind of threw me off as that is a real expression in retailing. Was not aware that a pupya pupates. So the Sci Fi ants from "Them" pupated AND mutated? Or do ants come from pupya? Things that make you go hmmmmm. Ditto to the coca/opium crossing KJ! "He went from hero to goat" - or hero to zero - is commonly heard at football games, usually when the QB does something outstanding only to throw an interception or fumble, etc. Here's to our Founding Fathers like John Quincy Adams (per our friend Michele Bachmann - sorry just had to get in another dig after @PG's John Wayne/Waterloo, IA zinger a few days ago)....Have a great 4th of July all!

Fowler said...

Extra tidbits:
The letters PTL stood for "Praise the Lord" or "People That Love," the shape-shifting moniker of the ministry of, yes, Jim and Tammy Bakker.
Steve's note about the Goat being the poorest GPA to graduate from West Point seems especially fitting in that the Goat is Navy's mascot.

C said...

Fun puzzle today. Never heard of CAMPA either but when I was staring at POLA for a soda first name, I took the leap of faith and put the C in.

Looking forward to tomorrow's puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Someone please help me understand that "nori" is the correct answer for the clue "words of agreement."

tutu said...

Nor I, as in "I don't like this idea" "Nor I" but there are way smarter people here to better explain than me. Guess what, I just did the SILKIE for tomorrow and found it waay too easy, I mean for a Saturday Silkie!
Not that anyone cares or will read this. Now what am I gonna do tomorrow?! LOL
Thanks PG
I am not sleepy, help!