07.09 Sat

July 9, 2011
Doug Peterson

Theme: None

Good Saturday morning, everyone! PuzzleHusband was out of town on business all week and just got back last night. I'm posting a little late today because I decided when he got home that I would pay some attention to him instead of writing the blog. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings. Fun puzzle today, right? ….

This is a super solid themeless from the inimitable Doug Peterson (a/k/a my Fake Crossword Boyfriend, so don't expect a lot of griping today). Two corners of this grid are really outstanding. Who's not gonna love a triple stack of 10s that looks like BASS GUITAR / ACTION HERO / CHOCOHOLIC (1A: It may be picked / 15A: Sly role, as a rule / 17A: One who might steal kisses). I'm picturing a Rambo-lookin' dude with his ax in one hand and a brownie in the other. I guess he's ready to, I don't know, play a wedding reception? Hey, you never know. I can totally picture an action movie wedding reception scene with guys in tuxes mowing everyone down with machine guns. Luckily, Rambo Bassman has some grenades stashed in his amp. Or something. So, yeah, that's the first awesome corner. The other one is the double 10s in the southeast of BANGLADESH and OZYMANDIAS (26D: East Pakistan, today / 27D: Sonnet likely inspired by Ramses the Great). I've heard the word OZYMANDIAS before but had no idea what it meant. Apparently, it's another name for Ramses the Great who is featured in a sonnet by Percy Shelley that is actually kind of depressing, being about the inevitable decline of empires and all.

The parts of the grid that correspond symmetrically to those awesome corners are just okay. THE BEE GEES (52A: "You Should Be Dancing" group) is a fun entry and looks wild with all those Es, but ESTIMATING and STATEMENTS just kind of sit there (56A: Trying to get close to / 58A: Cops often take them at crime scenes). The two 11s going across the middle of the grid — RAZOR BLADES (30A: Shadow removers) and HULA DANCERS (38A: Sinuous storytellers) — are pretty sparkly, though. Just as an aside, "sinuous" is a weird word, isn't it?


  • 23A: Certain surfer's power source (KITE). I admit it. I do not know what this means.
  • 40A: One of the noble metals (PLATINUM). So when you come across some PLATINUM don't forget to curtsy.
  • 42A: Champion, for one (HORSE). Hmmmm. Whose horse is Champion? I'm gonna guess Roy Rogers. To the Internet! … Oh man, Gene Autry. So close!
  • 43A: Absinthe flavorings (ANISES). This is an ugly plural. Especially because it crosses with the another ugly plural: LULUS (32D: Corkers). Sorry, Doug. I calls 'em as I sees 'em.
  • 5D: More likely to ooze (GOOPIER). Now this, on the other hand, is all kindsa awesome. GOOPIER was the first word that came to my mind when I read this clue.
  • 6D: Like a pitch that's taken, ironically (UNHIT). Great clue. When a batter "takes a pitch," it means he purposely doesn't swing at it. It's a strategic move that's used for a couple different reasons. I think the most common one is to give an on-base runner a chance to steal.
  • 8D: Tubby leader? (TELE-). So funny. I was thinking the answer would be the name of one of the TELEtubbies. And, yes, it only took me about two seconds to run through all their names and realize none of them would fit. Pretty sad.
  • 10D: Pink Floyd's "The Wall," e.g. (ROCK OPERA). Quick, what other ROCK OPERAs can you name? I can think of … one. There must be more though.
  • 12D: Chewed on (MULLED OVER). I am a big fan of MULLing stuff OVER. I really hate making quick decisions. And, honestly, I think I started seeing the benefit of MULLing from doing lots of crossword puzzles. You know how you get to a point where the puzzle looks impossible but when you put it down and come back to it later it practically fills itself in? I figure that has something to do with how the brain works, so I like to give my brain a chance to do that same kind of work on other kinds of problems. And this concludes the life coaching section of the blog today.
  • 45D: "I'm yours to command" ("USE ME"). Doug thought I would use a BEE GEES clip in today's post, but that would be a little too obvious, wouldn't it? Let's enjoy this awesome jam instead. If you have something against the funky, for God's sake don't click the play button.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 18A: Protected from buffeting (ALEE).
  • 33A: Treasure State motto word (ORO).
  • 9D: 1968 newlywed, familiarly (ARI).
  • 46D: Vigeland Sculpture Park city (OSLO).
  • 53D: Fair Deal initials (HST).
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Everything Else 11A: Revival figs. (EMT'S); 16A: Fly on the river, perhaps (LURE); 19A: Shorten, in a way (HEW); 20A: Smoking choice (PIPE); 21A: Big name in test preparation (KAPLAN); 24A: Stands in a field? (COPSES); 25A: Choice cut (T-BONE); 28A: Dealt with loose ends (MOPPED UP); 34A: Intaglio stone (ONYX); 35A: Not as refined (RUDER); 36A: Times to get ready (EVES); 37A: "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." producer (MGM); 44A: Chicago's __ House (HULL); 46A: Out there to the max (ODDEST); 47A: Tightly (FAST); 48A: NASCAR no. (RPM); 51A: Doce halved (SEIS); 55A: Pre-bar letters (LSAT); 57A: Extremely (OH SO); 1D: "Little Organ Book" composer (BACH); 2D: Not quite smart? (ACHE); 3D: Put away (STOW); 4D: Disclaimer in a quote (SIC); 7D: "My wish is ..." ("I HOPE …"); 11D: Slip by (ELAPSE); 13D: Balancing pros (TREASURERS); 14D: Caught, in a way (SEEN); 22D: Useful downloads (APPS); 23D: First U.S. secretary of war (for whom a fort was named) (KNOX); 24D: Put into bars, say (CODED); 25D: Defeat badly (TROMP); 28D: Chair's title, at times (MADAM); 29D: Sheriff's outfit (POSSE); 31D: Gentlemen's second choices? (BRUNETTES); 36D: Sierra Club subj. (ECOL.); 38D: Sign of an escape? (HISS); 39D: Devils, e.g. (NHL TEAM); 41D: Words with organized crime (TIES TO); 44D: Order clothes (HABIT); 47D: Crumbly topping (FETA); 48D: Arabian checker (REIN); 49D: Shut (up) (PENT); 50D: In-box queue: Abbr. (MSGS.); 54D: Former comm. giant (GTE).


Vega said...

So true on BASS GUITAR/ACTION HERO/CHOCOHOLIC. This might not have been the first time that clue was used for CHOCOHOLIC, but I loved it. I have to say that the clue for ESTIMATING kind of saves that corner. Really, lots of clever clues all over the puzzle that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I hated ANISES but loved OZYMANDIAS, back when I read it in high school and in today's puzzle.

Tommy and Quadrophenia. That's two. I Googled it, and you know what? There are lots more. I'm a bit ashamed that my brain stopped at two (at least it's one more than you, PuzzleGirl! Because it's a contest).

slypett said...

I think the "surfer" being referred to is Ben Franklin. But I don't get how he's a surfer dude.

Gene said...

Kite surfing, very big in windy Aruba where international contests are held yearly.
Loved this puzzle esp. NE and SW 10s.
Didn't like oyzmandia. Thought I saw it in a drugstore as a cure for ODing on Osmand bros. CDs. Ouch!

Gene said...

OOPS! Meant NW and SE 10s.

plaintiff said...

44d ORDER CLOTHES makes no sense as habit. for that matter you could call anything a person does a habit. much too vague.

Alexscott said...

Overall, I liked this puzzle. It has some great words (OZYMANDIAS, BANGLADESH, CHOCOHOLIC, etc.), and very little uninteresting fill. But I have to say I didn't care for some of the cluing. 6D "Like a pitch that's taken, ironically" took me a while because I was looking for an answer that was actually, you know, ironic. Also, the Sylvester Stallone reference in 15A was tricky, but pretty anachronistic. I think I had A__I_NHERO and was like, "Action hero? What does that have to do with being sly?" I mean, he was an action hero 25-30 years ago. We might need more than a nickname. LSAT is pre-bar, but it's also pre-law school. It's a liitle like calling a high schooler a premed student. My final nitpicky complaint is for GOOPIER and TROMP. "Sappier" and "Thump" were my first fill-ins, and I stand by them, even though they don't fit. I mean, I can accept GOOPIER but I've never heard of a team "tromping" anyone. The Red Sox thumped the Yankees 8-1, they didn't "TROMP" them.

Just had to get those off my chest, but I actually did enjoy the puzzle overall.

Sfingi said...

Thought I was doing really well, with all but THEBEEGEES filled in for the long answers.

However, there were some questions: I had sISS, BRaNETTES, pODEm. Had to quit and find out the sinuous storytellers were not saLAmANdERS, but HULADANCERS. Great trick on me, since there is a cute series of kids' stories called Salamander Stories, by Dr. Sheryl Needle Cohn.

OZYMANDIAS was one of my main teaching tools for sonnets and story-within-a-story lessons. A perfect poem.

I knew Champion was a HORSE, but afterwards checked and found out it was Gene Autry's series of horses.

Didn't understand UNHIT, of course.

I guessed IHOPE, and listened to it after. Awful. By a group called Zug Island.

It helped that we had KNOX and ORY (y plata) recently.

But, all in all, way easier than yesterday, which I DNF.

Alexscott said...

@Plaintiff, despite my complaints, I did appreciate that tricky clue. The clue was referring to an order, as in a religious order. So the HABIT would be a nun's habit.

Anonymous said...

The irony of un-hit is usually when you take something you choose it, you use it. When batting if you take a pitch you do not choose to swing at it, you do not use it to hit.

Rube said...

I, too, thought the NW triple was marvelous. Problem was, I was thinking of Sly and the Family Stone and could not see him as an ACTIONHERO. Hmmm... Sylvester Stallone, eh? I could nit pick that Sly is a nick name, but I won't. The corner's just too awesome.

Actually, I thought all the corners were great... with the exception of GOOPIER. What a horrible word. And one that's not found in XWord Info, for good reason.

Now HABIT for "Order clothes" is one of the truly great clues.

Did have Marge for "Champion", as in Marge and Gower... uh, uh.

Excellent, doable puzzle.

C said...

Omicron delivered today. Excellent puzzle today. Some great answers and clues. Much better than the syndicated Sunday NYT I am about to solve.

shrub5 said...

Fun puzzle. Wanted 'out there to the max' to be outré but that didn't fit. Loved all the tricky clues and the resulting aha! moments.

Shouldn't the certain surfer's power source be the wind?

@PG: Thanks for including Bill Withers' "Use Me", one of my faves. Though some fine dancing by John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" would also have been worth a view.

Doug P said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'm not much of a poetry buff, but I like "Ozymandias" for a couple of reasons: it's short and very easy to understand. "Look on my grids, ye mighty, and despair!"

@C - I love that you remember that "Omicron-Peterson" reference.

JaxInL.A. said...

Great puzzle, Doug! I agree with PG's praise, but I agree with @Vega that the clue for ESTIMATING makes that corner fun.

I've been out of commission for about a month, and its nice to get back in the swing of reading puzzle blogs. They really do increase the enjoyment of the solving experience. Thanks, PG, for taking the time even when you had a hubby to welcome home.

CrazyCatLady said...

Nice puzzle Doug! My favorite was also CHOCOHOLIC. GOOPIER was cool too. GOOPY, GOOPIER, GOOPIEST.

I think KITEsurfing is the same as KITEboarding. It's popular in Santa Barbara and lots of fun to watch. Prob lots of fun to do too, although I don't think I'll be trying it any time soon.

Kiteboarding at UCSB

CoffeeLvr said...

@PG, you mentioned the other day that you had watched all of "Law & Order." Did that help you with 58A? I had ???T???NTS, and was so certain it was fooTpriNTS, especially since finger print didn't fit. Finally used the Check function.

Thanks for a fun puzzle, Doug. Thanks for posting the blog and hosting this place, @PG. I look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Puzzle Girl,

I love your blog and read it often but the most common reason to take a pitch is that it is unhittable out of the strike zone


Coach said...

You take a pitch when the batter is ahead on the count, i.e., 3 balls, no strikes. The hope is to draw a walk. The irony is that the picther knows the batter isn't going to swing, so he puts one right down the middle for an easy strike.

Anonymous said...

Third time in a row I gave up on a Sat puzzle - way too esoteric. I think I'm wasting my time being frustrated. The ONLY reason I buy the weekend Times is its puzzles. I won't waste my money any more - a 40 year tradition down the hole!

Anonymous said...

23A: Old comic called The Silver Surfer used cosmic kite for power.