07.13 Wed

July 13, 2011
Pete Muller

Theme: Vowell Progression — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase the last word of which follows the pattern T[x]LL, where x = a vowel.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Men's clothing category (BIG AND TALL).
  • 22A: 1993 military directive (DON'T ASK DON'T TELL).
  • 33A: Bad thing to be caught with at work, with "a" (HAND IN THE TILL).
  • 46A: Wears greatly (TAKES A HEAVY TOLL).
  • 54A: Rock and roll band whose lead singer often played flute solos (JETHRO TULL).
I always associate this vowel progression theme with Andrea Carla Michaels (who I get to see in about three weeks! yay!). I don't know if she's the first one to ever use it, but she's used it several times and, of course, used it well. Pete does a great job with it today because the theme answers are all fresh and interesting. And not awkward. Hate it when theme phrases are awkward. I got most of the theme answers without crosses, which made this is a really smooth solve. In fact, the most confusing thing for me was remembering Pete Muller. I always get him confused with Todd McClary because I met them both on the same day (a little over a year ago). I always have to go through this thing in my head where I remind myself that Todd McClary is the one who led one of the games and was wearing a Nike shirt and Pete Muller is the one whose wife was pregnant. There. All better.

  • 1A: Pop singer Jackson (JANET). Miss Jackson if you're nasty.
  • 10A: Rubella symptom (RASH). Ew.
  • 21A: Sushi bar spirits: Var. (SAKIS). Not a fan of this spelling, but I assume it couldn't be helped. You know what makes it worse though? 50D: Alt. spelling (VAR.). Oops!
  • 29A: Sony portable since 1984 (DISCMAN). I'm pretty sure mine is here stuck in a box somewhere. Do they still make them?
  • 41A: Droll comic Wright (STEVEN). "I'm going to make a life-size map of the United States. It'll say 'One mile = one mile.'"
  • 5D: Grunt's helmet (TIN HAT). Pretty sure I learned this from crosswords.
  • 37D: Sharon of "Boston Public" (LEAL). Apparently there's a new rule that the grid always has to include a beautiful woman that I've never heard of.
  • 54D: Java (JOE). If you did the NYT first today, you probably didn't have any trouble with this one.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 16A: Pelvic bones (ILIA).
  • 27A: Orbital extreme (APOGEE).
  • 53A: Translucent stone (OPAL).
  • 62A: Exxon, previously (ESSO).
  • 2D: Jackie's "O" (ARI).
  • 48D: __ Park, Colorado (ESTES).
Follow PuzzleGirl65 on Twitter

Everything Else 6A: Create a cobbler (BAKE); 14A: Tabriz resident (IRANI); 15A: Astonishes (AWES); 19A: 53-Across et al. (GEMS); 20A: Harmonizing groups (CHOIRS); 26A: Building supporter (JOIST); 28A: Emilio Estevez, to Martin Sheen (SON); 38A: Seers (ORACLES); 39A: Large loafer letters (EEE); 44A: Overfamiliar (BANAL); 51A: Small streams (RILLS); 52A: Prized statuettes (OSCARS); 58A: Musical Horne (LENA); 59A: Snack with a removable top (OREO); 60A: Dutch export (TULIP); 61A: Shuteye aids? (LIDS); 63A: Serene spots (EDENS); 1D: Sail at the front (JIB); 3D: Pester (NAG); 4D: Passes, as legislation (ENACTS); 6D: Javanese hand-dyed fabric (BATIK); 7D: Prize (AWARD); 8D: Kutcher's "That '70s Show" role (KELSO); 9D: Alien's subj. (ESL); 10D: Trattoria tubes (RIGATONI); 11D: It's tapped in a pub (ALE KEG); 12D: Black as night, e.g. (SIMILE); 13D: Bother (HASSLE); 18D: Lavish parties (DO'S); 21D: Mar. honoree (ST. PAT); 22D: Party spinners, briefly (DJ'S); 23D: "I'm really impressed!" ("OOOH!"); 24D: Simone of jazz (NINA); 25D: When repeated, squeals (NAMES); 29D: Beloved princess (DIANA); 30D: "Monsters, __" (INC.); 31D: Cardinal letters (STL); 32D: Friend of Fidel (CHE); 34D: "Animal Farm" et al. (NOVELLAS); 35D: Work code subject (DRESS); 36D: Letterman rival (LENO); 40D: Pipe shape (ELL); 41D: Leisurely walk (STROLL); 42D: Republic of China capital (TAIPEI); 43D: Bond girl Britt of "The Man With the Golden Gun" (EKLAND); 44D: Without thinking (BY ROTE); 45D: Like some retired racehorses (AT STUD); 47D: Gardeners, at times (HOERS); 48D: __ Park, Colorado (ESTES); 49D: Allergic reaction (ACHOO); 55D: Gran- suffix (ULE); 56D: Architect Maya __ (LIN); 57D: 22-Down's vinyls (LP'S).


Sfingi said...

Never heard of DISCMAN or LEAL, wanted FIoNA for DIANA.
Just found out STL stands for Saint Louis Cardinals, not St. Leo for a cardinal in the church.
Was hung up for a while on CHE, thinking Mr. Muller wanted the Spanish word for friend (AM?).

Do people STROLL anymore? Italians still use the word passegiatta, but have Deutschers abandoned Spaziergang, since it takes too long to do or say?

Saw JETHRO TULL in concert many years ago in NY. Told my sister not to sit in front, or she'd go deaf from the screaming. But she saw them in IA, and wished she had been in front because the audience scarcely budged.

Mari said...

Could somebody please explain 25D: When repeated, squeals (NAMES)?

Also, I tried "Walkman" first for 29A. I guess I'm really showing my age!

Rojo said...

Yeah, I don't understand 25D either. And LEAL is completely new to me as well.

Also, did not like OOOH. Seems to me that that is oone tooo many Os.

DISCMAN caused me no worries. I used to love my Discman, as well as my Walkman, but I still have never owned any IPods or other MP3 players.

I really liked finding SIMILE in the grid, and the cluing for it.

JudyXof said...

"Don't trust that guy .. he names names." 25D I loved it!

Bill said...

NAMES repeated = NAMES NAMES = SQUEALS, i.e. tells on, rats out, etc.

badams52 said...

@Mari,I also tried walkMAN first. I was more familiar with walkmans and like @Sfingi, didn't know the term DISCMAN before today.

Also liked the NAMES NAMES clue. Nice and clever.

I think strolling is out. The people I know who walk all do it for their health which is never leisurely.

Agree with @Rojo not liking OOOH.

Liked BYROTE, but the rest of the fill just sat there, nothing special, nothing to hate.

backbiter said...

Also tried Walkman as well. It was crucial I had my Walkman when at the dentist. The only way I could get my mind off I was there. Otherwise, all I would hear..."Is it safe?"
And as Rojo said...OOOH??? That's worse than EEE!!! I didn't think anything would be worse than EEE!!!



Anonymous said...

I think the 'Names names" clue might be one my favorite of all time.

-relative newbie

*David* said...

Wait we learned LEAL from the Sunday Reagle and it meant Scottish for "dear", now I'm confused. Seemed to be more proper names in here then usual but otherwise very smooth especially on the theme fill. I got them with minimal amount of crosses, nice for a Wednesday.

Steve said...

Loved NAMES names, Hand Up for walkMAN first until I came to CHE and knew I was on the wrong track. Simple fix though.

I'll never remember Maya LIN, I always have to get it through the crosses.

@PG - thanks for the theme explanation, I didn't see it when I was done.

It's funny what you don't know you know - when I first saw the "hand-dyed" clue my inner voice was saying "I don't know ANY hand-dyed fabric names, let alone a specific one from Java" and then a light goes on and "uh, duh, BATIK".

I wonder what the JAVAnese call JOE?

I spend a while trying to fit some variation of Stanford U into the "Cardinal letters" fill until my inner voice convinced me I was barking up the wrong sporting tree.

How short does a novel need to be to qualify as a NOVELLA?

@JaxinLA from Monday - thanks for the awesome "malapop" definition/explanation.

C said...

Got lucky and guessed my way to a successful completion today. Never heard of JOIST or NINA. Since I had never heard of JOIST, JOAST was in the running as well as I had never heard of that and NANA sounds kinda jazzy. Hmm, my smart alec browser seems to have heard of the word as it didn't give JOIST the red squiggle underline.

HANDINTHETILL is an awesome answer, IMO. Conjures up the Fugazi song 'Two Beats Off' in my head which is great.

Tuttle said...

-ULE is not a suffix in the word granule unless you are referring to a little grandmother. Granule is derived from the Latin granulum, the diminutive of granum from which we get 'grain', not the english word 'gran'.

I'm with Steve on STL. Those are CardinalS letters. The St. Louis CardinalS. Stanford are the Cardinal.

SAKIS could have been clued for the monkeys or any of several Japanese women who bear Saki (blossom of hope) as a given name. A variant of a loan-word from a non-Latin alphabet is weak sauce in my book, but I'll grant that my clues may well be a bit obscure for a Tuesday.

But TINHAT is a bit obscure too. The M1917 "Brodie Helmet", aka the TIN HAT, hasn't seen US service in 65 years! I got the 'tin' part quickly and filled it in as 'tin pot' since, in my day, we referred to our kevlar helmets as k-pots.

Speaking of pot, couldn't we have had a weight related clue for LIDS?

Rube said...

I entered TINpoT, not from any personal experience, but thinking this was a term used in WWII movies. You know, they used their helmets to heat water for things like making coffee and washing socks, ergo "pots". TINHAT sounds like that pointy thing the Tin Man wore in the Wizard of Oz.

The SW was my only slow part as I read it "Musical Home", and put capo as in the "head" of a piece of music. I don't think it's entirely my advancing years that makes it hard sometimes to differentiate between "rn" and "m" in Arial or whatever variable spaced font is used by crosswords. It's usually not a problem with fixed space fonts like Courier.

I too liked to see SIMILE as well as a new def for OREO. Suspected the theme after _TALL and _TELL, confirmed it with _TILL and filled in _TOLL and _TULL.

A nice little puzzle... nothing too heavy and only the obscure, (to me) Sharon LEAL to gripe about..

CoffeeLvr said...

No HASSLE today. Big TULL fan in the day, though never got to a concert. Some snappy entries: BATIK, TULIP, APOGEE, JOIST.

Nighthawk said...

Hand up for walkMAN and TINpot. This is what I think of as a TIN HAT. RIGATONI took a while to uncover from crosses. Agree, NAMES names is one of the GEM(S) of this puz. Maybe with the clueing "Black as night" and AT STUD.

Never got the theme until @PGs write-up. Another good one, @PG. Thanks.

Along with Neil Young's "Cowgirl In the Sand", I think Ian Anderson's JETHRO TULL tune "Locomotive Breath" have some of the most interesting introductions in Rock. And seems is today's earworm.

Joon said...

54D: Java (JOE). If you did the NYT first today, you probably didn't have any trouble with this one.

no, indeed i didn't. or the animal farm clue, or the bond girl clue.

i remember the first time i saw the "names names" clue. just brilliant. i'm glad others have had a similar experience today, even though for me it's not as much fun the 3rd or 4th time around.

this LEAL isn't at all familiar to me, although i see from the databases that i've seen her used before as a clue. the other day i was watching argentina-costa rica in the copa america. costa rica has a left-sided midfielder named pedro leal. he's young, i'm sure (CR is fielding a youth team in this tournament), but he got repeatedly torched by leo messi. well, no shame in that, i guess.

really good puzzle all-around, one of my favorites of the vowel progression genre. if you're going to do this theme, it really helps to find five great phrases.

chefbea said...

Just thought the theme was they all ended in double L, til I got here.

Of course I knew ST.L Cardinals

Sfingi said...

I think NAMESNAMES goes back to McCarthyism. Those who did so were not blackballed in Holywood, but were hated.

Conrad said...

I'm with @Steve on all points save BATIK; I got nothin' there.

For those who didn't know DISCMAN, are you from the West? You both sound like you are. The DISCMAN waa the successor to the Walkman, and my constant companion through the early 90's.

CP said...

Originally has PESTER for HASSLE, WALKMAN for DISCMAN, but caught 'em and corrected. APOGEE favorite answer today. As for Sharon LEAL, all I can say is OOOH!!

badams52 said...


I'm from California, so I'm about as West as it gets in the US. ;)

Just remember walkmans being *huge*. A portable stereo system using tapes! It makes sense that DISCMAN replaced it, but it wasn't as ground breaking as the original walkman.

Kind of like how the Atari 2600 was groundbreaking. The Atari 5200, not remembered as much.

CrazyCatLady said...

Chiming in late. My downfall was DISCMAN. I think I had one for about a week. I wore it while running and the disc kept skipping, so I got a WALKMAN and listened to Howard Stern. Shocking!

I read the BATIK clue first as Japanese hand-dyed fabric. I used to do BATIK as an art student. Another D'OH.

LENA/LENO/LEAL/OOOH and EEE get my thumbs down. Otherwise a fun puzzle.