07.15 Fri

July 15, 2011
Bruce Sutphin

Theme: Kilroy Was Here — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase with the letter string TAG inserted into it, creating a new wacky phrase, clued wackily.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Gnome held against his will? (GARDEN HOSTAGE).
  • 27A: Meteorologist's view? (WEATHER VANTAGE).
  • 43A: Team equipment manager's snafu? (JERSEY SHORTAGE).
  • 51A: Stamps with nudes? (EROTIC POSTAGE).
  • 66A: Some graffiti signatures (which were used to form this puzzle's four longest answers) (TAGS).
I believe this is Bruce's debut puzzle and I think he did a great job with it. I'm pretty sure I've met Bruce before and I have this vague idea that last year at ACPT I saw him a couple times and he was wearing a t-shirt that had something to do with coffee. Am I making that up? Anyway. The theme concept is simple and well-executed. I kinda wish the TAG hadn't been at the end of the word before an E on every single theme answer, but ya know what? It's hard for me to dwell too long on any nits I might have with this puzzle when I've got JERSEY SHORTAGE staring me in the face. That's pure gold there. Literally made me LOL. I also think GARDEN HOSTAGE is pretty good. The other two? Unfortunately, meh. But any boredom they cause is totally outweighed by JERSEY SHORTAGE which, I should note, also has an outstanding clue. That's just an all-around great entry is what I'm saying.

Par for the course on a Friday, there were several entries that I just flat-out didn't know:
  • 15A: "Breaking Bad" actor __ Paul (AARON). Never heard of "Breaking Bad" or AARON Paul. I'm guessing this is something hip and current.
  • 32A: Faris of "Scary Movie" films et al. (ANNAS). Oh look! Another beautiful actress I've never heard of. I think that's three this week.
  • 3D: Arcturus, for one (RED GIANT). This was a complete mystery to me.
  • 7D: Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael (OREN). Guess I'm not an expert on ambassadors. I don't think I'll lose any sleep over it.
  • 14A: Head start? (IDEA). I'm not sure I fully understand this clue/answer pair.
  • 35A: Pasty (WAXEN). I tried ASHEN first.
  • 42A: Debonair neckwear (ASCOT). What's the guy's name on Scooby-Doo who wears the ascot? Freddy. I honestly can't even see the word ASCOT without immediately picturing Freddy. Wait, is that even an ASCOT he's wearing?
  • 1D: Operation Neptune Spear org. (CIA). This is the name of the mission that concluded in May with Osama bin Laden's death. Like everyone else in the world, I was paying a lot of attention to the news that day, but for some reason this code name apparently got by me. I remember hearing some discussion about the code name "Geronimo" that was involved in the operation, but not the name of the operation itself. Maybe I don't pay quite as close attention as I think I do.
  • 8D: First matchmaker? (NOAH). Cute clue!
  • 10D: Part of e.g. (GRATIA). "E.g." stands for exempli GRATIA ("for example"). What's the most important thing to know about this particular abbreviation? That it's not interchangable with "i.e." They mean two totally different things. You heard it here first.
  • 30D: Beauty antecedent? (AGE). As in the phrase "age before beauty." Another great clue.
  • 37D: Eureka hrs. (PST). Eureka is a city in California that therefore observes Pacific Standard Time.
  • 42D: Two-dimensional analogue of volume (AREA). Wow. I have no idea what the words in this clue mean.
  • 53D: Whiten (PALE). Interesting. I was about to say that I didn't know PALE could be a verb, but somewhere waaay back in the cobwebs, it sounds familiar. What do you think?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 12D: Zenith (APOGEE).
  • 22D: Grounded big birds? (SST'S).
  • 41D: Piedmont wine region (ASTI).
  • 54D: Comics dog (OTTO).
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Everything Else 1A: It's covered in silk (CORN); 5A: British bakery buy (SCONE); 10A: Mass measure (GRAM); 16A: Result of getting too far behind, briefly (REPO); 17A: Extends, with "to" (ADDS); 18A: Serious alarm (DREAD); 19A: Skip and jump lead-in (A HOP); 23A: Runner on snow (SKI); 25A: Drink in a yard (ALE); 26A: Math ratios (SINES); 33A: They may shrink if they aren't fed (EGOS); 34A: Visit (GO TO); 37A: Light touches (PATS); 41A: Unrivaled (A-ONE); 48A: "12 Angry Men" director (LUMET); 49A: "No thanks, I just __" (ATE); 50A: Stop up (DAM); 56A: Jackson 5 brother (TITO); 57A: Coffeehouse order (LATTE); 58A: Tony relative (EMMY); 61A: Doesn't waste (USES); 62A: Take in, maybe (ALTER); 63A: Short evening? (NITE); 64A: Benchmarks: Abbr. (STDS.); 65A: Lowly workers (PEONS); 2D: Curious (ODD); 4D: Galileo's patron (NASA); 5D: It might be Western or English (SADDLE); 6D: Professional pursuit (CAREER); 9D: Prefix with morph (ENDO-); 11D: Put back up (REHANG); 13D: Acts gloomily (MOPES); 21D: Sounds from stands (RAHS); 23D: Booty (SWAG); 24D: Game with 80 balls (KENO); 28D: "The __ of Steve": 2000 comedy (TAO); 29D: Bugs (VEXES); 31D: Reims rejection (NON); 35D: Tribulation (WOE); 36D: "__ takers?" (ANY); 38D: Dean's domain (ACADEMIA); 39D: Draped attire (TOGA); 40D: A snifter has a short one (STEM); 43D: Legal scholar (JURIST); 44D: Frustrated the director, perhaps (EMOTED); 45D: Second flip (RETOSS); 46D: Expedite (HASTEN); 47D: Furry frolickers (OTTERS); 48D: "__ go then, you and I": Eliot (LET US); 52D: Show support (CLAP); 55D: Mannerly man (GENT); 59D: Short session? (MTG.); 60D: Word said with a fist pump (YES).


Sfingi said...

Except for the NW corner, I flew through this (personal best). I had all the long clues but didn't get it - oh - the word TAG is in each. What about AGE? Or individual urban TAGS. Never mind. The puzzle was way easier than yesterday's.

Did want gOwn before TOGA and sCholars before ACADEMIA.

Back to the NW corner. Got REDGIANT, but had totally different and wrong answers for CORN, CIA, NASA AND IDEA. For instance, tORa for CORN. Should have Googled that corner.

I have no interest in human space travel, and frankly am glad we aren't wasting any more $. So whole cities can run out of oxygen and have bones turn to mush for lack of gravity? A nightmare.

But the rest went so fast, I have time to work on the Sudoku.

Lemonade714 said...

Volume is derived by taking all three dimensions of an object, adding the depth.

The equivalent measure in the two dimensional world is area.

It pales by comparison.

Rojo said...

An auspicious debut! This was my favorite Friday in quite some time. The theme crackled for me even more than it seems to have for PG.

Things I knew and that helped: Michael OREN (though I'm not a fan), Sidney LUMET (am a fan), Arcturus is a RED GIANT, and exempli GRATIA.

The best way to keep i.e. and e.g. separate in your mind is to remember that exempli GRATIA translates as "example free" where as i.e. stands for "id est" which translates as "that is." So i.e. is for further explanation and e.g. is for illustrative example(s).

Things that caused me vexation, but in a good way were Western or English SADDLE, SSTS as grounded big birds (clever clue, reminded me of the old Eddie Floyd tune "Big Bird," which he wrote upon hearing of the plane crash death of his STAX label mate Otis Redding, just as he, Floyd, was getting ready to take off in an airplane), and AREA (@PG - volume is the result of multiplying the measure of the three dimensions of a three-dimensional object and AREA is the the result of multiplying the measure of the two dimensions of a two-dimensional object, hence analogous).

Like PG, I don't particularly understand "Head start?" as a clue for IDEA.

Rojo said...

My explanation of area and volume only holds true for right-angled objects, of course.

Rojo said...

Oh! and finding a picture of Snooki in a jersey is very clever on PG's part.

Sfingi said...

@PG - You must watch Breaking Bad. When the writers had their strike, and reality shows took over, this drama, already written, was taken off the shelf. I couldn't bear the reality shows, so I gave it a try. It's won 5 Emmys and a Peabody and many other awards, and I can't wait for the 4th season. I've bought the others. It's about a chemistry teacher who becomes a meth producer because he's too proud to let his brother-in-law help him pay for cancer treatments. It wasn't long before he had to kill somebody, which is more realistic than "reality" tv, and touches on many "real" problems in today's society.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Lemonade714: I see what you did there. :)

Bruce Sutphin said...

Thanks for the very nice writeup PG. This is my first published puzzle. We did meet at this past years ACPT, but alas I own no coffee emblazoned shirts. I had WARRIORPOSTAGE in my original submission, but Rich didn't think the Yoga names were that familiar and he and I hashed out EROTICPOSTAGE and I changed a couple other things to get matching theme answer lengths. I have gotten much help and support from the great Doug Peterson for which I am incredibly appreciative. Glad to see some other people enjoyed it as well.

JBussey said...

The thing liked: take TAG out of the long answers and you have new standard phrases

*David* said...

It looks like I was the one who had the difficult time. Couldn't get much of a toehold on the top so went to the bottom which fell much easier. Once I had the theme, the puzzle became much easier. I also wish that the TAGs would not have all been presented the same way.

Numerous mistakes in the top half ADE for ALE, ECTO for ENDO, and NIE for NON were part of what slowed me down. Nice debut puzzle!

Tuttle said...

3D was an easy clue (for me), but it is still wrong: Arcturus is a k-type orange giant. It's a bit denser and hotter than an m-type RED GIANT like Antares or Betelgeuse.

I don't get 14A either. Also not sure you can patronize a machine (4D). 63A/59D was... odd.

That said, flew through most of it and had a lot of fun.

Steve said...

The Washington State area was tough for me - was looking at ???GIANT for ages before the penny finally dropped; then the others sloooowwwly fell into place. The N in CORN/NASA was my final fill - I couldn't get past thinking of old Italian philanthropists who might have been shoveling money at Galileo while he was dropping his balls off the tower of Pisa.

Liked ACADEMIA, JURIST, GRATIA and some others. Really nice puzzle, a nice Friday "made me think"-er

Bruce S. said...

My interpretation of 14A is to think of start like a jerk or twitch as it startled. My submitted clue was "Bean byproduct?" and for 3D I submitted "Setting sun?" Thanks for the comments Tuttle.

Anonymous said...

Very much enjoyed puzzle, and had trouble only with NW corner. Can't believe I've never once wondered what e.g. stands for! Now I finally know--thanks PG!


Doug P said...

Congrats to Bruce on his debut! JERSEY SHORTAGE is awesome, and PG's pic is double awesome. (I can't believe I'm saying that about a picture of Snooki.)

You'll be seeing more puzzles from Bruce in the upcoming months. His next step is learning how to kiss up to the bloggers. See yesterday's IOWA clue for a fine example.

Rube said...

Except for the NW, filled in this from top to bottom in one go. My only complaint is that it was much too easy for a Friday. Still, it was a very enjoyable puzzle with fun words like JURIST, ACADEMIA and GRATIA.

Writeovers were CIA/USN and WAXEN/ashEN. I was in the boonies when Osama bin Laden was killed and didn't hear about it until a week after the fact. Still, "Neptune Spear" has a definite USN sound about it and Navy SEALs were the group who did the killing.

When Cosimo Medici didn't fit for Gallileo patron, figured that it was something totally different.

Thanks for stopping by, Bruce. Always good to hear from the constructor. Congratulations on your debut and keep up the good work.

C said...

Fine Friday puzzle. I enjoy puzzles that my first look at the clues doesn't produce many answers, gets my brain involved as opposed to the rote muscular movements of applying pen to paper. Today's puzzle qualified.

Lots of good stuff (or is that stuf per yesterdays puzzle?) in today's offering as others have noted. The one clue that I knew the answer to immediately but caused me pause was the clue for AREA. Analogue threw me as the spelling was not what I expected, I was expecting analog, the US spelling, and was presented the Canadian\British spelling which then forced me to consider do those wacky people actually spell AREA differently? As usual, when my brain is engaged, I over thought it. Happy ending to the story and AREA was properly entered into the puzzle. Moral to this story, don't think, meat, it can only hurt the bal-, er, the puzzle solve.

CoffeeLvr said...

Fittingly, the last letter I entered into the grid was the X smack dab in center.

Congrats on your debut, Bruce. Enjoyed the solve. Nice to hear from you here.

Ate a peach in honor of Eliot this morning. A pleasure to see the reference.

hazel said...

@coffeelvr - i wore my trousers rolled! agree to the pleasure.

fun solve! nice debut!

brainylagirl said...

pretty easy for a friday puzzle. i wasn't as amused by the theme at PG.

Dave in Bend, OR said...

No conspiracy theories here or anything but I always find it interesting that there are (often enough) similarities between the LAT and (syndicated) NYT offerings. Sometimes it is something simple like an unusual word appearing in both puzzles, other times it is a theme that might have mutual references. Anyway, today both puzzles have an X smack dab in the middle. I know it is just a coinky-dink but its kind of cool. Guess I am easily impressed.

Bruce, thanks so much for your input! FWIW I got the start/idea connection. Nice puzzle in general and keep up the good work!

Mokus said...

I enjoyed the puzzle and many of the clues. I agree that it was easier than yesterday. Wanted Jockeyshorts before Jerseyshore. Eureka may be on PST but the rest of us in California are on PDT this time of year.

CP said...

Finished the puzzle before work except for the NW corner, came home and finished NW just now. Operation Neptune Shore org? thought it was some sort of Greenpeace event or a sprinkling someone's ashes at sea, should have known. Nice FRiday puzzle just the same.

Color blind star cataloger said...

According to Wikipedia, a red giant star can range from yellow-orange to red. "Red Giant" is a phase of stellar evolution, not a color. Arcturus is a red giant that happens to be orange. I'm sure that makes perfect sense to someone.