07.20 Wed

July 20, 2011
Scott Atkinson

Theme: Duck! — Words that end in LING are clued as if LING is a suffix intended to convey smallness, as it does in the word DUCKLING.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Very narrow fissure? (CRACKLING).
  • 26A: Landfill in a toy city? (DUMPLING).
  • 38A: Minuscule tattoo? (INKLING).
  • 40A: Dollhouse dress adornment? (BOWLING).
  • 49A: Where to wear a training bra? (BUSTLING).
  • 62A: Very young hobo? (TRAMPLING).
  • 67A: Waterfowl whose young inspired this puzzle's theme (DUCKS).
I got the beginnings of the first two theme answers first, but didn't actually complete a theme answer — and figure out the theme — until INKLING, which has a pretty cute clue. It was still a little tricky figuring out the theme answers, having to shift from one part of speech to another in my head in order to really grok what was going on. A good workout, I think. I'm not crazy about the clue for BUSTLING (49A: Where to wear a training bra?) — the "where" kind of threw me. I don't think I'd describe someone as wearing a bra "on her bust," which is where this clue leads me, the way it's worded.

Did you notice the bonus non-theme theme answers?
  • 60A: Mila of "Black Swan" (KUNIS).
  • 8D: Swan constellation (CYGNUS).
I was going to be irritated with KUNIS, since I've never heard of her, but then I realized the connection to the theme and couldn't be mad any more.

I have to assume there was no way around GAMALIEL (10D: Warren Harding's middle name) because that's gotta be scored pretty low on the old word list. I remembered that Harding's middle initial was G but assumed the answer would be something at least vaguely resembling a name. I had to piece that one together cross by cross. The "I" was the last letter I entered into the grid. You're killing me, SMALLS! (48D: Some tees.)

  • 16A: Hand-dyeing craft (BATIK). We just can't get enough of this particular craft, can we?
  • 42A: Opposite of perfect pitch (NO EAR). I wanted TIN EAR here, but NO EAR is perfectly acceptable.
  • 44A: Transp. group in the Loop (CTA). Chicago Transit Authority.
  • 3D: Twinkie or Ding Dong (SNACK CAKE). Best entry in the grid. Great clue too. Man! those are silly names for food.
  • 6D: Slip in a pot (CHIT). I always think this clue refers to, like, an onion or something, but it's an I.O.U. "slip" that's been added to the poker "pot."
  • 7D: Strips of leaves (DENUDES). I'm pretty sure I've seen this word before but didn't know what it meant.
  • 35D: Cardinal who was a foe of the Musketeers (RICHELIEU). See this is what I was talking about with GAMALIEL. I didn't know this name either, but once I put a few crosses in place I could infer it pretty easily because it looks like a name. GAMALIEL? Not so much.
  • 39D: Unwanted playground game teammate (LAST PICK). Oh, I was so afraid this was going to be RUNT or LOSER or FAT KID or something horrible like that. Whew!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 34A: Where eaglets hatch (AERIE).
  • 2D: Calvary inscription (INRI).
  • 11D: Asteroids maker (ATARI).
  • 25D: Bur. of Prohibition employee (T-MAN).
  • 41D: Brewer's kiln (OAST).
  • 61D: Palindromic airline (SAS).
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Everything Else 1A: Birthday secret (WISH); 5A: "Back in Black" band (AC/DC); 9A: Visibly amazed (AGAPE); 14A: __ Domini (ANNO); 15A: Bodybuilder's supplement (WHEY); 19A: Vintage violin (AMATI); 20A: Michael Moore health-care film (SICKO); 21A: Melody (TUNE); 23A: Rock 'n' roll middle name (ARON); 24A: Didn't sell (KEPT); 28A: CIA part: Abbr. (AGCY.); 30A: Arthur Fiedler et al. (MAESTRI); 32A: Hamm of soccer (MIA); 33A: Ryder rentals (VANS); 43A: Composer __ Carlo Menotti (GIAN); 45A: Pago Pago people (SAMOANS); 48A: Did a farrier's job (SHOD); 52A: Lacking spice (TAME); 54A: Chain selling stacks (IHOP); 55A: Clue in a case (LEAD); 57A: Dip for a chip (SALSA); 64A: "Fear of Flying" author Jong (ERICA); 65A: Sneaky trick (WILE); 66A: Luke's sci-fi sister (LEIA); 68A: Black stone (ONYX); 69A: Enjoys a smorgasbord (SUPS); 1D: WWII auxiliaries (WACS); 4D: Game with sticks (HOCKEY); 5D: Pointy tool (AWL); 9D: The N.Y. Nets were its last champion (ABA); 12D: Spike for a mountaineer (PITON); 13D: Squeezing (out) (EKING); 18D: Keystone character (KOP); 22D: Ambulance VIP (EMT); 27D: Shrimp relative (PRAWN); 28D: Key with no sharps or flats: Abbr. (A MIN.); 29D: NFL Hall of Famer Marchetti (GINO); 31D: Zambia neighbor: Abbr. (ANG.); 33D: Like megapopular web videos (VIRAL); 36D: Wild about (INTO); 37D: "Zounds!" ("EGAD!"); 40D: Recycling vessel (BIN); 43D: Yuri who was the first to orbit Earth (GAGARIN); 46D: Wire measure (MIL); 47D: Punch sequence (ONE-TWO); 49D: Pedaled (BIKED); 50D: Freedom, in Swahili (UHURU); 51D: Part of SST (SONIC); 53D: "Antony and Cleopatra" killer (ASP); 56D: Tyne with a Tony and Emmys (DALY); 58D: Salon sound (SNIP); 59D: "What __!": "How fun!" (A GAS); 63D: Tex-__ cuisine (MEX).


Mari said...

Very odd. I guess you learn something new every day.

"de·nude – verb. To make naked or bare; strip: The storm completely denuded the trees.

Sfingi said...

Many things I didn't know, but got on crosses: ABA (sports), CTA, KUNIS, SMALLS, ACDC, ANGOLA - the last 2 being "what else could it be?"

I remember, "It's a profound gas," from somewhere.

As far as the theme, I recall an odd Villanelle which rhymed all in "ing." I'll have to find it.

I was next-to-LAST PICK in grade school. There was the hunchbacked fat girl.

Zounds meant "His Wounds," that is, Christ's wounds. Nowadays, only French Canadians swear in religious terms.

Mari said...

I must be a hunchbacked fat girl because I was always the LAST PICK. Oh well, I'd rather be a crossword nerd anyway!

Ruth said...

TRAMPLING gives me a mental image that really makes me grin. I grudgingly think BUSTLING is pretty cute also and it was a challenge to infer.
My daughter graduated from Middlebury College which was founded by Gamaliel Painter I believe. After I got GAM for Warren G, I was home free. I knew there was a reason I threw all that money at that place to educate my darling!

Nighthawk said...

Great write-up,@PG. But mostly for the oblique reference to Benny "The Jet" Rodrigues and his team mates and the pic of one of the my fave actresses, Cathrine.

@Sfingi-I suppose I shouldn't have, but your LAST PICK comment made me coffee sneeze. And I beg to differ about the French Canadians. I once picked my daughter and a friend up after school in their freshman year and the friend, in response to something in their conversation, said, rather than "OMG" or something, said "Sweet baby Jesus." It was new to me, and struck me a pretty cute at the time. Neither of them are Catholic.

Glad to see ANNO back in use rather than the scrubbed to political correctness BCE or CE. Didn't know GINO and thought MIL should have been MIc for a measurement taken with a micrometer.

Never saw BUSTLING, but I agree with @PG about its cluing, though like the idea of it in this puz.

Is an internet cafe in Flagstaff called an IHOPI?

Steve said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this - agree @PG and @Nighthawk about the BUSTLING clue, but I did enjoy the answer.

Nice theme - took me a while to figure out, and my "aha" was INKLING also.

RICHELIEU went right in, but I think I remembered it from Monty Python, rather than classic literature. Shame on me.

I endured last-pick shame, but not in the playground - a couple of weeks ago when I went to play basketball with some friends. "Oh, I guess I'll have to take the old Irish guy that can't dribble or shoot".

Never heard of GAMALIEL, but duly noted for the future. DENUDES was my WOTD.

badams52 said...

Loved the cute theme and loved seeing lots of it. Didn't mind BUSTLING, but BOWLING kind of looks different from all the others to me. Three of them modify a verb where you drop the E and add ING. Two of them are set words. But BOWLING followed neither of those patterns. Probably just me though.

Like @PG my fav was SNACKCAKE. Also liked VIRAL with its clue.

I'm sure KUNIS will show up again since she is an up and coming star. Started in That 70s Show when she was 14 and is now into movies. Aside from "Black Swan" she is also costarring with Timberlake in the film "Friends with Benefits" which opens this Friday.

Loved the clue for IHOP - Chain selling stacks

Just once I'd like to see them use cMaj instead of AMIN for the key without sharps or flats clue. Had to wait for crosses. (And then "CIA part" could have been cent or AGCY!) Likewise with Super/SONIC.

Tough one for me today, guess I should have figured as Tuesday's also had lots I didn't know.

Personal natik at GIAN/GAGARIN.

*David* said...

Mila KUNIS is everywhere nowadays and should be a name that is known. The other long names were known or known but spelling was a slight issue.

Once I got the theme (LING) I still didn't understand it until the end when I looked it over. The clue I disliked the most was the one for NO EAR.

Anonymous said...

Is grok a real word?

What the heck does it mean?

And where was it coined?

Sorry to be so out of date, but, I'm trying to keep up and you guys are losing me! Little help please...

James V said...

"Grok" was coined by sci-fi author Robert Heinlein back in the '60s.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines grok as "to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with" and "to empathise or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment."

Lots more here: Grok.

Mari (aka Word Nerd) said...

The Oxford English Dictionary defines GROK as "to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with" and "to empathise or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment".

Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In his view, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed. From the novel:

"Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man."

Tom said...

Not sure I understand what the problem was with the clue "Where to wear a training bra?" You wear it on your "bustling," of course. Would it have been better to clue it "Target for a training bra?" or "Place for a training bra?" I don't know. Cute puzzle, though.

Ole said...

I'm sorry everyone, but this was a quick (and very enjoyable) solve for me, simply because of a cosmic confluence of a lot of trivia I actually knew. The only write-over was goose (in lieu of DUCKS), but I fixed that rather quickly on UHURU and SONIC. The Harding clue was easy because of my Poli Sci degree.

And, PG, again, thanks for mentioning one of the best movies of all time, Sandlot. =)

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU to James V and Maria!

That was certainly fast!

Trying to stave off Alzheimer's here. Just have a few handicaps. One, I'm a terrible speller.
Two, this puzzle is from Calif. and I'm in NJ where no one pays attention to producer, writer, actor or entertainers' names. (really don't care, actually)
Three, I'm 62 and Internet, Tweet, Texting shorthand is leaving me in the dust.

Really guys, I appreciate the education.

Rube said...

Didn't know Harding's last name and put down MAESTRO without reading all of the clue so technically DNF. Kooking at GAMALIEL all I could think of was the evil sorcerer, Gargamel, of Smurf fame.

Guess I'll have to learn KUNIS as it will surely come up again. Very quick and easy puzzle with only the one writeover. The theme seemed a little lame to me, but acceptable.

Has Blogger done away with captchas?

CrazyCatLady said...

Thought this was a cute puzzle. Next to dogs and cats, my next favorite animal is the duck, especially Mallards.

GINO Marchetti was one of the founders of GINO's Hamburgers in the mid 1950s. They were big in the Philly area. Not sure if they were in other parts of the country. The burgers were fifteen cents.

Last letter to fill in was the M at the cross of GAMALIEL and AMATI. It was a good guess.

@David agree with you about Mila KUNIS. She has been all over the place plugging her new movie. She was terrific in "Black Swan."

Anonymous said...

I love these Atkinson puzzles!!! Always learn a thing or two--this time it was piton, denude and Warren G's middle name!!! The duckling theme was super clever!!! Scott, you need to write one about your Pippa!!! Diann :)

Anonymous said...

Mila Kunis was nominated for an Oscar last year and was one of the stars of That 70s Show for years! I did have to look up Gamaliel. I think I'll name my child that!

PuzzleGirl said...

@Tom: The issue I had with the BUSTLING clue is that a woman doesn't wear a bra on her bust, she just wears a bra. It's like saying you wear pants on your legs.

mac said...

This is one theme I really enjoyed! Looked forward to getting to the next clue!

I could have thought of a more interesting clue for "smalls".

CoffeeLvr said...

GAMALIEL? Really? I learned something today, that I should have read Acts more closely back when I was a Christian, then I would have recognized it with seven letters in place and avoided a DNF. Meaning of the name: Greek form of the Hebrew name meaning "reward of God." Hopefully this post solve "study" will cement the name in my mind.

In the category of things many people don't know: 46D, wire measure is MIL, but it is NOT a truncated version of millimeter, it means 1/1000 of an inch, and is approximate 39 times smaller than a millimeter. (I assume most people's education teaches inches as divided into fractions 1/4, 1/16 and so on, but not the less common 1/10 of an inch and by extension 1/1000 of an inch.) I learned MIL as a measure of paint thickness in my former life. Although, by the end everything was converting to metric only measures.

Hand up as another LAST PICK. It still rankles, although the worm turned later when we were assigned to academic teamwork.

Anonymous said...

@Ruth - another Middlebury grad here, so I recognized Gamaliel from that. But I graduated before they started handing out Gamaliel Painter's cane to graduates.

Rube said...

@Coffelvr, thanks for bringing the origin of GAMALIEL to my/our attention. I thought it was just a family name, e.g. his mother's maiden name. Now, I too will better be able to remember it.

Delving deeper, I find that GAMALIEL appears once in Wordplay and Crossword Info, clued as "one who studied, 'at the feet of Gamaliel'": PAUL. I'm sure that caused controversy as Paul was originally named Saul when a youth.

Rube said...

I meant to add to @CoffeeLvrs comment that surveyors in the US use decimal fractions of feet, e.g. 100.15ft -- not inches.

Kelso said...

@Anon1134 - Mila Kunis is a good actress (and a major hottie), but she wasn't nominated for an Oscar for "Black Swan." That was Natalie Portman.

Ruth said...

The clue for BUSTLING should have been "What to put in a training bra?" Right?

@anon1245, yep, we have a genuine pro-model copy of Gamaliel Painter's Cane in some honored place in my daughter's former room--again, well worth the $160,000!

Sfingi said...

Another Biblical middle name is James Abram Garfield. In those days Biblical names were quite the rage. I had one ancestor named Dorcas Hollister. What's that? Dork?

@Mari - sorry. I was the midget with thick glasses.

PurpleGuy said...

I guess I'm in the minority. I hated this puzzle.
Thought it was a complete slog.

Wow, I guess I can add any ending to words to make a cutesy-pooh crossword. Gag me with a fork.
The answers were totally stupid to me and made no sense, and the whole idea of smallness because of "ling" ? Shoot me now.

This puzzle just plain sucked.

CP said...

Would have never got SHOD (48A) were it not for EGAD (37D). MAESTRI and GAMALIEL, tough, so like @Rube had MAESTRO so a dnf for me (one box short). UHURU yet again!, KUNIS was all over yahoo.com today, so i got this one right away, a cyber gift. SICKO, SAMOANS (aka football players and pro wrestlers), SUPS, lots of fun clues and answers today.

C said...

Interesting puzzle, the theme was different and stretched the limits of this type of theme with the associated clues. Perfectly fine with me.

Mila KUNIS will always be Meg Griffin from the Family Guy to me.

CP said...

oh yes, CTA, Chicago Transit Authority, was the original full name for the band Chicago.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Gino Marchetti, Hall Of Fame def. end for the Baltimore Colts in 1958's "Greatest Game Ever Played". Gino broke his leg in the fourth quarter but refused to go to the locker room because he wanted to be on the sideline for his team mates.

Chris said...

I may have been one of the few people to fill in Gamaliel without a second thought, but then again, I'm probably one of the few people to have these names memorized.

Hoyt said...

@ Rube ..Harding's last name is Harding. Surprised so many have not heard of Mila Kunis. She is a legit star. Thought it was a pretty good puzzle.