07.27 Wed

July 27, 2011
Jonathan Black

Theme: Itchy Itchy — The word FLEA is hidden inside familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Woods has often been atop it (GOLF LEADERBOARD).
  • 26A: Hold one's nose, perhaps (STIFLE A SNEEZE).
  • 42A: They're fun to jump in (PILES OF LEAVES).
  • 55A: Pet owner's bane, and a hint to what's hidden in 17-, 26- and 42-Across (FLEA INFESTATION).
Short and sweet today because I'm still not feeling great. So weird — I felt fine on Monday and then all of a sudden yesterday, bam! I'm knocked out again. Going to do some power resting today to see if I can't kick this thing.

Weird theme today. I mean, FLEAs? Ew. And to me, the theme answers seem to be all over the place. STIFLE A SNEEZE is awesome, PILE OF LEAVES is supremely adequate, and GOLF LEADERBOARD is, well, not something people say. And I guess I feel the same about the fill. A couple sparkly entries (FLAMBÉ, SLURP, and for some reason DIDO tickled me today), the rest solid but nothing to write home about. The only entry I really have a problem with is AARGH. I can't stress this enough. Pirates don't say AARGH. Pirates say ARRR. Two totally different things. Totally. Different. Please, for the love of God, try not to make this mistake in your life. Pirates = ARRR. Frustrated people = AARGH. Don't say I never taught you anything.

  • 1A: People person (CELEB). In this clue, "People" refers to the magazine.
  • 20A: Mass. hours (EST). If you didn't see the period after "Mass" you were probably thinking along the lines of Sunday morning. But no. This clue is about Massachusetts.
  • 38A: Go up the creek without a paddle? (SWIM). Cute clue.
  • 4D: Will Ferrell holiday comedy (ELF). I couldn't decide which "Talladega Nights" clip to use, so I decided to go with this. Your reaction to this video will undoubtedly fall into one of two categories: (1) You love it; or (2) You think it's the dumbest thing you've ever seen and don't understand why some people think it's funny. Warning: There are some bad words in it.

  • 34D: Miami couple? (EMS). There are two (i.e., a couple) letter Ms (i.e., EMS) in the word Miami. If you want to read a little more about this type of clue/answer pair, click on the link down in the CW101 section.
  • 58D: Suds source (TAP). "Suds" in this clue is a slang word for "beer."
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 24A: Word on some euros (EIRE).
  • 39A: Doggy bag item (ORT).
  • 46A: Ben-Gurion airline (EL AL).
  • 47A: Toll-road toll unit (AXLE).
  • 8D: End of a common list (ZEE).
  • 10D: Orbital high point (APOGEE).
  • 24D: Biblical birthright seller (ESAU).
  • 34D: Miami couple? (EMS).
  • 51D: Long, long time (AEON).
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Everything1A: People person (CELEB); 6A: Throw for a loop (FAZE); 10A: Crew cut's opposite (AFRO); 14A: Good on one's feet (AGILE); 15A: In __ of: as a substitute for (LIEU); 16A: Ring out (PEAL); 17A: Woods has often been atop it (GOLF LEADERBOARD); 20A: Mass. hours (EST); 21A: Food with a Veterinary Formula (IAMS); 22A: Ungentle giants (OGRES); 23A: Cilantro, e.g. (HERB); 24A: Word on some euros (EIRE); 26A: Hold one's nose, perhaps (STIFLE A SNEEZE); 31A: Power strip inserts (PLUGS); 32A: It may be promised (LAND); 33A: Dedicated work (ODE); 35A: Justice appointed after Clarence (RUTH); 36A: Religiously devoted (PIOUS); 38A: Go up the creek without a paddle? (SWIM); 39A: Doggy bag item (ORT); 40A: She had a big hit with "Thank You" in 2001 (DIDO); 41A: Prepares, as a hook (BAITS); 42A: They're fun to jump in (PILES OF LEAVES); 46A: Ben-Gurion airline (EL AL); 47A: Toll-road toll unit (AXLE); 48A: Talk Like a Pirate Day cry (AARGH); 51A: Thrift store stipulation (AS IS); 52A: Counterterrorism org. (FBI); 55A: Pet owner's bane, and a hint to what's hidden in 17-, 26- and 42-Across (FLEA INFESTATION); 59A: Case the joint, say (ABET); 60A: Plant used for first aid (ALOE); 61A: Blair's predecessor (MAJOR); 62A: Tool used to create 42-Across (RAKE); 63A: "__ of Steel": '80s workout video (BUNS); 64A: Sudden increase (SPIKE); 1D: Hamster's home (CAGE); 2D: Prima donnas have big ones (EGOS); 3D: Happy tune (LILT); 4D: Will Ferrell holiday comedy (ELF); 5D: Personal theology elements (BELIEFS); 6D: Burn a dessert on purpose? (FLAMBÉ); 7D: Helps out (AIDS); 8D: End of a common list (ZEE); 9D: It's W of the Urals (EUR.); 10D: Orbital high point (APOGEE); 11D: More than just butterflies (FEAR); 12D: "Still mooing," at a steakhouse (RARE); 13D: Bygone automaker (OLDS); 18D: Banjoist Scruggs (EARL); 19D: Watching the clock, perhaps (BORED); 23D: Above the strike zone (HIGH); 24D: Biblical birthright seller (ESAU); 25D: Getaway spots (INNS); 26D: Suck down (SLURP); 27D: __-frutti (TUTTI); 28D: Hard to get close to (ALOOF); 29D: "Yikes!" ("ZOWIE!"); 30D: Puts in a good word? (EDITS); 31D: Debate side (PRO); 34D: Miami couple? (EMS); 36D: City on the Arno (PISA); 37D: 1-Across, usually (IDOL); 38D: Word processing command (SAVE); 40D: Indian metropolis (DELHI); 41D: Aromatic firs (BALSAMS); 43D: Emissary (LEGATE); 44D: Misses (LASSES); 45D: Escape hatch, e.g. (EXIT); 48D: Way, way off (AFAR); 49D: Jessica of "Fantastic Four" (ALBA); 50D: Stink to high heaven (REEK); 51D: Long, long time (AEON); 52D: Pacific archipelago (FIJI); 53D: Volume (BOOK); 54D: Memo header (IN RE); 56D: Catch red-handed (NAB); 57D: Fever cause (FLU); 58D: Suds source (TAP).


Sfingi said...

Easy enough. Had several writeovers:
ZED before zee - don't know why; Mr. Black did not say Canadian. SPurt before SPIKE, hAND before LAND, and LoSSES before LASSES. Of course, he loses would be spelled with one S.

Didn't know Ireland was on the euro. I'll bet England is glad they never signed up.

As for the theme - Ok, but one rarely worries anymore with the new Frontline (and others) neck medicine. Scratches putting it on may be a worry.

Anonymous said...

Took me about 20 minutes. I still don't get the answer for 44D: lasses

Can anyone enlighten me on that?

JaxInL.A. said...

LASSES are young women, as are MISSES.

theme worked okay for me. Reminded me it's time to treat the cat again. Thanks, @Sfingi.

Argyle said...

Uh, what are frustrated pirates suppose to say?

Steve said...

@PG - take it easy and get well soon!

Liked APOGEE, LEGATE and BALSAMS. Nice clue for SWIM. Had brulee before FLAMBE.

Not much else to say 'bout this.

Nighthawk said...

Get well soon, @PG.

I too was sorta blah, sorta not about this one. Thought the theme might have been called "flea flicker," as most of the fill was quick, though not really much razzle dazzle.

SE took a while, as MAJOR was totally forgotten. Had INRE in then out, then back in. Thought FBI might have been CIA (which is why INRE came out). Also had SurgE for SPIKE for a while which really confused things.

Is AARGH or "arrr" Somalian?

mac said...

Wow, Major seems so long ago!
OK Wednesday, but I needed PG to tell me about the theme...
Like apogee, flambe, legate and lilt, don't like zowies and aarghs, or any exclamations.

Anoa Bob said...

Thought this was a good, solid Wed. puzzle. STIFLE A SNEEZE was the center piece, something maybe Archie Bunker would say.

ZOWIE didn't FAZE me. I like exclamations in my puzzles!

Time to get people up to speed on pirate talk. They have well-documented regional dialects. The ones up in PG's latitudes indeed say ARRR, while further south it's AARGH. It's still hotly debated among linguists as to which form came first, some arguing that AARGH is a grog-induced bastardization of the purer ARRR while the other camp champions AARGH as the prototype with ARRR simply being a lazy pirate's elision.

Anonymous said...

Knocker: Knock, Knock
Knockee: Who's there?
Knocker: The Interuptin' Pirate!
Knockee: Interuptin'...

KJGooster said...

Today's GOLF LEADERBOARD fits right in with Monday's GIANT SLALOM RACE. Both are techically correct, I guess, but nobody ever uses the terms that way.

I got to go to a Seinfeld taping once. The episode was the one in which Jerry got FLEAs from his couch. Turned out it was all because of... Newman!

CoffeeLvr said...

Also had hAND before LAND; SurgE before SPIKE. I keyed in theLEADERBOARD first pass through, but it didn't fit. Agree that GOLF is redundant here.

ZOWIE, two Z's.

Holding your nose may be an effective clue, but a better way to STIFLEASNEEZE is to press, hard enough to hurt, on your philtrum (the area on your upper lip underneath your nose.) Now there's a word to put in a puzzle.

Jet City Gambler said...

For 17A, I initially tried IHOP WAITRESS

Anonymous said...

39A,what is an ort ?