8.03.2011

08.03 Wed

W E D N E S D A Y
August 3, 2011
Kurt Krauss


Theme: On a Roller Coaster — Hard to explain. Just look at the theme answers. You'll get it.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: What older baseball pitchers might do? (WIND DOWN WINDUPS).
  • 23A: Fetch Halloween costumes from the attic? (GET DOWN GETUPS).
  • 53A: Post snide comments on a blog? (PUT UP PUTDOWNS).
  • 64A: Join the high school wrestling team? (TAKE UP TAKEDOWNS).
This might be one of my favorite themes ever. And I swear it's not only because it references wrestling. The word play in this theme is just really fun. The answers are totally consistent and, as a bonus, they're also fun to say!

I noticed a lot of clues in quotation marks today, so I thought we should talk about that. When a clue is in quotation marks it's — obviously — meant to be something a person might say. So the answer will always be something else a person might say to convey the same idea.
  • 39A: "Can I get a word in?" ("AHEM"). Someone saying "Can I get a word in?" is probably impatient, but IMPATIENT won't work as an answer here because it's just totally the wrong part of speech. Instead, think of something else a person might say who's trying to break in to a conversation. Tada! "AHEM."
  • 73A: "Go for it!" ("YES!"). When you see "Go for it!" you probably think of encouragement, but EGG ON (although it's a phrase frequently seen in crosswords) doesn't work here. Instead, what is something else a person might say who's been asked "Should I do it?"
  • 32D: "Ew!" ("ICK!"). Again, two things a person might say that convey the same meaning.
  • 7D: "Don't remind me" ("I KNOW"). You're totally getting the hang of this by now, right?
Bullets:
  • 9A: Latish wake-up time (TEN A.M.). We talked recently about how if the answer is (or contains) an abbreviation, the clue will typically give you a hint about that by containing an abbreviation itself. But remember that we also talked about exceptions to that "rule." This is one of them. A.M. is, indeed, an abbreviation, but it's so commonly used that it's more like its own word and, therefore, doesn't need an abbreviation cue in the clue.
  • 27A: Mice and lice (VERMIN). "Ew!" ("ICK!").
  • 3D: Scratch (LONG GREEN). I assume these are both slang terms for money, although I don't think I've ever heard the term LONG GREEN. Unless this is something totally different. Help me out here.
  • 5D: HTC smartphone (EVO). This is the phone featured in the hilarious, strange, and wildly inappropriate video that went viral about a year ago. [Warning: Don't click the link if you are offended by bad language. Seriously! F-bombs everywhere!]
  • 11D: Tiny Pacific republic (NAURU). This island makes an appearance in puzzles fairly regularly, but that didn't help me today. Needed all the crosses.
  • 33D: Mary Bobbsey's older daughter (NAN). What's the other Bobbsey twin's name? I never read the books, and I only know NAN from puzzles.
  • 36D: Keeps at it (PLUGS AWAY). Awesome colloquial phrase here.
  • 45D: Its largest moon is Triton (NEPTUNE). HAha! I only knew this one because TRITON is so often in the grid clued as "Neptune's largest moon."
  • 57D: Pageant trophy (TIARA). I'm a little bummed that I'll miss "Toddlers & Tiaras" tonight, but I'm picking up a friend at Dulles — not REAGAN (51A: Dulles alternative), but actually Dulles. Which reminds me, I'm off to Lollapuzzoola 4 this weekend, so please don't expect much from the weekend write-ups. I may just post grids and themes and let you all have at it in the comments. And if you're anywhere near New York, please join us for the tournament. I've been to this super fun event every year and it just keeps getting better!
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 4A: Nostalgic soft drinks (NEHIS).
  • 14A: Object of a conquistador's quest (ORO).
  • 4D: Composer Rorem (NED).
  • 28D: K-12 (ELHI).
  • 34D: Poetic preposition (ERE).
  • 42D: Casino game (FARO).
  • 50D: Each (A POP).
  • 63D: Droop-nosed fliers (SST'S).
  • 66D: "Small Craft on a Milk Sea" musician (ENO).
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Everything 1A: Kilmer of "Batman Forever" (VAL); 4A: Nostalgic soft drinks (NEHIS); 9A: Latish wake-up time (TEN A.M.); 14A: Object of a conquistador's quest (ORO); 15A: Conjure up (EVOKE); 16A: As a friend, to Fran&cced;ois (EN AMI); 17A: What older baseball pitchers might do? (WIND DOWN WIND-UPS); 20A: "Scarborough Fair" herb (SAGE); 21A: Huey, Dewey and Louie, e.g. (TOONS); 22A: Dull routine (RUT); 23A: Fetch Halloween costumes from the attic? (GET DOWN GETUPS); 27A: Mice and lice (VERMIN); 29A: Quick-flash link (AS A); 30A: French land mass (ILE); 31A: Early pamphleteer (PAINE); 35A: Big name in baseball cards (TOPPS); 39A: "Can I get a word in?" ("AHEM"); 41A: Muffler (SCARF); 43A: Intimate apparel purchase (SLIP); 44A: Wrinkle-prone fabric (LINEN); 46A: Work with one's hands (KNEAD); 48A: NATO founding member (USA); 49A: Classy org.? (NEA); 51A: Dulles alternative (REAGAN); 53A: Post snide comments on a blog? (PUT UP PUTDOWNS); 59A: Italian diminutive suffix (-INO); 60A: "Pagliacci" clown (TONIO); 61A: Dundee denials (NAES); 64A: Join the high school wrestling team? (TAKE UP TAKEDOWNS); 68A: Early Indo-European (ARYAN); 69A: Actress Dunne (IRENE); 70A: Volstead __: Prohibition enabler (ACT); 71A: Campfire treat (S'MORE); 72A: Enjoyed, as a beach blanket (LAY ON); 73A: "Go for it!" ("YES!"); 1D: Swears (VOWS); 2D: Certain stage solo (ARIA); 3D: Scratch (LONG GREEN); 4D: Composer Rorem (NED); 5D: HTC smartphone (EVO); 6D: Mr. Fixit's genre (HOW-TO); 7D: "Don't remind me" ("I KNOW"); 8D: Attach, in a way (SEW ON); 9D: Most likely to crack (TENSEST); 10D: Bring down the curtain (END); 11D: Tiny Pacific republic (NAURU); 12D: Rally, as a crowd (AMP UP); 13D: Thin sprays (MISTS); 18D: Think (DEEM); 19D: Actress Swenson (INGA); 24D: Fall (over) (TIP); 25D: Geneticist's concerns (DNA'S); 26D: Art colony town (TAOS); 27D: Medicine chest item (VIAL); 28D: K-12 (EL-HI); 32D: "Ew!" ("ICK!"); 33D: Mary Bobbsey's older daughter (NAN); 34D: Poetic preposition (ERE); 36D: Keeps at it (PLUGS AWAY); 37D: Galileo Galilei Airport city (PISA); 38D: Attention __ (SPAN); 40D: Choice reading? (MENU); 42D: Casino game (FARO); 45D: Its largest moon is Triton (NEPTUNE); 47D: Drops on a blade? (DEW); 50D: Each (A POP); 52D: Monument word (ANNO); 53D: Gyro essentials (PITAS); 54D: Render weaponless (UNARM); 55D: Godzilla's stomping ground (TOKYO); 56D: "Wait __ Dark": 1967 film (UNTIL); 57D: Pageant trophy (TIARA); 58D: "Okey-__!" (DOKEY); 62D: Verb-to-noun suffix (-ENCE); 63D: Droop-nosed fliers (SST'S); 65D: Mr. Potato Head piece (EAR); 66D: "Small Craft on a Milk Sea" musician (ENO); 67D: Home viewing room (DEN).

44 comments:

Mari said...

I'm also scratching my head over Long Green.

47D was cute, but I kept thinking of blood, as in a nick by a razor blade (another medicine chest item perhaps?)

Sfingi said...

Put up or shut up.

Anyway, I asked Hubster is there such a thing as a WINDer in baseball? WINDUP. Later, is there such a thing as a TAKE DOWN in wrassling?

Had "ducks" before TOONS. Nephews didn't fit. It's amazing how Uncle Scrooge is the popular one in Italy.

@Mari - both are $.

Had kenO before FARO. FARO means lighthouse.

Another alternative to Dulles is the BWI Thurgood Marshall, where my sister, Dedree Drees designed the tiles for one floor of the garage. Called Waves of Flowers, diagonals of blue clouds/red flowers.
This airport is safer since the approach isn't as low.

Saw the word DOWN emerging before I saw anything else of the theme.

Joon said...

i thought the other bobbsey twin was jan, but wikipedia says it's bert. also, they have younger siblings who are also twins: flossie and freddie. wow. never heard of those, for sure. apparently "the bobbsey twins" refers to two sets of twins.

Nighthawk said...

Initially, had "eight" for TEN A.M. (guess my idea of what is late-ish is a bit different), hand up for "ducks" before TOONS, "Fleer" before TOPPS, and "ech" before ICK (which really screwed up the middle because wasn't certain about Tom PAINE, nor NAN, and ERE was a toss-up between that and "o're"-finally unravelled it all though).

I'm fine with, in fact liked, the theme answers except for the baseball one. I'm just not sure what this phrase means or is meant to imply. That an older pitcher slows down his windup? That he throws slower pitches because he has a slower windup? The others are much clearer to me and kinda have some pop, this one, not so much. Maybe that's the point?

LONG GREEN does indeed mean the same as "do re mi". My sense is it's usually in the context of large amounts. As, "She's got plenty of LONG GREEN."

Tuttle said...

Theme was good.

I see three mistakes though. DNA is inherently plural. You don't add an S to it. Gyro is a type of meat. You can have it without pita bread. And "aryan" has not been considered Indo-European for decades. They were an Indo-Iranian people.

Pete said...

@Tuttle - I see one mistake.
DNAS - We compared the various DNAS of different species to determine where the differences were, i.e. DNAS is fine.
GYRO - Everyone in America calls the sandwitch a GYRO. Everyone, i.e. GYRO is fine.
ARYAN - Contemporary usage of ARYAN refers, at times, to Indo-Europeans, so the clue is accurate. 99.9% of the usage in this vein is profered by racists, so the problem is that this was included in the puzzle in the first place, not in the inaccuracy of the clue.

Steve said...

Took me a while today. The theme was slow to emerge, but nice once I saw it. Never heard of LONG GREEN so the whole area it crossed was very slow to get.

@Tuttle - not sure you're right about gyro - to me it's a pita sandwich with grilled lamb.

My quibble was UNARM - I'm sure it's correct in the strict grammatical sense of usage, but you don't UNARM someone, you DISARM them. I'm always a little unhappy when UN- and DIS- are used interchangeably, it's a crossword contrivance that just doesn't sit well.

You could say I'm DISHAPPY about it, and I wouldn't be UNAPPOINTED not to see it again.

I hope no-one 53A's to @PG's blog today!

Tom said...

Tuttle has a point about DNA, Pete. We don't "compare the DNAs of different species," we "campare the GENOMES of different species to ascertain the differences in their DNA."

But enough quibbling. The puzzle was a fun solve anyway.

Trakker40 said...

I know the 3D Scratch clue has everyone thinking money but its used in golf also, when you miss a putt you scratch, reason being for a "long green" a long putt on the green, I actually never thought of the money connection til i read some of these posts glad I wasnt the only thinking "ducks" on 21 A but the answer wouldve been alomost too obvious

CP said...

Good Wednesday puzzle, never heard of LONGGREEN, but oh well.

FARO is a French poker type game that was popular 2 centuries ago. It was a game that could be easily rigged and is specifically prohibited for play in California under its Criminal Code.

Like the palindromic nature of 4D NED and 67D DEN and their symetrical location on the grid. Nice!

CP said...

FARO is actually more Baccarat like. My bad.

Rojo said...

Well, my L.A. Times Crossword Confidential page just today surpassed the actual L.A. Times Crossword page on my Google home page, which lists pages in terms of most visited and where I typically click over from on the way to the crossword. So congrats! But that meant that I accidentally absorbed WIND DOWN WIND-UPS before I realized, "Oh, crap, I'm on the wrong page and I haven't done this one yet."

So, in a way I cheated, and it also took a bit of the fun of discovering the theme for me. Both (small) bummers.

The other Bobbsey twin was Bert. So not my generation, but when I was a kid I did read a couple of my dad's copies that were found in Grandma's basement. They were not as fun as the old 1950s EC horror comics and other materials that I found in the same basement a few years later as a young teen, the result of my grandmother being a Southern Baptist moral scold and school teacher who used to confiscate such materials from her students and had stashed them all in a box for her impressionable young grandson to discover decades later!

xxpossum@html.com said...

28D: ELHI? Are you folks REALLY o.k. w/dat? C'mon,dudes! That would be an emphatic NO!!!Also, scratch refers to money, not necessarily large amounts.But I liked the clue 'cause you don't hear ( or see ) the term "long" used much these days in reference to "lots of". Y'all seem to be a pretty easy group to please. Just say'n. These puzzle builders seem ( to me )to work themselves into a corner, then use ANY OLD CLUE to get out of their mess. Can't subscribe to that. Sorry.

Steve said...

@Trakker40 - I hesitate to argue about your golf explanation, but - politely as I can put it - it's nonsense. You don't scratch if you miss a putt - if you're playing strokeplay, you go ahead and putt again, if you're playing matchplay and your opponent has already holed out for fewer strokes, you pick your ball up and move on to the next hole. I've played golf for 30 years all over the world and I've never, ever heard a long putt called a long green.

The only usage of scratch I know in golf is a player who's handicap is zero - he's "playing off scratch", or she's "a scratch golfer".

Tom said...

@xxpossum@html.com - "Dude!" Sounds like you need to do a few more crosswords. ELHI is classic crosswordese 101.

shrub5 said...

Loved the theme! Getting the first one helped with the remaining ones. Rest of the grid was fresh as well. My only write-overs were AMass to AMPUP and romA to PISA. Feel the same as @Steve about UNARM -- think we've been through this particular gripe before here or at NYT.

I remember INGA Swenson from the TV sitcom Benson. She starred as the no-nonsense German chef/housekeeper and Benson's nemesis, though they eventually would become friends.

Jerry said...

I'm not thrilled with ELHI in the puzzle, but it's a real acronym: ELHI.

Scratch & long green are both slang for "money". PuzzleGirl is right on and the golf explanation is nonsense.

Mark said...

I have to agree with Steve. I was largely happy with today's puzzle, except for the jarring UNARM. Ugh.

mac said...

I seem to have had a very similar experience to shrub5. Too back scratch/long green relate to money, my first thought was golf as well, but in my case it was based on nothing whatsoever.

Hope to see some of you in NY on Saturday!

Anonymous said...

UNARM looks to me like a weak back-formation from unarmed. I won't try to be unarmingly polite here - I don't like it!

Anonymous said...

UNARM always bothers me but it is pretty common I feel in crosswords, DNAS just feels wrong with its "s". I have only ever heard a gyro refer to the pita sandwich. But it also refers to the meat like shawarma. FARO was one of the most common games played in Tombstone, Arizona in the late 1800's. Doc Holliday was a faro dealer. I'm not sure if it was popular in other western boom towns...the house had great odds in this game and dealers furthered increased these odds by pervasively cheating.

brainylagirl said...

The theme was fine and I got it early on, but there was a lot of ugly fill / weak cluing on the rest of the puzzle today, I thought.

Rube said...

Not being a biochemist or knowing much about the topic, I feel DNAS is acceptable as, if it were spelled out D....Nucleic Acid, an "s" at the end would be perfectly acceptable to me.

Ayway, once I got one of the theme answers, the rest just filled in themselves, taking the challenge out of the puzzle.

Did learn one thing though: gyros are pita bread stuffed with lamb. Always thought of gyros as synonymous with sub and hero.

Hand up for ducks before TOONS.

KeaauRich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KeaauRich said...

I'll stay out of the debates regarding gyros, DNAs, and aryans, but am I the only one troubled by "lay on" as an answer to "enjoyed, as a blanket" (72a). The disgreement in tenses threw me (or maybe I'm just feeling disagreeable today...)

C said...

I liked the puzzle. As George Clinton is wont to say, "Get Up for the Down Stroke, everybody get up!"

I might be using this a little out of context ;^)

Matthew said...

Another hand up for ducks in lieu of toons. Must have Disney on the brain. Which begs the question -- why do the Disney ducks (Donald, Daisy, et al.) all wear tops but not bottoms?

Anonymous said...

@KeaauRich - "Lay" is the past tense of "lie," so the clue seems to work OK. For example, "She lay on the blanket for an hour yesterday."

CoffeeLvr said...

Really liked the puzzle, as I posted this AM, but it is not here! This one made me stop and think in a few places, but nothing I couldn't work out easily enough, especially once I sussed out the theme.

Noted the nice symmetry, with the two DOWN/UP entries up top, and the two UP/DOWN entries down below. And I do love good gyros on PITAS.

Thanks, Kurt Krauss.

*David* said...

Posters never cease to amaze me.

Sean B said...

scratch IS a reference to golf not cash. long green, as in a putting green. I too had ducks first for toons and fleer for topps but I quickly fixed it. Surprisingly I got the theme very quickly. once i got get down getups the other 3 fell right in place.

Tom said...

Been out running errands and just now saw Rube's post on pluralizing DNA.

As a science writer I can tell you that pluralizing DNA is just not done. If you want to pluralize it, you would write "DNA structures" or "DNA strands." In this construction DNA is used as an adjectival modifier. The only time I've seen an S on the end of DNA is if it's being used as a possessive or a contraction; e.g. "It is hard to overestimate DNA's impact on forensic science," or "DNA's the building block of life."

Using DNAs as a plural noun is like saying "peoples" instead of "people."

Sfingi said...

A lot of smart comments today.

I don't play golf (except the time I was knocked out) so the only place I know scratch and long green is from money. I would say the first is pocket change and the second is, as the mob movies say, "large."

@Possum - I know ELHI, but that doesn't mean we can't hate it.

KJGooster said...

@Steve said this better, but...

As a sports fan for my whole life and a golfer for the last 20+ years, I'm telling ya, there is absolutely no way the Scratch/LONGGREEN clue/answer has anything to do with golf. As @Steve said, a "scratch golfer" is one who has a zero handicap.

Besides, just look in the dictionary -- both SCRATCH and LONG GREEN are slang terms for money: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/long+green+?show=0&t=1312419218

Definition of LONG GREEN (noun) [slang]:
Money

Examples of LONG GREEN:

- was able to rustle up some long green in a hurry

- where did he get the long green to afford wheels like that?

First Known Use of LONG GREEN
circa 1889

Synonyms: bread, bucks, cabbage, cash, change, chips, coin, currency, dough, gold, green, jack, kale, legal tender, lolly, money, loot, lucre, moola (or moolah), needful, pelf, SCRATCH, shekels, tender, wampum.


I do think that the term LONG GREEN is obscure enough to make it a terrible answer, but that's a different topic.

HUTCH said...

Hutch here! I got the puzzle except "emote" for "evoke".For me 99% is aok. I even got "smore". What the hell is a "smore"? Was going to change it to "smoke" but did'nt.

KJGooster said...

Hi @HUTCH!

Seriously?! Do you live in the U.S.? ;)

A S'more is a traditional campfire treat consisting of a fire-toasted marshmallow sandwiched with a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers. In my experience, s'mores are much more fun to make than to eat...

Anonymous said...

@PG- great as always and peanut gallery just as much fun. Today was a real head scratcher until 64a and 53a fell into place. Wanted lawer for 21a UNTIL I saw I cant spell and the "and" in the clue instead of "or"! Curses Click & Clack!

CrazyCatLady said...

@KJGooster

Seriously?!

Melted marshmallow, melted Hershey's squares, Nabisco graham crackers??

Maybe you dropped your marshmallow in the campfire? : )

We recently had an interpretation of a S'more at a sort of high end restaurant on the Central Coast. It was no where near as good as the original.

Steve said...

@Anon 7:41 - proud peanutter here - does that qualify as a new crossword-word?

"Peanutter - a member of the Peanut Gallery".

Awesome. We've got our WOTD right here.

See you Peanutters tomorrow.

prolix said...

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KJGooster said...

@CrazyCatLady: I know, it's gotta be un-American or something. It's actually the toasted/melted marshmallow I don't care for, although I enjoy the toasting part when I can wrestle one of the sticks away from my 5-year olds.

And to quote a recent Slate.com article called "Why I hate s'mores,"

"...the spongy white puffs are toasted over an open flame until they are converted into a carbon shell with a tongue-searing marshmallow center, topped with corn-syrupy milk chocolate, and mashed between graham crackers... I suspect that most us don't eat them for the taste. We eat them to relive our first s'mores experience, back when our taste buds were so rosy new that any sugar was ecstasy; back when our parents were the age we are now … and younger. S'mores take us back in time. You don't have to like them to love them."

The whole article is actually pretty entertaining: Why I hate s'mores - By Liesl Schillinger

Rojo said...

@C I'm always happy to see a George Clinton reference, but a perhaps even more apropos funk/soul reference would be The Dramatics' "Get Up and Get Down."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQRR8Poj48o

CrazyCatLady said...

@KJGooster

Just read your post from last night. Very funny and true. Thanks!

Tom said...

Wouldn't you know it, after all my pontificating about why you shouldn't pluralize DNA as DNAs, I sit down to read my latest issue of the journal Science and find an article in which RNA is pluralized as "RNAs." Everywhere else in the article RNA was pluraized correctly: "RNA strands," "RNA scaffolds," etc. But there was that one glaring "RNAs" leaping off the page at me.

I've lived too long. I guess anything goes now. "RNAs," "DNAs," pluralize it however you like. Who cares?

I weep for the peoples.