08.05 Fri

August 5, 2011
Gareth Bain

Theme: Herb Puns — That's right. Herb puns.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Means of turning an herb into energy? (BASIL METABOLISM).
  • 29A: Herb lovers' chat organized by Sarah Palin? (CHIVE TALKIN').
  • 47A: Herb eaten with a nightcap? (THYME FOR BED).
  • 63A: Remark on another encounter with an herb? (DILL WE MEET AGAIN).
I really hate to shortchange this puzzle today — especially since Gareth is my new best friend — but I really have a lot yet to do this morning, so I just can't really get into it. Sorry! Cute theme. Definitely groan-worthy, but that's a compliment when it comes to puns, right? My favorite grid entries are SKELETON (which has a great clue — 68A: Secret metaphor) and ODDBALL (46D: Flake).

Couple quick things:
  • 16A: Layette item (ONESIE). I seem to recall that some people don't think this is a common word, but believe me it definitely is. If you're not familiar with it, that just means you haven't been to a baby shower lately.
  • 19A: Chaotic situation (SNAFU). This is another one that people sometimes haven't heard. It stands for Situation Normal All Fouled Up. Sometimes there's a different F-word in there though.
  • 43A: One putting away groceries (EATER). I like this clever clue too! "Get a load of him putting away the kielbasa!" (I'm not entirely sure where that random food example came from. I don't think I've ever had a kielbasa in my life.)
  • 57A: Eagle's tail? (EYED). EYED can be added to the end (tail) of the word "eagle" to create the adjective "eagle-EYED."
  • 5D: Starfish appendage (ARM). I actually entered LEG first. But that's just cuz I'm an idiot.
  • 10D: Norse underworld goddess (HEL). Not familiar with this particular goddess, but her name seems appropriate.
  • 24D: Arab's father (SIRE). Horses.
  • 27D: John's running mate (SARAH). Pretty sure this puzzle filled its Sarah Palin quota with the clue at 29A. Not sure what she's doing showing up again here.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 22A: Stormers of Saruman's fortress, in "The Lord of the Rings" (ENTS).
  • 38A: Q.E.D. word (ERAT).
  • 54A: __ dye: methyl orange, e.g. (AZO).
  • 71A: Two before iota (ETA).
  • 18D: Wile E. Coyote's supplier (ACME).
  • 34D: Tijuana toddlers (NENES).
  • 49D: City near Provo (OREM).
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Everything 1A: Pelican State inst. (LSU); 4A: Oration setting (DAIS); 8A: Common slogan spot (T-SHIRT); 14A: It has many fighters (AIR FORCE); 16A: Layette item (ONESIE); 17A: Means of turning an herb into energy? (BASIL METABOLISM); 19A: Chaotic situation (SNAFU); 20A: Garbage tower (SCOW); 21A: Mo. when asters usually flower (SEP.); 22A: Stormers of Saruman's fortress, in "The Lord of the Rings" (ENTS); 25A: Labor party? (MOM); 26A: Snake's warning (SSS); 29A: Herb lovers' chat organized by Sarah Palin? (CHIVE TALKIN'); 35A: "The Gods Must Be Crazy" setting (KALAHARI); 37A: Care for (NURSE); 38A: Q.E.D. word (ERAT); 39A: Synopsis (RECAP); 42A: Reclined (LAIN); 43A: One putting away groceries (EATER); 45A: Unrestricted (ABSOLUTE); 47A: Herb eaten with a nightcap? (THYME FOR BED); 50A: Quaint contraction ('TIS); 51A: Negative link (NOR); 52A: "High Voltage" rockers (AC/DC); 54A: __ dye: methyl orange, e.g. (AZO); 57A: Eagle's tail? (EYED); 59A: Iraqi port (BASRA); 63A: Remark on another encounter with an herb? (DILL WE MEET AGAIN); 67A: Sign of a page-turner? (DOG-EAR); 68A: Secret metaphor (SKELETON); 69A: Slug relatives (SNAILS); 70A: Naval backbone? (KEEL); 71A: Two before iota (ETA); 1D: They may be chocolate (LABS); 2D: Phillips of "I, Claudius" (SIAN); 3D: __ Minor (URSA); 4D: Discuss business, in a way (DO LUNCH); 5D: Starfish appendage (ARM); 6D: Party host's bagful (ICE); 7D: Gig arrangements (SETS); 8D: In addition (TO BOOT); 9D: Single white male who likes the cold? (SNOWMAN); 10D: Norse underworld goddess (HEL); 11D: Goddess with cow's horns (ISIS); 12D: Intentionally provoked reaction (RISE); 13D: Fill-in (TEMP); 15D: Military wind (FIFE); 18D: Wile E. Coyote's supplier (ACME); 23D: Whaling adverb (THAR); 24D: Arab's father (SIRE); 26D: Olympic event since 1968 (SKEET); 27D: John's running mate (SARAH); 28D: Like the color of some roofing (SLATY); 30D: Goldsmith's "The __ of Wakefield" (VICAR); 31D: Break (LULL); 32D: Frank covering (KRAUT); 33D: Last Supper query (IS IT I); 34D: Tijuana toddlers (NENES); 36D: "Up and __!" (AT 'EM); 40D: Swedish group that won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest (ABBA); 41D: Tiny time meas. (PSEC); 44D: Decision about issues (RENEWAL); 46D: Flake (ODDBALL); 48D: Lobbies (FOYERS); 49D: City near Provo (OREM); 53D: Batting __ (CAGE); 54D: Puts in (ADDS); 55D: Horse Ranch Mountain's national park (ZION); 56D: Gymnast Korbut (OLGA); 58D: Computer support? (DESK); 60D: Fill (SATE); 61D: Reaction from a bad crowd? (RIOT); 62D: Tolstoy's Karenina (ANNA); 64D: Ring of shells, perhaps (LEI); 65D: __ out a living (EKE); 66D: Ball balancer (TEE).


Pete said...

I bow to no one in my hatred of puns, but these weren't bad. Overall, a very nice puzzle.

Matthew said...

Took me a bit, but it finally fell into place. Theme answers were fairly clever, although 29A was truly groan inducing. Also agree that if you're going to use Sarah Palin as part of a clue, she really shouldn't be an answer as well. And I'm sure there's a bad pun in there somewhere, but I'll leave the politics aside.

Steve said...

I miss the connection between Palin and "Talkin'" - I guess I tuned her out and missed whatever that refers to. Would have thought a Bee Gees reference might have been better.

Agree that she shouldn't be a clue and an answer.

I also don't get BASIL METABOLISM - what's that all about? I missed biology class that day.

Can someone explain SKELETON? For a completed puzzle, I sure have a lot of "don't knows". AZO was new to me too.

Not convinced that ODDBALL and flake are synonyms.

Had gEeK before DESK for computer support!

gespenst said...

I noticed both the double Palin reference and using Situation in the clue for an abbreviation including Situation. Di8dn't think that was kosher either.

-Palin is always talkin' folksy.
-Basal metabolism refers to the calories you expend just existing, to which you have to add additional calories to walk and talk and do stuff. It's a common phrase.
-Deep dark secrets might be referred to as a skeleton in your closet.
-If you were a woman who's ever had a urinary tract infection, you'd understand Azo. It's a urinary anesthetic often used with antibiotics to relieve the agony, and it stains urine deep orange.
-I agree, goofBALL and flake seem more synonomous to me ;)

*David* said...

Had a hard time with the top of the puzzle not getting the BASIL METABOLISM reference. The NE corner in particular took the most time. I am not a pun person but I suppose a herb pun puzzle is a bit different and gets a prehensile thumbs up from me.

Tuttle said...

Of course Her name is appropriate. We got the word 'hell' from the realm of the Norse godess.

The goddess with cow's horns was, originally, Hathor but ISIS assumed many of Her roles later in Egyptian history and, as such, was often depicted with the cow horn crown.

And staying with the ancient theme, SIAN Phillips' role as Livia Augusta in I, Claudius was one of the most impressive performances I've ever seen.

Nighthawk said...

I love puns. The higher on the groan-ometer, the better. So, theme was great for me.

"Bumper" before T-SHIRT, and didn't know AZO (thanks @gespenst), but thought something close-AsO, so took a while to see ZION (which, along with Bryce Canyon, is one of my fav NPs), had NiNaS before NENES, and had a long time pass before making the frank/KRAUT connection.

Not a fan of SLATY, but forgiven for all the more cleverly worded clues (thinking, 25A Labor party, e.g.).

Pretty solid Friday.

Rojo said...

Wow, tough, but fun Friday. That NE corner was my roughest, 'cuz the BASIL METABOLISM took forever to click. Was trying to stick the word "metamorph" or some such in there forever.

I also didn't understand the Palin "TALKIN" pun 'til @gespent just explained it above. Now that it's been explained, well... weak. Maybe that's because I also elide the "g" from my "ing" words and so don't particularly associate Palin with that pronunciation trait, as it just seems normal to me.

The rest of it was pretty great though. Most of the cluing was very clever. "Labor party" for MOM particularly shined for me. As did "Frank covering" for KRAUT.

Good news, peanutters! (*said in the voice of Professor Farnsworth*) Busy day for me today, so I won't be chatting up the comment thread all day today like I did yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Love this site. Been following for months. I'm a paper and pen guy.

The amount of calories your body burns every day (not including working out) is your BASAL METABOLIC RATE.

Weight loss specialists often measure this when working clients


Steve said...

@Gespenst - thanks for taking the time to clear everything up for me! (And I'm glad I don't need any infections clearing up). Nearest I've been to what sounds like agony was when I won a hot-wings eating competition some years ago and was very proud of myself - until I had to go pee the next day. Insidious stuff, that capsicum :)

CrazyCatLady said...

Herbal puns = two thumbs up!

Loved the clues for SNOWMAN and SKELETON.

Nice job Gareth.

Rube said...

Can't say I'm a fan of puns, but still enjoyed this puzzle. Agree that ODDBALL and flake don't necessarily mean the same. I'm not sure I've seen NENES as Spanish toddlers. I think more of crosswordese Hawaiian geese.

I saw the original "The Gods Must be Crazy" several years ago. For some reason it is one of my more memorable movies. Haven't seen a real glass coke bottle since.

Anonymous said...

did not like SLATY at all. should be slate. Did not know that SNAFU was an acronym, huh. I am really a fan of this puzzle so I am going to forgive any quibbles I have with certain of the fill except perhaps SARAH as others has said that is really a no-no to me when her full name is already in the cluing. The "L" and "S" in LSU were the last two letters filled for me-need to remember that Louisiana is the pelican state. This corner not hard but i kinda like real gimmes for 1 across and 1down. Is Sian Phillips common? Weird name to me...

Margaret said...

@Rube, I agree with your comment on NENES being crosswordese Hawaiian geese (with ninos and ninas being Spanish toddlers.) I guess this is another one that will have to wait for crosses in the future! Also, can someone please explain RENEWAL as the answer to 44D Decision about issues? I'm just not getting it.

Anonymous said...

@Margaret You RENEW your subscription to a magazine to get the next 12 issues.

mac said...

Nice crunchy Friday puzzle, thank you Gareth! And thanks PG, great write-up.

Onesie is one of my favorite words, it's just funny.
Lots of good long clues and answers, but I agree we shouldn't have to deal with Sarah twice;-). Had to stare at that Arab's father much too long.....

Hope to see some of you in NY tomorrow!

Margaret said...

D'oh! Thanks for clearing up RENEWAL.

KJGooster said...

I know what a ONESIE is, but I don't know the word "Layette." Plus, I read the clue as "Lafayette item," so I was all kinds of wrong there: SWORD? MEDAL?

John said...

I definitely don't think "basal metabolism" is a "very common phrase." I'm not entirely convinced I've ever heard it before now (though I probably have once or twice).

Theme-wise, I wish they would have stuck with either replacing sounds or doing straight-up homophones. 17A and 47A were homophones but 29A and 63A were not. When I saw that 63A changed the first sound, I put in THYME SORBET for 47A, (lime sorbet - yum!).

Rojo said...

So the "TALKIN" thing has made me pay attention to my pronunciation all day. Here's what I've discovered. If the "ing" comes off a vowel, I tend to pronounce the "g" (e.g., "cluing"), if it comes off a consonant, I tend to to elide (e.g., "chattin'")

My little personal linguistics experiment to share with y'all.

CoffeeLvr said...

Thank you, Gareth, I really enjoyed this puzzle. I was looking forward to working through it as soon as I saw your name, but had to wait a couple of hours. Fun theme. Solved on paper, didn't cheat, rewarded with success.

I cannot believe how long it took me to see LABS for 1D, even immediately after a conversation with my bro about his black lab. Kept trying to think of candies. Part of the problem is that I thought of LSU and discarded it, although I didn't fill in anything else.

Nice clue for AC/DC.

CP said...

Did 3/4ths this morning, 'cept for NE. Just got home from work to finish it up. Paper and a No. 2 Dixon Ticonderoga. The 2 goddeses and ONESIE had me for awhile, just continued to stare at it and it magically came to me. Nice theme. Today's puzzle must have been a bother to those not so fond of Ms. Sarah. This blog is great.

shrub5 said...

I entered ELOI before ENTS -- got my sci-fi creatures mixed up. Nice puzzle. Enjoyed the herb puns and, like others above, SKELETON and MOM clues.

Anonymous said...

You pretty much said what i could not effectively communicate. +1

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