08.12 Fri

August 12, 2011
Robert H. Wolfe

Theme: Do I Need to Spell It Out for You? — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase beginning with a word that is a homophone of a letter of the alphabet.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Urban area set aside for pekoe purveyors? (TEA SQUARE).
  • 25A: New Zealand lamb-exporting method? (EWE BOAT).
  • 28A: End of the line? (QUEUE TIP).
  • 47A: "The Look of Love" and "Suddenly I See," e.g.? (EYE TUNES).
  • 49A: Pitch notation for Debussy's "La Mer"? (SEA CLEF).
  • 58A: Island allotment? (CAY RATION).
Busy day today, so I'll just say that I think this theme is really cute and then we'll jump straight to the bullets.

  • 1A: Brother of Ham (SHEM). One day I'll do a CW101 on all the Bible names/terms you should know for crosswords.
  • 9A: Performance lead-in (INTRO). I had the NTR in place and was thinking "ENTRE," but that's the "lead in" to an intermission, not the performance intself.
  • 16A: Aired, as "Hogan's Heroes," say (RERAN). Oh those wacky POW camps.
  • 20A: Cross (SULLEN). Gotta love the one-word clues on Friday. Have you ever thought about how many different meanings the word "cross" can have? Well today you did.
  • 21A: Half of MXIV (DVII). Ouch. The dreaded Random Roman Numeral.
  • 31A: Swimmer who channeled her energy? (EDERLE). In 1926, Gertrude EDERLE became the first woman to swim across the English channel.
  • 51A: Revered Mother (TERESA). So weird. Just yesterday I drafted a letter to someone named "Reverend Mother Thérèse."
  • 53A: Team playing in The Big A (ANGELS). Pretty sure I've never seen the nickname "The Big A" for Anaheim (or any other city for that matter). At first I thought it might be Austin (playing off of Dallas's nickname "The Big D") but couldn't think of a pro team in Austin. (Is there one?)
  • 63A: Needing darning (TORN). I tried WORN first.
  • 65A: What wavy lines may represent (ODORS).
  • 66A: It's about a foot (SHOE). "About" in this case means "around."
  • 27D: Mad VIPs (EDS.). EDitorS of Mad Magazine.
  • 42D: Commemorative pillar (STELA). We covered STELE in CW101 a while back. Turns out it can also be spelled STELA. So now you know.
  • 54D: Sodium hydroxide, in lab shorthand (NAOH). That looks like jibberish to me but I'm sure you science-y people out there knew it right off.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 56A: Icelandic literary treasures (EDDAS).
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Everything 1A: Brother of Ham (SHEM); 5A: Finishes (up) the gravy (SOPS); 9A: Performance lead-in (INTRO); 14A: Mystique (AURA); 15A: Aussie water hazard (CROC); 16A: Aired, as "Hogan's Heroes," say (RERAN); 17A: Urban area set aside for pekoe purveyors? (TEA SQUARE); 19A: Symphony section (REEDS); 20A: Cross (SULLEN); 21A: Half of MXIV (DVII); 22A: "Julie & Julia" co-star (STREEP); 25A: New Zealand lamb-exporting method? (EWE BOAT); 28A: End of the line? (QUEUE TIP); 31A: Swimmer who channeled her energy? (EDERLE); 32A: Store, as ashes (INURN); 33A: Contests ending in draws? (DUELS); 35A: Drifts off (NAPS); 36A: Pinkish yellow (CORAL); 37A: Hoax (FLAM); 41A: Low lands (DALES); 42A: Wine made from the Garganega grape (SOAVE); 43A: Have a one-track mind (OBSESS); 47A: "The Look of Love" and "Suddenly I See," e.g.? (EYE TUNES); 49A: Pitch notation for Debussy's "La Mer"? (SEA CLEF); 51A: Revered Mother (TERESA); 52A: Keen (WAIL); 53A: Team playing in The Big A (ANGELS); 56A: Icelandic literary treasures (EDDAS); 58A: Island allotment? (CAY RATION); 62A: Rubbed-out spirits (GENII); 63A: Needing darning (TORN); 64A: Polis starter (ACRO-); 65A: What wavy lines may represent (ODORS); 66A: It's about a foot (SHOE); 67A: Regretted (RUED); 1D: Wasn't used (SAT); 2D: Shade (HUE); 3D: Stat for CC Sabathia (ERA); 4D: People who knead people (MASSEURS); 5D: Work with clay, say (SCULPT); 6D: Lacking a paper trail (ORAL); 7D: Skin feature (PORE); 8D: Dramatic division (SCENE); 9D: Bargain basement abbr. (IRR.); 10D: As required, after "if" (NEED BE); 11D: "Felicia's Journey" writer William (TREVOR); 12D: Like some saws and tires (RADIAL); 13D: Not remote (ONSITE); 18D: Versatile game piece (QUEEN); 22D: Magazine ad meas. (SQ. IN.); 23D: __ melt (TUNA); 24D: Do another stint (RE-UP); 26D: "Let me think ..." ("WELL …"); 27D: Mad VIPs (EDS.); 29D: Hot star (IDOL); 30D: Turn to mush (PUREE); 34D: "Calm down!" ("EASY!"); 36D: Winery buy (CASE); 37D: Like expensive restaurants, hopefully (FOUR-STAR); 38D: Meet assignment (LANE); 39D: Madison et al.: Abbr. (AVES.); 40D: Cubs' spring training city (MESA); 41D: PC dial-up upgrade (DSL); 42D: Commemorative pillar (STELA); 43D: Lake Ontario port (OSWEGO); 44D: Like some women's evening bags (BEADED); 45D: Refused (SAID NO); 46D: Filled pastry (ECLAIR); 48D: Unlimited, in verse (ETERNE); 50D: Almanac offerings (FACTS); 54D: Sodium hydroxide, in lab shorthand (NAOH); 55D: Sandwich with tzatziki sauce (GYRO); 57D: Family girl (SIS); 59D: Post-op stop (ICU); 60D: Unrefined metal (ORE); 61D: Quiet bid (NOD).


Anonymous said...

"The Big A" is a nickname for Angel Stadium; I don't believe it refers to Anaheim.

Mari said...

I liked 62A "rubbed out spirits / Genii", and 6D "lacking a paper trail / oral". But I'm having a hard time with 36A. Is "coral" really "pinkish yellow"? Maybe I need my "EYE"(tunes) checked.

Nighthawk said...

Looking for some sort of reveal in the letter homophones I unscrambled them to come up with the totally irrelevant: T QUICK. Too quick? Hardly. Challenging was more like it for me.

Great write-up, @PG.

Hand up for first thinking, for 65A, of "bacon."

Sodium hydroxide is composed of 3 atoms: Sodium (NA), Hydrogen (H), and Oxygen (O)=> NAOH. Table salt, sodium chloride, is similarly written: 1 sodium and 1 chloride => NACL.

Anonymous said...

Could someone explain wail as keen?


*David* said...

I really enjoy Wolfe xwords, got to know him when I got The Sun book. For me they are typlified by solid fill, gettable crosses, and an interesting theme. This one was exactly like that, every time I got stuck I was able to weasel out with a cross. Felt I could've gone faster but will take the finish.

*David* said...

Keen also refers to the cry or sobbing of a mourner, a cluing seen here and there for end of the week crossword puzzles.

Steve said...

I had a scad of do-overs midway through this today, had scAM, NEEDed, avId (keen), woRN, some others too.

Had a little natick with TREVOR and EDERLE.

Got all misdirected with the "La Mer" reference - I was looking to state the key signature as some kind of French translation and I still think the clue implies that. I'd have looked for a different composition with an English name that would allude to "Sea".

@Anon and @PG - the stadium is nicknamed "The Big A" because there is a 60-foot letter A wearing a halo at the entrance. You can see it from miles away.

Anonymous said...

I have a problem with CAYRATION. I was always told "cay" was pronounced key, not kay, so in this case it isn't a homophone.

A Tout said...

If you live anywhere east of the Mississippi, The Big A is Aqueduct Racetrack.

Anonymous said...

As an Anaheim native, i can tell you that the "Big A" refers to Anaheim Stadium where the Angels play. There was a giant "A" in the parking lot with a halo around the top that would light up if the Angels won. Even after Angels Stadium changed its name to Edison Field, locals always call it the "Big A".

Anonymous said...

Didn't get the play on words for 31A. Is Ederle another name for some type of energy? Understand the fact she was a Channeler.

Anonymous said...

as previously posted Ederle is the surname of the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

CoffeeLvr said...

I fell for most of the missteps already mentioned, scAM being the hardest to see as wrong. Also had CASk. It didn't help that I had confused "almanac" and atlas in my mind. Oh, well, I did this right after it went up.

Otherwise, a pretty cute theme.

@PG, a Biblical 101 lesson would be much appreciated, but I don't see how you could find the time, as a former employed mother myself.

Sfingi said...

Disagree on TORN. Now that I think people know the difference between a rip and a tear, let's move on to the next sewing lesson. One darns a sock that has a hole that's been wORN through, not TORN.

John Wolfenden said...

Solid punning from the Wolfeman. "People who knead people" for MASSEUR actually made me laugh out loud.

I thought "Turn to mush" for PUREE was a good misdirection clue.

FLAM is really a drumming term whereas FLIM-FLAM is a con. "Half a hoax" might have been a better clue. And coming off a Facebook Scrabble marathon, GENII struck me as one of those words that makes you groan when your opponent plays it.


Old Salt said...

@Sfingi - Unless the breach in the sail on your ship, sock, suit, sweater, whatver, was caused by a tear rather than wear. In any case you DARN it.

Anonymous said...

I also don't think CORAL is predominantly yellow. Yellowish pink would be more accurate.

shrub5 said...

Like @Nighthawk, I tried to make something out of T-U-Q-I-C-K. Guess we over-thought it.

@anon 09:14: You are correct that CAY can be pronounced "key" but "kay" is acceptable also acc. to two dictionaries I checked.

@Mari: Went to search for my 120 ct. Crayola box to look for coral but did not find it (the box.) Pinkish yellow doesn't sound quite right but I guess that could be a light shade of coral. Pinkish orange may be better.

Had trouble at the intersection of STELA and SOAVE.
Stela, stele, STELLLAAA!!!

xxpossum@html.cm said...

@ Jonh W; I agree w you on "flam". Weak. Not part of my vernacular or anyone I know. Other than that, pretty solid puz. By the by; anyone w/a problem with my posts feel free to holla @ xxpossum@hotmail.com. That's why I sign in like that. I'm not gonna walk on eggshells when I contribute opinion here. Fact is, I KNOW I'm a rectal sore. Deal w it. L8r.

Mari said...

@Schrub5, I agree...pinkish orange is more like it!

Anonymous said...

Old Salt, why don't you just sew it up?

Keith Fowler said...

I did like it, altho it defeated me with CAYRATION. All else was in place, but then I spent over a half hour trying the several (obviously wrong) alternate spellings for GIRO, GERO, HERO, &c. And I couldn't abandon my favored STELE for STELA.

Anonymous said...

Wail for keen is weak and stupid!

Anonymous said...

I think keen is obscure, but not weak. It's Irish and familiar from the tales of banshees. I get killed on the simple things like "well" for let me thunk.

Rojo said...

Wow, I have nothing but nice things to say for today's puzzle, although it had me worrying about a DNF for a while and fought me the entire way. Perhaps it had heard my boasting about destroying yesterday's puzzle and was determined not to go down in the same fashion!

The theme was one of my favorites in a long time, although it took forever to click, finally crosses brought me to SEA CLEF, and then was the aha moment.

Had Ottawa and not OSWEGO for a bit.

Had -ENI- for "rubbed out spirits" and remembering a comment here from yesterday or the day before, giggled childishly.

Had DeLls before of DALES.

Favorites from today were EWE BOAT, EYE TUNES, and QUEUE TIP.

Very nice one, Mr. Wolfe!

Rojo said...

Except, I agree that FLAM would have been better clued as "Half a hoax."

Noah Webster said...

Why don't people believe dictionaries? flam

HUTCH said...

Sodium Hydroxide= Naoh--Sodium chloride=Nacl= Salt--Hydrogen Hydroxide=Hoh= Water.

Rojo said...

@ Noah Webster. Ok, noted, I retract my complaint.

Anonymous said...

Why don't people read the entire entry? Origin: Flam, short for Flim-Flam.

Noah Webster said...

@Anon 7:56 - Yes, that was the origin, which is irrelevant. Further, according to the citation I gave, FLAM has meant a hoax since 1625 at the latest. If you don't accept definitions created past that date, I wish you luck reading nothing but Beowulf for the rest of your life.

Drew C said...

Agree with rojo, this puzzle was better than yesterdays. Had one complaint not mentioned here though.

It was tough and needed this site to finish it. Here are my thoughts:

Got 2, and 3 down (hue and era) quickly, and then 14a (aura), Pekoe is a kind of tea so that filled in the 'tea' part of the theme clue. I was not sure if Ham's brother was Shel or Shem.

5.a Got sops and 15a croc. I made a mistake in putting score instead of scene in 8 down.... I was thinking music score.... not sure what I was thinking.

The top right corner I did fairly well, got reran, reeds, then into radial, and onsite. I put 'needed' as opposed to 'need be' and didn't know who 11d was.

Got tuna at 23d and put enurn (instead of the correct inurn) I might have put naps at this point, not sure, but the e there screwed me up for a while.

Got the middle section pretty easily. Duels was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the clue.... great clue. Despite what people say here, I think the description matches the clue..... dales, idol, easy.... got them all fairly quickly. Instead of case (of wine) I had cask. I know it is a container of some type of alcohol, though not sure if you can walk out of a winery with one. I am going to a winery tomorrow, so maybe I will ask.

For 37a, I originally had sham, then thought scam. It was actually flam, which pretty much means sham. the a and m worked wit the down answers.

Bottom left, I got eddas because this word was in the puzzle a few days ago.... I looked up it's history and it stuck in my head. 65a, I originally thought 'esses' as 57d was 'sis'. Ess is a curve in a road, so it would be depicted as a wavy line. Then though 43d ended on an 'o', only because I thought it was Toledo. Wrong great lake. Eventally got t figured out.... didn't know of oswego, don't know what wail reeally means, but the other things worked out.

South side: First thing I got was naoh. Somehow I remembered this from checmistry lectures. The big 'A' had to be anaheim, only sports city could think of that started with 'a'. Also, 'h' was the second letter in 66a, the first was probably an s (since 50d was plural), so the 'shoe' fit.

Bottom right: 'Ore' is in like every puzzle, got rued, then nod....

After this, I had no idea what soave was. I had 'five star' instead of 'four star'(37d). Mother Teresa helped me out though (51a) yes, she is still doing wonders after her death.

My only problem with this puzzle was 20a: Cross: sullen. I think of a cross person as angrily upset. I sullen person is more sad than agree. Anyone agree on this?


Anonymous said...

I loved this puzzle and did much better than usual for a Friday, but I adore puns so that probably helped.

@Drew--I agree on sullen.

What I don't understand is wavy lines meaning odors. I know it's late but can anyone enlighten me? I learn so much from you folks. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

1625 is irrelevant, it was flimflam from the 1530's.

Anonymous said...

Wavy lines