08.16 Tue

August 15, 2011
Alex Boisvert

Theme: Why That Blankity-Blank … — Each theme answer is a made-up two-word phrase where they first word ends in a long E sound, and the second is the same word but with the long E sound dropped.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Meat used in place of a puck? (HOCKEY HOCK).
  • 39A: Surcharge for a cab ride? (TAXI TAX).
  • 61A: Davy Jones at an abbey? (MONKEE MONK).
  • 11D: Intimidator on the bovine playground? (BULLY BULL).
  • 35D: Short-term Arizona State employee? (TEMPE TEMP).
I really enjoyed this puzzle, which isn't a surprise given that I'm madly in love with Alex Boisvert. But I digress. Cute theme, lots of solid (and Scrabbly!) fill, a little bit of crosswordese to help you get a foothold here and there (it's Tuesday after all!). Pretty much perfect. Lots of theme in this grid, and it's going both across and down, which doesn't leave much room for any super flashy long entries. AQUAMAN is clearly the best of the bunch.

I started right off with a mistake at 1-Across, misspelling HAWG as HOGG (1A: Big Harley, in slang). D'oh! Other than that, I didn't really have any trouble. It was smooth going from start to finish. Great clues today include:
  • 20A: John Williams quintet? (OSCARS). I don't know if this is right, but in my head John Williams is the guy who did the music for the Star Wars movies. To Wikipedia! …. Woo-hoo! Love it when I'm right about stuff like that. Or about anything really.
  • 51A: Comfortably rewarding (CUSHY).
  • 50D: Skating maneuver (CAMEL). A little on the tough side for Tuesday, but I like it.
  • 56D: Where most people live (ASIA). I love it when the puzzle forces us out of our little American view of the world.
I think my favorite thing about this puzzle is that it gives me a chance to post a TIM Conway clip (40D: Comical Conway). I'm very tempted to use the "Elephant Story" clip, but I think I've used that a couple times before, so instead, ladies and gentlemen, today I give you the World's Oldest Fireman. Enjoy!

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 57A: D-backs, on scoreboards (ARI).
  • 27D: Dutch cheese (EDAM).
  • 31D: 14-Across's Great Lake (ERIE).
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Everything 1A: Big Harley, in slang (HAWG); 5A: "Marching Along" autobiographer (SOUSA); 10A: "Mamma Mia!" group (ABBA); 14A: Soap Box Derby state (OHIO); 15A: Hearth debris (ASHES); 16A: Off-peak period (LULL); 17A: Meat used in place of a puck? (HOCKEY HOCK); 19A: Untidy type (SLOB); 20A: John Williams quintet? (OSCARS); 21A: Fridge sound (HUM); 22A: '70s Olympics name (OLGA); 23A: Fab Four member (STARR); 24A: Prepare beans, Mexican-style (REFRY); 26A: Scary fly (TSE-TSE); 30A: Place for care instructions (LABEL); 33A: Mouse catchers (CATS); 36A: Expected (DUE); 37A: Professor's goal (TENURE); 38A: Corrida cry (OLÉ); 39A: Surcharge for a cab ride? (TAXI TAX); 41A: English __ (LIT); 42A: Drum heard in Westerns (TOMTOM); 44A: Actress Basinger (KIM); 45A: Bar brews (ALES); 46A: Mar. parade celeb (ST. PAT); 47A: Presario PC brand (COMPAQ); 49A: Significant period (EPOCH); 51A: Comfortably rewarding (CUSHY); 55A: Dinner and a movie, say (DATE); 57A: D-backs, on scoreboards (ARI); 59A: Gillette razor named for its blade count (TRAC II); 60A: One with a password (USER); 61A: Davy Jones at an abbey? (MONKEE MONK); 63A: Gimlet garnish (LIME); 64A: Game show host (EMCEE); 65A: Throw in a chip (ANTE); 66A: SoCal force (LAPD); 67A: Country singer Rimes (LEANN); 68A: Tabloid loch (NESS); 1D: Hostess snack cakes (HO-HOS); 2D: "__ of golden daffodils": Wordsworth (A HOST); 3D: Neopagan religion (WICCA); 4D: Some Soap Box Derby entrants (GO-KARTS); 5D: Articulates (SAYS); 6D: __Kosh B'Gosh (OSH); 7D: "Rats!" ("UH-OH!"); 8D: Out of harm's way (SECURE); 9D: Invitation on a rep's button (ASK ME); 10D: Losing candidate (ALSO-RAN); 11D: Intimidator on the bovine playground? (BULLY BULL); 12D: Online journal (BLOG); 13D: Jessica of "Sin City" (ALBA); 18D: Slips up (ERRS); 25D: Show off one's muscles (FLEX); 27D: Dutch cheese (EDAM); 28D: Prom duds (TUX); 29D: Bulova competitor (SEIKO); 31D: 14-Across's Great Lake (ERIE); 32D: Tennis net grazers (LETS); 33D: Summer cabin beds (COTS); 34D: Boatloads (A LOT); 35D: Short-term Arizona State employee? (TEMPE TEMP); 37D: Pack (down) (TAMP); 39D: Four-legged Oz visitor (TOTO); 40D: Comical Conway (TIM); 43D: Like a pencil point (TAPERED); 45D: Sea-dwelling superhero (AQUAMAN); 47D: Car trim (CHROME); 48D: Farmland division (ACRE); 50D: Skating maneuver (CAMEL); 52D: Teatime snack (SCONE); 53D: Help for the clueless (HINTS); 54D: "Omigosh!" ("YIKES!"); 55D: Boring (DULL); 56D: Where most people live (ASIA); 58D: Bygone Peruvian (INCA); 59D: Not-so-little kid (TEEN); 62D: Barbie's guy (KEN).


gespenst said...

Did you notice that the "ee" sound is spelled differently in each phrase? EY, I, EE, Y and E.

I remembered Hamill camel to get the skating clue.

Liked TOMTOM crossing TOTO.

Mari said...

Good catch gespenst.

I never heard of CAMEL in 50D. I've seen 56D ASIA before, but it always makes me chuckle.

61A had me thinking of Davy Jones of Davy Jones' locker fame. I was thinking along nautical lines. I wonder how many kiddies here will remember the Monkees. I was addicted to Monkees reruns when I was a kid and that was many moons ago!

Matthew said...

Good puzzle. Only had one little glitch -- did the same thing as PG with the "hogg" versus "hawg" thing. Liked the "Tim" crossing "Kim" at 40D and 44A. I can't imagine two people less likely to cross than Tim Conway and Kim Basinger.

Sfingi said...

Sports Natick at CAMEL crosses ARI.

Puzzle is cute as a bug!

I'm waiting for additional suggestions? These aren't so easy. My submission: Jazzy aquas - bluesy blues.

Meanwhile, picturing Kim and Tim in an embrace until someone bursts out laughing.

VirginiaC said...

Many moons ago Mari? sheesh, I watched them when they were new!

Fun puzzle, pretty much liked the whole thing! Did the Hogg thing too, or at least thought of it, then saw the clue for Wicca.

CP said...

Fully agree with PG, nice theme and filler, great for a Tuesday.

Kept on thinking of Marky Mark (Wahlberg)and the Funky Bunch Group while doing the puzzle. What ever happened to him? :-)
Theme reinforced with TSETSE and TOMTOM. Just Excellent!!

Steve said...

Looked at HOG, didn't think to double the G, so left it until the end when the W was my last fill. I've just finished reading a couple of books about the Hell's Angels, and have to say that HAWG never came up in either of them.

A Monkee and a Beatle sharing the grid!

The theme was nice, once I got the first one the rest fell into place. I had to wait for crosses for the first as it could have been BULL BULLY or BULLY BULL.

Had ARZ before ARI.

Liked EPOCH, and nice to see we get the whole TSETSE fly today, and not just "half a fly" as is the common fill.

OSCARS was nice, had me thinking musical quartets, Spanish guitar quartets, movie soundtrack quartets, all kinds of nonsense before I saw the answer.

*David* said...

Bone crushing hard Tuesday, had four erases, that NW must have taken me at least 20 seconds longer then usual, absolutely brutal.

Anonymous said...

If one, just one, of the 'wacky' phrases had been wack, or at least grin inducing, maybe the theme would have been ok.

Anonymous said...

Just one minor complaint: TEMPE, Arizona is pronounced "tem pee" with the accent on the second syllable, not "tempy". When pronounced correctly it just doesn't flow like the rest of the theme answers. That's all.

Go Devils!

Steve said...

Totally off-topic for the day, but @PG and @Doug - the Sunday blog hasn't covered the Reagle print edition puzzle for a couple of weeks, and it's usually intermittent if the solution is posted or not.

I totally appreciate you guys have got real lives to live, but do you plan to post the solution regularly?

This is a purely selfish request as I don't have anywhere to go and vent when the puzzle annoys me (>75%) or go and praise when it's a good one (<25%).

IMHO of course.

shrub5 said...

I put in HOGG for 1A and never changed it. oHOST of golden daffodils looked OK for poetry and that left gICCA for the neopagan religion. D'oh.

@anon 8:50, thanks for the info on TEMPE pronunciation. I was putting the accent on the first syllable. I once heard someone pronounce it "temp" and rolled my eyes, but I was no better!

I was eating a scone when I came to SCONE! Archer Farms (Target) makes some tasty little ones (orange-cranberry).

mac said...

Nice puzzle! The biggest question was the Williams clue, but the crosses helped me out.

We are making great use of our TomTom, in Spain this past weekend and now in Holland. We would have been lost several times without it.

Alex makes nice puzzles.

Anoa Bob said...

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A HOST of golden daffodils;

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Was there ever an apter name for a poet than Wordsworth?

Keith Fowler said...

Easy enough for a Tuesday - except for the NW corner. I started that wrong, plugging in "Ringo" instead of STARR, and I just resisted the obvious HOCKEYHOCK. I saw that it fit but still didn't (and don't) "get" it. I'm not used to hearing it joked about as a "meat," as identified in the clue. I've heard overdone hamburgers often called hockeypucks before, but not hockeyhocks.

Can someone please explain to my dull brain how that works?

mac said...

@Anoa Bob: that was lovely, thank you!

@Keith Fowler: I think the clue refers to a cut of meat, ham hock. I think it's more or less the ankle of the pig.

John Wolfenden said...

I hate to describe things as cute, but as PG points out, today's theme just...is.

I'd bet the good folks at Bulova would take issue with the idea that SEIKO is their competitor. Different price ranges to be sure.

My wife made a chili with tempeh in it the other day, and wondered about the proper pronunciation. Apparently it's tem'-pay.

Someone must start a health food restaurant in aforementioned hamlet called Tempe Tempeh.

CoffeeLvr said...

Thanks, @AnoaBob. One of my mental images of delight is a field of wildflowers in the Yellowstone valley.

@Keith Fowler, I found HOCKEY HOCK hard to see also. A HOCK can be a cut of meat, such as ham hock.

Although I didn't key it in (was still tabbing through the Across entries), my first thought for a bovine intimidator was BossYBoss. Overall, the puzzle didn't thrill me, but I was satisfied.

I was very excited when the Monkees' series was announced, really looking forward to it in 1966. However, even before it went off the air in 1968, I quit watching. I was growing up and moving on to what I considered more serious music. Two years is a long time for an early teen.

Anonymous said...

@John Wolfden - I think that's a horrible idea. The locals would abridge it to the Pee and Pay, and they'd be out of business shortly afterwards.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Steve, Orange blogs about the Reagle puzzle on her site "Diary of a Crossword Fiend." However, there hasn't been any discussion of it the last couple of weeks. It is a good place to check in if you have nagging questions after you solve the puzzle. (Sometimes Google is not useful in understanding a pun!)

@Doug and @PG, for the very, very few comments you got on the Reagle grids, you are right to drop it. Not worth your time, IMHO.

JIMMIE said...


As one of the few usual commentors to the Sunday Calendar Reagle, I can only encourage at least a minimal posting of it. I suspect that nonwithstanding the few comments, your site for this still has many visitors. And if not, we should appeal to LAT to put in a note referring to the blog simply because nobody wants to wait for a week to check the answer. In fact, the Atlanta JC puts the answer in with Reagle's CW every Sunday, because Southerners don't want to wait - which is a poor practice because it encourages peeking. Better for LAT to mention the blog, IMHO.

C said...

I got CAMEL pretty quickly when my brain pulled Hamel(sp?) CAMEL out of its trivia vault.

Good old trivia vault.

Good puzzle, can't use the word 'cute' and maintain my manly man membership card.

Steve said...

@CoffeeLvr and @Jimmie - thanks for the Reagle info.

It's not that I need to go somewhere for the answers (it's very rare I get a DNF on Sundays) it's more that I want to go and see what everyone else is saying about the puzzles. I sometimes feel I'm in minority of one with my opinions about how "clever" Mr. Reagle often is.