08.17 Wed

August 17, 2011
Jack McInturff

Theme: Three Times a Lady — Each theme answer is a familiar phrase that starts with a word that follows the word LADY in a familiar phrase

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Gourmet treat sold in gold boxes (GODIVA CHOCOLATE).
  • 25A: Backdrop for tangerine trees, in a Beatles classic (MARMALADE SKIES).
  • 41A: Enduring fortune, ethnically speaking (LUCK OF THE IRISH).
  • 54A: 1978 #1 hit for the Commodores (and this puzzle's title) (THREE TIMES A LADY).
Very cute theme today. I was thinking all three ladies might be songs, but then remembered that whenever I think of LADY GODIVA, the song that goes through my head is actually this one:

But that's just my own little quirk, obviously not something Jack McInturff needs to keep in mind while constructing. Although if constructors would tailor their puzzles directly to me, that sure would help me along.

There were a few things in today's grid that I just flat-out didn't know, which seems like kind of a lot for a Wednesday:
  • 22A: Edd's "77 Sunset Strip" role (KOOKIE).
  • 23D: Great Seal word (ORDO). Um … what?
  • 29D: Tennyson's "__ Arden" (ENOCH).
But those entries were balanced out nicely by SWIT and KAREEM, which were right in my sweet spot (30D: She played Houlihan on "M*A*S*H" / 42D: Laker teammate of Magic). My sweet spot apparently lives in the late 70s/early 80s and sits in front of a TV.

Winner of today's Most Awesomest Word in the Grid Award goes to VERMIN (18D: Rats and such). It's a cartoonish word, isn't it? Unfortunately, X FACTOR (39D: Hard-to-define element) got robbed. Any other day and it would have had no trouble taking the title.

Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 21A: Bow-wielding god (EROS).
  • 4D: Ex-press secretary Fleischer (ARI).
  • 37D: Viking war god (ODIN).
  • 43D: "Garfield" drooler (ODIE).
  • 52D: Novelist Ferber (EDNA).
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Everything 1A: Crime writer Paretsky (SARA); 5A: Name on an NYU arts building (TISCH); 10A: Goes (for) (OPTS); 14A: Declare openly (AVER); 15A: Toaster, at times (EMCEE); 16A: Bucket of bolts (HEAP); 17A: Gourmet treat sold in gold boxes (GODIVA CHOCOLATE); 20A: USN rank (ENS.); 21A: Bow-wielding god (EROS); 22A: Edd's "77 Sunset Strip" role (KOOKIE); 23A: Approximation phrase (OR SO); 24A: Brand served on the floor (ALPO); 25A: Backdrop for tangerine trees, in a Beatles classic (MARMALADE SKIES); 31A: Thief (BANDIT); 32A: Cabbage roll? (WAD); 33A: L.A.-to-Bakersfield heading (NNW); 34A: Follow, as a tip (ACT ON); 35A: Bit of a pickle (JAM); 36A: Yes-man's phrase (SO DO I); 38A: Hawaiian tuna (AHI); 39A: Ballot markings (X'ES); 40A: Take off (DEDUCT); 41A: Enduring fortune, ethnically speaking (LUCK OF THE IRISH); 45A: "Law & Order" figures: Abbr. (ADA'S); 46A: Swedish explorer Hedin (SVEN); 47A: Former "Today" co-anchor (COURIC); 50A: D-delta connection (AS IN); 51A: Fashion bottom line? (HEM); 54A: 1978 #1 hit for the Commodores (and this puzzle's title) (THREE TIMES A LADY); 57A: Gentle slope (RISE); 58A: Maine campus town (ORONO); 59A: Godmother, often (AUNT); 60A: Good earth (LOAM); 61A: Harder to find (RARER); 62A: Ho-hum (BLAH); 1D: Guru (SAGE); 2D: Royal Shakespeare Theatre river (AVON); 3D: Primary colors (REDS); 4D: Ex-press secretary Fleischer (ARI); 5D: Excitedly removes, as wrapping (TEARS AT); 6D: "Works for me" ("I'M COOL"); 7D: UCLA and USC (SCHS.); 8D: Boardroom VIP (CEO); 9D: Harassed from the peanut gallery (HECKLED); 10D: "You have to see this!" ("OH LOOK!"); 11D: Heyday (PEAK); 12D: Jacques of "Mon Oncle" (TATI); 13D: WWI admiral Maximilian von ___ (SPEE); 18D: Rats and such (VERMIN); 19D: Cry over spilled milk? (OOPS); 23D: Great Seal word (ORDO); 24D: Sandler of "Spanglish" (ADAM); 25D: Peru's __ Picchu (MACHU); 26D: Playful prank (ANTIC); 27D: Up to one's neck (in) (AWASH); 28D: Pakistani river (INDUS); 29D: Tennyson's "__ Arden" (ENOCH); 30D: She played Houlihan on "M*A*S*H" (SWIT); 31D: False god (BAAL); 35D: Airbus products (JETS); 36D: Williams of tennis (SERENA); 37D: Viking war god (ODIN); 39D: Hard-to-define element (X FACTOR); 40D: b, in a ÷ b (DIVISOR); 42D: Laker teammate of Magic (KAREEM); 43D: "Garfield" drooler (ODIE); 44D: Reputed Dead Sea Scrolls writer (ESSENE); 47D: Laptop key (CTRL); 48D: Taft's birth state (OHIO); 49D: Minor start? (URSA); 50D: 21-Across, in Rome (AMOR); 51D: Do a trucker's job (HAUL); 52D: Novelist Ferber (EDNA); 53D: Urban legend, e.g. (MYTH); 55D: Rollover subj. (IRA); 56D: Scientist's milieu (LAB).


Anonymous said...

It probably was a nice puzzle, but my solving experience was totally overshadowed by the SE, where my final blank space was in the first letter of 59A. I'm still greatly appalled/amused by my choice.

Matthew said...

I liked the theme of today's puzzle -- I chuckled when I filled in 54A and got it. I had no idea what theme was until then. Had a little trouble in the NE corner. Had to guess on the "ie" in "kookie", but it seemed to fit. I see that "emcee" made a return engagement from yesterday's puzzle -- does that make it crosswordese? Or just coincidence?

Sfingi said...

@Anon - Gee, what were you going to write there? Anyway, with Sicilians, Godmother has 2 meanings. The 2nd is the girlfriend. As they said in Wise Guys, Saturday is for the wife; Friday is for the Gumatta.

The puzzle was easy.

Anon 6:07 said...

@Sfingi - Why, RUNT of course. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

VirginiaC said...

Wasn't there a song about Lady Godiva by Hermann's Hermits, or someone similar, way back in the day?

Reno911 said...

Ordo - On the back of every one dollar bill

CP said...

ORDO, new to me. Otherwise a solid Wednesday.
Wasn't it KOOKIE KOOKIE lend me your comb??
Does ORONO qualify for crosswordese???

Keith Fowler said...

Very funny, Anon... Luckily, I filled in LAB before I had to face your delicate choice!
Anyway, this was an easy one, the kind where you're almost filling in the letters before you've read the clues.

Gareth Bain said...

Puzzle's based on songs are one way to go straight to my heart, even if the song isn't one I particularly like! I dunno why! Couple that with MARMALADESKIES, which is just a stunner of an entry and you've got me sold! Even if I don't have a clue about GODIVACHOCOLATE, guessing it's a US-only thing!

Ron Worden said...

Also love themes based on songs. Lady Godiva was a 1966 top ten hit for Peter and Gordon an english pop duo. Did not understand ans. for 7d but not a fan of abbreviations.

Anonymous said...


mac said...

Good puzzle, no real problems.

@Gareth: Godiva chocolates are supposed to be Belgian. Not sure who owns them now. I prefer the dark, dark Dutch chocolate, of course.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I get "Lady Godiva" and "Lady Luck." But who is "Lady Marmalade"?

Fun puzzle, and "Kookie" brought back fond memories of watching a crush on '77 Sunset Strip' in my youth.


Matthew said...

@Anon 9:59 -- Lady Marmalade is the title of a song, most recently sung by a group of 4 singers (Pink, L'il Kim, Xtina and Mya), on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. It's been sung by others.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Matthew. I only know these current singers when they appear on "Dancing with the Stars"--like L'il Kim. Should probably check out the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.


Anonymous said...

@anon 9:59 -- A lot of folks know Lady Marmalade as "voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce soir" (the song's chorus). It was a huge huge huge huge hit in the '70s, performed by Labelle and produced by Allen Toussaint.

Steve said...

Nice theme, I got the answers pretty quickly, but boy did I struggle with the fill - a whole bunch of "who?" names.

Got everything eventually with the crosses except for my personal natick of ESSENE/ORONO. Got lucky again with the N, but flat-out guessed it.

@Anon 6:07AM - so funny, exactly the same thing happened to me a few months ago with a US Airways magazine puzzle. The sniggering juvenile in me prompted me to leave it blank, take a photo of it and post in on Facebook asking for help solving it.

XFACTOR was awesome

Steve said...

@Anon 6:07AM - 56D "Scientist's Milieu" could possibly be the Linnaeus Centre for Bioinformatics in Sweden, abbreviated LCB.


John Wolfenden said...

I second Steve's issue with the ESSENE/ORONO cross...not that there's anything wrong with it, it just seems like a Friday- or Saturday-level cross.

BAAL was a learning moment for me, and today's puzzle was AWASH in good puns:

Brand served on the floor?: ALPO
Cabbage roll?: WAD
Fashion bottom line?: HEM
Cry over spilled milk?: OH NO

Nighthawk said...

Loved the theme answers and needed only a few crosses to fill those.
I pictured myself in a boat on a river.

Whenever I read "77 Sunset Strip" I mentally hear the "snap, snap" of fingers. The song about Kookie and his comb wasn't part of the show, but reflected it's popularity.

Had Bakersfield being NNe, which, until corrected, obscured Loretta. Also mis-spelled CHOCOLATE as choclates, which made the NE a snarl for a while.

Great fill. Love SARA Paretsky's books. Fun to have X-FACTOR and LAB in the same puzzle.

shrub5 said...

DNF. Got stuck in the mid-right side after I put DEPART at 40A for take off. Didn't know ENOCH or INDUS nor could I come up with SODOI for the yes-man. So a few blank squares were left there.

Cute theme and a big smile came when I got the reveal answer to tie it all together.

The demographic for KOOKIE is probably the 60 and up crowd.

JIMMIE said...

I look at MARM as a valid word itself, as in schoolMARM, also a lady.

I bet that the minister of the First Church of BAAL takes offense in the constructors claim that BAAL is a false god.

CoffeeLvr said...

The Indus river was home to the third (and mostly overlooked) riparian base of early civilizations. The Tigris/Euphrates and Nile are, of course, well known. The Indus based culture (Harappan) is less well known because there has been no Rosetta stone to translate the script, and because the development is about 1000 to 500 years later.

I liked the puzzle just fine, but had to read PG for the reveal to "click" into place. I have had a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" earworm off and on all day. That is not a complaint!

Didn't know the relative location of Bakersfield, ORDO, SPEE or ENOCH Arden, and didn't recall TISCH or Jacques TATI. However, the crosses took care of everything in due time. Given my interest in ancient cultures, MACHU and ESSENE were gimme's.

Anonymous said...

Is Tisch for "Name on an NYU arts building" a Wednesday-level clue for most of you guys? I know someone who goes to the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, so it was straightforward for me, but I wondered if it was obscure for other people.

Sfingi said...

@Anon523 - Actually, I had TrutH before TISCH, but it wasn't working, and I noticed they wanted a name. TISCH means table auf Deutsch, but I've heard it bandied about as a name, too. Turns out he was the CEO of CBS. But I'm from NYS and lived in The City 40+ yrs. ago.

@Coffee - Had a prof. from India for Indian Art. He definitely stressed the Indus Valley, chapter 1.

tom schulz said...

Ordo is a word on the great seal of the united states. The whole phrase means "out of many, one". It refers to the relationship between the states and union

Anonymous said...



'E Pluribus Unum' means "out of one, many". 'Novus Ordo Seclorum' means "new order of the ages."