08.24 Wed

August 24, 2011
Michael Daems

Theme: FACE Bookends — Each theme answer begins with FA and ends with CE so, in each case, the word FACE is a "bookend."

Theme answers:

  • 20A: *Miss (FAIL TO NOTICE).
  • 28A: *Simulated living room feature (FAUX FIREPLACE).
  • 45A: *Feature of many Bee Gees songs (FALSETTO VOICE).
  • 51A: Headline that would shock the Internet community (or put another way, hint to the divided word in each of the answers to the divided word in each of the answers to starred clues) (FACEBOOK ENDS).
There's some good stuff in here but, overall, my experience of this puzzle is just "meh." The reveal answer for the theme is cute, but it's almost too cute for my taste. The theme phrases didn't strike me as particularly interesting. I imagine FAUX FIREPLACE is a term people use in, maybe, the real estate business, but I've never heard it. And FALSETTO VOICE is one of those entries from the Department of Redundancy Department. So, FAIL TO NOTICE is the stand-out theme entry. Not much more to say than that.

Okay, good stuff. I said there was some, right? The clue for TAYLOR is deliciously vague (6D: Five-time Grammy winner James). Is James a first name or last name? Is it our good friend Etta? My mind was flitting all over the place before finally landing on James.

The long downs mostly just sit there doing nothing (CITIZENSHIP, EVIDEZzzzzzz). GIRAFFE is pretty good (5D: Long-necked mammal) and then — bam! — we get FUDGE FACTOR (25D: Arbitrary allowance for error). Definitely the highlight of the puzzle for me.

  • 10A: Shady plan (SCAM). Interesting how we were just talking about plan vs. plot the other day. Change plan to plot in this clue and it could mean something totally different!
  • 39A: Dan Patrick's channel, formerly (ESPN). What is Dan Patrick up to these days?
  • 50A: Some 12-yd. soccer shots (PKS). I have no idea what this means.
  • 63A: More-than-disappointing crowd? (NO ONE). I don't understand the question mark in this clue. Is there another meaning of "disappointing crowd" that I'm not thinking of?
  • 1D: The Tanners' adoptee, on TV (ALF). Okay, this is embarrassing. I was thinking of Danny Tanner from "Full House" and thought, "Michelle was adopted?"
  • 35D: Logical character (SPOCK). He offered a lot of very logical advice about babies and childcare.
  • 42D: Diffused through a membrane (OSMOSED). Ugh.
  • 47D: Aftershock (TREMOR). Timely! Yep, we sure as heck did have an earthquake here yesterday. I was shopping at Target when it hit. If it had been any stronger or lasted any longer I'm pretty sure various heavy objects would have been coming down on my head so I'm glad it was a small one. (Although, out of the five earthquakes I've felt in my life, it was by far the biggest!)
  • 53D: Curly cabbage (KALE).
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: Hilo veranda (LANAI).
  • 38A: Ottoman officer (AGA).
  • 1D: The Tanners' adoptee, on TV (ALF).
  • 39D: Command for DDE (ETO).
  • 46D: Carol opening (ADESTE).
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Everything 1A: Cellar process (AGING); 6A: Incline (TILT); 10A: Shady plan (SCAM); 14A: Hilo veranda (LANAI); 15A: Freshly (ANEW); 16A: Scrabble piece (TILE); 17A: Panache (FLAIR); 18A: He caught Don's 1956 World Series perfect game (YOGI); 19A: Bickering (AT IT); 20A: *Miss (FAIL TO NOTICE); 23A: Tolkien's Elrond, e.g. (ELF); 26A: One way to pace (FRO); 27A: Hold dear (PRIZE); 28A: *Simulated living room feature (FAUX FIREPLACE); 32A: Confounds (ADDLES); 33A: Poem of the countryside (IDYL); 34A: Fort Meade-based govt. org. (NSA); 37A: Standards, briefly (REGS); 38A: Ottoman officer (AGA); 39A: Dan Patrick's channel, formerly (ESPN); 40A: Portland-to-Boise dir. (ESE); 41A: Frosh, next year (SOPH); 43A: Scientific __ (METHOD); 45A: *Feature of many Bee Gees songs (FALSETTO VOICE); 48A: Respectful address (MADAM); 49A: Louis XIV, par exemple (ROI); 50A: Some 12-yd. soccer shots (PKS); 51A: Headline that would shock the Internet community (or put another way, hint to the divided word in each of the answers to starred clues) (FACEBOOK ENDS); 55A: Takes steps (ACTS); 56A: Land of Rama I (SIAM); 57A: Poke (ELBOW); 61A: Gait slower than a canter (TROT); 62A: 'Enry's greeting ('ELLO); 63A: More-than-disappointing crowd? (NO ONE); 64A: Miffed (SORE); 65A: Textile worker (DYER); 66A: Amarillo's home (TEXAS); 1D: The Tanners' adoptee, on TV (ALF); 2D: Lass (GAL); 3D: Garten of the Food Network (INA); 4D: Newbie (NAIF); 5D: Long-necked mammal (GIRAFFE); 6D: Five-time Grammy winner James (TAYLOR); 7D: Playing a fifth qtr., say (IN O.T.); 8D: Kid's building block (LEGO); 9D: Reinforced, as some dust bags (TWIN-PLY); 10D: Radio interference (STATIC); 11D: Immigrant test taker's goal (CITIZENSHIP); 12D: Rocker Cooper (ALICE); 13D: Dole (out) (METE); 21D: Pupil's place (IRIS); 22D: Uttered (ORAL); 23D: Online airline deal (E-FARE); 24D: Fills with cargo (LADES); 25D: Arbitrary allowance for error (FUDGE FACTOR); 29D: T-shirt sizes, for short (XL'S); 30D: Black ball (EIGHT); 31D: BlackBerry Bold, e.g. (PDA); 35D: Logical character (SPOCK); 36D: Aconcagua is its highest peak (ANDES); 38D: Mimic (APE); 39D: Command for DDE (ETO); 41D: Generous slice (SLAB); 42D: Diffused through a membrane (OSMOSED); 43D: Night light (MOON); 44D: Clear (EVIDENT); 46D: Carol opening (ADESTE); 47D: Aftershock (TREMOR); 48D: Computer shortcut (MACRO); 51D: Domino's nickname (FATS); 52D: Slick (OILY); 53D: Curly cabbage (KALE); 54D: Gin flavoring (SLOE); 58D: Spar in the ring (BOX); 59D: Stop __ dime (ON A); 60D: Filmmaker Craven (WES).


Pele said...

PK - Penalty Kicks

Bill said...

Dan Patrick is doing a show on Fox Sports, I believe.

If "no one" showed up, it would be more even more disappointing than a disappointly-small crowd. Like the Deep Purple song lyrics "No one came for miles around".

Anonymous said...

And the logical character is Spock from Star Trek

Matthew said...

I kind of took the "no one" clue as part of the phrase "no one was more disappointed than I". But perhaps Bill is right.

Loved "fudge factor" and appreciated the clever theme. The rest was just okay. I thought a better clue for 17A would have been "Nature Boy in the squared circle", or something like that. But perhaps wrestling fans don't spend a lot of time on the crossword puzzle.

Mari said...

Is Naif (4D) a common word? It was unfamiliar to me. I've heard of waif, but not naif.

Loved fudge factor, spock, PG's photo of the faux fireplace above and Matthew's reference to Ric Flair (Woooooooo!)

backbiter said...

I'm not going to comment about the puzzle today. I would like you to know I always keep this blog in the back of my mind while solving. When I filled in 6 down I thought, "Please no James Taylor vids. Oh god please no" When I filled in 12 down I thought, "Oh Yes! Alice Cooper Vid. C'mon Angel treat your readers."

Oh well.



Gene said...

@pg: loved taylor/king vid. thought for sure a BG's vid.

gespenst said...

@Mari - NAIF is the masculine form of naive, I think. It's used as an inexperienced, or, well, naive, person. Knowing my crosswordese, I confidently entered tyro, but had to write over.

I liked the theme, but PG you're right, not a lot of sparkle.

VirginiaC said...

Naif is a noun and naive is an adjective....I think.
I too was hoping for some Alice or BGs

*David* said...

Too much crosswordese and abbreviations without the off-setting oomph to make it all worthwhile.

C said...

Puzzle write-up outshone the puzzle. Masterful instigation with the, ever so innocent Spock explanation. I had images of crossword toting trekkies with pitchforks and torches storming the blog.

Anonymous said...

Great pic of Cael (for kale) Sanderson - the best amateur wrestler of all time!!!

Steve said...

@PG - Dan Patrick has a syndicated radio show which is also broadcast on DirecTV. I'm actually listening to it right now and he was discussing how much he made in his first job at ESPN. Nice coincidence.

Thought the puzzle was fine, didn't really think it was missing any pizzazz - liked the long downs.

Because of @Sfingi, I'm now very aware of sports references - this one had a couple I can see being very obscure if you're not a sports fan (INOT, PKS)

Anonymous said...

My goodness, you're a tough bunch! I thought this theme and puzzle were pretty wonderful! I got the "FA" beginnings but of course never looked at the end. So the "Facebookends" was a total delight of an explanation. And of course it's absolutely true that if Facebook ended the Internet community would be shocked! shocked!Also I thought "Faux Fireplace" was great (we have one, if you consider gas 'faux') because I tried and failed to get 'fake' to work. Anyway, I'm a fan of this one--sorry PG.


Tuttle said...

23A is only half correct.

Anonymous said...

Dan Patrick also has a column in Sports Illustrated.

Anonymous said...

I kept reading 1A as "cellular process", but AGING fits that as well, so I guess I lucked out.

CoffeeLvr said...

Well, @PG, I am glad you could suss out the theme, because when I finished this early this morning I was truly puzzled. FAIL, FAUX, FALSE, and FUDGE FACTOR. But there is no symmetric entry for FUDGEFACTOR. ??? Must have something to do with negatives or lies - but what does that have to do with FACEBOOK?

Worst clue/entry to my mind: "reinforced, as some dust bags", TWINPLY. I guess referencing toilet paper doesn't pass the test for any meal of the day.

John Wolfenden said...

Much like yesterday's, I found this to be a smooth solve of consistent difficulty. I appreciated original cluings to crossword standards like ANDES and ALF.

My favorite clue was "Black ball" for EIGHT. I've played a lot of pool in my life but still sat there unable to figure it out for quite awhile.

A friend of mine loves KALE and eats it all the time. I'm sure it's incredibly healthy but I just can't get on board with it. Too bitter. Maybe in a soup.

CP said...

Great puzzle all the way around. Thanks Mr. Daems.

As for FAUX FIREPLACE, reminds me of the print ads with the bogus heat surge fireplaces constructed by Amish craftsmen. They only allow you to order at certain times depending on what "frigid" zone you live in.

FACEBOOKENDS would be disaster in my house of 3 teenage girls. O.K. by me though.

Sfingi said...

@Mari - You will find NAIF is common in this here crossworld. As a matter of fact there are NAIFs, ELven, AGAs, APEs and even YOGIs all over the crossworld landscape - and hanging out on the ever-popular LANAI.

Puzzle was a little difficult for me, easy for you. It's only Wed. and IHTG for Dan Patrick, INA Garten, Land of Rama, Aconcagua. Didn't notice PKS because I got CITIZENSHIP right away.

@CP - the Amish effect can be achieved with any electric room heater. It looks good if you heat with electric or gas and carry the thing room to room, which single people can do. If you heat with an oil boiler, or have family in every room, the fallacy is more obvious.

Like @Coffelover - thought the theme was about foney stuff at first.

@Steve - INOT I knew or guessed or was reminded, since quarters indicates 4 parts, and a "fifth quarter," whatever sport, would indicate overtime.

Throughout the whole puzzle, I noticed I was filling in half phrases and going back to finish them. Odd effect.

Hoyt said...

Is FUDGE FACTOR an actual saying? If it is, I'm ok with this puzzle. If not, KLUNK!

Anonymous said...

you are clever