08.26 Fri

August 26, 2011
James Sajdak

Theme: Sound Substitution — The Z sound is changed to a DS sound in familiar phrases.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Easy-to-use sock drawer organizer? (PEDS DISPENSER).
  • 28A: Dog show eye-catchers? (COOL BREEDS).
  • 36A: Feline alpha groups? (TOP PRIDES).
  • 48A: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions"? (QUEEN SIDES).
  • 56A: Winter Olympics winner's wall hanging? (BLADES OF GLORY).
Y'all on the East Coast ready for a hurricane? PuzzleHusband is in Texas and PuzzleKids are in Canada, so I'm hunkering down for this one solo. If the power stays on, this might be a great weekend. I have a ton of stuff to do around the house and with the bad weather I won't feel guilty for staying inside. If the power goes out though? Whole different story. Crossing my fingers!

Today we're looking at a simple sound substitution theme. It's a cute idea, but I can't help thinking a bunch of Zs would make the grid more interesting, so it's kind of shame they're being taken out. What I'm really looking for in a theme like this is a theme answer where both the original and resulting phrases are interesting and colorful. Two of the five fit the bill today: COOL BREEDS and BLADES OF GLORY. But look at the others. PEZ DISPENSER is cool, but PEDS DISPENSER? Besides the fact that I don't even think it makes sense (PEDS = socks??), I've gotta believe that if "sock drawer organizer" is the best clue you can come up with for a theme answer, I'd say it's time to look for a better theme answer. QUEEN SIDES is an interesting phrase (and it has a great clue), but it started out as QUEEN-SIZE which is … a type of mattress. TOP PRIDES has the distinction of being a boring answer and based on a boring phrase. Ta-da!

  • 1A: Henri's here (ICI). Starting right off at 1-Across with … French!
  • 10A: Druid's sacred hill (TARA). There were Druids in "Gone With the Wind"?
  • 18A: Bandit feature? (ONE ARM). Cute clue! This is a reference to a slot machine. But you knew that.
  • 63A: 36 for nine, often (PAR). Golf.
  • 64A: Votes for (AYES). Tricky. "Votes" in the clue is actually a noun, not a verb. E.g., "We've got three votes for and two against."
  • 66A: Owner of Abbey Road Studios (EMI). Anyone else try ONO here first?
  • 2D: Set pieces? (CAMERAS). Movie set.
  • 6D: Appearance announcement (PRESTO). I couldn't tell what this clue was going for, but this is a great entry.
  • 29D: No right __ (ON RED). This is embarrassing to admit, but I actually entered OF WAY first. Yes, I realize that's a terrible answer.
  • 39D: Subj. of an '80s-'90s financial crisis (S AND L). I had a hard time parsing this. It's Savings & Loan.
  • 40D: EPA concern (AQI). Air Quality Index. I think.
  • 46D: St. Louis team, familiarly (THE RAMS). I know it's only been, what? fifteen years or so? I just can't think of the RAMS as being in St. Louis.
  • 57D: Price or Battle (DIVA). I knew these were both last names of opera singers, but.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 66A: Owner of Abbey Road Studios (EMI).
  • 8D: Empty weight (TARE).
  • 30D: Jasmine neckwear, perhaps (LEI).
  • 58D: Genesis grandson (ENOS).
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Everything 1A: Henri's here (ICI); 4A: Sci-fi psychic (EMPATH); 10A: Druid's sacred hill (TARA); 14A: What Lin's D.C. wall commemorates (NAM); 15A: Craps table tactic (PARLAY); 16A: Like some terrible reviews (ACID); 17A: Wee (SMA); 18A: Bandit feature? (ONE ARM); 19A: Watch lights, briefly (LCD'S); 20A: Easy-to-use sock drawer organizer? (PEDS DISPENSER); 23A: Emphatic words (I REPEAT); 24A: Run-of-the-mill (USUAL); 27A: Track position (RAIL); 28A: Dog show eye-catchers? (COOL BREEDS); 32A: Cornerstone abbr. (ESTAB.); 34A: Just outside of (NEAR); 35A: Rolls in the grass? (SOD); 36A: Feline alpha groups? (TOP PRIDES); 40A: Palm Sunday carrier (ASS); 43A: German battleship Graf __ (SPEE); 44A: 1945 "Big Three" conference site (YALTA); 48A: "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions"? (QUEEN SIDES); 52A: Slangy negatives (NAHS); 53A: 14th-century Russian prince (IVAN I); 54A: Retro tees (TIE-DYES); 56A: Winter Olympics winner's wall hanging? (BLADES OF GLORY); 60A: Prussian pair (ZWEI); 62A: Stimulate (INCITE); 63A: 36 for nine, often (PAR); 64A: Votes for (AYES); 65A: Semi-sheer fabrics (VOILES); 66A: Owner of Abbey Road Studios (EMI); 67A: Orkin target (PEST); 68A: Speak with conviction (ASSERT); 69A: Decoding org. (NSA); 1D: Fire up (INSPIRE); 2D: Set pieces? (CAMERAS); 3D: Cry from one reaching the top (I MADE IT); 4D: Lyrical poetic form (EPODE); 5D: Zealot-plus (MANIAC); 6D: Appearance announcement (PRESTO); 7D: Gain __: get further ahead in the race (A LAP); 8D: Empty weight (TARE); 9D: Mass music (HYMN); 10D: "Honor Thy Father" author (TALESE); 11D: Grows (ACCRUES); 12D: Purged (RID); 13D: Spots with slogans (ADS); 21D: Egg toss miss indicator (SPLAT); 22D: Light carriage (SURREY); 25D: Flap (ADO); 26D: Dr. Leary's turn-on (LSD); 29D: No right __ (ON RED); 30D: Jasmine neckwear, perhaps (LEI); 31D: Wicked (BAD); 33D: Sarajevo's region (BOSNIA); 37D: Forgetful writer's letters? (P.P.S.); 38D: Louvre Pyramid designer (PEI); 39D: Subj. of an '80s-'90s financial crisis (S AND L); 40D: EPA concern (AQI); 41D: Toyota RAV4, e.g. (SUV); 42D: Navy builders (SEABEES); 45D: Expose (LAY OPEN); 46D: St. Louis team, familiarly (THE RAMS); 47D: Ancient kingdom on the Tigris (ASSYRIA); 49D: Sign on (ENLIST); 50D: Star of France (ÉTOILE); 51D: Bakery utensil (SIFTER); 55D: Discharge (EGEST); 57D: Price or Battle (DIVA); 58D: Genesis grandson (ENOS); 59D: H.S. courses (SCIS); 60D: Cook quickly, in a way (ZAP); 61D: Three-switch railroad track section (WYE).


rrh said...

great website; have a good weekend, everyone Go Cubs !

Gene said...

@pg: RE: Irene- Here in Fl. a CAT ll hurricans is just a cool breeze.

VirginiaC said...

PG: It used to be that a Diva was a very talented singer, usually opera. Over the years it's sort of come to mean bitchy, demanding performer. not sure why.

On the "Queensides" answer, what the heck does that mean anyway? This probably annoys me because I've become a huge Freddy Mercury fan and I thought this was a really domb answer.

VirginiaC said...

oops, that should say dUmb answer

*David* said...

I liked the xword quite a bit, kept me guessing on the theme until the end. Phonetics offer some nice play on words, that is not expected. Cluing was more difficult then usual and kept me from running down the xword, instead had to hop around. I'm guessing the Will Farell movie BLADES OF GLORY was the seed entry and the aha moment as far as the theme.

Anonymous said...

Old records, 45's, had an "A" side and a "B" side. So those two Queen songs could be called Queen Sides.

I'm not thrilled about Parlay -- you can't actually do that on a crap table. So it is just plain wrong. Am still new to Crosswords so that is the first time I've encountered something that is an actual mistake.

There were one or two squares I wasn't sure about

nola-girl said...

Thanks for you great blog PG ~ I really enjoy your witty comments, they always bring a chuckle to my day.

And here's hoping that Irene passes you without much drama and you are able to enjoy your 'alone time'.

Anonymous said...

PEDS DISPENSER clue could have been: traffic light walk sign

Charles Wells said...

Parlay - Parlay in craps means to let your winnings ride on the next bet.

Anonymous said...

I feel one clue was just plain wrong: 19A Watch lights. LCDs are not lights, LEDs are. The LCD display is backlit when you press a button, but the LCD is not the light.

Also I have never heard the phrase "No right on red." Clue should have been No right turn ____.

All in all a disappointing puzzle.

Steve said...

Agree @Anon 8:42AM about PARLAY - I've played craps quite a bit and never heard the term used in that context.

Agree @PG about PEDS = socks???

Had a couple of do-overs in the bottom center - I had exCITE before INCITE and tuILES before VOILES.

My gripe today was the "No Right" clue - I'm not sure I've ever seen a sign that says "No Right On Red" - all the ones I've seen are "No Turn On Red".

I liked QUEENSIDES - I'm old enough to remember you had to get up to turn over the record to the "other side". There's an amusing moment on the Tom Petty CD "Full Moon Fever" where he's added a little interstitial about half-way through where he says "Hello, CD listeners. We've come to the point in this album where those listening on cassette, or records, will have to stand up, or sit down, and turn over the record. Or tape. In fairness to those listeners, we'll now take a few seconds before we begin side two. (brief pause here) Thank you. Here's side two."

Daytona said...

I'm more than old enough to remember turning records over, but I'm still stumped by QUEENSIDES. Never heard the term and don't see how it relates.

Keith Fowler said...

I'm probably older than Daytona, and I do recall referring to favorite music as "sides." But maybe it was a geographic usage. I got thrown by that anyway because I committed to "video" instead of sides, and that screwed that whole section for me. Funny, though, how it made sense.

I agree; this was a tough and unrewarding slog. DNF because of that video error and also that I wanted 14A o be "MLK."

Anonymous said...

ICI EMPATH and some sacred hill.
Not the way to start off a puzzle.

"Sma" for wee?

Agree with the consensus on Pez/ds...

"Blades of Glory" was an 80's hockey video game.

Not a cute enough theme to forgive: ICI, SMA, ZWEI, AYES & NAHS, EMI, NSA....

Anonymous said...

"pede" latin for feet which is what I had in first - hence peds I believe.

Didn't have a clue about empath and don't think the clue fits at all, but I could be wrong

Daytona said...

Thanks, Keith. But I still don't get it. Where does QUEEN fit in?

Anonymous said...

You've never heard of "a wee, sma bairn"? Very Scottish, albeit redundant.

CoffeeLvr said...

PEDS is a brand of sock, apparently all very low cut.

I got started well in the East, and filled out in the South pretty quickly. So I was looking at the GLORY in the one long entry I had, then PRIDES, then QUEEN, then had
??OLBREEDS. So I thought I was looking for things that were boastful or top ranked or such. That was no help at all with the sock organizer.

I finally had to change the setting from Expert to Regular to finish up. I had ESTed, which was in the way.

Thinking of all you East Coast folks, and hope Irene calms down or heads East.

CoffeeLvr said...

@Daytona, Queen is the band that had the two songs listed.

C said...

DNF, I had -ARA and -ALESE and no clue about either so played the alphabet game and made it to M then got bored and put M into the square for the DNF. So close yet so far ...

Tuttle said...

Anon, wee is a word. SMA' is a vernacular elision of 'small'. If it had been clued as li'l it would have still sucked, but at least made sense for those not familiar with Burns' "Wee sma' hours".

TARA was the seat of the kings of Ireland until the 7th century. Druids were probably involved, but they didn't write thing one down so we're not really sure.

Prussian is it's own, dead, language. ZWEI is German. The Prussian word was probably more similar to the Lithuanian di/dvi. But again, a people (or, as some would have it, an army with territory) who didn't write much down.

Speaking of the German military, the actual designation of Panzerschiffe Admiral Graf Spee was as a heavy cruiser. She was significantly smaller and less well armed than a contemporary battleship, although bigger and heavier armed than most other cruisers which lead the British to refer to her as a "pocket battleship".

And while I certainly know EMPATH from scifi (and superhero comics), a quick Google tells me there are non-SF uses of the word. Deeply goofy uses it seems, but uses nonetheless.

Jet City Gambler said...

I've spent hundreds of hours at craps tables, and not once have I heard anyone say "parlay". Letting the winnings of a bet ride is technically a parlay, I suppose, but it's normally used in sports betting, where you bet on several teams as one bet.

If you correctly pick them all, you get a big payout. For example, picking three games (with the spread, of course) gets you a 6-1 payout.

You can also parlay over/unders and other common sports wagers, but the craps reference is just plain wrong.

PuzzleGirl said...

@CoffeeLvr: Thanks for the info on Peds socks. Never heard of them!

More thoughts on today's comments:

Sci-fi empath

Tara and Druids

Parlay in craps

Official language of Prussia

backbiter said...

@PG: I appreciate the link to the parlay definition. It might be technically correct, but I have to agree with the above posters. Never in my years of playing have I heard the word used in the game. NEVER! I would have gone with a sports gambling clue. Whenever I make a bet for a dealer it's for a toke. Make a bet on the line, then place or lay odds behind the line. Always appreciated.

Steve said...

@Backbiter et al - never heard it at the tables. In the sportsbook - all the time.

CrazyCat said...

Peds are socks without ankles. They are the only thing I wear when walking or running. Even my husband the mountain biker wears peds. They are also those gross little things that they give when you try on shoes @Nordstrom. OK puzzle. I had ESTED too, which messed me up for a while, but not for long. Pretty easy for a Friday. Stay safe on the east coast!

COOL Chinese Crested. My friend has one named DIVA.

mac said...

The theme did not come through loud and clear, was happy PG explained it.

Parlay was new to me, not a card player, and empath was, too. I have some things to google, I guess.

Hoyt said...

Had alot of trouble with this one.
Didn't care for alot of the clues/answers. Theme was not sparkling either. Oh well

Anonymous said...

I had an issue with 1-down and 62-across. I think the cluing should have been reversed. INCITE has more of a connotation of getting people fired up, and is a little more negative. Just a little quibble from a former English teacher...
@ Daytona: Queen sides/queen size was the phonetic change.