08.31 Wed

August 31, 2011
Gareth Bain

Theme: Hugs & Kisses — The last word of each theme answer can mean either a hug (O) or a kiss (X).

Theme answers:

  • 18A: Method of looking for keys? (HUNT AND PECK).
  • 28A: Finishing by the deadline, sometimes (TIGHT SQUEEZE).
  • 48A: Bad-mouthing someone (TALKING SMACK).
  • 64A: Call waiting diversion (MUSIC ON HOLD).
  • 63D: Love letter closing, and in sequence, a hint to the ends of 18-, 28-, 48- and 64-Across (XOXO).
Love this theme! Super cute! I couldn't figure out what was going on until I got down to the reveal.

  • 15A: Noble gas (XENON). I don't really know what it means for a gas to be "noble," so whenever I see this clue I picture a cartoon-looking blob with a crown and scepter. I don't think nobles actually wear crowns, but that part doesn't really bother me.
  • 57A: Soccer star Freddy (ADU). Now that I work in a real estate law firm, ADU means Affordable Dwelling Unit.
  • 69A: Steve of country (EARLE). Excellent.

  • 3D: Penultimate element, alphabetically (ZINC). Expecting a little too much science out of me today!
  • 11D: Brisket source (STEER). Me: "deli?"
  • 28D: Fashion statements in the 'hood (TATS). Oh for crying out loud. Really? That's just … I don't even know what to say. PuzzleHusband and I both have tattoos and there's no possible way North Arlington qualifies as a "'hood" on any scale ever conceived of. Unless, of course, you're being completely ironic. But obviously that doesn't count.

  • 53D: "The Stranger" author (CAMUS). I believe "The Stranger" shows up in a clue in today's New York Times puzzle as well. Weird.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 14A: N.L. West team, on scoreboards (ARI).
  • 22A: Peace Prize winner Wiesel (ELIE).
  • 24A: Love god (EROS).
  • 33A: Young newt (EFT).
  • 43A: Harald V's capital (OSLO).
  • 46A: Future fish (ROE).
  • 73A: Punk rock offshoot (EMO).
  • 66D: Hobbit enemy (ORC).
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Everything 1A: "Les __" (MIZ); 4A: As a friend, in French (EN AMI); 9A: Actor Romero (CESAR); 14A: N.L. West team, on scoreboards (ARI); 15A: Noble gas (XENON); 16A: Latin stars (ASTRA); 17A: MLK birthday month (JAN.); 18A: Method of looking for keys? (HUNT AND PECK); 20A: Relay race closer (ANCHOR); 22A: Peace Prize winner Wiesel (ELIE); 23A: Wide shoe size (EEE); 24A: Love god (EROS); 26A: Working parts (INNARDS); 28A: Finishing by the deadline, sometimes (TIGHT SQUEEZE); 32A: Computer pioneer Lovelace (ADA); 33A: Young newt (EFT); 34A: Many Semites (ARABS); 38A: Reveal (TELL); 40A: Knight's ride (STEED); 43A: Harald V's capital (OSLO); 44A: Capital on the Willamette (SALEM); 46A: Future fish (ROE); 47A: World games org. (IOC); 48A: Bad-mouthing someone (TALKING SMACK); 53A: Food packaging unit (CALORIE); 56A: German river (SAAR); 57A: Soccer star Freddy (ADU); 58A: In __: moody (A PET); 60A: Like Chris and Pat, genderwise (UNISEX); 64A: Call waiting diversion (MUSIC ON HOLD); 67A: Big name in kitchen gadgets (OXO); 68A: Violet lead-in (ULTRA); 69A: Steve of country (EARLE); 70A: Nth degree (MAX); 71A: Eyelid annoyances (STYES); 72A: In small pieces, as potatoes (RICED); 73A: Punk rock offshoot (EMO); 1D: Whom Goya painted both nude and clothed (MAJA); 2D: OPEC co-founder (IRAN); 3D: Penultimate element, alphabetically (ZINC); 4D: Encourage (EXHORT); 5D: Couch disorders (NEUROSES); 6D: Raggedy gal (ANN); 7D: Speck of dust (MOTE); 8D: How perjurers may be caught (IN A LIE); 9D: Concerto highlight (CADENZA); 10D: Sixth sense, briefly (ESP); 11D: Brisket source (STEER); 12D: Curved (ARCED); 13D: Works in the garden (RAKES); 19D: Lofted iron (NINE); 21D: Villainous laugh syllable (HEH); 25D: Acre's 43,560: Abbr. (SQ. FT.); 27D: Prefix with space (AERO-); 28D: Fashion statements in the 'hood (TATS); 29D: "Eureka!" elicitor (IDEA); 30D: Sass (GALL); 31D: Early development sites? (UTERI); 35D: 2-Down's location (ASIA); 36D: Political group (BLOC); 37D: __ puppet (SOCK); 39D: Actor Jared (LETO); 41D: Ages and ages (EONS); 42D: He succeeded Coty as French president (DEGAULLE); 45D: Latin percussion pair (MARACAS); 49D: Plastic surgeon's job, for short (LIPO); 50D: Sharper, as eyes (KEENER); 51D: Smoothed in a shop (SANDED); 52D: Hosp. picture (MRI); 53D: "The Stranger" author (CAMUS); 54D: X-rated (ADULT); 55D: Hale (LUSTY); 59D: Pad __: Asian noodle dish (THAI); 61D: A portion (of) (SOME); 62D: Checkup (EXAM); 63D: Love letter closing, and in sequence, a hint to the ends of 18-, 28-, 48- and 64-Across (XOXO); 65D: Wrath (IRE); 66D: Hobbit enemy (ORC).


rrh said...

Enjoyed the Steve Earle video...which also mentions one of my favorite movies, "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" with Steve Martin and John Candy

revrev said...

I really wanted "Eureka" elicitor to be Gold. I clung to that for a while. I finally had to just let it go and then that section fell into place. And I've never heard of potatoes being riced....diced yes, but not riced. I got it with the cross but it still seemed a little weird to me. Otherwise a pretty smooth solve overall. I didn't pick up the theme until the very end, but once I got it I liked it.

Bill said...

Re: noble gas

I thought the theme was lame, but then again, that's normal for me.

Pete said...

Anytime you can fit TALKINGSMACK into a puzzle, it's a good puzzle.

Kat said...

PG -
Do you and PH refer to your ink as "TATS" when talking amongst your homies in North Arlington?
Likewise, I'm sure they don't refer to theirs as "tattoos" in the 'hood...
It's not that you got 'em, it's how you flaunt them.

Mari said...

@revrev, right...what's up with "riced"? By the way, have you evern been in a pet? (58A)

I liked the clue for 1D (Early Development Sites), but clue to 5D made me groan....Couch Disorder - Neuroses? Really? I'm picturing a cat clawed sofa with the stuffing torn out and the springs busted. Urgh!

Anonymous said...

@PG - The TATs thing would depend on whether it's a butterfly on your shoulderblade or a Crips tat on your neck. However, the Crips tat on your neck wouldn't be a fashion statement, would it?

revrev said...

Mari now that you mention it, "in a pet" was also a strange one. I looked it up right now and apparently "pet" refers to "petulant"...as in being in a petulant mood. I think the last person to use that phrase probably died during the Taft presidency.

Matthew said...

Fairly easy solve today. Liked the theme better than yesterday's, so that's something. Liked "exhort" better than the more usual "urge on" that seems to appear with some regularity. And yes, potatoes can absolutely be riced. Definitely a cooking term. A ricer is kind of like a garlic press for cooked potatoes. Generally, you use it instead of mashing them -- makes for a smoother consistency.

PuzzleGirl said...

Just a reminder. Please don't include in your comments answers in other puzzles. Thanks.

virginiaC said...

A friend, who had every small appliance known to modern man, once gave me a ricer. I asked what it was for and he said it was for use on potatoes prioe to mashing to insure no lumps.

How is a food packaging unit (53A) calorie? And smoothed in a shop (51D) sanded? those two aside, easy solve.

*David* said...

Nice puzzle and nice theme, just enough resistance to make it feel like a Wednesday.

Orange said...

Last night I asked my 11-year-old if he thought he'd get a tattoo when he's older. "Yes." I don't have one, but they're so incredibly mainstream in the 18-50 age group, I may well be in the minority.

Mashed potatoes are supposed to have some lumps! That's how you know you're not eating a bowl of mush made by reconstituting dried flakes of potato. I am decidedly anti-ricing.

Steve said...

@everyone - I mash my potatoes with a fork the old-fashioned way. Awesome!

I need to remember that it's MIZ not MIs, I had INsideS before INNARDS, always have to wait for the cross for ARI vs. ARZ, misread "Relay closer" to be "Relay loser" which stumped me for a while.

@Sfingi - the person who runs the last lap (or leg) in a relay is described as running the "anchor leg" or is "the anchor", or "anchors her team to victory", etc. etc.

Geek note: The programming language ADA developed by the USDoD in the 70's was named for Ada Lovelace.

Nice theme, liked the reveal a lot.

Seems to me we've been seeing UTERI quite a bit recently?

sjok said...

"Noble" gasses are often called "inert" gasses. Using "Noble gasses" is 'talking smack' about nobles.

Ricing is a really handy method to prepare potatoes for making Lefse. BTW a ricer also makes a nice jucier.

Liposuction (and the various synonyms for it) is more accuratly described as "cosmetic", not "plastic" because nothing is added or modified - only removed.

Rube said...

I guess you can say that there are 200 calories in that can of Coke just like you can say there are 12 ounces, but it sure seems like a stretch to me. That L was my last fill because I really didn't like LUSTY for hale. Hearty or energetic are much closer to hale in meaning, IMO.

Put in TATS without much thought. My SIL has a full arm tat that I consider more idiocy than fashion statement. He now has to wear long sleeve shirts to work... and it's not a jacket and tie type of job. Didn't like GALL=sass either making California an unlikeable area.

However, did enjoy the rest of the puzz, especially ZINC, XENON, and EXHORT. Think the theme was well done. particularly in that the X's and O's were in order in the theme answers. Had totally forgotten about the origin of the name for the ADA language, not that I ever used ADA.

VirginiaC said...

You should be able to tell the difference between reconstituted mush and non- lumpy mashed potatoes just by the flavor.

Brian said...

I just didn't get TATS...until I read the comments.Never heard tattoos referred to in that term. Tried a different vowel but knew that word would not be in a legit puzzle!

Brian said...

I expected to see a link to the "Pat" skits from SNL

Anonymous said...

TITS are small birds, it appears in puzzles all the time.

CP said...

Puzzle just did wonders for my libido. ADULT, LUSTY, EROS, (UNI)SEX, all the hugs and kisses stuff: XOXO, PECK, SQUEEZE, SMACK AND HOLD. ZINC to help my prostate (EXAM) too boot.

Only thing missing was a Viagra, Levitra or Cialis answer.

mac said...

Good puzzle, with a strong theme and some great words and expressions. Love that "talking smack".

I like my mashed potatoes fluffy and flavored with nutmeg. The "smashed" potatoes, often with garlic, seem to be popular here and there. Plenty of lumps there!
I love potatoes in any shape of form, unfortunately. Just not reconstituted.

@Steve: are you answering Sfingi's question before she even posts??LOL

Anonymous said...

re: calorie
I think the clue refers to the fact that the number of calories is listed on the package of food.

CoffeeLvr said...

Gee, @PG, did you read my mind? I was going to comment on another coincidence with today's NYT, but now all I will say is 13D.

@Gareth, fun solve. Thanks.

Surprised to see both STEED & STEER. Ummm, brisket. As soon as it cools off, I am doing one for sure. Maybe even mash some potatoes to go with it, but not riced. I too, like a few small lumps, no bigger than a sugar cube. I use a masher, or an electric mixer, like my mother.

I had Guff before GALL, so fixing that zone slowed down my finish. I also mentally blanked on SALEM for a while, which is funny because my son was accepted to Willamette U there. I didn't go on the campus visit, though, couldn't get off work.

Steve EARLE is terrific! I also like his son Justin Townes EARLE; he is a namesake of the late, great Townes Van Zandt.

Words I had never heard of: MAJA, ADA, ADU. I will try to remember them for future solves!

I had to leave 60A blank first time through, as all I could think of was ANDROGYNOUS or AMBIGUOUS, and they wouldn't shrink down to 6 squares.

Have a great hump day, everyone.

Reno911 said...

One side note, Jared Leto is also the lead singer for 30 Seconds To Mars which some may consider an emo band.

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Steve said...

@mac, that's soo weird, I swear I read @Sfingi's post saying she didn't understand ANCHOR?

Wooo - freaky - Twilight Zone?

Sfingi said...

Once again my comment has disappeared.

So here goes: Had to Google first name ADA Lovelace, SELMA, LETO, THAI, EARLE.
Had to wait for crosses to decide between EONS or aeon, and German River, with at least 4 being of 4 syllables.

Got all 5 sports on crosses (IOC, ARI, ANCHOR, ADU) but didn't understand them all.

A ricer is a great decoration, but renders the potato to be suggestive of rice or maggots. I can tell the difference between powdered extruded potatoes, but just barely.

Found the theme lame, but liked seeing chemistry and liked the prangrammaticness of the puzz.

Steve said...

@Sfingi - thank gawd for that, I thought I was going nuts.

Your post WAS there before, I read it, and enough to know that your replacement is a paraphrase of the original.

Sfingi said...

@Steve - I'd say you're right. So what is ANCHOR?

Hot Lips said...

So where's Gareth today? I was hoping he'd show up and add a few insightful comments/observations.

Btw, before the unifier reveal, I was thinking the answer might be SWAK. Does anybody still use that on envelopes? Does anybody even use envelopes at all anymore?

Here's a thought...
Write a love letter tonight, and drop it in the mail. And don't forget to SWAK!

mac said...

@Hot Lips: agree!

Paul Griffin said...

Speaking as a former chef, if you're going to make potato gnocchi at home and don't want to spend well over one hundred dollars on a decent food mill, a cheap ricer is your best friend.

Also, for those that don't get the word "lusty", here's the dictionary definition:
1.full of or characterized by healthy vigor.
2.hearty, as a meal.
3.spirited; enthusiastic.
4.lustful; lecherous.

In my literary experience, sense 4 is almost never used.

Henry Fielding said...

@Paul Griffin - You need to read more. May I suggest "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" as a start"

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