09.01 Thu

September 1, 2011
Steve Salitan

Theme: Round and Round We Go — Each theme answer is a unique definition for the word "rounds."

Theme answers:

  • 17A: See 64-Across (AMMUNITION UNITS).
  • 24A: See 64-Across (SPARRING PERIODS).
  • 42A: See 64-Across (TOURNAMENT PARTS).
  • 56A: See 64-Across (TRAYFULS OF BEERS).
  • 64A: Clue for this puzzle's four longest answers (ROUNDS).

Good morning, everyone! Couple things before we get started.

First: Merl Reagle has put together a puzzle contest to benefit the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. "The National Brain Game Challenge" will feature four original Reagle puzzles each of which leads to a Key Answer and a Secret Link that connects all the puzzles. I've been assured that "the puzzles are of medium difficulty and the key to winning is seeing the connections rather than knowing a lot of esoterica." The entry fee is $25 and every penny of that goes to the AFA. The puzzles will be available at 3:00pm ET on September 25 and at that point — the race for the cash prizes is on! Please check out the AFA's website for all the details and to register. I'm definitely signing up. It sounds like a lot of fun for a great cause!

Second: I'm waaaay behind on my PuzzleGirl email and I want to apologize to those of you who have sent me notes over the past several months. You probably think it's all part of my plan to be a half-assed blogger, but it really isn't. See, I have this thing where I tell myself I'm not going to respond until I have time to sit down and really be thoughtful about it, and then that time never comes. I promise sometime over the next couple days I'll power through the inbox and pay attention to those of you who have been nice enough to contact me. I really do appreciate you!

So. The puzzle. I was digging this theme until I got to the last theme answer. TRAYFULS OF BEERS seems a little … awkward, doesn't it? It didn't ruin the puzzle for me, but I wish they had all been a little smoother. Basically, I just think it's awesome that Steve noticed there are so many different meanings of the word "round."

I had one recurring "issue" today and it has nothing to do with the puzzle and everything to do with getting old. (At least that's my excuse.) I misread the clue for SPAT as "smallish squirrel" instead of [20A: Smallish quarrel] and misread the clue for MUMS as "Rose Parade followers" instead of [3D: Rose Parade flowers]. Which, by the way, um … shouldn't the flowers in the Rose Parade be, um … roses? Just asking.

I chuckled at myself when I started to write in LEMs where LSTS was supposed to go (12D: WWII transports) and then ran into an actual clue for LEM almost immediately (23A: NASA moon lander).

  • 1A: "Close!" ("ALMOST!"). I do love seeing the exclamatory phrases in my puzzle.
  • 35A: Something golfers often break (TEE). You're forgiven if you tried PAR first.
  • 37A: Molasses-like (THICK). I couldn't get OOZY out of my head long enough for anything else to come in, so I needed a lot of crosses on this one.
  • 41A: Crammer's concern (TEST). Thought it might be EXAM, but checked the crosses.
  • 47A: Unsafe? (OUT). Cute clue. In baseball, a runner may be either "safe" or "OUT."
  • 15D: Short stop? (STA.). If the clue had simply been "Stop" the answer might have been STATION. But STA. is a "short" way of putting it.
  • 22D: Palm in one's palm? (TREO). Remember when Palm Pilots were the cooolest things? Ah, the good old days ….
  • 38D: BA or HR (STAT). I don't know what BA stands for, but I assume HR is Home Runs.
  • 44D: Where distasteful humor often goes (TOO FAR). Best entry in the grid.
  • 52D: Fireplace shelf (HOB). Who knew?
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 33A: "Alfred" composer, 1740 (ARNE).
  • 12D: WWII transports (LST'S).
  • 15D: Short stop? (STA.).
  • 51D: Georgia and Latvia, once: Abbr. (SSR'S).
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Everything 1A: "Close!" ("ALMOST!"); 7A: Cartoon monkey (ABU); 10A: __ bonding (MALE); 14A: Create trouble (CAUSE A STIR); 16A: Mount near Olympus (OSSA); 17A: See 64-Across (AMMUNITION UNITS); 19A: Marx's "__ Kapital" (DAS); 20A: Smallish quarrel (SPAT); 21A: With attitude (SASSY); 22A: It may be painted (TOE); 23A: NASA moon lander (LEM); 24A: See 64-Across (SPARRING PERIODS); 33A: "Alfred" composer, 1740 (ARNE); 34A: Study fields (AREAS); 35A: Something golfers often break (TEE); 36A: Martial arts facility (DOJO); 37A: Molasses-like (THICK); 38A: LaBeouf of "Transformers" films (SHIA); 39A: Latin 101 word (AMO); 40A: Drummer in Goodman's band (KRUPA); 41A: Crammer's concern (TEST); 42A: See 64-Across (TOURNAMENT PARTS); 46A: Quite a while (EON); 47A: Unsafe? (OUT); 48A: It's sometimes shaved (SCALP); 51A: Smith's item (SHOE); 53A: Contend (VIE); 56A: See 64-Across (TRAYFULS OF BEERS); 60A: "__Cop": 1987 film (ROBO); 61A: Plant-based weight loss regimen (HERBAL DIET); 62A: Former cygnet (SWAN); 63A: Scale notes (FAS); 64A: Clue for this puzzle's four longest answers (ROUNDS); 1D: Riding sch., e.g. (ACAD.); 2D: Dharma teacher (LAMA); 3D: Rose Parade flowers (MUMS); 4D: Home of the Woody Hayes Athletic Ctr. (OSU); 5D: Electric eye, e.g. (SENSOR); 6D: Capital SSW of Seoul (TAIPEI); 7D: Going head to head (AT IT); 8D: Vita (BIO); 9D: Spigoted vessel (URN); 10D: Parisian words of friendship (MON AMI); 11D: Sale caveat (AS IS); 12D: WWII transports (LST'S); 13D: Lenient (EASY); 15D: Short stop? (STA.); 18D: Windows openers (USERS); 22D: Palm in one's palm? (TREO); 23D: Reporter's source (LEAK); 24D: Co-Nobelist with Begin in 1978 (SADAT); 25D: Teaser (PROMO); 26D: One variety of it remains green when ripe (ANJOU); 27D: Book after Micah (NAHUM); 28D: Kvetch (GRIPE); 29D: Hard nut to crack (PECAN); 30D: Questionnaire catchall (OTHER); 31D: Certain believer (DEIST); 32D: Election prizes (SEATS); 37D: Air__: Southwest subsidiary (TRAN); 38D: BA or HR (STAT); 40D: Titan of publishing (KNOPF); 43D: Put trust in (RELY ON); 44D: Where distasteful humor often goes (TOO FAR); 45D: Hopi home (PUEBLO); 48D: Violas, cellos, etc.: Abbr. (STRS.); 49D: Bad thing to eat (CROW); 50D: "Rubáiyát" rhyme scheme (AABA); 51D: Georgia and Latvia, once: Abbr. (SSR'S); 52D: Fireplace shelf (HOB); 53D: Gold source (VEIN); 54D: Really ticked (IRED); 55D: Some attendance figs. (ESTS.); 57D: TV dial letters (UHF); 58D: Herd dining area (LEA); 59D: Prof's address letters (EDU).


Pete said...

TRAYFULSOFBEERS was awkward (as is the spelling of awkward, but that's another issue). I can't help but think that the double plural has to go away somewhere, once you pluralize the number of trays, the distinction of the beers to merely beer goes away. I had SSRS, but actually changed it to SLRS when filling in the across entry, because SLRS is a thing.

Anyway, thanks for the email digression. I now feel less bad about never sending you email thanking you for all your work.

Anonymous said...

BA stands for Batting Average.

Anonymous said...

Surely it should be traysful of beers, which is why it sounds awkward? Much as it is not gin and tonics, it's gins and tonic.

Matthew said...

Challenging today. Ultimately had to solve the SE corner, and then work out from there. Had "par" before "tee", and really made a mess of the NW corner before sorting it out. Agree that "trayfuls of beers" seems odd. I keep thinking it should be "traysful of beer", but that doesn't look right either. Liked "too far", but also really liked 49D -- pretty clever clue.

Anonymous said...

Trayful is a noun, denoting the amount one can put on a tray. Its plural is trayfuls.

TRAYSFULLOFBEER would work as in TRAYS FULL OF BEER. It sounds way better.

VirginiaC said...

I didn't finish this one. Really do not like puzzles where clues refer to other clues which refer back to the original clues.

Gene said...

Tripped on "tee"
Loved "treo." Reminded me of a time when electronic (electric?) devices like radios, TVs, lasted 10 or 15 years. The Palm Treo was obsolete the day after it come out.
Nice puzzle. Hurt my brain though.

Margaret said...

I agree with @VirginiaC, not my favorite type of puzzle. However, my only real issue was PECAN, which I resisted until the very last. I really wanted "hard nut to crack" to be "poser" or a similar answer (which I would have been OK with, even without a question mark.) If we're talking a literal nut, then it should be hard to crack, like a Brazil nut! Pecans are very easy to crack -- I usually don't even need a nutcracker!

*David* said...

Not a big fan of the long road to the aha moment unless it really is an aha moment which this puzzle didn't quite reach. KRUPA crossing KNOPF was a seriously problematic cross.

revrev said...

I wasn't feeling this puzzle this morning, maybe I was a little too tired. Live Virginia, I'm not a big fan of the circular clues. I got a little stumped on the SE corner which held the key to the entire puzzle. DNF

slypett said...

Definitely had more trouble with this than today's NYT. This one, while more than competent, is no beauty, unlike the puzzle in today's NYT.

Liked ATIT colliding with SPAT.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to commenter #2 for identifying what BA stands for (not knowing didn't slow me down much, though, since I already had ST_T]. Is this a real abbreviation people use when talking about batting averages? I don't think I've ever seen abbreviated as anything other than avg.

Thanks also to commenter #5 for explaining why trayfuls was a better choice than trays full.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to commenter #2 for identifying what BA stands for (not knowing didn't slow me down much, though, since I already had ST_T]. Is this a real abbreviation people use when talking about batting averages? I don't think I've ever seen abbreviated as anything other than avg.

Thanks also to commenter #5 for explaining why trayfuls was a better choice than trays full.

Anonymous said...

I thought Mums at the Rose Parade were the moms of students, surely a flower in most student lives!

Steve said...

I loved this puzzle, really got my head scratching and the cogwheels turning.

@Anon 6:55 - no, it's not gins and tonic, please. Go to a bar and stand there for two minutes and you'll hear someone order "two gin and tonics" or "three vodka tonics".

Couple of things - I looked sideways at "PAR" and refused to write it in - because I was going to complain that golfers DON'T often break par (at least not me, nor the people I play with). So that was an awesome clue, as PAR wasn't the right answer, correctly so.

On the beer subject (something dear to my Irish heart) - I justified the answer to myself by saying that we're talking about BEERS being many individual servings of beer (as a round would consist of) and if there's too many to fit on one tray, then you get TRAYSFUL of them. That's one heck of big round though, and I'm glad I'm not paying for it. I'm sure some English grammatical expert can explain it properly, but I'm happy with it.

Agree @David about KRUPA and KNOPF - I didn't know either, but knew just enough German spelling convention to know that when I had .NOPF it just had to be a K in there. I had more of a personal Natick with KRUPA crossing NAHUM - too a SWAG at the U and got it right.

@PG - I promise never to email you, just take this as a blanket thank-you for your efforts to put this blog together.

nola-girl said...

All I could think of for 44D was toilet (potty humor). Which of course made me chortle and thusly blocked out any other possibile answers for me.

CoffeeLvr said...

I finished, rather did not finish, with an error where KRUPA (never knew) crossed NAHUM (didn't recall).

I rather liked this, despite the awkward phrase in the bar - hey, if somebody is buying a ROUND, they can call it whatever they want.

I got to the bottom, solved ROUNDS, and started working my way back up. I filled in SCALP, then almost took some of it out because the P was sitting on top of an F and that just couldn't be right. But with another letter, I recalled KNOPF.

Overall, a fun Thursday. I could pick a few nits in the cluing (you paint your TOE nails, not your TOE), but that is offset by the great clue for TREO.

I bet I could lose a lot of weight on a true HERBAL DIET, not so sure about the supplements in the Google search results. I am drinking green tea right now. Do I have to change my avatar?

Anonymous said...

@Steve~I believe "Anon 6:55" is correct in thinking it is "Gins & Tonic" and not "Gin & Tonics." While the later certainly sounds better, and when standing in a bar one would never hear the first example being used; it is, I BELIEVE, the correct wording. "When in Rome. . ., etc." I would love to hear/see what others think on the matter.

Anoa Bob said...

I second Margaret @8:22. A hickory nut is a hard nut to crack par excellence. A PECAN nut is child's play to crack. And what's with the "?" in the clue?

"It may be painted" is a TOE (22A)? Huh? Don't think I've ever seen a painted toe. Is this some recent trend? Maybe a less obtrusive way to show someone has already voted?

And didn't TV dials (57D UHF "TV dial letters") go out about the same time as telephone dials? Maybe "Onetime" or "Long ago" should be appended to any "dial" clues these days.

Yeah, all four long entries are rounds and if the "s" is removed, all four would be a round. Seems like the pluralization was for expedience (15's vs 14's) rather than an integral part of the theme.

Steve said...

@Anoa Bob - I briefly had the same "UHF" clue thought, but then decided that since it's been quite some years since I've seen a dial on pretty well anything, the fact that "dial" is in the clue takes care of the fact that it's going to be somewhat old.

Keith Fowler said...

I agree that "trays full" sounds better than TRAYFULLS. It's the sort of thing that, if I heard myself saying Trayfulls, I am sure I would correct myself. (Even the spell check for the Comment box underlines Trayfulls in red.)

I liked being reminded of HOB. I need to work it into a couple of sentences this week.

I still have a Palm Treo.

And why doesn't Shia Labeoueouef change his name-- like in he good old days?

Peter said...

Painted toe?
KNOPF/KRUPA/TRAN/NAHUM all crossing each other?
Has Eugene Maleska risen from the grave?
Just wondering...

Tuttle said...

Lots of crap 3 and 4 letter fill, but at least they didn't clue ARNE as a German river.

MPPuzzler said...

TRAYFULSOFBEERS really hurt my brain! I Liked HOBS (new one for me) and TEE instead of par. I still use a TREO. My phone provider had to order it special for me because it was waaaaaay discontinued. No smart phone for me. And unless your are part of the Blue Man Group, I doubt anyone actually paints their toes.

Great write-up as usual, @PG.

Alexscott said...

I think TRAYSFULLOFBEER would have been a better solution. Trayfuls of beers is a phrase that makes your tongue want to jump out of your mouth and strangle you to death. Otherwise, I liked the ROUNDS theme. It took a while to suss out, but it was a satisfying reveal.

My only other complaint was with TREO. I thought of the Palm Pilot possibility, but even with TR_O couldn't come up with the E. I'm not so young or old that I wouldn't have heard of it, but I have no recollection of that. I was surprised how many others had.

Neal Klabunde said...

I often mis-read clues too. I need stronger reading glasses!

Rube said...

Having learned from crosswords that Arne composed "Britania", I still didn't connect him with "Alfred"... Grr. DNF because also had DOmO instead of DOJO and A_mOU wasn't working for me. Who knew there was a green ANJOU pear?

Agree with @Margaret & others re "hard nut"... Brazil nut, yes, Pecan, no.

Krupa was a gimme for those of us of a certain age, (ref. yesterday's NYT).

Knew it had to be SSRS, but sure didn't like the resulting theme answer.

Hoyt said...

I didn't like this puzzle at all. Even after many googles I couldn't make heads or tails of alot of it. I think it was a combo of questionable cluing/answers and some stuff I've never heard of. Still not sure what LSTS LEM and SSRS means. And didn't know URNS had spigots. Lots of abbreviations..no fun

Surpirse Carol said...

Well, I'm old enough to remember Krupa, but never heard of Treo.."Gin and Tonic" is a name of A drink. If you ordered 3 Gins and Tonic you would get 3 Gins and one tonic! Also am wondering who/what is Knopf? I know I am different -- the first real answer I got was trayfuls of beers! BA would be a Bacholor of Arts; ERA would be batting average....But really liked this puzzle.

Hoyt said...

BA batting average
ERA earned run average

mac said...

Crunchy Thursday is good to me. 4 full-puzzle answers is better.

Nice clues and answers, short and long.
I am too tired to look into the details, but you have all done that already...

CC said...

I read Rose Parade followers too, which is funny. I kept thinking palm in one's palm was Pray which was throwing me off forever! Great job!!!

CC said...

Trays full sounds better, but when did it become one word with a single L is where I got confused. And it is beers, because if it were trays full of beer, yes we would assume there are multiple beerS on there, but without the s on beer, it implies that the trays are just full of beer. That would make a mess unless the trays have tall sides! We know trays full of beer means there are going to be rounds of drinks on them, but grammatically speaking, we need the plural beers.... And as for the mixed drinks, you don't have multiple gins with some tonic separately, you technically are ordering "2 glasses of gin and tonic." But if you don't specify the word glass when you order one- just a gin and tonic, it becomes 2 gin and tonics or 2 gin and tonics. If you said 3 gins and tonic, most people would know what you mean, but you're asking for 3 servings of gin and some tonic separately. Just had to add to that one. Anyway, great puzzle. A couple hard spots, and some were great in that I wasn't thinking in the direction I should've been at all which just made me open my mind a bit. Loved that. Like 15, 44, and 49 all down, were great. And 47 across. Awesome. And for some reason I kept thinking HR was heart rate, BP is Blood Pressure, BM is well... Haha, I was thinking medical terms for some reason, then BA "hit" me :) It's so cool to see how we all think differently, because the second I read golfers break this, I thought of them hitting the tee. Yet, many others think of golf terms like Par... Very cool. Thanks for the help/chat. Have a great day all!

CC said...

Lol just read the toe- I thought of that too. Unless you have a shaky hand or a cheap nail salon, the toe does not get painted. It's the toenail. Trays full of beers... Lol try to literally visualize trays full of BEER. It would be like shallow buckets full of liquid. And trayfuls isn't correct, because trayful isn't a word so you can't have multiple trayfuls. You can have a tray_full, or trays_full but this was just to fill the puzzle. Ok bye for now for real this time :)

LCA said...

PG - glad I'm not the only one who saw "smallish squirrel"!