09.07 Wed

September 7, 2011
Michael Sharp

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Bills and catalogues? (TYPICAL MAIL).
  • 29A: Monk's unusual appendage? (THE FRIAR'S TAIL).
  • 48A: Where a kid's shovel may be found? (BEYOND THE PAIL).
  • 61A: Traditional December spin around the harbor? (YEAR-END SAIL).
Hmmm … Michael Sharp. Michael. Sharp. The name sounds a little familiar…. Oh my gosh, it's Rex Parker! And look what he brought us today: another simple theme executed well, with fill that ranges from solid to sparkly. We're having a pretty great week so far is what I'm saying.

Really like the theme answers and clues in this one. THE FRIAR'S TAIL kind of stands out because it's unrealistic (also, the clue isn't good — I'm sure Michael will be along shortly to tell us about that). But TYPICAL MAIL gave me a chuckle and the clue for BEYOND THE PAIL (48A: Where a kid's shovel may be found?) is awesome. Mix in the two long downs — TRAVELIN' MAN and HEARTBROKEN — and you've got yourself a pretty colorful grid (11D: 1961 Ricky Nelson chart-topper / 25D: Like one just jilted).

This was another smooth solve for me. Only one write-over, when I tried QUAKE where SHAKE was supposed to go (24D: Tremble). And even as I was writing it in, I thought that Q didn't look good for the cross. I noticed a little baseball in the grid, which doesn't surprise me.
  • 53A: Yanks' rival (SOX). Michael's beloved SOX and my beloved Yanks right here in the same entry. Just like ebony and ivory side-by-side on my piano keyboard.
  • 66A: Top pitcher (ACE).
  • 6D: Oriole great Ripken (CAL). I bet this kind of clue makes Billy Ripken feel bad about himself.
  • 23D: Plate appearance (AT BAT).
Other quintessentially Rex entries in today's puzzle include APU (19A: "The Simpsons" character who graduated first in his class of seven million at the Calcutta Institute of Technology) and the clue for NNE (54A: Binghamton-to-Utica dir.). The only true clunker in the grid is the ugh-ly partial MAN A (56D: "Every __ Tiger": Clancy book about Operation Desert Storm), but the reference to the first Gulf War in the clue means that anyone complaining about it is an unpatriotic commie pinko, so that was pretty smart.

  • 21A: Quick look (ONCE-OVER). Great colloquial phrase here. See also LOOK AT ME (55A: Show-off's shout) and I GUESS (28A: Tentative assent).
  • 41A: The blahs (ENNUI). I like to say ENNUI with a super thick French accent. And a sigh.
  • 30D: Rapper __ Rida (FLO). When I was a kid, I always thought it was silly how grown-ups would get all freaked out about popular music. Then one day, 10-year-old PuzzleDaughter was walking walking around the house singing Flo Rida's "Right Round," which, based on the chorus, I thought was about oral sex. Taking a closer look, I discovered it's about a stripper though, so whew! that's a relief.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 19A: "The Simpsons" character who graduated first in his class of seven million at the Calcutta Institute of Technology (APU).
  • 43A: Vietnamese holiday (TET).
  • 57D: "__ go bragh!" (ERIN).
  • 62D: Some MIT grads (EE'S).
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Everything 1A: Outlook (VISTA); 6A: Previewed, as a joint (CASED); 11A: Attempt (TRY); 14A: Part of a squirrel's stash (ACORN); 15A: Abundant (AMPLE); 16A: Little hopper (ROO); 17A: Bills and catalogues? (TYPICAL MAIL); 19A: "The Simpsons" character who graduated first in his class of seven million at the Calcutta Institute of Technology (APU); 20A: Advanced deg. (PH.D.); 21A: Quick look (ONCE-OVER); 23A: Remnant in a tray (ASH); 26A: Bygone (OLD); 28A: Tentative assent (I GUESS); 29A: Monk's unusual appendage? (THE FRIAR'S TAIL); 33A: Canaanite deity (BAAL); 34A: Source of light meat (BREAST); 35A: Nev. neighbor (IDA.); 38A: Ohio hometown of LeBron James (AKRON); 40A: It ended Nov. 11, 1918 (WW I); 41A: The blahs (ENNUI); 43A: Vietnamese holiday (TET); 44A: Sci-fi invaders (ALIENS); 47A: Iowa State home (AMES); 48A: Where a kid's shovel may be found? (BEYOND THE PAIL); 51A: Take in (ARREST); 53A: Yanks' rival (SOX); 54A: Binghamton-to-Utica dir. (NNE); 55A: Show-off's shout (LOOK AT ME); 58A: Lyon king (ROI); 60A: "Disgusting!" ("ICK!"); 61A: Traditional December spin around the harbor? (YEAR-END SAIL); 66A: Top pitcher (ACE); 67A: Bert's pal (ERNIE); 68A: Michelob __: light beer brand (ULTRA); 69A: Anderson Cooper, to Gloria Vanderbilt (SON); 70A: "__ Hope": '70s-'80s soap (RYAN'S); 71A: Dinner course (SALAD); 1D: Large container (VAT); 2D: Dangerous, as a winter road (ICY); 3D: Bribe (SOP); 4D: You might do it over your own feet (TRIP); 5D: News show VIP (ANCHOR); 6D: Oriole great Ripken (CAL); 7D: BBs, for example (AMMO); 8D: Cross (SPAN); 9D: Brings out (ELICITS); 10D: Convention representative (DELEGATE); 11D: 1961 Ricky Nelson chart-topper (TRAVELIN' MAN); 12D: Boxing ring borders (ROPES); 13D: Letter sign-off (YOURS); 18D: Go off-script (AD LIB); 22D: French affirmative (OUI); 23D: Plate appearance (AT BAT); 24D: Tremble (SHAKE); 25D: Like one just jilted (HEARTBROKEN); 27D: "On the Origin of Species" author (DARWIN); 30D: Rapper __ Rida (FLO); 31D: Walked down the 37-Down again (REWED); 32D: 2010 Super Bowl champs (SAINTS); 36D: Scheduled to arrive (DUE IN); 37D: Bridal path (AISLE); 39D: Pessimist (NAYSAYER); 42D: Brief sleep (NAP); 45D: Fundraising game (LOTTERY); 46D: Newly wool-less (SHORN); 49D: Rodent-induced cry (EEK); 50D: Genesis follower (EXODUS); 51D: Rap sheet name, maybe (ALIAS); 52D: Golfer Mediate (ROCCO); 56D: "Every __ Tiger": Clancy book about Operation Desert Storm (MAN A); 57D: "__ go bragh!" (ERIN); 59D: One of las Canarias (ISLA); 62D: Some MIT grads (EE'S); 63D: World's busiest airport: Abbr. (ATL); 64D: Nest egg letters (IRA); 65D: Youngster (LAD).


Tinbeni said...

I liked his "shout-out" to you with AMES.

Anonymous said...

Packers were champs in 2011?

Anonymous said...

Tinbeni, AMES Iowa is most definitely _not_ a shout-out she wants to hear.

Tinbeni said...

I'm well aware of @PG's love of the Iowa Hawkeye wrestling team, love of Dan Gable, her school being in Iowa City, etc.

Friends take/make "digs" at friends.

Which I believe Rex was doing ...

Anonymous said...

Good one then, tinbeni! Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Packers were 2011 Super Bowl champs, not Saints. Saints were 2010 champs.

Why 2010 is correct said...

The Packers were the champions of the 2010 football season, for which Super Bowl XLV was the culmination. The actual game was played in 2011, but the championship was for 2010. It's akin to the constant confusion over Academy Awards/Grammys/Emmys, where the award is presented in the calendar year following the year in which the award was won.

slypett said...

Great yeomanship, Michael!

Steve said...

@Why2010 - very nicely put.

Nice - always like ERIN clued any which way or how - Go Irish!

I wanted something childish at first for "You might do it over your own feet", but I got over my infantile sniggering and memories of piste-side pit-stops and the difficulties of frozen hands, bulky ski-suits and the fact you've still got your skis on.

VirginiaC said...

I'm Thrilled, three in a row that I finished smoothly. I'd love to take credit but I think it was the constructors that deserve it. Definitely a good week!

cw stewart said...

Very smooth solve, good theme, and lots of interesting fill. Nice job, Michael.

chefbea said...

Great puzzle Rex AKA Michael.

Knew I'd see Tinbeni here. Glad you'r back

In the learn something new everyday department...did not know Anderson Cooper was Gloria Vanderbilt's son

Matthew said...

Nice puzzle today. I actually liked THE FRIAR'S TAIL -- not often you get a shout out to Chaucer in a crossword puzzle.

CrazyCat said...

Nice smooth puzzle. My only write overs were Quake for SHAKE and Yuk for ICK. Liked AMPLE over BREAST. TYPICAL MAIL was cute. FLO Rida was my WOTD.

Anonymous said...

I sailed through this puzzle--on the tail of the pail full of mail!Rarely get away without a write-over on a Wednesday, and so am feeling plenty smart this morning. Thanks, MS.


mac said...

Good puzzle, good clues, and funny to recognize some personalized things in it.


C said...

Nice smooth puzzle with entertaining theme answers.

Have we spawned so many rappers that people have to deconstruct state names now to come up with a credible name? Is the next hip hopper going to call themselves Dele Ware? Feel sorry for whoever draws the short straw and ends up with Ida Ho.

Rojo said...

I wanted "smelt" for "previewed, as a joint."

Rube said...

Never heard of FLO Rida, but thanks @C for the etymology. Will never forget this rapper's name now!

Finished with no writeovers making this one of the easiest Wednesdays in my rememberance. Still, recognizing the traits, tademarks and idiosyncrasies of @RP made it a most enjoyable solve.

Greg said...

CAL could have been clued as Nev. neighbor as well.

Like the abundance of sports clues. Much better than obscure actors from the 40s or operas.

Anonymous said...

The Saints won the Super Bowl on
2/8 2010, no matter how you look at it 32D is clued wrong.

CoffeeLvr said...

Great smooth solve, and all of the theme phrases are very much in the language in their original ?ale form, and funny in their ?ail form. Thanks, @Rex.

Of course I knew who Michael Sharp is, and enjoyed finding the personal nuggets as much as anyone. I find 54A Binghamton to Utica direction especially funny. As a flyover zone resident, I had no real idea, but used the crosses to get the answer. (Utica shows up in crosswords all the time as an entry that alternates vowels and consonants, and SUNY at Binghamton is where Prof. Sharp teaches English.)

Only writeover was ORT before ASH.

Therapist: Would you say you are suffering from ENNUI?
Client: I GUESS.

Anonymous said...

No, the client said "what does it matter?"

Mari said...

@C - Diggin' your Ida Ho comment!

Hmm. Never knew about Anderson and Gloria.

Gareth Bain said...

Thankful for FLO appearing: I've been dropping RIDA in several puzzles, and been waiting for a "too modern" rejection, but now you've all been exposed to it so you can't complain ;). Look out for TAIO Cruz in the future too: his combination of vowels are pretty hard to resist

*David* said...

We're just getting used to FLO being clued as the Progressive Insurance spokesperson. Sharp is pretty discriminating on what he puts in a puzzle and this didn't seem to be up to his usual standards, so I'm guessing that's why its in the LAT.

nanpilla said...


(What you have to post to get your horse out of jail.)

Nice one, Rex! When I first started solving this, I thought it was the one by Andrea, and I couldn't believe all the baseball references!

Sfingi said...

Was hoping rap would die out. Looks like I'll go first.

mac said...

Thanks, @C! LOL. Never figured that one out.

Steve said...

Client: I used to be schizophrenic but we're OK now

Therapist [facepalm]

Anonymous said...

32D was a Brees!

Who Dat!