9.10.2011

09.10 Sat

S A T U R D A Y
September 10, 2011
Brad Wilber


Theme: None

Sorry I'm posting so late today, but [24D: "My alarm didn't go off," e.g.]. A lame EXCUSE, I know. The fact is, I didn't even set an alarm. And I would have woken up at my usual super early time except that PuzzleDaughter had a friend sleep over last night and let's just say there was some drama in the middle of the night. Ugh. In any case, there's always a lot to talk about on Saturdays, so let's get to it.

First of all, I just want to get this out of the way. Brad, you know I love you, but OVERWEENING? Really? I've Ne-Ever heard this word before and it caused me all kindsa trouble up in the northeast corner. That second E (well, technically the third E) was the last letter I filled in and I spent a good five minutes running the alphabet a couple times to make sure that was my best guess. Obviously didn't help that I've also never heard of WEIL (10D: "Gravity and Grace" writer Simone). At one point, I was sure the correct answer was OVERBEARING, but every other cross looked totally solid, so I eventually had to scrap that idea. I finally gave up — decided I either had it right or had it wrong and there wasn't anything else I could do about it. And I had it right. Yay.

Other entries I've never heard of? Why, yes, there are a few. Can't say that I've ever heard of SHELL STEAK, though it was relatively easy to figure out (64A: Cut with the tenderloin removed). That second L was a sticking point, though. As you may know, science isn't exactly my forte so HCL (59D: Strong acid, chemically) was a total guess and that last letter could have been anything. In the end, it seemed like L was the best guess. Again, I guessed right. Whew.

The other things I flat-out didn't know are all names:

  • 26A: Dean's reality TV partner (TORI).
  • 27A: Hall of Fame NFL owner Wellington __ (MARA).
  • 46A: Cymbeline's daughter, in Shakespeare (IMOGEN).
  • 57D: Two-time Tony-winning playwright Yasmina __ (REZA).
I felt like I should have known the Shakespeare reference, but … I didn't. I also thought the reality TV duo might ring a bell somewhere. I don't watch much reality TV, but it's hard to avoid some of the more popular names as you just go through life (I'm looking at you, Snookie). But Dean and TORI mean nothing to me.

Stand-out entries today include BARBED WIRE and MYSTIC PIZZA (4A: Range barrier / 62A: 1988 film set in a New England pie maker's shop). Didn't I just post a picture of Lili Taylor this week?!

Not too many write-overs today. The two that caused me the most trouble are both related to French (French!). I had NÉE where AKA was supposed to go (17A: Link between handles?), and MAI for MAY, thinking we needed the French spelling (45A: When the French Open starts). But I sure am chatty today. Let's get to the bullets so I can wrap this thing up.

Bullets:
  • 31A: Divided country (USA). I don't understand this clue. Is it because it's divided into 50 states? Does it have something to do with use of the initials? My first thought put this clue in a political light, but we really don't see that in mainstream puzzles, so I'm sure it can't be that.
  • 37A: Sch. whose students have won more than 200 Olympic medals (UCLA). Nice bit of trivia here.
  • 41A: Steamy container (SOUP POT). Oh, another write-over. I tried STEW POT first.
  • 53A: Mystery middle name (ALLAN). The middle name of Edgar ALLAN Poe.
  • 61A: Yegg's haul (ICE). Yegg, which we've covered in CW101 before, is a slang word for safecracker, which I learned from crosswords. ICE is a slang word for diamonds. So there you go.
  • 3D: Shipping inquiries (TRACERS). Hmmm. I would just call these TRACES. TRACERS have a more drug-related meaning to me. Did I say drugs? I meant fireworks. Yes, that's what I meant! Fireworks! (Hi, Mom!)
  • 30D: Sci-fi character named for an Asian sea (SULU). Some more good trivia. My first though: "There's a sci-fi character named Aral?"
Crosswordese 101: The [43D: Baseball-like game with two bases] known as ONE O' CAT typically appears in puzzles as a partial — either ONEO or OCAT). The first time I saw it I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard. By which I mean, of course, that I had never heard of the stupid game and couldn't believe someone would put it in a puzzle grid. But there it was. And then there it was again. And again. And finally I got used to it. All you need to know about ONE O' CAT for crossword purposes is that it's a ball game, a kids' game, a baseball variant, and a sandlot game. What you need to know about it for other purposes in your life, I have no idea. Probably nothing.

Other crosswordese in the puzzle that we've already covered:
  • 22A: Some Olympians' tools (ÉPÉES).
  • 51A: Palindromic Altar (ARA).
  • 33D: Mine, in Metz (À MOI).
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Everything 1A: Charade (ACT); 4A: Range barrier (BARBED WIRE); 14A: Roller coaster part (CAR); 15A: Pompous (OVER-WEENING); 17A: Link between handles? (AKA); 18A: Risky telecast (LIVE EPISODE); 19A: Reduced in status (DECLASSE); 21A: Gave away (LET ON); 22A: Some Olympians' tools (ÉPÉES); 23A: Movement traced to an ancient flower sermon (ZEN); 26A: Dean's reality TV partner (TORI); 27A: Hall of Fame NFL owner Wellington __ (MARA); 28A: Natural history museum attractions (T-REXES); 31A: Divided country (USA); 32A: Sucker (ENSNARE); 34A: Court address (COUNSEL); 36A: 1998 Apple rollout (IMAC); 37A: Sch. whose students have won more than 200 Olympic medals (UCLA); 38A: Reach equilibrium (EVEN OUT); 41A: Steamy container (SOUP POT); 45A: When the French Open starts (MAY); 46A: Cymbeline's daughter, in Shakespeare (IMOGEN); 48A: Japanese script (KANA); 49A: Botched (BLEW); 51A: Palindromic Altar (ARA); 52A: 2008 Palin counterpart (BIDEN); 53A: Mystery middle name (ALLAN); 55A: "Dead Man Walking" Oscar winner (SARANDON); 58A: Tenant, say (LEASEHOLDER); 61A: Yegg's haul (ICE); 62A: 1988 film set in a New England pie maker's shop (MYSTIC PIZZA); 63A: Hammer site (EAR); 64A: Cut with the tenderloin removed (SHELL STEAK); 65A: Oink spot (STY); 1D: Egghead's environs (ACADEME); 2D: Where the batter goes (CAKE PAN); 3D: Shipping inquiries (TRACERS); 4D: Corded weapons (BOLAS); 5D: Alamo rival (AVIS); 6D: Tach count (REVS); 7D: Succeed without difficulty, with "in" (BREEZE); 8D: Romano source, usually (EWE); 9D: ATM transaction (DEP.); 10D: "Gravity and Grace" writer Simone (WEIL); 11D: Cartographic closeup (INSET); 12D: Uninhibited (RIOTOUS); 13D: Stand behind (ENDORSE); 16D: Good-natured (GENIAL); 20D: Sit angularly, as a wall (LEAN IN); 24D: "My alarm didn't go off," e.g. (EXCUSE); 25D: One who's now right-brained? (NEO-CON); 28D: Therapist's concern (TRAUMA); 29D: Parish leader (RECTOR); 30D: Sci-fi character named for an Asian sea (SULU); 33D: Mine, in Metz (À MOI); 35D: You'll need more than one in a rib joint (NAPKIN); 38D: Insulate from change (EMBALM); 39D: Big dips (VALLEYS); 40D: Very slim margin (EYELASH); 42D: Rice fields (PADDIES); 43D: Baseball-like game with two bases (ONE O' CAT); 44D: Leather maker (TANNERY); 47D: Like many Sherlock Holmes settings (GASLIT); 50D: Profligacy (WASTE); 52D: 2000 Camp David summit attendee (BARAK); 54D: Diamond in music (NEIL); 56D: Bladed tool (ADZE); 57D: Two-time Tony-winning playwright Yasmina __ (REZA); 59D: Strong acid, chemically (HCL); 60D: Black __: spy doings (OPS).

23 comments:

exTiffany said...

I had BAR where AKA was supposed to go!

Orange said...

I think the USA clue alludes to the fact that Alaska and Hawaii are divided geographically from the mainland. If it's not that, then I have no idea what it means.

Anonymous said...

Clue for 31A in Cleveland Plain Dealer was "SEATO member".

Anonymous said...

"SEATO member" was also the clue in Houston.

Gene said...

@pg Loved your blog. Obviously d different clue for "divided country" in your paper.
Oneocat a stupid game? Au Contraire, mon ami!
My WWII N.Y. childhood was spent on the streets of the city playing oneocat, a baseball game played with only two players per side (1st baseman and pitcher) when no other kids were around. The team "up" provided the catcher. If a member reached first then the batter also doubled as catcher. (If he didn't swing, he would catch the ball and return it to the pitcher.
Many a happy boyhood hour spent playing this game. Definitely not "Stupid."

Gene said...

@pg Loved your blog. Obviously d different clue for "divided country" in your paper.
Oneocat a stupid game? Au Contraire, mon ami!
My WWII N.Y. childhood was spent on the streets of the city playing oneocat, a baseball game played with only two players per side (1st baseman and pitcher) when no other kids were around. The team "up" provided the catcher. If a member reached first then the batter also doubled as catcher. (If he didn't swing, he would catch the ball and return it to the pitcher.
Many a happy boyhood hour spent playing this game. Definitely not "Stupid."

Anonymous said...

"SEATO member" was the clue in the Santa New Mexican. Weird.

Misty said...

Tough but rewarding puzzle today--took me forever, but I got almost all of it in the end.

"Overweening" absolutely no problem for me, maybe because I've known plenty of overweening people in my day.

Most embarrassed about how long it took me to get "Academe"--given that that's been my home turf for my whole career. Guess I resist being called an "egghead."

Another silly error was writing "enbalm" instead of "embalm," which gave me "Nay" for the French Open time. Was going to ask the blog about that one--now just feel a little stupid.

But all in all, fun puzzle for a Saturday, including a fun write-up.

Anonymous said...

Detroit Free Press 31A SEATO member

CoffeeLvr said...

I solve online, so I had (and didn't get) the "divided country" clue for 31A. My thinking when USA appeared via crosses goes along with @Orange. Actually, I also agree with @PG's political take on the clue; even this puzzle has both NEOCON & BIDEN.

I actually "solved" this twice; once when it was available, and again this morning because the grid wasn't saved when I rebooted. Still took almost five minutes!!! About a minute looking for a typo. First time through I had entered Edgar ALLAN Poe off the crosses. Second time I keyed in ALLeN, which is easy to understand since my name is EllEn, and I just let my fingers do the typing.

What I liked: BARBED WIRE (correctly shown with the ED!), SARANDON, ZEN (crossing BREEZE!), MYSTIC PIZZA, ACADEME, DECLASSE, EYELASH.

Didn't like: SHELL (?) STEAK, but T-Bone didn't work, and isn't right as it most assuredly contained a circle of tenderloin. Turns out I know the cut as (Kansas City) strip steak. I consulted my "Joy of Cooking" here.

Mini-theme going on with CAKE PAN and SOUP POT.

Golfballman said...

Shouldn't 1D and 19A have some sort of clue that they are foreign
in nature. Revs is a real effort to be cute, too much so.

MannyO said...

Never heard of one o'cat, and was so sure it had to be cricket that I almost got rid of both paddies and tannery, before I got right-brained and checked the crosses.

I have also never heard of a yegg, so ice happened only because I guessed Yegg was the name of some Inuit tribe. :-)

Had Trexes, like oneocat, only from the crosses, and came here to figure out what they meant- D'OH!

Oh, and overweening? No prob. But I have never "breezed in", nor ever heard that before. I mean, sure, "That test was a breeze." But I didn't breeze in(to) an A+.
Did I?

Rojo said...

I also had Overbearing and then had to play letter lottery with the second E crossing WEIL.

And I found that NW corner to be a bear. I was stuck on it for about the same time as the rest of the puzzle, had "studies" instead of ACADEME, but finally DECLASSE got put in and things shaped up.

Anonymous said...

I agree that "Overweening" and "Shell Steak" are words/concepts not in play for probably 95% of the population...for me "profligacy" was also very obtuse. Sometimes, the puzzle crafter seems to be reaching for the more difficult challenges which is irritating, but at the same time all encompassing - and that's why we love solving them!

Anonymous said...

L.A. Times - 31A = "SEATO member" - "Divided country" is not an appropriate clue for us, especially this weekend!

RC

Steve said...

What everyone said about "Divided Country" - very unclear what that was about.

No problem with OVERWEENING or BREEZEIN, never heard of ONE O'CAT, but now I have. I had the same vague thought as @MannyO about a Yegg being an eskimo name I'd not heard of before.

Didn't fall for MAY over MAI even though I looked at it twice - no french in the clue, so no french in the answer.

If I was being picky TREXES should have been clued with some allusion to the abbreviated "T".

Anonymous said...

...I thought a yegg was a safecracker and diamonds are ice.

Keith Fowler said...

Yeah, "yegg" is pretty common in crosswords. When I was a kid, yeggs were burglars and safecrackers in comic books, not in real life. ONE O'CAT didn't happen in my nabe, but that wasn't hard to solve. I had problems with ENSNARE for "sucker" because I'm just not used to using sucker as a transitive verb. And BREEZE eluded me only because I was fixed on the idea of "in" coming before it, as in "in a BREEZE."

Oh, and OVERWEENING was easy because I read a lot of old texts, and the word is officially archaic and obsolete. PG, it comes from the Middle English "overwening," which is derived from the gerund of "overwenen."

Easy, no?

Anonymous said...

My new hobby: Copying in all answers and tracing on the internet how stupid the clues are! "Lean in"???? Be serious - never used. As a Baseball historian - and a purist - One OLD Cat is the commonly used name for the two based game. Never heard of IN breeze or Breeze IN - all internet sources say "breeze BY'. How about a blog covering all the screw ups by the editing staff? Should be fun!!!

mac said...

Good puzzle! Lots of good words and expressions, some of them new to me.

I've got to look up that movie, are Julianne Margulies and Julia Roberts in it too?

@PG: A shell steak is the same thing as a NY strip, I think.

@MannyO: you are funny re the Yegg!

Anonymous said...

A poor puzzle in my opinion It is One Ol' cat, Poe hardly a "mystery" writer, overweening is a stretch, and shell steak is an invention

Anonymous said...

I've heard 'breeze in' relating to running races against the clock or whatever. 'She breezed in well before the time limit.'

I didn't finish this puzzle but I did enjoy it. Couldn't get barbed wire at the top, as I'm not American. When I think of 'range' I think of mountains - or maybe a stove :-)

Thanks for the great write-ups Puzzle Girl. I'm a daily addict.

floridalee said...

How come in my puzzle 31A is 'SEATO Member'?
And crap, this one was HARD!