09.21 Tue

September 21, 2011
Julian Lim

Theme: Clubbin' — The first word of each theme answer can be a type of "club."

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Title role in the 2009 Tony winner for Best Musical (BILLY ELLIOT).
  • 24A: *Advantage of some military goggles (NIGHT VISION).
  • 45A: *Freetown is its capital (SIERRA LEONE).
  • 11D: *Unauthorized stories written by devotees (FAN FICTION).
  • 28D: *Pro shop freebie (GOLF PENCIL).
  • 55A: "That's exactly how I feel" ... or what each starred clue's first word can do? (JOIN THE CLUB).
Nice theme today. All of the theme answers are interesting (except for GOLF PENCIL) and they're unified by an interesting reveal phrase that also has a pretty good clue. One thing I've noticed lately is that some of the reveal clues are super awkward. You know what I mean? They're super long and kind of hard to follow and once you know what they mean, sure, they make sense, but …. Well, this isn't one of those. This one just offers the straight clue and then gives a concise explanation of how it works with the theme answers. Very nice.

And would you look at all this awesome fill? Hard to pick a favorite, but I'm gonna go with FULL TILT, especially clued to the online poker site. The only problem, of course, is that the FBI has shut the site down. I even had a few dollars in an account with them. It looks like I should be able to get it back, but I don't know. When the FBI shuts down an illegal gambling operation, I'm not sure it's a good idea to just stroll back in and ask for your money back.

Other fun fill includes TETRIS (love me some TETRIS!), FILCH, and the Scrabblicious I.Q. TEST, LOGJAMS, JITTERS and IDIOT BOX.

  • 30A: Not hard to grasp (BASIC). Love this clue.
  • 36A: SkyMiles airline (DELTA). I spent some time in airports last weekend, so this came easily.
  • 38A: Ethiopia's Selassie (HAILE). This is some pretty high-end crosswordese. If you've never heard of him, you might want to peruse his Wikipedia page just to help solidify his name in your brain.
  • 40A: Creepy-crawly (BUG). Another great clue.
  • 58A: Stat for Ryan Howard (RBI). For some reason, I had an inkling that Howard was a pitcher, but I didn't write in ERA right away because I just wasn't sure. Crosses showed me RBI, so it was a good move to wait.
  • 13D: Confine again, as swine (RE-PEN). Clunk!
  • 41D: Stormy weather gear (PONCHOS).

  • 45D: Give the creeps (SCARE). This clue doesn't exactly work for me. Someone can "give me the creeps" without "scaring" me. But it's a fine distinction and likely just personal.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 31A: Plaza Hotel imp (ELOISE).
  • 50A: Actor Morales (ESAI).
  • 4D: Gardner of mysteries (ERLE).
  • 27D: Bar from a dairy case (OLEO).
  • 46D: Sonnet line fivesome (IAMBS).
  • 47D: Maritime birds (ERNES).
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Everything 1A: Its median score is 100 (I.Q. TEST); 7A: Weapon for Tyson (FIST); 11A: Christmas choice (FIR); 14A: Former drug giant (SEARLE); 15A: Sans employment (IDLE); 16A: Enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, say (ATE); 17A: *Title role in the 2009 Tony winner for Best Musical (BILLY ELLIOT); 19A: Drop off briefly (NAP); 20A: Shoe with a swoosh logo (NIKE); 21A: Tex-Mex snack (TACO); 22A: M-16, e.g. (RIFLE); 24A: *Advantage of some military goggles (NIGHT VISION); 26A: Bottlenecks (LOGJAMS); 30A: Not hard to grasp (BASIC); 31A: Plaza Hotel imp (ELOISE); 32A: Write quickly (JOT); 33A: Sports car roof option (T-TOP); 36A: SkyMiles airline (DELTA); 37A: Make, as a sandwich (FIX); 38A: Ethiopia's Selassie (HAILE); 39A: Like flannel and fleece (SOFT); 40A: Creepy-crawly (BUG); 41A: Tiered Asian temple (PAGODA); 42A: Butterfly's perch (PETAL); 44A: Noble headpiece (CORONET); 45A: *Freetown is its capital (SIERRA LEONE); 48A: Response to a dare (CAN SO); 49A: __ II razor (TRAC); 50A: Actor Morales (ESAI); 54A: Film buff's channel (AMC); 55A: "That's exactly how I feel" ... or what each starred clue's first word can do? (JOIN THE CLUB); 58A: Stat for Ryan Howard (RBI); 59A: Having the knack (ABLE); 60A: Tough leather (OXHIDE); 61A: Subj. that helps people assimilate (ESL); 62A: Niggling things (NITS); 63A: "Enough already!" ("STOP IT!"); 1D: Publisher's ID (ISBN); 2D: Royally named liner, briefly (Q.E. II); 3D: Heart-to-heart (TALK); 4D: Gardner of mysteries (ERLE); 5D: Shrewd (SLY); 6D: When strokes begin to count (TEE TIME); 7D: Rip off (FILCH); 8D: Couch potato's fixation (IDIOT BOX); 9D: Pavement warning (SLO); 10D: Game with tumbling blocks (TETRIS); 11D: *Unauthorized stories written by devotees (FAN FICTION); 12D: Author Calvino (ITALO); 13D: Confine again, as swine (RE-PEN); 18D: Trails (LAGS); 23D: "Did we get the bid?" ("IS IT A GO?"); 24D: Orion Mars mission gp. (NASA); 25D: Acid container (VAT); 26D: Some arena displays, briefly (LED'S); 27D: Bar from a dairy case (OLEO); 28D: *Pro shop freebie (GOLF PENCIL); 29D: Pre-speech obstacle (JITTERS); 32D: St. Patrick's Day dance (JIG); 34D: Ye __ Shoppe (OLDE); 35D: Bog fuel (PEAT); 37D: Big name in online poker (FULL TILT); 38D: March __: Carroll character (HARE); 40D: Sound at a shearing (BAA); 41D: Stormy weather gear (PONCHOS); 43D: USC athlete (TROJAN); 44D: Cold weather wear (COAT); 45D: Give the creeps (SCARE); 46D: Sonnet line fivesome (IAMBS); 47D: Maritime birds (ERNES); 50D: Footsteps-in-an-empty-hallway sound (ECHO); 51D: Blunder (SLIP); 52D: BMW rival (AUDI); 53D: "Yeah, sure!" ("I BET!"); 56D: Shizuoka sash (OBI); 57D: Phone no. addition (EXT.).


Steve said...

Nice Wednesday, officially DNF because I'd never heard of SEARLE and had to pick between QMII and QEII. Went for the former, hoping SMARLE was correct and it wasn't.

Oh well, mark that down for future reference.

Not a fan of GOLF PENCIL, I know what the constructor is getting at, but it's just a pencil - a short, stubby one that you usually only see on golf courses, but - it's still just a pencil.

Matthew said...

Fun puzzle today. Good clues and some nice answers. I liked 7D -- don't get the opportunity to use FILCH in a sentence much (unless you're discussing a Harry Potter book), and 8D is just all kinds of terrific. On the other hand, what is it with the word IMP lately? Seems like it continuously pops up either in the clues (as today) or in the answers. Not a word I use much on a daily basis. Of course, neither is OBI, so maybe I'm just picking nits. Heh.

Sfingi said...

No Googling, but had some sports problems. Didn't know the USC team, naturally, so had PROJAB. Had sEpAL instead of PETAL and bITS instead of NITS. TROJAN suddenly occurred to me, since it's a popular team name around here. Of course, never heard of FULL TILT which just appeared. GOLF PENCIL must be OK, since it seemed obvious to me, a non-sportster. Liked OXHIDE, since it was so tactile.

Mari said...

Filch, Idiot Box, Creepy Crawly - all great words. I loved the clue for 27D: "Bar from a dairy case" - pretty sneaky clue for a common "crosswordese" answer.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a guy who's read a lot of FAN FICTION--and even written a handful of stories--I was pretty excited to see 11-Down. It's one of my major vices, but I think that as vices go it's a pretty harmless (but somewhat embarrassing) one.

backbiter said...

Very nice puzzle. I got golf pencils with no problem. You will see the same pencils in the store next to the Lottery tickets for people who like to fill in their own numbers.



mac said...

Nice juicy Wednesday! Solid theme and fun long answers. Agree with the little nits, but that's what they are, little.

Anonymous said...

Say-- when are you dipsticks(you, Rex, Sandy, or Acme) going to tell us about the wedding?

Slim said...


I played Full Tilt for a while, but I figured they were screwing me over. For example, the only thing that can beat me is my opponent getting a 10 of Diamonds on the river.....and he gets it every damn time.

Tupelo Slim said...

Saw just yesterday that Full Tilt (37D) Poker has been charged with fraud, specifically, with being a giant Ponzi scheme (hundreds of million$). Apparently the money that is supposed to be in online players accounts has already gone to a hand full of the schemers.

Never, ever play in a poker game where you can't directly see the cards being shuffled and dealt. And even then be wary.

Anonymous said...

Gee, naive people got ripped off by a bunch of gamblers? Shocking! You'd do better to buy lottery tickets than to give your credit card numbers to an on-line gambling site.

Chillin' in Costa Rica said...

I used the on-line gambling sites and made millions, who you calling naive?

chefbea said...

Fun easy puzzle. Liked it better than the NYT.

backbiter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rrh said...

50 A: Is Senor Morales (ESAI) on his way to setting a record for crossword puzzle appearances ?

hebow44 said...

Steve@, Golf pencil works for me. Isn't sundress just a dress? or hair brush just a brush? Golf pencil is a type of pencil like mechanical, No?

Had trip instead of slip for "a blunder" because I can never remember actor Morales' first name. If I'm going to continue this CW pursuit I may want to tattoo it somewhere.

CoffeeLvr said...

I have a quibble: a BILLY club is an object, the rest are clubs that you would join. Actually a GOLF club can be either category.

I did like the lively longer fill, especially IDIOT BOX! My Dad used that term. TROJAN is a shout out to my High School teams.

Steve said...

@hebow44 - I take your point, but the term fails the "use it in a sentence" test for me. I can see my girlfriend asking me to fetch her sundress, or pass her the hairbrush, but I've never called out to someone to hand me a golfpencil or to pick me one up from the pro shop.

It falls into the REPEN category for me - I'm not crying foul, just saying it doesn't really work for me.

"Hey, Bub, go re-pen those sheep, well you?" ehh - not so much.

Anonymous said...

A golf pencil is a specific thing, the little 3" stub of a pencil, available exclusively at fine country clubs or your local miniature golf play area.

Sfingi said...

I used to call the GOLFPENCILS half-chicks when I taught. The "kids" (inmates) got them for free. Otherwise, they'd gobble through regular pencils like peanuts.

@Chefbea - agree.

Just read most of an autobiography by John Scarne called the Odds against Me. He seems to have set the standard for honest gambling the world over. He'd laugh at internet gambling. The book is hard to find, and the only copy outside libraries was offered for $113. Very absorbing.

Joon said...

sfingi, that book was used as a clue for SCARNE in the saturday LAT puzzle a couple weeks ago. i think orange cried foul at the obscurity.

this puzzle was terrific, by the way. super-lively theme answers and a pitch-perfect reveal. great work, julian!

CP said...

PG's picture on the FULLTILT comment is of Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, who is one of the poker playing defendants named by the Feds as being part of a "Ponzi" scheme. Very timely clue I'd say.

CORONET reminded me of all the educational films thay forced me to watch during my Elem. years in LAUSD. They were the producers.

Great puzzle!!

Anonymous said...

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