09.28 Wed

September 28, 2011
Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski

Theme: Sue the Bastards — The first words of the theme answers form a familiar phrase related to the legal profession.

Theme answers:

  • 20A: *Test that sounds easier than it often is (OPEN-BOOK EXAM).
  • 26A: *"End of discussion" ("AND THAT'S THAT").
  • 36A: *Z's (SHUT-EYE).
  • 43A: *Thing to do before a heist (CASE THE JOINT).
  • 51A: What the first words of the answers to starred clues describe (LAWYER'S DREAM).
A few quick links to share with you before we get started. First, Brad Wilber has a new free themeless puzzle up at his website. I haven't solved it yet, but Brad's puzzles are always first-rate and you can choose from two sets of clues depending on how smart you feel. Second, the lovely and talented Andrea Carla Michaels is featured in a short video over at the Atlantic's website. Go watch it and fall in love all over again. And finally, you don't want to miss Dana Delany and Jimmy Kimmel chatting about crossword puzzles. They even mention a well-known crossword blogger (not me!). (Fast forward to about 16:30 if you're not interested in the whole show.)

Today's theme made me chuckle because it reminded me of a story PuzzleDad once told me:
After a 107-77 win over Kentucky Wesleyan, the preseason No. 1, in the semifinals of the D-II tournament, a television reporter asked University of Northern Alabama Coach Bill Jones if in his wildest dreams he’d thought he’d score the win in that fashion.

Jones replied: “My wildest dreams don’t include basketball.”
  • 6A: State secrets? (BLAB). We see a couple grammatical tricks in today's clues. In this clue "state" is a verb. And over at 60-Down, "retiring" is an adjective (meaning SHY).
  • 14A: Logger's competition (ROLEO). Learned this one from crosswords. Can't imagine I'll ever have occasion to use it in real life.
  • 17A: Bottomless pit (ABYSM). I had ABYSS here at first which caused me some trouble.
  • 31A: Symbol of strict control (IRON HAND). For some reason I wanted this to be IRON FIST. Is that a phrase too? I don't have time to look it up.
  • 63A: Corkers? (IRISH). Cute! County Cork is in Ireland.
  • 7D: Trunk attachment (LIMB). Anyone else get stuck picturing an elephant's trunk? What the heck would "attach" to that??
  • 8D: Chow chow (ALPO). The first "chow" is a type of dog. The second "chow" is a synonym for food.
  • 9D: Affectionate gesture con los labios (BESO). No idea what "labios" means. Affectionate gesture with one's labels?
  • 23D: "Bullying is __!": school rule (A NO-NO). I'm guessing the kids who are prone to bullying will also be prone to mocking this phrase.
  • 44D: Cape May County weekly (HERALD). Random!
  • 46D: Foster's dream girl (JEANIE). Awesome.
Crosswordese 101 Round-up:
  • 1A: Olds compact (ALERO).
  • 10A: "Casablanca" character (ILSA).
  • 61A: Hindu royal (RANI).
  • 1D: Notre Dame's Parseghian (ARA).
  • 3D: Bridge guru Culbertson (ELY).
  • 21D: Greek vowel (ETA).
  • 53D: __-Ball (SKEE).
  • 54D: Manuscript marking (DELE).
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Everything 1A: Olds compact (ALERO); 6A: State secrets? (BLAB); 10A: "Casablanca" character (ILSA); 14A: Logger's competition (ROLEO); 15A: Get to (RILE); 16A: Like Switz. in WWII (NEUT.); 17A: Bottomless pit (ABYSM); 18A: Strike callers (UMPS); 19A: Major-__ (DOMO); 20A: *Test that sounds easier than it often is (OPEN-BOOK EXAM); 23A: Fill with bubbles (AERATE); 25A: Major stories (EPICS); 26A: *"End of discussion" ("AND THAT'S THAT"); 30A: Weather map figures (LOWS); 31A: Symbol of strict control (IRON HAND); 35A: Cycle opener (UNI-); 36A: *Z's (SHUT-EYE); 39A: Compete (VIE); 40A: She has a memorable smile (MONA LISA); 42A: Hamlet, for one (DANE); 43A: *Thing to do before a heist (CASE THE JOINT); 47A: Scrub, at NASA (ABORT); 50A: Either "Cathy's Clown" singer (EVERLY); 51A: What the first words of the answers to starred clues describe (LAWYER'S DREAM); 55A: Genesis victim (ABEL); 56A: Swedish furniture giant (IKEA); 57A: Egg holders (NESTS); 61A: Hindu royal (RANI); 62A: Tumbled (FELL); 63A: Corkers? (IRISH); 64A: Howard's wife, to the Fonz (MRS. C); 65A: Offended, with "off" (TEED); 66A: Homework assignment (ESSAY); 1D: Notre Dame's Parseghian (ARA); 2D: Tennis tactic (LOB); 3D: Bridge guru Culbertson (ELY); 4D: Vacation destinations (RESORTS); 5D: Brass band sound (OOM-PAH); 6D: Brown-haired boy (BRUNET); 7D: Trunk attachment (LIMB); 8D: Chow chow (ALPO); 9D: Affectionate gesture con los labios (BESO); 10D: Thorough (INDEPTH); 11D: April 1605 pope (LEO XI); 12D: "Poison" shrub (SUMAC); 13D: Elemental bits (ATOMS); 21D: Greek vowel (ETA); 22D: "The Family Circus" cartoonist (KEANE); 23D: "Bullying is __!": school rule (A NO-NO); 24D: Dickens's Drood (EDWIN); 26D: Homecoming guest (ALUM); 27D: Occupy, in a way (SIT AT); 28D: Roman numeral (TRE); 29D: Today, in Toledo (HOY); 32D: Help (AVAIL); 33D: Dolt (NINNY); 34D: Bug bugger (DEET); 36D: November ticket (SLATE); 37D: Embroidered word (HIS); 38D: Put to the test (USE); 41D: Painter's medium (ACRYLIC); 42D: Half-story windows (DORMERS); 44D: Cape May County weekly (HERALD); 45D: Time for celebration (EVE); 46D: Foster's dream girl (JEANIE); 47D: Security device (ALARM); 48D: Kid-lit elephant (BABAR); 49D: "Hee Haw" host (OWENS); 52D: Break (RIFT); 53D: __-Ball (SKEE); 54D: Manuscript marking (DELE); 58D: Family nickname (SIS); 59D: Org. with body scanners (TSA); 60D: Retiring (SHY).


Sfingi said...

Well, I got ROLEO crosses ELY wrong.

When does an abbrev. become a real word? Apparently ALUM, KID LIT and UMP have passed that point during my lifetime.

Liked DEET and BLAB.

Bill said...

Any blog with references to Barbara Eden and Dana Delaney is a good one.

Matthew said...

Decent puzzle. Got the theme pretty quickly, but maybe that's because I'm a lawyer. Liked 64A -- I was a big Happy Days fan, back in the day. Also thought the clue for 63A was pretty clever. All in all, a very satisfying solve.

Conrad said...

Nice one today. I completely overlooked SHUTEYE as a theme answer, so i had OPEN AND CASE and was very confused. I thought maybe AND should be eND (OPEN END CASE?) and tried for about 15 minutes to find a phrase to fit 26A. sigh.

Other than that, I liked the fill today. I wanted IRONfist as well (sounds more tyranty), and also fell into the ABYSs. ACRYLIC, MONALISA and INDEPTH were nice, too.

Also, I can't stop rolling ALERO/ROLEO ROLEO/ALERO around in my mouth. That's just fun to say.

Anonymous said...

labios = lips (in Spanish)

Tuttle said...

Egads! I almost tossed this thing after 16,17 and 18 across. Obtuse, archaic and an un-clued abrev respectively. Especially combined with all the trivia in the NW. But it got better.

Both IRONHAND and Iron Fist can be used colloquially for strict control. You can rule with an IRON HAND or, if you're more circumspect, with an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Gareth Bain said...

Theme entries were all a lot of fun. Theme itself, a bit weak esp. the revealer, but I'll go with a net positive. Similar errors of ABYSs and FIST before HAND. I figured out BESO from the Latin/English cognate "labia," sure a lot of us did.

Anonymous said...

I was married to a logger and never heard the term "roleo"!

Anonymous said...

can someone explain "neut"? Is that a nurse lieutenant?

Anonymous said...

Because SWITZ was abbreviated, NEUTral was abbreviated.
Actually, quite horrible...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and that's SWITZerland, not Loretta Swit - a nurse Major.

mac said...

I thought the theme wasn't too strong, but the theme answers were fun.

I never heard of roleo before, but what a cute term.

Doug P said...

Jeannie! A+ for PuzzleGirl today.

Sfingi said...

Eso beso - ooh that kiss. Paul Anka, pre-nose job. Hear it on YouTube.

Misty said...

Cool Wednesday puzzle--enjoyed it. Got everything except 'roleo'--had 'rodeo,' which I knew didn't make any sense but I didn't know what else to put. (Should have figured 'Ely' would work as well as 'Edy.'

Two questions. Never heard of 'deet.' Could somebody explain? And although I got 'Jeanie,' why is she called 'Foster's dream girl'? It's been a couple of decades since I saw my last "I Dream of Jeanie."

Anonymous said...

Misty - DEET is an insect repellant. Stephen Foster wrote "I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair"

HumbleBrit said...

Labios, Spanish for LIPS

Misty said...

Thanks, Anonymous! Can't believe I didn't get the "Foster"--I could even hum the tune, if I had to.

Redundant said...

Thanks for the "Labios" explanation.

I guess the Anon @ 7:36 AM didn't explain it very well.

Steve said...

My Natick was the ROLEO/ELY cross. Not sure that was fair, they're both pretty obscure.

I'm not sure IRON HAND and IRON FIST are synonymous - in the usage I've seen, you rule with an iron fist, but you can govern with an iron hand in a velvet glove. The former is tyrannical, the latter is akin to "speak softly but carry a big stick".

CoffeeLvr said...

My new word of the day is ABYSM, a mash-up of abyss and chasm, although it is at least as old as Shakespeare. I did get it, as ARA ruled out chasm, and OOMPAH ruled out abyss.

My old word of the day is ROLEO, just forgot it, and fell into the same Natick as others.

Nighthawk said...

Hand up for being baffled by ROLEO and plus the male version of BRUNETte, and thinking ABYSs, .

Loved the anecdote about UNA's Bill Miller's wildest dream, @PG.

Which made me like the proximity of BESO and ILSA. "You must remember this. A kiss is just a kiss... ."
And BESO also reminded me of this great version of Besame Mucho by lovely and talented Mrs. Declan MacManus.

@Bill - and in addition to the blog references, these puzzle references to Bergman and, more obliquely, Krall. Not too shabby.

Keith Fowler said...

Well, I'm not that great at Spanish, but "labios" has got to mean lips; ergo BESO.

Keith Fowler said...

Oh, sorry, I see HumbleBrit already did the translation duty. I guess the masculine ending to labio (instead of labia) means that the ones on our mouths are male.

Steve said...

I also meant to say that as a Notre Dame fan, I appreciated seeing ARA and IRISH in the grid.

Playing Devil's Advocate, the non-Irish fans amongst us would also suggest that IRISH might also go well with ABYSM, LOWS, ALARM, RIFT and even NINNY UNI ALUM.


mac said...

All those mini-themes! How about the brunet and the girl with the light brown hair?

That shuteye still looks so good in the middle.

Sfingi said...

At first I thought the BRUNET was going to be Bieber.

CrazyCat said...

Had a little trouble getting started in the NW, but the down crosses solved that. I did appreciate the mini-themes.

I have never heard of a ROLEO, but I have heard of Timbersports.

Hot Saw Winner

Is there a difference between a lumberjack and a logger?

Z said...

@Nighthawk - "Mrs. Declan MacManus" means I like you.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Crazy Cat.... LOGGER/LUMBERJACK? I bet you've never heard someone sing "I'm a LOGGER and I'm O.K. ......"