MONDAY, April 13, 2009 — Fred Jackson III

Theme: "Out of Gas" — Three theme answers are phrases that start with words that can describe the level of a gas tank.

Crosswordese 101: There are so many ways to clue ERIE. And it's such a handy crossword word! If it's four letters and the clue refers to a body water relative to Ohio (Toledo, Cleveland, or the Cuyahoga River) or upstate New York (Buffalo, Niagara, or the super super tricky Rome), chances are the answer is going to be ERIE. It can also be clued with reference to the ERIE Lackawanna Railroad, the Indian tribe (or the language of the Iroquois), the city or county in Pennsylvania, the canal, or (in late-week puzzles) the site of a siege during the War of 1812. ERIE is extremely useful is what I'm saying.

Hey, guys. PuzzleGirl here again covering for the vacationing Rex Parker, and this is going to be quick. I apologize in advance if I don't get to everything, but you guys can hash it all out in the comments, okay?

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Conceited (FULL OF ONESELF).
  • 38A: Plan not completely thought out (HALF-BAKED IDEA).
  • 57A: Much campaign rhetoric (EMPTY PROMISES).

When I saw the FULL and HALF, I thought we were in for another moon-themed puzzle, but I guess that was just to throw us off the scent. Overall, this was a solid Monday puzzle that I pretty much breezed through. I hope it didn't give you too much trouble either.

  • 9A: Treasure map measures (PACES). My first thought was yards, but it seemed wrong. Which it is.
  • 15A: __ Domini (ANNO). Latin!
  • 17A: Like NBA centers (TALL). For some reason, this really cracked me up.
  • 18A: Composer Stravinsky (IGOR). I learned about him in a music theory class my second year in college. Pretty sure "The Rite of Spring" ("Le Sacre du Printemps," for SethG) featured prominently in the Disney movie "Fantasia."
  • 19A: Parisian river (SEINE). Now this river I know.
  • 23A: Brit. record label (EMI). I always have to think about whether this is EMI (right) or BMI (wrong). BMI is often in the puzzle too — it's one of two unions for professionals in the music industry (the other being ASCAP — they are frequently clued with reference to each other).
  • 24A: Former Egypt-Syria alliance: Abbr. (UAR). United Arab Republic. Included Syria and Egypt from 1958 to 1961. When Syria seceded from the union, Egypt continued with the official name of UAR until 1971.
  • 37A: Scott who sued for his freedom (DRED). Pretty sure I saw him in another puzzle ... was it just today?
  • 44A: Retirement org. (SSA). Remember how we just talked about this the other day?
  • 45A: "Slippery" tree (ELM). "Slippery Elm" is a kind of tree. I'm not sure if it really feels slippery or what.
  • 52A: Prefix with sphere (STRATO). The other possibilities — hemi- and atmo- — didn't fit.
  • 61A: Count with a keyboard (BASIE).

  • 64A: Med. school class (ANAT). Anatomy. A future Crosswordese 101 lesson.
  • 66A: Stroll in the shallows (WADE). Hi, Wade!
  • 67A: Head over heels in love (GAGA). Have you all seen this Lady Gaga person who appears to be fairly popular right now? Not exactly my cup of tea but ... interesting.
  • 69A: Canonized Mlles. (STES). The French abbreviation for mademoiselles indicates that the answer will also be a French abbreviation (for saints).
  • 9D: Charlatan (POSEUR). Two great words that go great together.
  • 10D: Journalist __ Rogers St. Johns (ADELA). Learned her from crosswords.
  • 12D: Coastal bird (ERN). We're talking quintessential crosswordese here. Sometimes spelled erne and sometimes tern is clued the same way (although I don't really know if they're the exact same thing).
  • 22D: Cheerleading groups (SQUADS). Unfortunately, I just don't have time to go digging for a picture of me cheerleading in high school. Maybe some other day.
  • 26D: Dog collar target (FLEA).
  • 27D: Benchmark: Abbr. (STD). This one always makes me chuckle. I bet BEQ would clue this a different way.
  • 46D: Tampa neighbor, briefly (ST. PETE). St. Petersburg. Didn't Tampa used to be called Tampa Bay? Am I making that up?
  • 47D: Pooh-pooh (DERIDE). Basically, "to scoff at," right?
  • 49D: Shoot again (RE-SNAP). Taking pictures.
  • 51D: Marquee name, often (COSTAR). I kept trying to think of a longer word for star. D'oh!
  • 53D: Gallic girlfriends (AMIES). Gallic = French.
  • 58D: Swerves at sea (YAWS). Try not to confuse with HAW (the command to turn left to, say, a mule) and MAW (mouth or a gaping hole).
  • 59D: Juniors' H.S. exam (PSAT). Preliminary SAT Reasoning Test. SAT used to be an acronym but it's not any more. Kinda like KFC.
See ya tomorrow. Love, PuzzleGirl

Everything Else — 1A: Put below, as cargo (STOW); 5A: Potentially painful precipitation (HAIL); 9A: Treasure map measures (PACES); 16A: Smells (ODORS); 25A: Beers and ales (QUAFFS); 28A: Enjoy something immensely, with "up" (EATIT); 30A: French love (AMOUR); 33A: Last: Abbr. (ULT); 34A: Bawl (SOB); 36A: Miss. neighbor (ALA); 42A: Suffix with hard or soft (WARE); 43A: Seashell seller, in a tongue twister (SHE); 46A: Archaeological fragment (SHARD); 48A: Like some poetry (LYRIC); 52A: Prefix with sphere (STRATO); 54A: Memorable period (ERA); 56A: "Foucault's Pendulum" author Umberto (ECO); 63A: Warts and all (ASIS); 65A: Group of eight (OCTET); 68A: Out of fashion (PASSE); 70A: Phone button abbr. (OPER); 1D: Fixed charge (SETFEE); 2D: Psychological injury (TRAUMA); 3D: Like many old-fashioned lamps (OILLIT); 4D: Wishing place (WELL); 5D: Israeli port city (HAIFA); 6D: Mohair-bearing goat (ANGORA); 7D: Aware of (INON); 8D: Passed-down tales (LORE); 11D: Hairdo (COIFFURE); 13D: 180 degrees from NNW (SSE); 21D: Words before sight and mind (OUTOF); 29D: Dot on an ocean map (ISLE); 31D: Manufacturer (MAKER); 32D: Bullfight shout (OLE); 35D: Air rifle ammo (BBSHOT); 37D: June 6, 1944 (DDAY); 38D: "Stop right there!" (HALT); 39D: Sofa sides (ARMRESTS); 40D: "I've got it now!" (AHA); 41D: Faith of more than one billion (ISLAM); 42D: Craven of horror (WES); 50D: Frigid epoch (ICEAGE); 55D: Thorny flowers (ROSES); 60D: "Othello" fellow (IAGO); 61D: '40s jazz (BOP); 62D: Here, in Spain (ACA).


xyz said...

Pleasant, enjoyable.

Didn't know WADE for stroll in the shadows, but crosses made it right. Probably not seeing something obvious.

thanks PG

Jeffrey said...

My mother was from Toledo. That's all I got today. Basic Monday offering.

Joon said...

redanman, it's stroll in the shallows, not shadows. makes a heck of a lot more sense that way.

PG: i believe the piece you're thinking of from fantasia is "the sorcerer's apprentice" by paul dukas. stravinsky is not quite as disney-friendly, to understate things somewhat.

tampa has never been called tampa bay, although the two pro sports teams from that area are the tampa bay buccaneers (NFL) and tampa bay rays (MLB). the rays did used to be called the tampa bay devil rays, which was a sweet double-dactyl. then they cut the "devil" and went to the world series last year (after never having won more than 70 games). but they haven't (yet) cut the "bay"; which is just as well, since they play in st pete.

STES is short for saintes (feminine), not saints (masculine). probably you knew that and just made a typo.

Anonymous said...

@Redman - that's a stroll in the shallows, not shadows.

James said...

Apparently the inner bark is the slippery part of the slippery elm. In baseball in the 1900s and 1910s, slippery elm was commonly used to produce the right spit for a good "spitball" pitch.

Wade said...

Back atcha!

Orange said...

PuzzleGirl, my husband has diagnosed Lady GAGA as being a throwback to the '80s, the sort of goofiness that today's teens will look back on fondly when they're 40. She's the Flock of Seagulls-meets-Cyndi Lauper of the new millennium.

The ERN or ERNE is a sea eagle. It has a fearsome eagle's beak and a screechy call. The TERN is more of a seagull type of bird.

Denise said...

Easy breezy. Nice. A good start to the week.

SethG said...

Hey PuzzleGirl, didya see the Mongolian in the NYT the other day?

I had no idea ANGORA came from goats!
Never mind, it doesn't. Mohair comes from the goat, angora wool from a rabbit. My mom called me to wish me a happy Easter yesterday. She's Jewish, but her name is Bunni.

jeff in chicago said...

Fun puzzle. Fun write-up.

I am a former Clevelander, so ERIE was a no-brainer. There is also a building in Cleveland called the Terminal Tower. It was the hub for trains. And there was a song extoling Cleveland by a local rocker when I grew up that included the line (paraphrased): "It's the only city with a tower that is terminal overlooking a lake that is (e)erie."

I have been accused of having many 38A's.

jeff in chicago said...

Oh...and I meant to tell folks that if you want to see PG as a cheerleader, images are available on Facebook!

Greene said...

@Joon: Puzzlegirl is right about Fantasia and Stravinsky. The film uses big chunks of "Le Sacre" for the dinosaur sequence toward the end of the picture. Stravinsky was miffed not only to see his ballet score used in a cartoon, but also because Disney never payed him any royalties for the unauthorized use of his music.

Down here in Florida, we just refer to all the communities around Tampa Bay as "the bay area." That way, people in the little communities like Clearwater and Safety Harbor (my town) don't feel slighted.

Joon said...

wow, did not know that. thanks for the lesson. i always like to see somebody get their comeuppance for posting a correction that isn't correct, even when that somebody is me.

xyz said...

Joon and Anonymus 7:08, *-) yaaarrrrggh!
See, I knew I was missing something. No more Tequila for breakfast. LOL Good one on me. Misread it and got it right, must be LAT! I love these puzzles, they are clearly on my wavelength.


Anonymous said...

@the redanman: I made the exact same mistake too. I must have stared at wa_e for a whole minute wondering how it all made sense.

Otherwise I too enjoyed the puzzle, although I'm not quite as quick as others. I really liked the clue for FLEA, it made me smirk a bit. I kept wanting to put NECK even when I knew it was wrong with the crosses.


Don G. said...

No one talked about the interesting psychological aspect of the three theme answers. It's kind of aesop's fable for a monday crossword. Don't be "full of oneself", don't hatch "half-baked ideas", or don't offer "empty promises". This didn't dawn on me until I was away from the puzzle.

I got turned around with a couple tricky clues, but I usually make things harder than they are anyways. Loved that NE corner with the Q and bunch of Fs.

I used to swim in Lake Erie in the 60's, when it was really polluted. Does this explain my unbalanced nature? I lived near Cleveland, and it's river, the Cuyahoga, once caught fire.

Thanks for your comments, Puzzle Girl! BTW, I purchased your book last year and really enjoyed it. What are you going to do for a sequel?

andrea carla michaels said...

You may be thinking of Amy's book...she's a different puzzle girl!

@PG I too thought it was going to be the moon thing! AND I have had that Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" song going thru my head for about 3 days straight!

Don G. said...

Thanks for clarifying that. Are there bios that divulge the identities of our hosts?

Orange said...

Don, Rex is a professor and was interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

My real name is Amy Reynaldo and the Chicago Tribune recently interviewed me.

I leave it to PuzzleGirl to divulge her real name if she chooses, or to share more info about herself. All I can tell you about her is that she's utterly charming and down-to-earth, and she's got a deft touch when it comes to crossword blogging.

PuzzleGirl said...

@Don G.: Not yet. :-)

@Joon: Thanks for the clarification on Tampa (Bay). I had a friend in high school whose uncle coached the Bucs, so I'm sure that's why I thought the town was called Tampa Bay.

Wayne said...

I can't believe I didn't know about this blog! I do the LAT crosswords every day and it's great to see what other people have to say about them. This site also has a lot of information which is going to help me with future crosswords.

By the way, I only found this blog because I was stumped by last Saturday's puzzle clue, "The Dreadful Story of Pauline and the Matches". I had never heard of that. So I typed it into Google and a link to this site came up. Such Luck!

Orange said...

Hey, Wayne, we only started this blog a few weeks ago, so you didn't miss much. Glad you're finding it useful!

Gareth Bain said...

Blah theme for me, but some really nice non-theme stuff going for so early in the week (BBSHOT, COIFFURE, OILLIT.) Some people misread shadows for shallows. I misread "Treasure map measures" as "Treasure Map treasures" which had me stumped for a bit...

I am so out of touch with kitsch pop music for my tender years, it's shocking. I'd been hearing that "Poker Face" song pumping from my next-door neighbours for weeks before finding out a) what the song was, and b) who the singer was. Still it makes a change from Justin Timberlake...

Anonymous said...

Hi Puzzle Girl - Love the new LA Times Crossword blog. Its a great complement to Rex's NYT site. Just wanted to point out that BMI and ASCAP aren't actually musicians' unions but rather "Performing Rights Societies" with whom songwriters affiliate to collect royalties for public performance of their ocmpositions.