MONDAY, April 27, 2009 — Pancho Harrison

THEME: Heavy Hitter — four theme answers all end with synonym for "HITTER"

Hey everyone, welcome to another beautiful week of LAT crosswords. Let's get things started today with yet another offering from Pancho Harrison. He's prolific, and I generally find his early-to-mid-week puzzles quite smooth and entertaining. This one was no exception — in fact, it's one of my favorite easy puzzles of the year thanks to a highly original, highly colloquial theme. WHACKER PUNCHER SMACKER BOPPER. What's not to love? I love the crossing words at the center of the puzzle, because they indicate that this is the puzzle WHERE you BLEED. Please note the fill in this puzzle. When I talk about smooth, solid fill, this is what I'm talking about. Not a ton of crosswordese (there's always some), few abbreviations, few partials. Just solid words and phrases, everywhere you look. Nice mid-range fill in I'M HOME (22A: Words after "Hi, honey!") and MUPPET (51A: Fozzie Bear, e.g.) and BOOT HILL (28A: Gunfighters' graveyard) and RYE BREAD (43A: Corned beef is usually ordered on it). Love that BOOT HILL crosses the equally western BUSH WHACKER. An all-around solid puzzle.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: One who's at home on the range (COW PUNCHER)
  • 10D: Oater villain who attacks from hiding (BUSH WHACKER)
  • 25D: Girl idolizing a pop star, perhaps (TEENY BOPPER)
  • 57A: Noisy eater (LIP SMACKER)
Crosswordese 101: ERTE (13D: Art Deco designer) — Best known for his picture "Symphony in Black" (which hangs on my optometrist's office wall), this guy's name is All Over crosswords. Wikipedia tells me that he was born Romain de Tirtoff (November 23, 1892April 21, 1990) and that he was "a Russian-born French artist and designer" who took the pseudonym Erté from "the French pronunciation of his initials, R.T." I occasionally get him confused with another four-letter creative type with a certain amount of crossword cred: José Luis SERT, a Spanish-born architect and artist. With three sequential letters in common, you can understand my confusion.

What else?
  • 1A: Big name in copiers (MITA) — Didn't come to me right away. RICOH got into my head and wouldn't leave. Some people don't like brand names in their puzzles. I do not understand that position at all.
  • 15A: Gaucho's rope (RIATA) — Sometimes REATA.
  • 21A: Transvaal settler (BOER) — Northern South Africa.
  • 26A: Crock-Pot potful (STEW) — Considered some kind of beans, but then went with the more obvious STEW.
  • 40A: 1960s Cosby/Culp espionage series ("I SPY") — Knew this instantly, probably from doing so many crosswords. I was not yet born when this was on the air.
  • 41A: Roger of "Cheers" (REES) — About as obscure a proper noun as you want on a Monday.
  • 42D: Do axels and lutzes (SKATE) — Those are kinds of jumps.

  • 62A: Queen played by Liz (CLEO) — The "Liz" in the clue tells you the answer is a shortened form.
  • 1D: Coffee-chocolate mix (MOCHA) — Coincidentally, just before I sat down to do this puzzle, our shipment of 20 different chocolate / coffee products arrived from Costa Rica. I'm digging in as soon as I'm done with this write-up.
  • 7D: Bert of "The Wizard of Oz" (LAHR) — Did you remember the spelling? You were told there would be a test...
  • 18D: Horseshoe-shaped hardware (U-BOLT) — Cousin of the T-NUT and the I-BEAM.
  • 30D: Fabric fuzz (lint) — I just like the clue. Makes it sound as if the answer could be "FASHION POLICE."
  • 50D: Deck with a Death card (TAROT) — Amazing how common this word is, grid-wise.
That's all for me. See you Friday.


Everything Else — 1A: Big name in copiers (MITA); 5A: Improvise on stage (ADLIB); 10A: Yawn-inducing speaker (BORE); 14A: "You want the light __ off?" (ONOR); 15A: Gaucho's rope (RIATA); 16A: Manipulative sort (USER); 17A: One who's at home on the range (COWPUNCHER); 19A: Venetian blind part (SLAT); 20A: Make haste (HIE); 21A: Transvaal settler (BOER); 22A: Words after "Hi, honey!" (IMHOME); 24A: Counting everything (ALLTOLD); 26A: Crock-Pot potful (STEW); 27A: Antiquity, once (ELD); 28A: Gunfighters' graveyard (BOOTHILL); 32A: Boneless cut (FILET); 35A: Jean Auel's "The __ of the Cave Bear" (CLAN); 36A: 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit (ADIA); 37A: Boatloads (ATON); 38A: In what place (WHERE); 39A: Penny (CENT); 40A: 1960s Cosby/Culp espionage series (ISPY); 41A: Roger of "Cheers" (REES); 42A: Do axels and lutzes (SKATE); 43A: Corned beef is usually ordered on it (RYEBREAD); 45A: Payable (DUE); 46A: Throw out of office (OUST); 47A: Take back, as a public statement (RETRACT); 51A: Fozzie Bear, e.g. (MUPPET); 54A: Litigant (SUER); 55A: Org. that sticks to its guns? (NRA); 56A: At the peak of (ATOP); 57A: Noisy eater (LIPSMACKER); 60A: Doily material (LACE); 61A: Clear the chalkboard (ERASE); 62A: Queen played by Liz (CLEO); 63A: Norse thunder god (THOR); 64A: Patch the lawn, in a way (RESOD); 65A: Labor Day mo. (SEPT); 1D: Coffee-chocolate mix (MOCHA); 2D: How some tuna is packed (INOIL); 3D: Beach drier (TOWEL); 4D: Dada pioneer Jean (ARP); 5D: Governor Schwarzenegger (ARNOLD); 6D: Cut into cubes (DICED); 7D: Bert of "The Wizard of Oz" (LAHR); 8D: Suffix with Canaan (ITE); 9D: Voice between bass and tenor (BARITONE); 10D: Oater villain who attacks from hiding (BUSHWHACKER); 11D: Norway's capital (OSLO); 12D: Paper quantity (REAM); 13D: Art Deco designer (ERTE); 18D: Horseshoe-shaped hardware (UBOLT); 23D: "Have we __?" (MET); 25D: Girl idolizing a pop star, perhaps (TEENYBOPPER); 26D: Uses a hang glider (SOARS); 28D: Run, as colors in the wash (BLEED); 29D: Thought (IDEA); 30D: Fabric fuzz (LINT); 31D: Not punctual (LATE); 32D: Light-skinned (FAIR); 33D: __-bitsy (ITSY); 34D: Easy gait (LOPE); 35D: Use crib notes (CHEAT); 38D: Andre the Giant, e.g. (WRESTLER); 42D: Kama __ (SUTRA); 44D: Regret (RUE); 45D: Considered (DEEMED); 47D: Rene of "Tin Cup" (RUSSO); 48D: Bracelet site (ANKLE); 49D: Advance slowly (CREEP); 50D: Deck with a Death card (TAROT); 51D: Ice cream drink (MALT); 52D: Great Salt Lake state (UTAH); 53D: Somewhat, in music (POCO); 54D: Sauna sites (SPAS); 58D: Rage (IRE); 59D: IV amounts (CCS).


PuzzleGirl said...

Nice, smooth solve. Perfect for a Monday. Of course, I would have preferred someone other than Andre the Giant in the clue for WRESTLER. But I'm sure that's just me.

gjelizabeth said...

Good Morning. Yes, I remembered the spelling, thanks to reading this blog and paying attention. I've spend YEARS experimenting with different spellings for LAHR every time I encountered it in a crossword. No more. Thank you.
I actually missed the theme of the theme-words. All I picked up was the -ER endings. I'm enjoying my morning crossword more and more as I follow this blog because you all point out stuff that would otherwise fly past me. The center cross of WHERE and BLEED? That's elegant! But I'd never have noticed it without some help.

toothdoc said...

Yeah - first sub-6 solve for me. Everyone should have BOOTHILL on their bucket-list of cheezy places to visit. Located in beautiful Dodge City, KS and near the recently rebuilt "greenest city in America" - Greensburg.

PuzzleGirl said...

Well this is interesting. When I read toothdoc's comment I thought, "Isn't Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona?" Turns out there are several Boot Hills. Who knew?

Jeffrey said...

Wocka, wocka, wocka!

Fozzie Bear may be a relative of Youppi, but this is a matter of some uncertainy.

Fast, fun, fabulous Monday.

mac said...

Beautiful Monday puzzle, this is how it's done!

Kurisu said...

I unfortunately put COWRANCHER instead of PUNCHER, and neither UBOLT nor ARR seemed wrong. Blargh.

Karen said...

I don't think I've seen both ARP and ERTE in the same puzzle before. Now I know that they are different people...

PG, I thought the Andre the Giant might be clueing the Princess Bride somehow, like 'from Greenland'?

chefbea said...

Easy fun Monday puzzle.

I Loved I Spy - think I saw every episode.

Many years ago we were at a bar in Greenwich and Andre the Giant was sitting there. A group of young boys came in with their parents and they were so excited to see him. They ran up to his and asked for his autograph where upon he said an infatic NO, and pushed them away. We had heard that he wasn't very nice and this sure proved it

Yumm... lip smacking stew!!!

Greene said...

@Puzzlegirl: I have always meant to ask you, with your love of all things wrestling, are you perhaps a fan of John Irving? He seems to work his passion for wrestling into every book, "Garp" in particular.

Excellent puzzle this morning. Great fun, and look, no venom!

imsdave said...

This is a stunningly constructed Monday puzzle. It's at the right skill level, and still entertaining as all get out.

Bravo Mr. Harrison

Anonymous said...

Anyone else get cute and enter "MIME" for 1A? Led to some early missteps here. I won't comment on (kama)SUTRA crossing LIPSMACKER.

- - Robert

jeff in chicago said...

D'OH! Always check your crosses!! Fozzie Bear was just a PUPPET for me today. Which means I'll be going out for an ice cold PALT later.

(Hmmm. From Wikipedia: "In North America, palt is a dish made with raw potatoes and chopped meat such as bologna, bacon, or sausage, with flour as a binder. It is formed into a ball and then boiled, and served with melted butter." At least it's something!)

Orange said...

Jeff, not to go all "cooking blog" on you, but might you give us a vegetarian palt recipe too?

Anonymous said...

Thought today was a bit more difficult than last Monday, but maybe that's just me. Lots of fun fill, though I didn't get the theme until the very end. I kept trying to make it all about cowboys.


Denise said...

Well,here is a nay-sayer. I marched through this puzzle, beginning at the first square with hardly a glance at any crosses. That means, for me, a rather uninteresting exercise in "filling squares" rather than "working the crossword."

I once went to a wrestling match (late 80s?) with my family -- and that was enough of that.

chefbea said...

@jeff in chicago - that sounds absolutely awful!!!

mac said...

@chefbea: you could probably make it palatable with a little sauteed onion and garlic. For a vegetarian version add some cooked peas and carrots as well. The least attractive part of the recipe is the "boiling", let's deep-fry it!

@Karen: we met John Irving about 18months ago, and he told us (and the crowd) that he got injured once too often and his wife had put a stop to his wrestling career.

jeff in chicago said...

If you think the American palt is bad, how about the Swedish versions:

Pitepalt are mostly made out of raw potatoes and barley flour, which is not the case with kroppkakor. For kroppkakor, pre-boiled potatoes and wheat are used. This gives the pitepalt a darker color. Potatoes, wheat flour/barley flour, salt and minced meat/pork are common ingredients in pitepalt. Some recipes also mentions onion but is not that common. It is traditionally eaten with butter and lingonberry-jam.

Then there's Blodpalt:

Blodpalt is an old-fashioned Swedish dish still fairly common in northern Sweden and Finland. The dish's history goes back to a time when the peasants carefully made use of all parts of the animals to get enough food. Blodpalt is essentially pitepalt - similar to kroppkakor - a kind of potato dumplings, although in blodpalt, blood is also added. This made the dish a nutritious meal often eaten during the dark part of the year. Blodpalt is sometimes eaten together with bonemarrow (usually from Reindeer) and is then referred to as "lappkok."

Anybody hungry? (And no snickering at "lappkok"!!!)

chefbea said...

@jeff in chicago - you're a riot and I'm glad you've become one of us foodies

mac said...

Let's not be hasty to criticize; I was really suspicious when I first encountered corned beef hash, who knows what they put into that dish!

The most interesting dish I've ever encountered is the North German Labskous. I think everything and the kitchen sink are mashed together. I had it once, on a boat, and it wasn't half bad. You'll have to google the recipe(s)!

SethG said...

If you allow for variant names, the US Geological Survey includes 22 Boothill or Boot Hill Cemeteries.

Uh, aren't these just kinds of potato dumplings? Maybe not your favorite, but I reserve descriptions like "absolutely awful" for things like Buttered Popcorn flavored jelly beans or gefilte fish.

chefbea said...

@sethg I love gefilte fish!!

@mac I googled labskous!!! what could be better...
Mashed potatoes, corned beef and our beloved BEETS

Rex Parker said...

Stop, please. A little bit is endearing. But then ... like old milk, it turns.