WEDNESDAY, April 29, 2009 — Doug Peterson

THEME: "On the Cutting Board"—four phrases end with words that are are kitchen verbs

Crosswordese 101: Today's featured word-we-don't-use-often is POME (26D: Apple or quince). The sort of fruit that has a smooth skin, a whitish inside, and a core with seeds in the middle is called a POME, and the pear is in this category too. Can you guess what the crossword's most popular variety of POME is? It's gotta be the BOSC pear. Another fruit category, the DRUPE, includes peaches, plums, cherries, and their cousins with a big stone in the middle. DRUPE doesn't show up so often in the crossword, but now you can't say I never told you about it. The SLOE wins the DRUPE category, hands down—you've probably never seen it in the produce section, but you can practically taste it from how often it appears in crosswords.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Shady high roller's advantage (LOADED DICE). Dice your veggies if you like soft little veggies.
  • 28A: Harbors ulterior motives (HAS AN AX TO GRIND). You don't see many five-word answers in the puzzle, do you? What are we grinding in the kitchen? Black pepper? Coffee beans? Maybe my "cutting board" theme description doesn't work so well.
  • 44A: Log holder (FIREPLACE GRATE). Grate some cheese or maybe some lemon zest.
  • 58A: Dojo blow (KARATE CHOP). Chop anything.
Trouble spots: For no discernible reason, I got hung up in a few places. Overall, it still felt like it was no more difficult than the usual Wednesday puzzle, if not a tad easier.
  • 1A: Betting setting (VEGAS). "OTB is only three letters long," I said to myself. "What's five letters? The DERBY for horse racing?" VEGAS seems utterly obvious and yet I was blanking on it.
  • 14A: "Get __!": "Relax!" (A GRIP). This one's right under VEGAS. I had prepositions on the brain. "Get on something? Get on tranquilizers?" I think the unusual phrase in quotes/colon/phrase in quotes clue structure threw me off.
  • 10D: Capital of Lorraine (METZ). I tried MERZ first, thinking of Chicago's old German Merz Apothecary. METZ has got a lot of nerve being a French town with a German-sounding name, if you ask me. (Equally annoying: Scottish-sounding Dunkirk is also in France.) METZ is one of those place names I learned from crosswords and have had no use for anywhere else.
Favorite answers and clues: Doug Peterson has a knack for filling a grid with lively language, and I like his cluing.
  • 6A: Oratory with lots of arm-waving (RANT). Dennis Miller should wave his arms more.
  • 22A: Garden hose feature (NOZZLE). Double-Z Scrabbly action!
  • 51A: Resealable bag brand (ZIPLOC). Another Z. It pops in the grid, doesn't it?
  • THOSE is a fairly lifeless word, but the clue jump-starts it: 63A: "__ who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it": Santayana.

  • 3D: Goes for, as straws? (GRASPS AT). Not sure why there's a question mark here. Perhaps because "grasping at straws" is a figurative expression...but then, it's not as if "go for straws" is a familiar literal expression.
  • 5D: Explore caves (SPELUNK). Kerplunk!
  • 6D: Team that ended a "curse" in 2004 (RED SOX). This one's for Rex. My Cubs are still waiting for the curse of the billy goat to be lifted.
  • 35D: Emptied one's bags (UNPACKED). This reminds me of a series of Language Log posts on the topic of the phrase "still unpacked" meaning "still un-unpacked."
  • 44D: Minor failing (FOIBLE). The word just plain sounds funny.
  • 45D: Not out-of-bounds, as a ball (IN PLAY).
  • 53D: Panama border? (BRIM). As in a Panama hat with a BRIM.
Everything Else — 10A: Sloop pole (MAST); 15A: Hamburg's river (ELBE); 16A: Award for a soap (EMMY); 19A: Manx cat's lack (TAIL); 20A: Hanging-hook shape (ESS); 21A: After all? (LAST); 24A: Disney pooch (PLUTO); 26A: Islamabad's land: Abbr. (PAK); 27A: Above, in odes (OER); 32A: By surprise (ABACK); 33A: "That is to say ..." (IMEAN); 34A: Himalayan mystery (YETI); 35A: Dark earth pigment (UMBER); 37A: Programming language with a coffee-cup logo (JAVA); 41A: Ho-hum state (ENNUI); 43A: Ear-related (AURAL); 48A: It has a charge (ION); 49A: Space shuttle astronaut Jemison (MAE); 50A: Seller of TV time, e.g. (ADREP); 53A: Cheese with an edible rind (BRIE); 54A: Revelation reaction (AHA); 57A: Qualified (ABLE); 61A: Actor Arkin (ALAN); 62A: Leave the premises (EXIT); 64A: Florida attraction (KEYS); 65A: D.C. party (DEMS); 66A: Caravan stops (OASES); 1D: Depression between hills (VALE); 2D: Bigheads have big ones (EGOS); 4D: Lend a hand (AID); 7D: Hit the ground (ALIT); 8D: Home of "The Office" (NBC); 9D: Fake ID user, often (TEENAGER); 11D: E-tail giant (AMAZON); 12D: Beamed (SMILED); 13D: "Breathing Lessons" Pulitzer winner Anne (TYLER); 18D: Info to crunch (DATA); 23D: Creole vegetable (OKRA); 25D: More doilylike (LACIER); 28D: Farmer's stack (HAY); 29D: Face on a fin (ABE); 30D: Fibula neighbor (TIBIA); 31D: Hurt (INJURE); 36D: Stubborn critter (MULE); 38D: Wyoming tribe members (ARAPAHOS); 39D: Winery container (VAT); 40D: Tapped beverage (ALE); 42D: Pixar fish (NEMO); 43D: Go along with (AGREETO); 46D: Gem weight units (CARATS); 47D: Rework, as an article (EDIT); 48D: "The Compleat Angler" author Walton (IZAAK); 52D: Zoom, for one (LENS); 55D: Stockings (HOSE); 56D: Long-armed critters (APES); 59D: Dismiss (AXE); 60D: "__-ching!" (CHA).


Jeffrey said...

I'm heading for VEGAS on Sunday. Hope there are many LOADED DICE.

Didn't get the theme at all. Shows my kitchen prowess.

Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel said...

Sometimes I grind flax seeds with coffee grinder. I titled the puzzle "How Food Processor Works". Some does DICE, GRIND, GRATE & CHOP.

Rex Parker said...

Took me a few moments, after I'd finished, to discern the theme.

Damned METZ. I had every variation but that one: MANZ, MENZ, MRAZ ... god knows what else.


[More like a doily] is perhaps the silliest clue I've seen. I'm trying to think of where the phrase "more like a doily" might be used. "OK, let's do the scene again, but this time ... more like a doily."


Anonymous said...

First thought was TRACK instead of VEGAS. Loved the AXE KARATECHOP cross. Loved the AMAZON clue--what is bigger than an amazon?

Knew Rex would love REDSOX. I feel the Cubsters will never rid themselves of the 'curse'.

Anonymous said...

Was the clue for 29D (Face on a fin) an error? The answer is "Abe," so shouldn't it be "Face on a FIVE"? Or what am I missing?

Orange said...

Dear "Anonymous" posters, or anonymice: Please choose a screen name so we can tell you apart. It can be anything—no need to sacrifice your anonymity if you don't wish to. If you set up a Google account, you'll be able to display an avatar (picture) with your comments if you want one.

Anonymous 7:16, "fin" is slang for a $5 bill.

James said...

At one time, if you bought a big enough box of Crayolas, one of them was Raw UMBER.

And I also loved the Scrabbly parts.

Crockett1947 said...

Anonymous @7:16. "Fin" is a slang term for a $5 bill, thus the clue works.

James, and there was also "Burnt Sienna." Exotic colors that were fun to use, but where did those names originate?

gjelizabeth said...

Loved the theme! After you do your prep work in the kitchen, DICE GRIND GRATE CHOP, you can put it all in a ZIPLOC. Rex, one stitcher looks over at another stitcher's work: "That's nice, is it going to be a table scarf?" "No, I think it will end up smaller, more like a doily." In this case "more like" refers to size as doilies generally are smaller pieces of needlework. Doilies are also often, but not always, made with techniques that produce a lacy object with lots of holes: knitting, crocheting, hardanger, and (common crossword lacemaking connection) tatting. So a stitcher could start a piece with just a little bit of holey-ness and then decide to add a lot more because she wanted it to look "more like a doily".

*David* said...

Likes-ARAPAHOES and IZAAK Walton(Sierra peak named after him). No foreign translations and straight forward abbreviations.

Dislikes-AX/AXE and UNPACKED.

PuzzleGirl said...

OMG Orange. We were on exactly the same wavelength today! "Betting place? Well, that's OTB. Wha...?" Then I wanted "Get over it!" And I actually made a note at 63A (SANTAYANA) to use a Santana clip there (I guess I was confused and thought I was blogging today for some reason). HAha!

ENNUI is one of my favorite words of all time. And loved the clue for AMAZON: "E-tail giant." See what he did there? Like *David*, I thought having both AX and AXE in the puzzle was a little fishy. But other than that, pretty much exactly what I expect from DP -- an awesome puzzle.

Sandy said...

gjelizabeth: But since the answer is LACIER, then how is the clue anything to do with size? If the answer had been SMALLER, I could see your point.

POME was new to me, and I've been a fan of apples and pears most of my life.

FIN, also new, but gettable. In fact, the things I didn't know didn't stump me, the way they did yesterday. That's what I like in a puzzle - being able to work it out in the end.

Sandy said...

@crosscan: shouldn't you be hoping for the dice Not to be loaded? Unless they're your dice, in which case you should just be hoping not to get caught.

Doug P said...

*David* and PuzzleGirl, you're right. Having AX & AXE in the same grid is extremely fishy. I should have caught that!

The REDSOX entry was indeed for Rex (and Brian of "Ryan & Brian"). I'm a huge Yankee fan, but I have to admit that REDSOX is a cool crossword entry. And that's the only nice thing I have to say about them.

Crosscan said...

Oops. I really should proofread.

chefbea said...

Now this is certainly my kind of puzzle.

@CC I have two grinders - one for coffee beans and the other for flax seeds and other seeds and herbs.

Lets see... I could dice, grate or chop my favorite vegetable, then grind some seeds and herbs, and beet in a little olive oil for a great sauce. Yummmmm

SethG said...

Late Night with David Letterman
July 11, 1991
Arnold Schwarzenegger's Top 10 Rejected Movie Lines10. "My, what a lovely lace doily!"

The only trouble I had was with (Disney pooch)--I had PLUxx and couldn't think of anything. I rock. Wait, my first thought for 1A was Vegas--I do rock.

And, not trouble, but I had amber for umber and Isaak for Izaak.

Denise said...

I had "DALE" and "DEGAS" until the end, when the cartoon didn't pop up == ah, Vegas! I've even been there.

Good puzzle.

jeff in chicago said...

Nice puzzle. Great fill all over the place. 3 Zs, 2 Xs, 4 Ks.

There's a coffee shop down the street from my house called "Ennui." Always thought that was an odd name for a business.

"Honey, your blue nightie is LACIER than your red one." (Doilies are the last thing on my mind in this scenario.)

Thanks for the Santana clip. I was 12 when "Abraxas" came out (my older brother bought it) and it was a defining moment in the development of my taste in music. (I was obsessed with the album cover as well. Hey...I was 12!)

Al said...

Not rejected movie lines:

Nathan Fillon and Neil Patrick Harris: Lacy wafting curtains at 1:20 into the clip.

Lemonade714 said...

For future reference back in the day,a BUCK was $1.00, a FIN was a $5.00 bill, a SAWBUCK was $10.00, and a DOUBLE SAWBUCK a $20.00. And of course TWO BITS was a quarter.

Karen said...

I had get A LIFE, which doesn't really fit either...And I wanted andirons or inglenooks in the fireplace, not just a grate.

Al, I love any Horrible references! (I'm really not getting the doily hate (or the laciness hate) people have here. I've got a very nice, very lacy doily that someone gave me as a present several years ago.)

Unknown said...


that was the only clue i didnt understand at all. thanks for clearing that up
other than that i got this puzzle done in under six minutes, i patted myself on the back and then proceeded to finish lunch. what a great puzzle today!

Unknown said...

There was a "theme"? REALLY? I had no idea (seriously). Thanks to all who explained the "fin" clue. I was of course thinking of FISH FINS, so there went 45mins of my day as I ransacked my brain trying to remember if I'd ever seen any kind of a face on a shark fin, or a goldfish fin, or a sunray fin... I resorting to asking a around the offic when I got a headache. At first I put in "AUDIO" instead of "AURAL" for 43A but that bore itself out with the other clues. Happy Wednesday!!

andrea carla michaels said...

I wanted to do today's puzzle just bec it was Swedish-sounding Doug's and he was such a doll at the LA tourney (and finished 4th I believe...I finally have my write up over at Rex's, I think, thanks to Puzzle Girl.)

Loved the Scrabble-y-ness... many in the same word NOZZLE, IZAAK (altho I had IZBAK and thought that was weird, for some reason HAND wrote BBLE for ABLE!)

Yes, the AX/AXE thing was not so good (but where was the editor on that one?) then I thought, well maybe it was one of those double headed axes...but still, terrible to have two in the same puzzle and then spelled differently makes NO sense at all!

And for a Yankee fan, it was funny to see not only did he have REDSOX, he had the METZ!

Orange said...

Andrea, your write-up is here at this blog! It's one post newer than this one.

Rex Parker said...

I'll copy it from here and post at RP tomorrow.

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