MONDAY, May 11, 2009 — Lila Cherry

THEME: RED (59D: The starts of the puzzle's three longest answers are shades of it)

Good morning. I have to blaze through this write-up today because ... well, this is what happens when I try to have a social life. Wife and I went out last night for the first time in what felt like forever. We got to cook and hang out with other people and socialize and drink wine ... like real human beings. It was nice. Sadly, by the time we got home it was (our) bedtime, which meant that I didn't get to my other blog until about 8am, and now I have just 20 minutes until my write-up for this blog is due (we try to be up by 7am PDT at the latest). And now I've spent much of what little time I have telling you why I have very little time. Brilliant.

I liked this puzzle just fine. It's got a very thin theme, covering only 38 squares in the grid (three main answers plus the RED in the SE corner). Nothing fancy or shocking here, though CHERRY GARCIA is a very nice and fresh-feeling theme answer (51A: Ice cream flavor honoring a Grateful Dead icon). CARDINAL SINS (20A: Lust, gluttony, greed, etc.) and CRIMSON TIDE (34A: Alabama team nickname) are less sparkly, but they're not bad either. Nice that all the answers begin with "C." Added consistency. I think of "DEADLY" as going with "SINS" and "CARDINAL" as going with "VIRTUES," but that may be because I don't really think of either that often.

Crosswordese 101: BABA (10A: Rum-soaked cake) — I learned about this food item from crosswords. Before crosswords, the only BABA I knew was BABA WAWA (Radner's parody of Barbara Walters from early "SNL") and "BABA O'Riley" by The Who. Oh, also ALI BABA, and BABA ganoush. Anyway, this cake is also sometimes clued via its fuller name, BABA au rhum. I've never tasted it. I'm not a rum fan, unless said rum is in my mojito.

Assorted flavors:
  • 1A: Momma's mate (Poppa) — I mysteriously spelled this PAPPA and wondered why I wasn't getting Mr. Smiley Pencil when I was finished (that's what happens when you solve in Across Lite.
  • 16A: Like a happy dog's tail (awag) — Eeks ygrek and zed, this is horrible.
  • 46A: "The Virginian" actor Joel, 1946 (McCrae)— Hheard of him, but couldn't pick him out of a line-up. "The Virginian" (the book) was written by OWEN WISTER. I'm sure you will need to know that someday, which is why I'm telling you now.
  • 35D: Comic book artist (inker) — Yay for technical comic book terms.
  • 4D: Tool in a haystack (pitchfork) — The weapon of choice for angry mobs throughout history.
  • 36D: House that sucks you dry, so to speak (money pit) — Love the "so to speak" part of the clue. "Oh ... so ... not literally?" I want to see the horror movie that involves a house that literally sucks you dry (of blood, I mean ... ).
Time's up

See you Friday.


Everything Else — 1A: Momma's mate (POPPA); 6A: Staircase part (STEP); 10A: Rum-soaked cake (BABA); 14A: Foundation (BASIS); 15A: Ark builder (NOAH); 16A: Like a happy dog's tail (AWAG); 17A: Funny sketches (SKITS); 18A: About, in legal memos (INRE); 19A: Lee seen in freezers (SARA); 20A: Lust, gluttony, greed, etc. (CARDINALSINS); 23A: "Charlotte's Web" author (EBWHITE); 26A: Multi-room accommodations (SUITES); 27A: Toy (with) (TRIFLE); 28A: Brush fire operation, briefly (EVAC); 30A: Fed. stipend (SSI); 31A: Roughly (ORSO); 32A: Show proof of (EVINCE); 34A: Alabama team nickname (CRIMSONTIDE); 38A: Raps on the door (KNOCKS); 39A: Old wives' tale (MYTH); 42A: __ kwon do (TAE); 45A: Leg joint (KNEE); 46A: "The Virginian" actor Joel, 1946 (MCCREA); 48A: You might have to pay one to get cash (ATMFEE); 50A: Malady (AILMENT); 51A: Ice cream flavor honoring a Grateful Dead icon (CHERRYGARCIA); 54A: Matador's opponent (TORO); 55A: Quarterback's throw (PASS); 56A: Singing group (CHOIR); 60A: "Sign me up!" (IMIN); 61A: "Editorially speaking," in e-mail (IMHO); 62A: Multitude (HORDE); 63A: Boston NBAer, briefly (CELT); 64A: High schooler (TEEN); 65A: Discontinued (ENDED); 1D: "Bill Nye the Science Guy" airer (PBS); 2D: Strong wood (OAK); 3D: Trident-shaped Greek letter (PSI); 4D: Tool in a haystack (PITCHFORK); 5D: Attack vigorously (ASSAIL); 6D: Like many a nasty remark (SNIDE); 7D: Author Morrison (TONI); 8D: Make, as a living (EARN); 9D: Bird served "under glass" (PHEASANT); 10D: Lowest 56-Across members (BASSI); 11D: Anticipates (AWAITS); 12D: Noble's partner (BARNES); 13D: Tennis great Andre (AGASSI); 21D: 66, e.g.: Abbr. (RTE); 22D: Soap star Susan (LUCCI); 23D: DDE's WWII command (ETO); 24D: "It's freezing!" (BRR); 25D: Madison is its cap. (WISC); 28D: Draw forth (EVOKE); 29D: Rouge and blanc, on la carte (VINS); 32D: Opal suffix (ESCE); 33D: Johnny Carson's sidekick (EDMCMAHON); 35D: Comic book artist (INKER); 36D: House that sucks you dry, so to speak (MONEYPIT); 37D: BrontÎ heroine (EYRE); 40D: Coffee break time (TEN); 41D: Chapeau (HAT); 42D: Stratagem (TACTIC); 43D: Where telecommuters work (ATHOME); 44D: "Bam!" chef (EMERIL); 46D: Karaoke singer's need, for short (MIC); 47D: Overused expression (CLICHE); 49D: Foremost part (FRONT); 50D: Heated crime? (ARSON); 52D: Sports contest (GAME); 53D: Tennis star for whom a stadium is named (ASHE); 57D: Old California fort (ORD); 58D: Suffix with chlor- (IDE); 59D: The starts of this puzzle's three longest answers are shades of it (RED).


PuzzleGirl said...

Easy breezy Monday. Nice, smooth solve. Not too much to say, really. Love that the constructor's name is CHERRY! Thanks for the "Red Red Wine" clip. Awesome song! Oh, and I always love it when Susan Lucci shows up in the puzzle.

Crockett1947 said...

Of course, Lila is really Rich, the editor ("Lila Cherry" is an anagram of "Really Rich"). Rex, that's the most concise puzzle write up I've ever seen, LOL!

Dan said...

Liked CHERRY GARCIA and CRIMSON TIDE (the latter I only know thanks to Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues").

~"LA" Dan

SethG said...

Red Red Wine by Neil Diamond is an awesome song. UB40's cover is okay, and Neil Diamond's version of UB40's version is about the worst thing I've ever heard.

AWAG comes close to sucking me dry (of blood, I mean), and The Money Pit was a horrorible movie.

I think it took me three tries to find the right cross-linked clue for 56-Across. "What are the lowest AILMENT members? Er, I mean ARSON. No I don't..."

Anonymous said...

PAPPA out googles POPPA about 6 to one, so I don't feel quite as stupid having thrown that in. On the other hand, having wondered what the hell kind of tree an AAK is, and leaving PAPPA, well, I just don't know how to classify that.

I'm new the to LA Times, but is it really necessary that the editor publish one of his own puzzles every week?

*David* said...

Once I saw the constructor called CHERRY, I knew it had to be a pseudonym.

Joel MCCREA used to be on an old Texas Rangers(lawmen not baseball team) radio show that our news station used to re-broadcast in the 80's.

Brendan Emmett Quigley said...

Pretty much what you'd expect for an easy puzzle made especially nice with the inclusion of ATM FEE and EB WHITE. Gotta love those "I-must-have-made-a-mistake" strange letter combinations.

Orange said...

Anonymous, usually we see a Rich Norris puzzle when he's short on puzzles for that day of the week or when he's got an idea for a holiday/observance theme. Memo to constructors: Maybe you should send Rich some of your Monday-level crosswords. You'll hear back from him much sooner than from Will Shortz, and it looks like he's low on easy puzzles.

Anonymous said...

EZ Monday. Hi-yo !

- - Robert

eileen said...

I made the mistake of using POPPA vs. Pappa and also wondered what kind of tree is an AAK--thankfully it finally clicked ("Jeez, he wants OAK!") Overall a very easy
puzzle that makes this newbie a little more confident about my solving skills. With that said, unfortunately Thursday, Friday... are still days of the week in which I will be again humbled.

James said...

I liked ..WHITE just beneath CARDINAL, white often being the complementary color for sports teams.

Unknown said...

Broke my record on this one (7:43- no speed demon am I). Saw the theme right away, but can't say it helped very much. would never have gotten BABA but for the crosses. Made the same mistake as Rex in the NW (PAPPA), but figured out the problem quickly.

Orange said...

Put PAPPA out of your head—you may never see it in a crossword. PAPA, yes. POPPA, less commonly. But no PAPPA, which doesn't show up at all in the Cruciverb.com database.

Weirdly, my kid started calling his dad "papa" this year, after years of "dad/daddy/dada." What's up with that?

David Marlow said...

Every time during a game Alabama kicks off, every 'bama fan yells, "Rollllllllllllllllllllll, Tide, Roll!" at the tops of their lungs. It's a sight to behold, to be sure.

I believe "Crimson Tide" was coined many years ago by a radio guy doing the play-by-play, when he noted that the Alabama defense was swarming around the field like a crimson tide. Or something. Too lazy to look it up.

Does the "I" in SSI stand for insurance?

It has to be POPPA. Otherwise the consistency would be compromised.

Oh, and ARSON for "Heated crime?"?


chefbea said...

Easy fun puzzle.

One red item was left out!!!!!

Dan said...

Switters said: "Does the "I" in SSI stand for insurance?"

It's for "income." Supplemental Security Income. I think.

~"LA" Dan

LyndaRN said...

Fell for the same NW corner mess. Can anyone tell me what IMHO stands for in 61 Across - "Editorially speaking", in e-mail. Also (not in this puzzle but would like to know - what does LOL mean? Lots of Laughs or Laugh out Loud? I'm a little too old for texting but sure love my Crossword puzzles.
See you tomorrow.

chefbea said...

@lyndaRN IMHO=in my humble opinion

LOL = laughing out loud

LyndaRN said...

Thanks Chefbea
Humbly, Lynda

gjelizabeth said...

Just getting around to the puzzle after a long drive home from Southern California (not that they don't actually have the LOS ANGELES TIMES Crossword Puzzle in Southern California but my Mom takes the PASADENA STAR-NEWS and I wasn't up to the hike down to the newsstand this morning). So I drove 350 miles to do a puzzle published within spitting distance of where I started out. I love West Coast/California clues like 57D "Old California fort". They make me feel like I'm doing a puzzle particular to my own situation, sort of like getting coffee at the local coffee shop instead of at Starbucks. I'm so gullible that I was charmed by the "Cherry" constructor-theme connection until the trick was exposed here. I'm still charmed by the clever anagram but someone might want to forward me a Nigerian email.

Greene said...

@Rex: I LOVE Mr. Smiley Pencil!! When he doesn't show up at the end of the puzzle, I become dejected and then frantic as I search for what sin I could have committed to keep him at bay. Was it a typo? Did I misspell SACAGAWEA again? Do I still not know the difference between AXEL and AXLE? He is a stern task master that Mr. Smiley Pencil, but when he finally shows up with his grinning face and arms akimbo, I feel that the clouds have parted and the sun is shining on me!

Mayer said...

Monday, ah yes, my confidence restored. Question 21D - 66, e.g. Abbr. I got RTE by default by fillins - What does that mean?? Thanks.

Greene said...

@Mayer: Get your kicks on Route (RTE) 66. You know, as in highway route.

mac said...

A smooth, nice puzzle. I did most of it downs only, so I missed out on some of the clueing. Looking at the words I inadvertently filled in, it looks quite interesting. Like BEQ I like the unusual lineup of letters in some of the answers.

It was a beautiful day in New York.
Had a beet salad at Mia Dona, chefbea!

Bill from NJ said...

2:21, HUH

You da PuzzleWoman now.

Congratulations from someone who is not a SpeedSolver but respects that fabulous time.

They Who Must Not Be Named (your partners in crime) must also be proud.

Keep up the good work, Angela from a Facebook friend