TUESDAY, May 5, 2009 — David W. Cromer

Theme: "On the Golf Course" — Four theme answers are phrases that start with words describing where you might, or might not, want your golf ball to land.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Golfer's java-dispensing target? (CUP OF COFFEE).
  • 62A: Drawing of the area next to the fairway? (ROUGH SKETCH).
  • 11D: Mound near a sand trap? (BUNKER HILL).
  • 29D: Really large putting surface? (GREEN ACRES).
Bonus theme-related fill:
  • 46A: Golfer's position (LIE).
  • 28D: Golfer's choice (IRON).
  • 53D: Golf legend Walter (HAGEN).
Cute theme. Solid for a Tuesday. I would have been super impressed if the golf words had been in some kind of order: rough, bunker, green, cup? Yes, that works. I mean, as a good order for the words. It wouldn't work for the puzzle, though, because it would cause symmetry issues. Damn!

Hey, it seems like every couple days someone pops in here for the first time, so I just want to say a big WELCOME to anyone who has joined us recently. Our goal at this here blog is to help you become a better crossword solver. And you can measure that any way you want! If you want to be a speed demon? We totally understand that. If you just want to finish a Saturday with no Googling? We get that too. We just want to the solving experience to be FUN for you and we hope that becoming part of a our little community here will contribute to that. So, welcome. We're happy to have you hanging out with us. And we'd like it even more if you'd join the discussion in the comments!

Crosswordese 101: We're kickin' it old skool again today with ÉTUI [2D: Needle case]. This is a word that I have never — ever — said out loud. Even in conversations about crossword puzzles. I'm not even 100% sure I know how to pronounce it, although my guess would be something along the lines of eh-TWEE. Wikipedia defines an ÉTUI as "a woman's ornamental case, usually carried in a pocket or purse. It holds small tools for daily use such as folding scissors, bodkins, needles, hairpins, tweezers, makeup pencils, etc. Some étuis were also used to carry doctors' lancets." In CrossWorld, étuis are most often described as cases that are decorative, ornamental, fancy, or special. And there is generally a reference to sewing (e.g., the clue will include the word pins, needles, thimble, or flat-out sewing).

  • 27A: "Who cares?" ("BIG DEAL"). Meh. (That's another synonym; not a commentary on the entry.)
  • 30A: Sesame Street grouch (OSCAR). Everybody's favorite grouch.
  • 32A: Correct, as text (EMEND). What's the difference between EMEND and amend?
  • 34A: Dispenser of theater programs (USHER). Don't love the word dispenser in this context, but the answer is so much better than ush, which, believe it or not, appears in puzzles from time to time.
  • 42A: Calendario page (ENERO). Spanish! Calendario = calendar; enero = January.
  • 64A: "__ Got a Secret" (I'VE). A game show from the 1950s-60s that sounds pretty cool. One of the show's regular panelists was Rex Crush Teri Garr.

  • 65A: Nurse, vis-á-vis medication (DOSER). Ouch.
  • 1D: Apples with screens (MACS). You never can be sure if they mean fruit or computers.
  • 5D: Football official (REFEREE). Interesting to see the whole word in the puzzle. Usually, we just see ref.
  • 30D: Ukrainian port (ODESSA). Also where Yakov Smirnoff was born. Which I learned from crosswords.
  • 33D: Org. for Bucks and Bulls (NBA). National Basketball Association teams, Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls.
  • 50D: Horse stable (LIVERY). Not sure why I gave this one a bullet. I think I just like the word. And I was all "A horse stable is a ... stable? That can't be right."
  • 56D: Bit of deception (RUSE).
  • 58D: Harrow rival (ETON). They're both boarding schools in the U.K. They've been rivals for more than two centuries. Apparently they've had a big cricket match every year since 1805.
  • 60D: "__ Gotta Have It": Spike Lee film (SHE'S).Excellent flick. Unfortunately, can't find any good clips of it. So here's Spike as one of the movie's characters, Mars Blackmon.

Everything Else — 1A: Cab fare calculator (METER); 6A: Old saw (ADAGE); 11A: Jazz style (BOP); 14A: One at __ (ATIME); 15A: __ dancer (BELLY); 16A: Game with Skip and Reverse cards (UNO); 19A: "If I Ruled the World" rapper (NAS); 20A: Woman with a habit? (SISTER); 21A: Motorists' org. (AAA); 22A: "Saturday Night Live" bit (SKIT); 23A: Build (ERECT); 25A: Distance runners (MILERS); 31A: Discount rack abbr. (IRR); 37A: Open or pigeon add-on (TOED); 39A: Curved sword (SABER); 41A: What to do just before the surprise party starts (HIDE); 44A: Stunning weapon (TASER); 47A: Guitar parts (NECKS); 49A: Detected, as a rat? (SMELLED); 51A: Cascades peak (SHASTA); 53A: Port-au-Prince's country (HAITI); 54A: Bodybuilder's pride, briefly (PECS); 55A: Lingerie buy (BRA); 57A: Command used when creating a new file name (SAVEAS); 61A: Dory propeller (OAR); 66A: Wear away (ERODE); 67A: Avignon article (LES); 68A: "I'm with you, Reverend!" shouts (AMENS); 69A: Lip-__: mouths the words (SYNCS); 3D: Server's rewards (TIPS); 4D: Hammed it up (EMOTED); 6D: Blood classification letters (ABO); 7D: Skim, as soup (DEFAT); 8D: __ Romeo: sports car (ALFA); 9D: Sparkles (GLEAMS); 10D: Storm center (EYE); 12D: Studio sign (ONAIR); 13D: Internet forum messages (POSTS); 18D: Skin softeners (CREAMS); 22D: Symbol after "http:" (SLASH); 24D: Soccer player's shoes (CLEATS); 26D: Post-op section (ICU); 27D: Light meal (BITE); 35D: Pop singer Brickell (EDIE); 36D: Sax or oboe (REED); 38D: Bride's purchase (DRESS); 40D: Careless (REMISS); 43D: Halloween mo. (OCT); 45D: Hollywood do-overs (RETAKES); 48D: Explosion sound (KABOOM); 51D: Go bad (SPOIL); 52D: Throw with strain (HEAVE); 59D: Elec. designation (ACDC); 62D: Nutrition abbr. (RDA); 63D: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.g. (HRS).


Carol said...

This is a great blog! I have been reading it every day since discovering it. The LAT puzzle is the only one I do on a daily basis, it has been very helpful in understanding themes, etc.

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

Been doing CRs since 18 years old, now 70. With your blog I am learning the meanings of words I stuck in just because I knew them. I call you guys the CR school. I told all my friends about the CR school. Thanks.

Rex Parker said...

Peggy, thanks so much for your support ... and the free advertising. Glad you're enjoying the site.

Today ... golf, eh? I missed the theme entirely until I was done. Had most trouble w/ RETAKES (wanted RESHOOTS ... had REMAKES) and HAGEN (just didn't know). Otherwise, right over the plate.


Orange said...

It's gratifying that readers are enjoying the L.A. Crossword Confidential crossword school!

I'm fond of the word LIVERY because my grandma used to talk about how her grandfather had owned a livery stable. (That same grandfather died of pneumonia in his early 40s—I gotta tell you, I appreciate living in the age of antibiotics.) The word LIVERY has left the horse stable now, and I see it primarily on limo license plates in Illinois.

Orange said...

Also—that little pouch in my purse, the one that holds medicine and a nailfile and lipstick? I never had a specific name for it. I'm going to add some bodkins and call it an ETUI.

Mayer said...

Enjoy this puzzle and getting the scoop on interpreting clues. Still don't get 6A: old saw - "adage", I know that word differently. Would have responded to 62A as sketchrough until I got the poetic license in these clues such as bunkerhill (11D). Think of runners as marathon, missed 25A - milers, but like it.

Burner10 said...

What a delight it is to ride the bus now that I have found you. There is order in my world - do puzzle, check blog, correct errors and hope something sticks to the little grey cells. Thanks!

*David* said...

Smoother puzzle then Monday and also had to look afterwards at what the theme was.

Favorite fill was LIVERY/KABOOM.

Only dislike was DEFAT. This seemed to be a who's who of typical fill.

gjelizabeth said...

Enjoyable Tuesday. Mayer, I only know ADAGE in the maxim/proverb sense. Is that the meaning you're referring to? Maxims/proverbs are also sometimes called "old saws". That might grow from a contraction of "saying" to "saw" or maybe a sly comment on the "sawing on and on" of folks, like me, who have an adage for every occasion. My kids would bump for the latter.
My daughter had her first baby yesterday and I was wondering, as I waited in the hospital, if anyone had ever clued CAESAREAN as "Imperial delivery"?

chefbea said...

I'm very upset!! Today in the greenwich/stamford papers, the puzzle was from Newsday. No LA times puzzle. I have already sent an e-mail to the paperbut have not yet received an answer. How can I get the puzzle to print out. I do not like to do them on the computer? Anyone have a suggestion?

Mardou said...

For the last 2 weekends, my coworker has been bringing in crossword puzzles to fill out at work, and between the two of us, we've...nearly been able to complete one.

Yesterday i decided to strike out on my own, and discovered your blog.

I actually recognized the word "etui" from an article i had read about certain "crossword puzzle" words. I look forward to learning more of the secrets to this game!

Orange said...

#Chefbea, see the links in the sidebar? Go to Cruciverb.com. register (for free) if you haven't already done so, and you'll be able to get the Rich Norris LAT puzzle in Across Lite every single day. DO you have Across Lite already? The best place to download it is the NYT's Premium Crosswords page—that's where the most updated software version is. (As for Newsday: They're solid puzzles, usually a couple notches easier than the LAT. Except on Saturday, when the "Saturday Stumper" is often twice as tough as the Saturday NYT.)

Lisa said...

I was wondering if anyone had noticed the musical aspect of the puzzle? Rappers Nas and Usher, jazz style bop,guitar parts necks, singer Edie Brickell and guitarist Slash

Lemonade714 said...

For those who do not like DEFAT as an answer, I grew up in a house where homemade soup was the regular fare, and spent many an hour talking with my mother as she defatted the broth. I personally did not like DOSER (she was also a nurse who dispensed medications, and the word is more insulting than anything else).

Rex you are just too young for Walter HAGEN, but he is behind only Nicklaus and Woods for major titles in golf. One of the all time greats, and supposedly an entertaining guy.

Daniel said...

I started doing the LAT every day and the NYT on weekdays, and reading this blog and Rex's, almost two months ago. Since then, I've read people talking about those few puzzles that are simply sublime, where everything falls into place all by itself, and all is peachy in the world. It sounded nice, but it's never happened to me until today. Not only did I finish the whole thing by myself and without any Googles--which has only happened to me a few times thus far--it was probably my fastest solve time ever (just a guess, since I've never timed myself). I just completely OWNED this puzzle, and I'm very proud of myself. I just wanted to say that, and mention that this blog has been ridiculously helpful to me, so thanks to Rex, Orange and PuzzleGirl. :-)

mac said...

Congratulations, Daniel!
I enjoyed the puzzle vey much. No problems whatsoever.

Etui always reminds me of starting elementary school, 1st grade, and bringing a beautiful butterfly-patterned case for pens, pencils, erazor and sharpener. In Holland we call that an etui. I seem to remember getting a new one every schoolyear.

Defat? I make a lot of soups, too, and usually spend one day making the stock, then I chill it overnight, and in the morning "defat" it before I add the chopped vegetables and other ingredients.

Rex Parker said...

I am not a fan of DEFAT, though I acknowledge its existence.

Tell me ETUI does not really have an accent aigu on it.

Daniel - nothing like pwning a puzzle. Congratulations. I wish you many more such conquests. Whenever I took down a puzzle in the 90s (usu. one I stole from whatever cafe I was in), I would sign it with a flourish, throw it down on the table, and walk out. I think it was my equivalent of driving a stake thru its heart or spiking the puzzle in the end zone. Definitely gave a lift to my day.

Unknown said...

i am one of those new folks- so thanks for the welcome. I have been solving daily for about a year or so, getting better all the time.

Finished this one way faster than yesterday's LAT. The theme actually slowed me down a tad, as I was looking for something clever.

As a runner, I didn't like 'distance runner' for 'miler'- as I always think of distance running as short for long distance running, rather than middle distance, but that could be just me.

David Marlow said...

Little bit too easy, but a good one. Agree: much more elegant than yesterday's.

A slight quibble on "Golfer's java-dispensing target?" Dispensing? I thought a dispenser would be a vending machine or a coffee maker. Seems like it should perhaps have been "holding" instead of "dispensing". Better? Anybody?

Okay. I'll shut up now.

Also. Thanks for the welcome. Glad to be here.

Orange said...

I'm with Paul—distance runners are marathoners and milers are middle distance runners. I have no idea which group the 5K people fit into.

*David* said...

Talking about the Newsday puzzle, today there was an impressive three 15 letter, big dog theme.

puzzled_in_pdx said...

@switters: I felt the same way about the clue too, it just felt wrong.

Easier than yesterday for sure. Still had to rely on the red letters though.

Anonymous said...

@Orange - Categorizing 5k runners depends on where you stand. If you're a marathoner, they're middle distance runners. If you're a miler, they're distance runners. If you're like me, they're ultra-long distance runners.

LyndaRN said...

Thanks for the welcome. Started doing puzzles a few years ago with my mom and continue today. She lives in Virginia and I live in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and we just started having the LA Times puzzle in our paper so we do them on the phone each day or when we need help. Love the blog and am learning a lot every day. Thanks Rex, Orange and Puzzle girl.

SethG said...

@Carol, Peggy, Mayer, Burner10, Mardou, Daniel, Paul, switters, LyndaRN, other new ones I might have missed: It's not just the bloggers, mere commenters like me are glad you're around as well.

Paul, Orange, Anonymous, I bet we can agree that running 800s sucks for everybody. My track work starts next week, and I am _not_ in shape...

Oh, yeah, the puzzle. Kilroy had a secret too, Lisa forgot to mention other bands including ACDC and BELLY, and DOSER does indeed hurt.

Unknown said...

Seth- i ran the 800 for a year in HS and it was the most brutal race to train for and to run- almost a dead sprint for 2 mins.

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