WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2009—Doug Peterson

THEME: "Man, Am I Tired"—Four unrelated phrases begin with slangy synonyms for "tired"

Wow, was it hard to figure out the theme in this puzzle. I finished filling in the grid in a Monday/Tuesday amount of time, and then had to spend a few minutes reading the theme entries aloud to my husband before it dawned on me that BEAT, SLEEPY, WHIPPED, and DEAD can all mean "tired."

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Journalists with specialties are BEAT REPORTERS.
  • 33A: Washington Irving title setting is SLEEPY HOLLOW. That's the story with Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and Ichabod's rival Brom Bones.
  • 41A: Dessert topping is WHIPPED CREAM.
  • 57A: DEAD MAN'S CURVE is the Title place you "won't come back from," in a 1964 Jan & Dean hit.

Crosswordese 101: 54D: SABOT is a Dutch shoe. Now, SABOT is a French word, and as the Wikipedia article relates, "the word sabotage derived from sabot, reportedly describing how disgruntled workers damaged workplace machines in France by tossing their shoes into the mechanisms." (Lexicographer Charles Hodgson says that's mere folk etymology, though.) SABOT also gets applied to clogs in general and to Dutch wooden shoes. This word doesn't show up all that often in crosswords, no, but how often do you encounter it anywhere else? Me, I don't run into it. Its appearance here in a Wednesday puzzle tells you that you need to know it, because it will be back.

An olio of answers and clues:
  • 5A: Golden Arches pork sandwich (MCRIB). Bleah.
  • Large Body of Water Day begins with 23A: Sweden's neighbor across the Baltic Sea is LATVIA. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are the three Baltic countries. 55A: Sea surrounding Lemnos is the AEGEAN. Can't say I've ever heard of Lemnos, but it sounds Greek and the AEGEAN Sea surrounds Greece. 34D: Ore.'s ocean is the PAC., or Pacific Ocean.
  • 66A: Bath residue is the yucky RING. My son likes to play with Star Wars figurines and spaceships in the bath—because space is very much like a warm bubble bath.
  • I don't know about you, but PETER Nero, the 68A: Nero at the piano, is someone I know primarily via crosswords. I suspect you're more likely to see NERO with a Peter clue than PETER with a Nero clue. I like to think he's descended from the Nero who fiddled while Rome burned, and that the love for music has been carried down through a hundred generations.
  • 4D: Comedy show that once featured "Spy vs. Spy" cartoons is MADTV. Guess what? If you never bothered to catch this sometimes-hilarious sketch comedy show, I won't pressure you to—because the show just had its final episode this month. Here at la Casa Naranja, our favorite recurring character was Miss Swan, seen here as an airline passenger:

  • BIOTECH is a cool answer. That's 9D: Gene therapist's field, briefly.
  • 12D: Org. with Heat and Thunder is the NBA. Miami Heat and, uh, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Is that who they are? They used to be the Seattle Supersonics but they moved and now, yes, they're the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • 33D: Seven-time NFL Pro Bowler Warren's last name is SAPP. This clue makes me muse about how wondrous it would be if they had professional bowlers playing in the NFL?
  • 43D: Bit of ocular irrigation is an EYEDROP. 'Tis the season for allergic folks to use antihistamine eyedrops.
Everything Else — 1A: Oil container (DRUM); 10A: Tip-top (A-ONE); 14A: 2000s sitcom set in Texas (REBA); 15A: Tabriz resident (IRANI); 16A: Three-sided sails (JIBS); 17A: Yankee nickname (A-ROD); 18A: Powerball, for one (LOTTO); 19A: Sighed line (ALAS); 24A: Holiday number (NOEL); 25A: Was holding (HAD); 28A: Fabric store amts. (YDS.); 29A: IRS employee (AGT.); 31A: Split (CLEAVE); 36A: Sea predator (ORCA); 39A: Rivière contents (EAU); 40A: Chooser's first word (EENY); 46A: Spendable salary (NET PAY); 47A: Bouncers check them (IDS); 48A: Sign of a smash (SRO); 51A: For instance (SAY); 52A: Green side (PEAS); 60A: Show some muscle (FLEX); 62A: Meir's successor (RABIN); 63A: Elderly (AGED); 64A: Stereotypical thug voice (RASP); 65A: Damaged layer (OZONE); 67A: Beatle bride (YOKO); 69A: Two gelcaps, e.g. (DOSE); 1D: In a dreary way (DRABLY); 2D: Study, in a way (REREAD); 3D: WWII subs (U-BOATS); 5D: Odometer reading (MILEAGE); 6D: Cut short (CROP); 7D: Incriminate (RAT ON); 8D: Lead-in (INTRO); 10D: Close to closed (AJAR); 11D: Sedimentary fuel source (OIL SHALE); 13D: Winding road part (ESS); 21D: Muscat moolah (RIAL); 22D: Cockney greeting (ELLO); 26D: Mary Kay rival (AVON); 27D: Damp at dawn (DEWY); 30D: Annoyed, with "off" (TEED); 32D: Type of sch. (ELEM.); 35D: Cosmonaut Gagarin (YURI); 36D: Just bought (OWNS); 37D: Flightless bird (RHEA); 38D: Local news department (CITY DESK); 42D: Storybook bear (PAPA); 44D: "Lou Grant" star (ED ASNER); 45D: "Just __!" (A SEC); 48D: Brasil '66 bandleader Mendes (SERGIO); 49D: Croaking birds (RAVENS); 50D: Jumpy (ON EDGE); 53D: Flabbergast (AMAZE); 56D: Keep safe (GUARD); 58D: Really big show (EXPO); 59D: Musical inspired by Fellini's "8 1/2" (NINE); 60D: Cook with a skillet (FRY); 61D: Thai language (LAO).


gjelizabeth said...

Good Morning! Did this on the computer as the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS is still substituting Tribune Media's other (unthemed and unexciting) puzzle for this one. I got an email back yesterday from Katharine Fong, who manages the puzzle department. She says they got a lot of complaints about the increasing difficulty level during the week and have shared their concerns with Tribune Media. A "new and improved version of the L. A. TIMES puzzle by Rich Norris will be available mid-June" and they will try that for a while. I, personally, find the phrase "new and improved" deeply suspect. I would be happy to forward a copy of Ms. Fong's email to anyone who is interested. My address is gjelizabeth@yahoo.com I'm a paper and pen kind of person and find doing the puzzle online awkward so I REALLY want them to keep publishing the wonderful puzzles I have enjoyed recently.

Rex Parker said...

God, the complaints - come on people. You want easy, there's the "Jumble," right there, on the same page. Enjoy.

What's weird to me about the complaints is that I found the old TMS puzzle way harder than the LAT because of its allowance of truly arcane words and overall (generally) poor construction standards. The lesson - you get used to the puzzle you do. Keep doing the LAT, and you'll get used to it. Buncha whiners.

Did this one in 3:34. GENTECH and EYEDUCT (words I may have completely made up) slowed me down a bit, but otherwise - no resistance.


Carol said...

Finished this puzzle in a reasonable amount of time, though way more time than Rex. (Add on 10 minutes.) I agree with Rex that a challenging puzzle is far more interesting than an easy one.

Got stuck on NW corner as I never heard of MadTV or Reba. TV isn't really my interest - would much rather read.

Joon said...

i misread "irrigation" as "irritation" and so had EYESORE (which is more of a figurative than literal ocular irritation) for a while. also, i had CITY____ for 38d and was trying to figure out how it could be CITY BEAT when BEAT was already used in the first theme answer. otherwise, i would also have tuesdayed this fine wednesday.

loved BIOTECH and the nice fresh clue for NINE.

Denise said...

I had EYEDROP and the little cartoon came on. ??

Orange said...

Amen, Brother Rex, re: complaints about the L.A. Times puzzle.

I wonder what the balance is between newspapers that have been running the LAT puzzle for years without complains and newspapers that just switched from the old TMS puzzle. I can't help thinking that the first group is huge and is not having its interests represented at all when Tribune Media Services reacts to complaints by catering to the second group. Of course the people who are used to the LAT aren't complaining—they're happy! And it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, not the smoothly functioning, happy wheel.

*David* said...

Puzzle went quickly until the bottom center where I put EYE TEAR and BEGIN for RABIN. I then had to feel comfortable with the PETER/SABOT/NINE crossing.

I think the casual crossword fan is looking for a People magazine type of crossword and doesn't want to have to learn or work too hard to solve them. It's something to pass the time while you're trying to get to someplace else.

John said...

It takes me 5 minutes to type in the answers if I already know them, so ten minutes for this puzzle was a treat!

I sure hope they dont come with some sort of satisfy the masses kind of compromise. Most of my puzzle group find the friday and saturday challanging and extremely cahllanging, but no complaints.

chefbea said...

Easy puzzle but had no idea of the theme til I came here

Was that yummmy foto of the cake with chocolate icing and raspberries used as a vehicle for the whipped cream???

Orange said...

Whipped cream would work, I guess, but I had the cake as a counterbalance for the MCRIB. Who among us would prefer McDonald's pork over raspberries and chocolate?

Carol said...

How could anybody choose anything over raspberries and chocolate?

embien said...

After doing the old TMS puzzle for years and following the Crossword Corner blog, my take is that people enjoyed the arcane clues for which they could look up definitions (a la Maleska-era NYT). A lot of people are frustrated by clever clues for which you can't look up a definition--you actually have to think!

When my newspaper, The Oregonian, had a poll to see which puzzle was preferred (after trialing four different syndicated puzzles), the LA Times came in a distant third. I was shocked.

I live in dread to see what the new LA Times puzzles will be like. I hope they're not too "dumbed down". (This said by a guy who can rarely get past Thursday in the NY Times.)

chefbea said...

I'll take raspberries and chocolate over mcrib any day... maybe not over St. Louis ribs

Charles Bogle said...

Hi, I may be in the minority, but I found this to be a very satisfying and pleasing mid-week mental tune-up, which is also a way of saying I was actually able to complete it, correctly, without outside sources, by crossing for the unfamiliar, and in a "reasonable" amount of time.

It helped that my wife is Dutch (SABOT) and that a birder was also in attendance (RHEA), 'tho she was stumped by "Croaking birds" and I managed that by thinking of Poe and the 'Nevermore Raven...

I also got a kick out of seeing Jan and Dean, and the newspaper references, City Desk, Beat Reporter

For what it's worth, I found this altogether more fun than today's NYT, which I think only an anglophile could stay with

Thanks, constructor!

clueless in Cincy said...

Can someone explain what is meant by "Sign of a Smash" (SRO) I am Clueless!

mac said...

@clueless: SRO (standing room only) is the sign of a smash hit.

@Charles Bogle: I am Dutch also, but I would never call a sabot a Dutch wooden show. It's a French wooden shoe. In Holland a wooden shoe is called "klomp". And no, I have never owned a pair.

Raspberries and dark chocolate: perfect combination.

I have no complaints about the puzzle, enjoyed it. I'm just getting used to doing the LAT regularly, hope they won't change it.

Anonymous said...

Lynda RN said...
The only clue I really didn't like was 1D In a dreary way - Drably. Yikes! I also read the 43D clue as Bit of occular irritation and could not believe the answer was eyedrop, I wanted eyedust, eyedirt, ... The across fill helped me here and when I came here I learned I had misread the clue. I'll be more careful next time. Now raspberries and chocolate with a little whipped cream sounds just perfect for a treat tonight. Enjoy everyone.
Lynda RN

Mike said...

Really liked this one. Felt like a very smooth puzzle, with no awkward fill whatsoever and some great cluing. I think my favorite might be Green side for PEAS, but Joon totally got my other two faves: the cluing for NINE and BIOTECH, which looks really cool in the grid.

Also, like Orange and others, I totally didn't get the theme while I was doing it. Looking it over now, it's a tight theme, but it's interesting how even with relatively straightforward words that mean "tired," several of us couldn't figure it out until after solving the whole thing. I can't tell if that's really good thematic phrase selection or that we usually just say "tired" instead of these other words.

hazel said...

Well I did the puzzle in the Houston Chronicle (not my normal paper), and didn't realize it was the LA Times puzzle, and was very unhappy because I didn't understand the theme, and didn't think I would have anywhere to go for answers.

I thought it was a which one of these doesn't fit - to me, BEAT WHIPPED AND DEADMAN all seemed to sort of go together, albeit a bit violently - but SLEEPY was a bit of a puzzle. Didn't really stew over because my oncologist came in with good news!

So when I pulled up the LA Times online (much later) - crossword puzzles are exceptional chemo distractions - I was very happy to see it was the same puzzle. And more importantly, I was grateful for this site and other small pleasures in life - and especially that @Orange had cracked the code.

So thank you. Your work is appreciated.

Orange said...

Good(ish) news from Rich Norris—the change that's coming is a slight easing up of the Thursday and Friday puzzles, with everything else staying the same.

@Hazel, hooray for good news from the onc! If you're looking for many more puzzles for chemo distractions and you're not already doing the Friday Wall Street Journal Sunday-sized crossword and the Friday scholarly-themed Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle, you might want to visit the Puzzle Pointers page (which Rex and I both have in the sidebars at our other blogs) and print out a zillion of these puzzles in Across Lite.

PuzzleGirl said...

Really like this one — which is exactly what I expect from a DougP puzzle. (Unless it's a Newsday Saturday Stumper by DougP, in which case I expect to fight with it for months before finally giving up and hanging my head in shame.)

I really need to learn my geography. I think of Sweden being in one place and Latvia being in another place — I can picture both general areas in my head but never really thought about how they fit together. I remember liking to play Risk a lot as a kid, maybe I'll go back to that and see if it helps.

Never heard of "DEAD MAN'S CURVE." Had most of it filled in from crosses and before looking at the clue, thought it might be Dead Man's CURSE. Also misread "Bouncers check them" as "Bouncers check item" which ... makes no sense. Also tried BioCHEM for BioTECH. Worked it all out eventually though.

@clueless: When a theater has sold tickets for all its seats, they post a sign that says "SRO," for "Standing Room Only." I don't know if they still do this, but I think they probably don't. I looked it up once but the old memory isn't what it used to be.

@LyndaRN: Agree that DRABLY gets a "Yikes!" but I think everything else was pretty solid, so will let it go.

@gjelizabeth: I like to do the early-week puzzles on the computer, but the late-week's on paper, so I print out the AcrossLite file. Can you do that?

PuzzleGirl said...

Oh, and I meant to say that I was doing this online trivia quiz the other day where I had to name all the NBA teams. I kept typing SEATTLE SUPERSONICS over and over and over again. Couldn't figure out why it wouldn't take. I guess that shows how long it's been since I paid attention to basketball! (Although I did watch a couple games this weekend.)

chefbea said...

@orange so what is happening with the sunday LATimes puzzle in the greenwich and stamford papers. Has Rich norris said anything about the puzzles being a week ahead?

Greene said...

@Charles Bogle: I couldn't agree with you more. The NYT puzzle left me cold today, but I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem. It was pretty fun and straightforward, but with just enough off-kilter fill to make it interesting.

@clueless and PG: SRO still exists at many, but not all, Broadway shows. The lucky (?) patrons must stand in numbered spaces that are the width of a regular seat and usually located in the back of the orchestra. If you're lucky, there is a rail or ledge for you to lean on. These tickets are tricky to get because they are only available if the show is sold out and it can be difficult to predict in advance which shows will sell out on which night. The tickets are sold one per customer, in cash thank you, and usually at a fraction of the cost of an orchestra seat.

I can't remember the last time I saw a SRO sign prominently placed outside a theatre (although this was a common sight when I started attending theatre in the mid-1960s). In those days, Broadway was a cash only business and there was still such a thing as walk-up business. Nowadays, in the age of internet ticket sales, you're likely to see a small sign at the box-office window which says "this performance sold-out" with no mention of SRO availability. You can politely inquire about SRO, but you're always told those tickets were sold earlier in the day.

There's something glamorous and nostalgic about the phrase SRO, although certainly nothing glamorous about seeing a show that way. Sure it's cheap, but you better bring comfortable shoes (and eat first).

Orange said...

@Greene, Charles Bogle: I thought today's NYT theme was super-clever and enjoyed both that puzzle and this one.

@Chefbea: It appears nobody is keen on the idea of skipping a week of the Sunday puzzle just to get back on schedule, so you can either avert your eyes from that crossword for a week and join us on the regular schedule, or do the puzzle a week before we do. On the infrequent occasions that the Sunday puzzle is timed to a holiday, it might be more fun the week after your paper runs it.

mac said...

@Greene: I don't think I have ever seen anyone "standing" anywhere at a performance except for at the Met!

I saw "Offices" by Ethan Coen and loved it. It was fun and fresh and very Coenesque, and it had NO INTERMISSION, something I have always looked for since watching A Chorus Line in London many years ago.

This was a good puzzle day on both blogs, and I even inked in a New York Magazine puzzle earlier!
More food going on on the other side, though.

JaJaJoe said...

Not recalling like 25A is in this puzzle, it seems unusual/unneccessary/redundant.
Wondering whether any of y'all as above agreed and so commented,
I HAD to Search there for "25A" yet no-can-Find(?-)

Anonymous said...