SUNDAY, June 21, 2009 — Fred Piscop

Theme: "Unknown Endings" — Theme answers are familiar phrases with an X added to the end, resulting in new wacky phrases clued "?"-style.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Rodriguez upset with negative publicity? (BITTER ALEX). He's got no one to blame but himself.
  • 25A: Film timepiece seen briefly? (CAMEO ROLEX).
  • 43A: Instability of stereotypical BMW drivers? (YUPPIE FLUX). "Yuppie flu" is a derogatory name for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
  • 64A: World's most perplexing problem? (GRAND CRUX). Grand cru has something to do with wine.
  • 87A: Buckingham Palace add-on? (QUEEN ANNEX).
  • 107A: Rubber bedsheets? (SLEEP LATEX). I was a little surprised to see this with 38D: Compensate for oversleeping (RUSH) already in the puzzle.
  • 109A: Cat on steroids? (MUSCLE MANX).
  • 36D: Encrypted Scriptures? (SECRET CODEX).
  • 39D: Highest point in North Africa? (BARBARY APEX).
Crosswordese 101: I thought we might talk about Stephen REA today (53A: "V for Vendetta" actor), but Orange covered him last month. So today we'll talk about ETON, which is sometimes clued as a type of collar, but most of the time clued with regard to the British college. Here's what you need to know about ETON: it was founded by Henry VI in 1440, it's on the Thames, it competes with Harrow, and it's associated with Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Ian Fleming, James Bond, Percy Shelley, Lord Peter Wimsey, and (as we see in today's clue, 21A: Prep school for some princes), Prince William and Prince Harry. (I went looking for a picture of the princes at Eton, and found the guy at left. He looks like an Eton chap, doesn't he?)

Man, I'm glad I didn't have to blog Friday's puzzle. PuzzleDaughter had a friend sleep over and PuzzleSon had two friends sleep over. It was madness. My husband's all, "What's going on?" I'm all, "It's summer!" He's all, "It's Thursday!" The kids had a blast though. What I'm angling for, of course, is that both of them will get invited to sleepovers at friends' houses on the same night. Could I get so lucky? I'll let you know. What? There's a puzzle to talk about?

Cute theme. And it sure helped to know the last letter of each theme answer would be an X. I solved this one pretty steadily, but for some reason got tripped up several times by not getting exactly what the clue was going for. I thought 28A: Oil source wanted a place, so I had Sudan instead of the correct SHALE. I thought 34A: Perp subduer wanted a person, so it took me a while to figure out TASER. I thought 76A: Crease maker, at times wanted the actual thing that does the creasing, i.e., the iron, so I was surprised to see instead the person doing the creasing, i.e., the IRONER. I thought 94A: ____ out: peaked wanted ashen and not MAXED. And, again, on 9D: Crew's control, I wanted a piece of equipment and not the COXSWAIN. I have no idea if Fred Piscop was going for misdirection in those clues or if I'm just flaky today. Probably the latter.

There's gotta be more, right?
  • 10A: Carpenter's groove (DADO). What? You don't have a woodworking hobby? Well, just try to remember this one then.
  • 20A: Tropical tuber (TARO). It's a starchy plant that is often clued as Hawaiian. Another one you should remember.
  • 27A: Team with the most Super Bowl victories (STEELERS). My favorite football player is Walter Payton. That's how long it's been since I've paid attention to football.
  • 47A: The kinkajou has a prehensile one (TAIL). The kinka-what? It's a rainforest animal sometimes called a "honey bear." Just in case you were wondering, "The kinkajou is distinguished from the olingo by its prehensile tail, its foreshortened muzzle, its extrudable tongue, and its lack of anal scent glands."
  • 59A: Radium discoverer born in Warsaw, Pol. (MME. CURIE). I was sort of obsessed with Marie Curie in 6th grade. I was a weird kid.
  • 67A: Isl. south of Corsica (SAR.). Sardinia.
  • 78A: Unfair treatment, with "the" (SHAFT).

  • 80A: He "does not throw dice": Einstein (GOD). Ooh, I like this one.
  • 85A: "Mockingbird" singer Foxx (INEZ). I grew up with the James Taylor/Carly Simon version.
  • 100A: Fill with horror (APPAL). I had repel at first.
  • 5D: Baseball Hall of Famer Willie (KEELER). I hadn't heard of him before but his record is pretty impressive. He retired in 1910 with a .341 career batting average and eight 200-hit seasons. He was a good hitter is what I'm saying.
  • 13D: Number on a driver (ONE). Golf!
  • 18D: Latin king (REX). All hail the king!
  • 45D: Nancy's home (FRANCE). Nancy is a city in France. Tricky.
  • 61D: Awaiting service (IN LINE). Do they still say "on line" in New York? I'm thinking maybe that changed once "online" started having a totally different meaning.
  • 77D: Atlantic food fish (SCUP). If you say so!
  • 88D: Site of North Amer.'s geographical midpoint (N. DAK.). Specifically, Rugby, North Dakota. I knew that one.
  • 92D: Room in a big house? (CELL). "Big house" being a euphemism for "prison."
Everything Else — 1A: Hand-dyeing method (BATIK); 6A: Job particular, briefly (SPEC); 14A: Philanthropist Brooke (ASTOR); 19A: Do penance (ATONE); 22A: Say "Tsk!" to (CHIDE); 30A: Genealogist's discovery (ROOTS); 31A: Seventh day activity (REST); 32A: Reside (DWELL); 33A: Ramadan practice (FAST); 37A: Char (SEAR); 38A: Not permanent, as dye (RINSABLE); 42A: Some soccer stadium chants (OLÉS); 48A: Mediator's forte (TACT); 49A: Bagel flavor (ONION); 50A: Do some lawn repair (RESEED); 54A: Goof (ERR); 55A: Well done, and then some (BURNT); 56A: __ 1: speed of sound (MACH); 57A: Contest award (RIBBON); 61A: Hebrides isle (IONA); 62A: Chunnel terminus (ENGLAND); 63A: Short or long measure (TON); 68A: Certain bigots (RACISTS); 71A: Gen. Robt. __ (E. LEE); 72A: 1989 undersea thriller (THE ABYSS); 77A: Indian honorifics (SRIS); 79A: __ snail's pace (AT A); 81A: Vitamin in liver (NIACIN); 83A: __-Mattress (DIAL-A); 84A: Laundry concern (SPOT); 89A: Prompter start? (TELE-); 90A: Bathroom dispenser item (DIXIE CUP); 93A: Wordsmith's ref. (DICT.); 95A: Answer to a judge (PLEA); 96A: Intimidating look (STARE); 98A: Bug-eyed (AGOG); 102A: In coils (SNAKY); 103A: Ivory tower milieu (ACADEMIA); 111A: Chat room chatters (USERS); 112A: Give a hoot (CARE); 113A: Mideast leader (EMIR); 114A: Greene of "Bonanza" (LORNE); 115A: Man with a code (MORSE); 116A: Calls off (ENDS); 117A: Moon buggy org. (NASA); 118A: Stock up on (AMASS); 1D: Streisand, in fanzines (BABS); 2D: Plugging away (AT IT); 3D: Pledge drive giveaway (TOTE); 4D: Bond payment (INTEREST); 6D: Square one (START); 7D: Ones to hang with (PALS); 8D: Bard's preposition (ERE); 10D: Modeling accessory (DECAL); 11D: Ever (AT ALL); 12D: Kremlin feature (DOME); 14D: Puzzle direction (ACROSS); 15D: Try to hit (SHOOT AT); 16D: Pinball no-no (TILT); 17D: Works of Sappho (ODES); 24D: Latin thing (RES); 26D: African port (ORAN); 29D: "Take one" (HERE); 32D: Redcap's place (DEPOT); 33D: Prix __ (FIXE); 34D: Clan emblem (TOTEM); 35D: Chili rating unit (ALARM); 37D: Brent who played Data on "Star Trek: T.N.G." (SPINER); 40D: Rest atop (LIE ON); 41D: Dik-dik cousin (ELAND); 43D: Part of MYOB (YOUR); 44D: Removes gear from (UNRIGS); 46D: Old compact from 45-Down (LE CAR); 51D: Directional suffix (-ERN); 52D: Roots around in (DIGS AT); 55D: Eponymous burner designer (BUNSEN); 56D: Statistical figures (MODES); 58D: Ruin the surprise (BLAB); 60D: Hard cash? (COIN); 62D: Show relief, in a way (EXHALE); 65D: Lofty home (AERIE); 66D: '60s United Nations leader (U THANT); 68D: Unbending (RIGID); 69D: Product suffix suggesting noodles (-ARONI); 70D: Athlete lead-in (TRI-); 73D: www transmission (E-FAX); 74D: Lifted, so to speak (STOLE); 75D: Stuffed (SATED); 78D: "__ you asked ..." (SINCE); 82D: Marine hue (AQUA); 83D: Many Wisconsin farmers (DAIRYMEN); 84D: Show biz parent (STAGE MOM); 86D: Closers of a kind (ZIPPERS); 91D: Slip by (ELAPSE); 94D: Ford classic (MODEL A); 96D: Dummy Mortimer (SNERD); 97D: Campaign issue (TAXES); 98D: Ghana's capital (ACCRA); 99D: Milk qty. (GAL.); 100D: To boot (ALSO); 101D: Look closely (PEER); 102D: Jazzman Getz (STAN); 103D: Sale phrase (AS IS); 104D: N.Y. Giants' founder and longtime owner Tim (MARA); 105D: Roadside stops (INNS); 106D: Things to grind (AXES); 107D: Bottom line (SUM); 108D: Top pitcher (ACE); 110D: Actress Thurman (UMA).


Joon said...

yeah, SLEEP appearing in a fill clue and a theme answer was a bit uncomfortable; the same with CODE (even though it was morphed into CODEX). but nevertheless, a fun puzzle. and a fun writeup, too. great job, puzzlegirl!

Carol said...

I kind of balked at cruise control too. Wanted the clue to be cruise controller to make it fit with coxswain. But, hey - fun puzzle with all the X's.

Thanks for all the info. I learn as much from this blog as from the puzzles themselves.

Anonymous said...

Was hung up on Nancy's home. Couldn't remember where Nancy Drew lived or the make of her roadster!

Love the fact that that old cheer---Elevator, elevator we got the shaft--finally appeared.

Off to read to my newest feral.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't everyone wait "on line"? We do here in NJ!

Unknown said...

I had the --ALE of [Oil source], so I went with WHALE and only realized my mistake much later.

Also, I had to look up "Grand cru." Maybe it's just because I'm not even slightly interested in wine, but I don't think that's a familiar enough term to be riffing on in a theme entry.

Otherwise, I like this one.

JaJaJoe said...

Our x-words today in recent news:

1) 14A Philanthropist Brooke ~
"Astor Trial, A Parade Of Rich, Famous" (her son + wife are on trial accused of defrauding million$ from the late Mrs. Astor) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105685411

2) 83A ____-Mattress being DIAL-A, without comment above, prompted wondering whether they relate to the Select Comfort sponsor of Prairie Home Companion / PHC by Garrison Keillor; plus Rush Limbaugh, et al. Per Google and Wikipedia they're separate firms, and Dial-800 (tax-fraud, bankruptcy, murder) cleverly used "PHC" modified as "Precious Home Companion".
Finally, we can't get off mattresses without noting that the vibrant "Inventor Of Motel-Favorite 'Magic Fingers' Dies" (6/17) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105668180

mac said...

I liked this puzzle, got to it very late, sorry PG.....
I agree with you on A-Rod, and I also thought "ashen" first, too.


Oh, Nancy, Nancy, Nancy... where are you? Why did I waste so much time trying to find out where Nancy Reagan, Nancy Sinatra, and Nancy Drew lived? Duh, its a place, not a person...happens to me all the time.
I got most of those X-rated clues, but agonized over GRANDCRUX and YUPPIEFLUX.
Thought DECAL (10d) was a bit of a stretch for "modeling accessory." I know, I know, modeling is not always about pretty girls.
That stun-gun, Tazer, I found out is a brand name for a particular TASER (34a). I'll have to remember that for future puzzles.
Hey, I learned something from an earlier puzzle this week (MANXCAT) and so (109a) MUSCLEMANX was a cinch.
Sheeesh! Another Stephen REA clue (53a), but this time it was a little more obscure with "V for Vendetta actor". Constructors must have a rule that every puzzle has to contain a REA. Just surprised we haven't gotten Rural Electric Administration (REA) by now.
Are there some over-used clues that just drive you nuts?
But, then that's what makes Crosswordese 101 so valuable (and fun).
(80a) GOD was for "GOD does not throw dice." Wow ! That was Einstein's saying? Here all along I thought that was my dad's saying.
Well, dad was an Einstein of sorts!
This was a pretty difficult puzzle, but we needed that after a week of pretty shallow puzzles.

moops said...

That was a fun puzzle, a relatively easy theme with all those x's.

Never heard of Dial-A-Mattress, I don't think we have that in Canada.

Batik/Keeler was a Killer. Retired in 1910? Brutal! 'Writer, Ken, for The Simpsons' would have been much more attainable. Especially since it was paired with another hard word.

Unknown said...

Where was this puzzle in the LA Times? I have the calendar section puzzle, but not this one. Thanks.

Joon said...

"willie keeler": 30,000 google hits
"ken keeler": 15,000 google hits
batik: 11 million google hits

Unknown said...

Actress Ruby Keeler is usually the go-to KEELER in crosswords. She gets 59,500 Google hits.

Unknown said...

And Lois, this is the nationally syndicated L.A. Times crossword. It doesn't appear in the print edition of the L.A. Times, but you can find it on latimes.com labeled as the Daily Crossword.

Anonymous said...

"LeCar" is really a sub-compact. Imprecise clue, yes?