SUNDAY, June 28, 2009 — David W. Cromer

Theme: "End of the Road" — Theme answers are familiar phrases that begin with a word that can come after the word road in another familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Device using pulleys (BLOCK AND TACKLE) [roadblock]. I thought this phrase had something to do with football.
  • 39A: 1957 novel with the working title "The Strike" (ATLAS SHRUGGED) [road atlas]. Never read it. Never really even thought about reading it. Not sure why.
  • 47A: Plan likely to fail (HOUSE OF CARDS) [roadhouse]. Great clue.
  • 64A: Dance, facetiously (TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC) [road trip]. Was this always a facetious phrase? Or did it start out sincere and become facetious?
  • 83A: Break in (SHOW THE ROPES) [road show].
  • 90A: Though not yet in force, one was adopted by the UN in 1996 (TEST BAN TREATY) [road test].
  • 112A: One who's halfway home? (RUNNER ON SECOND) [roadrunner]. One of the coolest looking birds ever.
Solid theme, well-executed. I guess KILL BILL was too short to include. Or something. Sometimes I get really bogged down with the Sunday puzzle because it's just so darn big, but today was a real methodical solve for me. Just kept plugging away at it steadily and it all pretty much fell together.

Crosswordese 101: Speaking of Sunday puzzles being so big, that means there are generally several solid crosswordese answers, and this puzzle is no exception. It was tough to narrow it down, but I've decided to go with TOR, which is clued today as 40D: Rocky peak. That's gonna be your go-to clue for TOR, but other words you want to watch out for are craggy, pinnacle, hill, and outcropping. Anyone out there ever used this word in conversation? Or heard it used? I sure haven't.

  • 21A: Tide alternative (ALL). Laundry detergent!
  • 26A: Self-conscious question (IS IT ME?). This reminds me of the book by crossword-constructor-and-all-around-hilarious-woman Deb Amlen scheduled to hit the stores in 2010. It's called "It's Not PMS, It's You."
  • 28A: Cuarenta winks? (SIESTA). Cuarenta = 40 in Spanish. And a SIESTA is 40 winks (in Spanish).
  • 35A: Peruvian pack animal (LLAMA). Funny that we also see the DALAI Lama at 56A.
  • 42A: Arid Israeli area (NEGEV). The word NEGEV is from the Hebrew root meaning "dry." This area does have an alternate spelling (NEGEB), which I've seen in a puzzle once (and only once, and the clue did indicate "Var." and, as I recall, I wasn't real happy about it).
  • 45A: Windblown soil (LOESS). Learned it from crosswords. According to Wikipedia, LOESS is "homogeneous, typically nonstratified, porous, friable, slightly coherent, often calcareous, fine-grained, silty, pale yellow or buff, windblown (aeolian) sediment." Whew.
  • 59A: Film involving stage scenes (OATER). An OATER is a Western movie. I think this clue is (cleverly) referring to a stagecoach, which you would see in a Western.
  • 88A: Actress Davis (GEENA). I had Bette at first. That's not the first time I've made that mistake.
  • 104A: Like a good loser? (THIN). As in losing weight.
  • 118A: '70s pinup name (LONI). Oh Loni. I believed you were the only thing standing between Burt and me.
  • 121A: Driver's gadget (TEE). In this case, the driver is one who drives a golf ball.
  • 1D: Possible result of big losses (DEBTS). I don't know. In our house the debts are a result of big shopping sprees.

  • 9D: ASAP relative (STAT). Learned this one from watching "E.R." Does anyone know where it comes from? I'm too lazy to look it up. [HAha! At first I mistyped that sentence to say "I'm too BUSY to look it up."]
  • 10D: Ind. neighbor (PAK.). Raise your hand if you thought this clue referred to Indiana. I sure did. But it's India, whose neighbor is Pakistan. Hey, you know who's from Indiana? That's right. Michael Jackson. I've been listening to him all day just waiting for an excuse to include one of his videos in today's post. So here it is.

  • 30D: City SSE of Islamabad (LAHORE). Rex was re-working a grid one time and switched something out and put in LAHORE. I sent him an email that said, and I quote, "Haha! WTF is Lahore??" To which he replied, "It's only a city of about a zillion people (7 million) in Pakistan." (Pakistan!) So now you know.
  • 34D: Signaled from across the room, say (WAVED AT). I thought winked at but it wouldn't fit. I guess I was trying to signal something a little different than what David had in mind.
  • 53D: Suit basis (TORT). A tort is a wrongful act that can be the basis for a lawsuit.
  • 54D: Org. probing for outer-space life (SETI). Learned it from crosswords. It stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. And yes, it's a real thing.
  • 77D: Big stink (STENCH). I was thinking more along the lines of a metaphorical "big stink" and when I figured out the answer referred to a literal "big stink" it was a little jarring.
  • 78D: Musical place, briefly (B'WAY).

  • 83D: Ball user, maybe (SEER). The ball in this case would be crystal.
  • 84D: Patricia of "Everybody Loves Raymond" (HEATON). Is this the same actress I recently confused with Brad Whitford's wife (who's on another show I don't watch)? Pretty sure it is.
  • 86D: An orchestra tunes to one (OBOE). Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit A for why you need to pay attention to the Crosswordese 101 lessons! Here's an excerpt from my June 22 analysis of OBOE: "Other than that, it's helpful to know that an orchestra tunes to it, ...."
  • 106D: Texting device (CELL). I just know there are people out there who cringe over this adjective becoming a noun all by itself. "It's not a cell; it's a cell-phone." Doesn't bother me though.
  • 115D: Jazz fan (CAT). I thought I was so clever knowing that Utah Jazz is the name of a professional basketball team! And a person from Utah is called a Ute! Okay, a person from Utah isn't really called a Ute, but it worked for me. Until it was, ya know, wrong.
How'd you guys do today? Would love to hear about it in the comments.

[P.S. Can't get enough of our puzzle musings here at the blog? You can follow Rex Parker, Orange, and me, PuzzleGirl, on Twitter!]

Everything Else — 1A: Window treatment (DRAPE); 6A: Beat walkers (COPS); 10A: Pen pal? (PIG); 13A: Accelerated (SPED UP); 19A: Causing goose bumps (EERIE); 20A: Came down (ALIT); 22A: 1959 Steiger title role (CAPONE); 27A: Carrere of "Wayne's World" (TIA); 29A: Buds (PALS); 31A: Tale spinner (LIAR); 32A: Like most light bulbs (SCREW-IN); 37A: Publisher __ Nast (CONDE); 38A: Ming 2-Down (VASE); 46A: Crew tool (OAR); 51A: Takes in (ARRESTS); 55A: Net grazer (LET); 57A: Like some boots (STEEL-TOED); 60A: Extent (SCOPE); 63A: Comic Johnson (ARTE); 71A: Log variety (YULE); 72A: Preminger et al. (OTTOS); 73A: Averse (LOATH); 74A: Puts dividends to work (REINVESTS); 78A: Bluster (BOAST); 79A: Previously (AGO); 82A: Takes umbrage at (RESENTS); 87A: Deli bread (RYE); 89A: Lies next to (ABUTS); 95A: Snack in a shell (TACO); 97A: They're not behind you (ANTIS); 98A: Pie __ (CHART); 99A: Pushes back, as a deadline (EXTENDS); 103A: Hair line (PART); 105A: Fuel rating (OCTANE); 109A: Yves's yes (OUI); 110A: Actor Estevez (EMILIO); 116A: Evangelist's admonition (REPENT); 117A: Wily (SLY); 119A: Jousting pole (LANCE); 120A: Two-handed hammer (SLEDGE); 122A: Soapmaking compounds (LYES); 123A: Jouster's ride (STEED); 2D: Artifact (RELIC); 3D: Like heavy surf (AROAR); 4D: Photo (PIC); 5D: "A mouse!" (EEK); 6D: Mutt, e.g. (CANINE); 7D: __ English Bulldogge (OLDE); 8D: Refueling places (PITS); 11D: "No thanks" ("I'LL PASS"); 12D: Ocular signs of planning? (GLEAMS); 13D: Biol. and astr. (SCIS); 14D: Faux __ (PAS); 15D: Final words (EPILOG); 16D: Overly attentive (DOTING); 17D: Like a teen's bed, probably (UNMADE); 18D: Looked carefully (PEERED); 24D: Tag sale caveat (AS IS); 25D: Sent (for) (CALLED); 33D: Holiday precursors (EVES); 36D: Colleen (LASS); 37D: Big name in skin care products (CUREL); 39D: Jai __ (ALAI); 41D: Hardly well done (RARE); 42D: Red Wings' org. (NHL); 43D: Want ad letters (EOE); 44D: Kind of feeling (GUT); 48D: Inaugural event (OATH); 49D: Head for the hills (FLEE); 50D: Tire-kicking areas (CAR LOTS); 51D: Took advantage of the buffet (ATE A LOT); 52D: Secret supply (STASH); 57D: Coppertone abbr. (SPF); 58D: 71-Across mo. (DEC.); 59D: Starts the bidding (OPENS); 60D: U.S. Army E-5 (SGT.); 61D: Funny Margaret (CHO); 62D: NBA tiebreakers (OTS); 64D: Norse god of war (TYR); 65D: Regretful type (RUER); 66D: First name among '70s netmen (ILIE); 67D: "__ only a game" (IT'S); 68D: Role in the musical "Two By Two" (NOAH); 69D: Stun, as a perp (TASE); 70D: Draw (ATTRACT); 75D: Words of action (VERBS); 76D: Grammy-winning New Ager (ENYA); 79D: "The Simpsons" Kwik-E-Mart operator (APU); 80D: Understand (GET); 81D: CIA forerunner (OSS); 85D: Hudson Bay prov. (ONT.); 88D: Fine particle (GRANULE); 90D: Gets to the point? (TAPERS); 91D: Painter's choice (ENAMEL); 92D: Indication of rank (STRIPE); 93D: Having status, in a way (TITLED); 94D: Desire (THIRST); 95D: Court sport (TENNIS); 96D: Lets go (AXES); 100D: Dismal turnout? (NOONE); 101D: Blockhead (DUNCE); 102D: Threw in (with) (SIDED); 104D: Shopper's convenience (TOTE); 107D: Where Helen was taken (TROY); 108D: Top-shelf (A-ONE); 111D: __ Direct: online bank (ING); 113D: Science guy Bill (NYE); 114D: High trains (ELS).


MM said...

Thanks for explaining the theme to me, PG. I set a personal best on this one (okay, so it's only the second time I've timed myself on a Sunday LAT!).

Jeffrey said...

Super-fast solve for me as well.

And your video choices rock!

Gary Lowe said...

Ocular signs of planning? Har har.

Must be early: "like most light bulbs" = SC?EWIN .... " // "Like heavy stuff" = AROA?

Last letter, had no friggin idea. Also, no idea about the theme until I came here.

GLEAM. Most excellent.

Orange said...

Gary, it's [Like heavy surf], not stuff.

Crockett1947 said...

Nice write up, PG. This was a very workmanlike puzzle for me. Just kept at it and suddenly it was mostly done. I struggled with the Ind. neighbor clue because I already had ??K, and there's no Indiana neighbor whose three letter abbreviation ends in K.

Gary Lowe, did your 3D clue really read "stuff"? It's "surf."

Lots of clever clues Pen pal?, Hair line, Like a good loser? Gets to the point? Liked LANCE just above STEED.

Have a great Sunday!!

Carol said...

Faster solve than usual for a Sunday. Loved the PENPAL? PIG - started with con - wrong!

Also liked many of the other clever clues.

Great write-up, as always, PG.

Anonymous said...

An easy solve, but one made much more enjoyable by all the lively fill. Kudos !

Gary Lowe said...

Whoa, it was too early. Surf, AROAR ing, waves acrashing. I was asnooze.

Greene said...

PG: STAT is an abbreviated form of statim which is Latin for "at once" or "immediately." We in the medical profession love to condense our verbiage. Why say something in 2 syllables when you can say it in one? I mean, c'mon...I'm a doctor and I'm far too busy to say 2 whole syllables.

I suppose STAT should technically have a period after it to indicate that it's an abbreviation, but in modern parlance it seems to have become a word unto itself. And besides, I'm a doctor and everyone knows I'm much to busy to write a freakin' period.

And let's not forget the sheer exhileration of speaking in monosyllables. Thus:

"Um nurse, could you please hand me those Metzenbaum scissors? I really need them right away."


"METZ! STAT!!" (Exclamation points compliments of ACME!!!).

So much better, don't you think?

shrub5 said...

I totally enjoyed this puzzle with its clever clues and good variety of subject matter. I too was stuck in Ind(iana) for a while before finally thinking of Ind(ia). Didn't know Negev or Lahore but they were "oh, yeah"s for me after I got them via crosses. "Final words" wanted to be eulogy (wrong) or epitaph (didn't fit).
Thank you Puzzle Girl for the entertaining write-up and a big thank you to DWC for an excellent puzzle.

mac said...

Nice puzzle! Of course I needed PG to tell me about the theme (I printed the puzzle out and there is no title). Never heard "trip the light fantastic", ever. I also had Ute and thought it was Indiana instead of India. I got the "thin" but kept on thinking diet with the 1d, and flab and skinfolds etc....
For pen pal? I had ink for a while, but the very funny gleam fixed that.

Fred said...

"LOESS is "homogeneous, typically nonstratified, porous, friable, slightly coherent..."

Does this mean there is incoherent dirt? (I know my yard mumbles alot...)

Denise said...

"Trip the light fantastic/on the sidewalks of New York!" ("East side, west side/All around the town . . .)
Nothing "facetious" about it -- just havin' a good old time.

This puzzle proceeded straight through, with no hitches.

Thanks for the videos.

Ryan L said...

great puzzle, also didn't get the theme until I came here... was pretty happy to come across 'trip the light fantastic' - got it without any cross clues! had to cheat to complete 'negev' (EOE wasn't much of a help!)

Enjoyed the writeup here, especially liked the 'jarring' comment about stench ;)

Deb Amlen said...

Aw.... you guys!!!! Thanks for the plug! :)


Lama & Llama reminds me of an old Ogden Nash poem that makes me chuckle...

The Lama

The one-l lama,
He's a priest.
The two-l llama,
He's a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pajama
There isn't any
Three-l lllama.*

-- Ogden Nash


What the heck does EOE (43d) stand for?
APU (79d) "Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart operator" is used a lot, so tuck that away in your gray-matter.
I found 10d sort of tricky... seeing Ind. immediately triggers Indiana with me and not India.
17d UNMADE for "Like a teen's bed, probably" got a real LOL from me.
I really loved doing this puzzle...like the ROAD____ theme.
Guess it's cuz I took that wonderful 100 day roadtrip on Route 66 last year. BTW, I just launched my Route 66 Flickr website with over 10,000 Route 66 photos. Check it out! The link is:



Thanks so much for the STAT explanation. That emphatic term is certainly used a lot on TV hospital shows and so I wasn't sure if it was actually used by real doctors.
Thank you for an outstanding writeup for such a big puzzle. You certainly are devoted to entertaining us PuzzleNerds.

Dan said...

Oh PG, why'd you have to remind us of the NEGEB debacle? My eyes hurt just typing it.

You also reminded me of the devastating news that shook Hollywood recently: Brad Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek are splitting up! (I'm only being a little facetious...) ;)

Crockett1947 said...

@johnsneverhome EOE=Equal Opportunity Employer

Anonymous said...

This one was a tough one, I didn't get the main clue (end of the road) at all which frustrated me.

Anonymous said...

Love these Sunday puzzles! Not being much of a TV watcher, I missed APU (thought it was ABU--should have asked my son) and Heaton (thought it was Keaton) so I missed the "break in" clue...I was looking for something about "rob"...but it just wasn't fitting.