TUESDAY, June 2, 2009—Joy C. Frank

Theme: "Triple Threat"—Theme answers are based on two-word phrases that start with the word triple. But instead of using using the whole phrase (with the word triple), the second word of the phrase appears three times. Clear as mud? Here, this will help....

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Horse racing coup, literally (CROWN CROWN CROWN) [Triple Crown].
  • 23A: Baseball rarity, literally (PLAY PLAY PLAY) [Triple play].
  • 45A: Rhythm for waltzing, literally (TIME TIME TIME) [Triple time].
  • 54A: Text layout specification, literally (SPACE SPACE SPACE) [Triple space].
Okay, I admit it. It took me a few seconds to figure out the theme. I was flying through the puzzle and it became clear through the crosses that each theme answer was the same word used three times so I didn't even look at the clues. (I bet for those of you who are new to the L.A. Times puzzle, this theme helped you a lot, didn't it?!) So when I was done I looked at the theme answers and thought they were supposed to be phrases where the word could be used as three different parts of speech and putting them together would make sense, in a whacky way of course. But I couldn't figure out how CROWN could be a horse. Me: "Is it some kind of slang term for horse that I've never heard? Is it the name of a horse?" Then it occurred to me that the last time I saw a Triple Crown mentioned in a puzzle it was a baseball reference and not a horse-racing reference. "So is there a baseball player named Crown? When they get a Triple Crown in baseball are they actually presented with a crown?" When I spell it all out for you here, it seems like it must have taken way more than a couple seconds, but really that's just how fast my mind works. It's amazing really.

Crosswordese 101: In CrossWorld we don't say that the cookies cost $1.00 individually. Or that you'll need to lay out $5.00 for each latte. No, we like our consumer goods divided into pops. That's right. The cookies are $1.00 A POP [32A: Each] and you'll need to lay out $5.00 A POP for the lattes. It's ridiculous really—the cost of a latte. But that's not the point. The point is, if the clue is simply each or per or individually—anything along those lines and you know you're looking for A POP.

But hey, I wasn't really done talking about the theme. Who liked the theme? Who thought it was solid, elegant, and well-executed? Show of hands, please. Okay, hands down. (See how I did that?) I thought it was okay. Actually, I thought half of it was great and the other half ... not so much. Triple time? I'm sure there's some musician out there who will chime in about his 30 years' experience with the New York Philharmonic where they always call 3/4 time "triple time." But me? No, as a matter of fact, I have not played the piano for more than 20 years, but when I did play I was good and back then we called 3/4 time "3/4 time." Triple time means fast to me. One faster than double time. And then there's triple space. Again, I'm sure there's someone out there who's retired from Kinko's and can verify that triple spacing is extremely common. But I don't buy it. I've typed a large number and wide variety of documents in my day (dexterous fingers from all the piano playing, you know) and can't say that I've used triple spacing more than, oh, twice. I was a secretary. For years. Typed a lot. Not much call for the triple spacing. Just sayin'.

Bullets Bullets Bullets:
  • 1A: Sitcom set in Korea (M*A*S*H). One of the best sitcoms of all time. You know you cried when Radar walked in and told everyone that Henry Blake's plane had crashed. Don't try to convince me that you didn't.
  • 10A: Late-night talk pioneer Jack (PAAR). Did anybody watch Conan last night?
  • 33A: Gag response (HA-HA). I read the clue as "gag reflex" and thought "Well, that's pretty gross."
  • 39A: Apple MP3 player (IPOD). It's definitely Tuesday if they're gonna give you that much detail in the clue like that. Oh, and looky-here, more product placement at 1D: Computer choices (MACS).
  • 62A: Reader of Seventeen (TEEN). As I was flying through the acrosses I saw this clue and thought "Teen. Wait. No, that can't be right. TEEN can't be the answer for a clue with the word sevenTEEN in it." Anyone else catch that? I would call that a mistake.
  • 6D: Just free of the bottom, as an anchor (ATRIP). Never heard this word and, in fact, wasn't sure if was supposed to be "at rip." But no, it's just ATRIP.
  • 18D: Mystery writer Marsh (NGAIO). Learned about her in crosswords. She was from New Zealand.
  • 19D: Guitarist's gadget (CAPO). That's the little doo-hickey they put around the neck of the guitar to, basically, change the key. Unfortunately, that's as much detail as you're going to get from me about that. You know what I'm talking about though, right?
  • 25D: It might be applied while puckering (LIP BALM). Hmm. I feel like I'm complaining a lot today and want to remind you all that I'm a very nice person. But I just don't believe that you pucker up to apply lip balm. If you pucker up, you don't really get the proper lip coverage and everyone who knows me knows that I'm a staunch advocate of proper lip coverage.
I'd prefer to end on something that I liked about the puzzle, but I just scanned through the remaining clues and answers and, frankly, I just don't see anything particularly sparkly there. 33D: Mouthed sidelines greeting ("HI, MOM") is the best I can do. It always makes me smile when the athletes do that. See ya in the comments.

P.S. I almost forgot. The post below this one is a summary of our daily Crosswordese 101 sessions. We'll be updating the list as we go and you can always find your way back to it by clicking on the link that says CW101 up there at the top of the blog.

Everything Else — 5A: Pub diversion (DARTS); 14A: Spots in high school? (ACNE); 15A: Group cultural values (ETHOS); 16A: Funny Bombeck (ERMA); 20A: Work on seams (SEW); 21A: Moo goo __ pan (GAI); 22A: Draw a bead on (AIM AT); 28A: Strait of Dover port (CALAIS); 30A: Prefix with -syncratic (IDIO-); 31A: University of Maine town (ORONO); 37A: Lecherous (LEWD); 38A: Book in a hotel room (BIBLE); 40A: Lad's love (LASS); 41A: Bakery buy (LOAF); 42A: More than sufficient (AMPLE); 43A: Hood's gal (MOLL); 44A: Chews out (SCOLDS); 49A: Aptly named Renault (LE CAR); 50A: Blazed a trail (LED); 51A: McDonnell Douglas product (JET); 59A: Prefix with dynamic (AERO-); 60A: Fanatical (RABID); 61A: Flu symptom (ACHE); 63A: Coasters with runners (SLEDS); 64A: Refs' fight-ending decisions (TKOS); 2D: Meadow measure (ACRE); 3D: Drift removers (SNOWPLOWS); 4D: Cut with an ax (HEW); 5D: Turns to compost (DECAYS); 7D: Letter after pi (RHO); 8D: Pull off the road (TOW); 9D: Nine-digit ID (SSN); 10D: Jeopardy (PERIL); 11D: Coffeehouse lure (AROMA); 12D: Big name in multilevel marketing (AMWAY); 13D: Vehement speech (RANT); 24D: Comes down to earth (LANDS); 26D: German violinist Busch (ADOLF); 27D: Cry of surprise (YIPE); 28D: Prof.'s employer (COLL.); 29D: Length times width (AREA); 32D: Garlicky mayo (AIOLI); 34D: Brandy distilled from cider (APPLEJACK); 35D: Place for cargo (HOLD); 36D: Fruity drinks (ADES); 38D: Sponge up (BLOT); 42D: Litmus reddeners (ACIDS); 43D: "... for a __ pittance" (MERE); 44D: Rides for knights (STEEDS); 45D: Home often made of canvas nowadays (TEPEE); 46D: Sympathetic words (I CARE); 47D: City SE of Atlanta (MACON); 48D: 11th century Spanish hero (EL CID); 49D: Future atty.'s exam (LSAT); 52D: Canyon rebound (ECHO); 53D: Casual shirts (TEES); 55D: Prom gp. (SRS.); 56D: Buddy (PAL); 57D: Civil War nickname (ABE); 58D: Soft touch (PAT).


chefbea said...

Got the theme right away and thought it was a good puzzle and very easy.

Lot of tonight show hosts the last few days!!! Never watched Leno and didn"t watch Obrien. Past my bed time.

I too thought it was strange to have teen both in the clue and in the answer.

I'll have to ask my guitar playing son-in-law what a capo is. Anyone here know??

gjelizabeth said...

Got the clue from the first two instances, then wanted QUARTERQUARTERQUARTER for waltz time but immediately realized it wouldn't fit so went back to scratching my head. I agree that tripletime sounds really fast. Maybe it's the "One Minute Waltz.

Orange said...

I've seen the double version of this theme before, so it wasn't a stretch to figure that an answer starting with CROWN that had a horse racing clue would be CROWN CROWN CROWN.

No video today, PuzzleGirl? Here's one, Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools"—"chain, chain, chain."

My kid kinda puckers his lips for lip balm. Terrible technique. I have so much to teach him.

The first half of Conan's show was great. Then there was a long remote bit with Conan driving an old Taurus around L.A. and catching the ladies' eyes, and Will Ferrell as a guest—and we mostly stared at the TV for those parts. We weren't laughing any more.

eileen said...

Thank you for the crosswordese summary. Very helpful. You guys do a great job of educating us newbies!
By the way,I agree concerning TRIPLE TIME; funny comment gjelizabeth!

Al said...

A capo is basically a clamp to effectively shorten the strings on a guitar to raise the pitch to match a singer's vocal range.

You can then play the song the same way you became used to instead of transposing into a different key.

Also, when you accompany someone (including yourself) you want to make the music more interesting. If you have to play a barre chord and it falls exactly where the singer is singing then either the voice or the music gets drowned out depending on whichever is louder. With a capo, you can still play "open" chords, which are typically lower in pitch and are more suited to accompaniment.

Playing in a different position also allows you to give the music a distinctive sound, as in the intro to the Eagles' Hotel California.

Anonymous said...

NGAIO on a Tuesday? The crosses made it possible, but NGAIO on a Tuesday?

Carol said...

I think maybe the SPACESPACESPACE referred to leaving 3 spaces in a layout for pictures, or graphs, or whatever else might go into a layout. Not to triple spacing in typing.
A horse wins the triple crown if it wins all three of the big derbies. One is the Kentucky Derby, I think another is the Belmont, not sure about it as I don't really follow horse racing.

Had no trouble with Ngaio as I read a lot of mysteries.

A fast solve for me even for a Tuesday.

*David* said...

One thing crosswords has done is introduce me to certain authors, I read a Marsh NGAIO book a couple months back. I also read The Name of the Rose by Umberto ECO. That NG combination at the beginning of a fill, must be irresistable to constructors.

I thought the theme was going to be CROWN TRIPLE CROWN, PLAY TRIPLE PLAY and so on...

Mike said...

Super fast puzzle today. Like PG, it took me a little bit to figure out the theme, but once I did, the puzzle went by in a blur. I thought it was a perfectly fine puzzle, and I didn't have any of the problems PG had with things like TRIPLE SPACE and LIP BALM. Well, I guess I did have a little bit of an issue with TRIPLE TIME, being a guitar player/singer, but I instantly knew what the clue meant, so it wasn't totally weird.

Dunno why, but for some reason, I really liked the clue for BIBLE; it felt fresh. Actually, come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I saw the word BIBLE as fill in a crossword. Huh.

Rex Parker said...

Conan was surprisingly fantastic.

Not that thrilled with the theme here. Seen something like it before. TRIPLE SPACE indeed.


Gary Lowe said...

Now you can add axel axel axel to C/E 101.

I don't drink it, but I imagine a person might have a sec sec sec, and chase it with a scotch scotch, malt, distilled distilled distilled

The Corgi of Mystery said...

I think your grid may have an error in the IDIO and YIPE crossing (it's right in the answers below though)

hazel said...

Very clever write-up PG. And you're right - there is a triple crown in baseball, which I didn't even think about until you mentioned it. Its when (1) a hitter leads the league at the end of the season in home runs, RBIs, and batting average or (2) a pitcher leads the league in ERA, wins, and strikeouts. I always think of the batting triple crown - last one to win - Carl Yasztremski - 1967 - so pretty rare.

Agreeable puzzle to me.

Denise said...

If you like Elizabeth George and Martha Grimes, you will love Ngaio Marsh, and I envy you -- she wrote a stack. Maybe I'll re-read them.

I am amazed at how PuzzleGirl can reflect on her thinking so clearly!

I had "ideo" which cost me some seconds at the end, but the puzzle was pretty easy.

Orange said...

@Carol—Remember, don't lose sight of the theme. The theme entries all represent familiar "triple ___" phrases, so it has to be "triple spacing" and not "three spaces," and the only familiar meaning of that term is "triple-spaced text."

James said...

@Carol - The Preakness is the other horse race you could not recall. It is the middle of the three.

chefbea said...

@al thanks for explaining capo

John said...

I really enjoy Martha Grimes!

Triple time is playing the Minute Waltz in 56 seconds!

Argyle said...

Advancing the carriage on a typewriter had the option of single space, double space, or triple space. Triple spacing allows room for a teacher to place comments and corrections easily.

Triple measure (Mus.), a measure of three beats of which first only is accented.

Triple time (Mus.), that time in which each measure is divided into three equal parts.

nanpilla said...

This theme was similar to ACME's puzzle at the ACPT, where words were doubled instead of tripled, and included another word, like:
DECKERDECKERBUS, for double decker bus. It took me a minute to remember where I'd seen it. I was also bothered by the SevenTEEN clue. I've never heard of NGAIO, but will have to try one of her books.

mac said...

Very easy puzzle, but not very interesting, nothing stood out for me.

@Denise: I agree with you about being envious of someone who hasn't read Ngaio Marsh's books yet, but I don't think Elizabeth George is in the same league as Ngaio, Martha Grimes/Ruth Rendell or P.D. James.

Anonymous said...

LyndaRN said...
Loved the Tuesday puzzle due to it's easiness. Got stuck on CAPO and YIPE. Otherwise it was a quick solve. Thanks for all the insight PG.
Didn't see Conan as I'm sleeping, but will try to read one of NGAIO's boks - Can anyone recommend one?
Till Wednesday..

Anonymous said...

Can't believe I couldn't pick up the theme of the puzzle til triple time. I usually scoot around the puzzle knocking down the easy ones and then getting the hard ones.

Capo was new and sense I am not into mystery writers, Marsh was a loser for me.

Anonymous said...

(yipe) make that "since", duh.

fingers typed faster than brain

Charles Bogle said...

Hey, @puzzlegirl, I share your ambivalence about the theme, but great write-up!

Had no idea what a CAPO was and our kids who play guitar were AWOL

Loved MACON--spent a year there one winter; got messed up on 27D--was sure it was YIKE and took a while to convert to YIPE. Did not know that when I mix garlic w mayo I should call it AIOLI

How can I find your Crosswordese 101 post? Thanks!

Orange said...

Charles, do you see a gray box about an inch square on the left side of the black bar at the top of the page? It says "CW101" in it and that's the button that will take you to the Crosswordese 101 listing.

Anonymous said...

As I was previewing a post I wrote about the apparent absence of the CW101 button, up popped Orange's directions for finding it. I checked again and the button was there as advertised. So I have revised this post to say instead: this button is far too inconspicuous. Perhaps you should do something to make it stand out more -- I looked for it several times before concluding that either it was missing or I had a software problem. I think the issue is this: everything pulls one's eye to the area BELOW the blog title, all of which is in a box left justified with the title. The button should probably be in that box too.

Since this comment seems so far like nothing but a complaint, let me take this occasion to say that this blog is a lot of fun and I applaud you three for it (and Orange and Rex for their primary blogs as well).


Carol said...

Orange - thanks for the explanation about the triple spacing. You're right! If I remember correctly, we used to triple space between a title and an essay or story. Ah, computers, how I don't miss typewriters, carbon paper, dittos, type erasers, or white-out tape.

James, thanks for the Preakness, couldn't think of it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Thanks for the picture of Iggy (A)POP. He's like 62 now and he's still ripped.

- - Robert

gjelizabeth said...

@LyndaRN: DIED IN THE WOOL or HAND IN GLOVE are both teriffic Ngaio Marsh mysteries. Enjoy!

Rachel Gragson said...

As an avid British mystery fan for years, I've known Ngaio Marsh for at least 30 years - even before I saw her name in crosswords. And as an avid crossword fan, I'm always glad to see it. But as a professional musician, with a doctorate in music, I agree that triple time is not really an answer than any musician would come up with!

*David* said...

I read Colour Scheme by Marsh which is a WWII espionage tale with murder and mystery in a hot springs resort in New Zealand.

fergus said...

Only pleasure found was from Simon and Garfunkel: "Time, time, time, what's become of me, as I look around and face my possibilities ... " A hazy shade of winter, from Bookends, I think.

Combined time of less than 15 minutes, including a minute of silent appreciation for PB2's work, reminded me of how much of a hard-core Xword geek I am ... for when I was scribbling through the latter, someone at the outdoor cafe was crowing about feats rather more modest than these.

Yet we all like to chirp (or utter some birdsong like the crazed mockingbird on the telephone pole across the street, who knows no hours of the night) to some extent, don't we?

Thankfully the rest of us have some restraint.

Lemonade714 said...

So help me out, is Elizabeth George good or not? I love Martha Grimes, Ngaio Marsh, Nargery Allingham, Ruth rendell, many many , but Elizabeth George? never tried; do not like any of the Clark family.