TUESDAY, June 9, 2009—Joan Buell

Theme: Capital People—Theme answers are people whose last name is the also the name of a world capital.

This is a great theme in theory, but I've really only heard of one of these guys. Jeremy London? I have a very hazy notion of knowing that name at some point, but I never would have been able to tell you it was from "Mallrats." Oh yeah, I didn't see "Mallrats." I think my cousin was an extra in that movie though. I should probably see it. His last name is Ziegenhagen. I don't think he'll be showing up in a puzzle any time soon. But I digress. The point is that I really don't think any of these guys are famous enough for a Tuesday puzzle. Except Irving Berlin, obviously. Jack London? Yes. Jim Rome? Sure. Paris Hilton would be okay. Yes, yes, I see the issues with each of those, but I guess I'm saying that if I was trying to come up with theme answers for this theme, I probably would have given up because I couldn't find any that worked. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: "Fanny" composer and lyricist (HAROLD ROME).
  • 26A: "Mallrats" costar (JEREMY LONDON).
  • 43A: "God Bless America" writer (IRVING BERLIN).
  • 58A: Frequent "Happy Days" director (JERRY PARIS).

Crosswordese 101: There are two kinds of government workers in CrossWorld. You've got your G-MAN, and you've got your T-MAN (15A: Fed under Ness). How to tell them apart? Unfortunately both are often clued simply as "Fed" and you have to wait for the crosses. If the clue is more detailed, though here are the words you're looking for.
  • T-MAN: Eliot Ness, Untouchables, IRS, tax, counterfeit.
  • G-MAN: FBI, Bureau, undercover, kidnapping, "X-Files."
(For some reason, whenever I see "The Untouchables," I visualize "The Incredibles." And now maybe you will too.)

  • 10A: "__ Angel": Mae West film (I'M NO).

  • 19A: Waffle brand (EGGO). Mmmm, waffles!
  • 36A: Belted out (SANG). I don't believe I've ever seen this clue before and I love it!
  • 37A: Wood for crafts and rafts (BALSA). I've always liked the sound of the word BALSA.
  • 41A: Ticked off (SORE). I actually entered ired at first, which is a truly awful word. I was thinking of "ticked off" as a verb, not an adjective.
  • 42A: Second careers for thoroughbreds (SIRES). The male thoroughbreds anyway.
  • 47A: Slaughter of baseball (ENOS). He scored the winning run for the Cardinals in the 1946 World Series and, apparently, was Pete Rose's role model for running hard to first base on walks. We'll certainly talk about him in a future installment of Crosswordese 101.
  • 53A: Texas city, familiarly (BIG D). That would be Del Rio. Just kidding, it's Dallas.
  • 60A: Boo Boo's buddy (YOGI). Raise your hand if you just heard "Heeey, Boo-BOO" in Yogi's voice in your head.
  • 1D: Parrot (ECHO). Very, very nice. Love this. I can't tell you happy I am to see ECHO instead of aper.
  • 2D: Titleholder (CHAMP). This tripped me up. I wanted it to be owner but couldn't get it to work for the crosses. Very nice misdirection.
  • 4D: Moonshine container (STONE JUG). I don't believe I've ever heard this before.
  • 8D: Clue, e.g. (GAME). Again with the trickiness! I originally taught my kids to play Clue using the "Clue, Jr." game where the object is to figure out who ate the cake at what time, and what they had to drink with it. When they got a little older they wanted to play the real game, complaining that "Really! Who cares who ate the cake??"
  • 25D: Paella pot (OLLA). You were paying attention to Orange's Crosswordese 101 lesson last week and got this one no problem, right? Right??
  • 27D: Brouhaha (MELEE). Both of these words are awesome. Also donnybrook and fracas.
  • 32D: '30s heavyweight champ Max (BAER). His son—Max Baer, Jr.—played Jethro on "The Beverly Hillbillies."
  • 42D: Charlotte, to Anne or Emily (SIS). The Brontës.
  • 46D: Tramp's love (LADY). The 1955 Disney film, "Lady and the Tramp."
  • 51D: Grant and Carter (AMYS). Yep, that about covers the Amys. Wait! I know at least one more!
Everything Else — 1A: Money on the Web (E-CASH); 6A: Kind of palm tree (SAGO); 14A: Broadway's Rivera (CHITA); 16A: Chesapeake Bay catch (CRAB); 20A: Handwriting on the wall (OMEN); 21A: Coupling device (YOKE); 22A: Get __ of one's own medicine (A DOSE); 23A: Course of study for future docs (PRE-MED); 25A: River that forms at Pittsburgh (OHIO); 31A: Approximately (ABOUT); 34A: Hard to handle (EELY); 35A: Fluffy wrap (BOA); 39A: Fun house feature (MAZE); 40A: Social beverage (TEA); 48A: Less arduous (EASIER); 51A: "You are here" symbol (ARROW); 55A: Lunch or dinner (MEAL); 57A: Pained cry (MOAN); 61A: Lotion additive (ALOE); 62A: Youngest of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" (IRINA); 63A: "Ignore that change," to a printer (STET); 64A: Covet (WANT); 65A: Experimental bomb blast, briefly (N-TEST); 3D: ABC or NBC, e.g. (AIRER); 5D: Henry V, as a prince (HAL); 6D: Walked with purpose (STRODE); 7D: Frantic way to run (AMOK); 9D: 1300 hours (ONE); 10D: Stranded at O'Hare, perhaps (ICED IN); 11D: Hershey's product (MR. GOODBAR); 12D: Bothers persistently (NAGS); 13D: One of the reeds (OBOE); 18D: Salon colorist (DYER); 22D: Sailor's call (AHOY); 24D: Player at the new Citi Field (MET); 28D: "Absolutely!" (YES); 29D: Exude, as confidence (OOZE); 30D: Aberdeen turndowns (NAES); 31D: Piedmont wine area (ASTI); 33D: As often as not (ON AVERAGE); 37D: Wet, spongy areas (BOGS); 38D: Wall St. hedger (ARB); 39D: Many a gas station store (MINI-MART); 41D: Winter coat? (SNOW); 44D: A party to the plot (IN ON IT); 45D: Be sorry for (REGRET); 49D: Beyond unusual (EERIE); 50D: Pours or drizzles (RAINS); 52D: Plant anchor (ROOT); 53D: "Dracula" star Lugosi (BELA); 54D: Appliance on a board (IRON); 56D: D.A.-to-be's exam (LSAT); 58D: Chew the fat (JAW); 59D: ATM user's need (PIN).


Rex Parker said...

"In Theory" is right. If you can't get real theme answers, don't do the puzzle. JERRY PARIS is beyond beyond beyond the pale. I have *heard* of JEREMY LONDON, but come on. I'll buy that HAROLD ROME is somebody, tho' I've never heard of him. IRVING BERLIN is the only unqualified Somebody in this puzzle.

One of the worst, most ill-conceived LAT puzzles in memory.


Clay said...

I was raised on the Dick Van Dyke show so Jerry Paris was well known to me. Jeremy London and Harold Rome were the names that were mysteries to me. That being said, I still enjoyed the puzzle.

gjelizabeth said...

Wait a minute! I got the names from the theme and the crosses without knowing who they were (except, of course, IRVINGBERLIN). I felt I ought to have known (or at least recognized) the composer/lyricist of FANNY and the other show biz clues included a movie I'd (sort-of) heard of and a classic TV show. I'm a slow solver but I feel well treated by any constructor who produces a solvable puzzle with some wit in the clues. Also, any reminder of Mae West, who was a charmer in I'M NO ANGEL, can brighten my day.

Carol said...

Managed to do the puzzle without knowing anyone other than Irving Berlin. Got the answers on crosses & then realized the last names were cities.

Never heard of a stone jug - that NW corner was the last I conquered. Little brown jug was what came to mind.

Still was proud of the fact that I finished in under 13 minutes with no Googles.

Orange said...

Alas, I'm with PuzzleGirl and Rex on this one. When the crossings gave me HAROLD ROME, I correctly surmised that the other theme entries would be people whose last names were cities, but having the first theme entry be obscure makes for a less satisfying solve. And on a Tuesday! Throw in fill like ECASH, AIRER and DYER, EELY, and N-TEST, and it's not as if the fill compensates.

MR. GOODBAR and the MINIMART are fantastic entries, though.

The substantive difference between a G-MAN and a T-MAN is that the T-MAN works for the Treasury department. So if the clue's about the IRS, nabbing Capone on tax evasion charges (as Ness did), or catching counterfeiters, go with T-MAN/T-MEN. If it sounds a little more FBI-ish and less money-related, go with G-MAN/G-MEN. I believe the G is for "government." Mind you, the Treasury and IRS are part of the government, but put that out of your mind.

Joon said...


Jeffrey said...

Does it matter that the last two weren't even their real names?

Israel Baline and William Grossman. Now that would be a puzzle.


Charlie said...

I just did Sessa's "Double Plays" puzzle (from Sun. 5/31) yesterday, so I was exposed to "Fanny" and its composer/lyricist in consecutive days.

Despite the fact that he played one of the male leads in "Mallrats", I thought of the names of at least 10 other cast members, including comic book creator Stan Lee who had a cameo, before JEREMY LONDON came to mind.

Orange said...

Joon, how could you overlook Herman Skopje and Caitlin Reykjavik?

JaJaJoe said...

Talking Retro / Tween -- topcs as via www.onthemedia.org/episodes/2009/06/05 -- resonate with how we cruciverbalists seem richly "dated".

Please stay tuned whilst I peruse them, and, wonder whether any of y'all are into such and maybe have so commented herein.

('Howz that latter verb_age for doing "dated" ?-)

Anonymous said...

@PG All TMEN are GMEN, but not all GMEN are TMEN. The T is for Treasury, and Elliot Ness was a Treasury agent. All other agents are simply GMEN. How may people actually know Ness was a Treasury agent and not a FBI agent is a different question.

Gary Lowe said...

uhh... Alice P. King?
Now Charles has got me all noticing coincidences b/t NY/LA puzzles. Today's (syndicated) NYT, which I do first, had Pre ___, (undergrad study), which I read as 'underground' study, so in speed-solve mode I wrote in MUD, which caused the cross USURID to appear.
.... was hoping for "Payday loans login account" for that clue, but alas ...

*David* said...

I got left with the NW corner as my finisher with ECHO, CHAMP, AIRER, and STONE JUG not being the obvious downs.

The theme names were a reach of epic proportions especially LONDON and PARIS. I know my Kevin Smith movies and LONDON did not register at all.

Lime D. Zeze said...

I know it's a bit nitpicky, but I'm pretty sure you would not make a paella in an olla. You would make it in a paella pan, or a paellera. And you would typically serve it in the same pan, not in an olla. Sheesh!

PuzzleGirl said...

Thanks, Orange and Anon 8:17, for explaining the difference between G-MEN and T-MEN. I probably should have done that myself. What can I say? Yesterday was a long day.

Re Jeremy London: I looked him up on Wikipedia last night to see if there was anything remotely remarkable about him (there wasn't) and learned that he is one of the (maybe the) only main character actor in a Kevin Smith movie to never appear in another Kevin Smith movie. Apparently he had a little ... work ethic problem.

fergus said...

I guess Miguel CAIRO, the baseball player, would be pretty obscure, too. Jose LIMA, in the same profession. How about Benito SANTIAGO? Can't think of any relief pitchers with the surname TEGUCIGALPA, but it slips off the tongue rather nicely. As do ANTANANARIVO and PARAMARIBO, but I digress.

Charles Bogle said...

I share the ambivalence of our fearless blog leaders on this one

Who are these people?
Not necessarily "capitol" folks

Only in LA...JERRYPARIS? JEREMY LONDON? When one of my teens couldn't finish that row even w half filled in...well

Also, I am troubled by AIRED for ABC, NBC, etc.". Understand it; but it's just an overreach

Can LSAT be added to the moratorium?

On the other hand, SIRES instead of studs was nice touch; MRGOODBAR gave me a good tussle. And, any puzzle w BELA Lugosi gets a thumb's up from me

Still, overall this had the look and feel of being. phoned in

Greene said...

I thought this was a delightful little puzzle. It's true that not all the theme answers instantly resonate with all solvers, but I think the remainder of the puzzle is purposely written to compensate for this. The downs are largely easy as pie, so even if one doesn't recognize the theme personalities, they are eminently gettable.

OK, so HAROLD ROME, IRVING BERLIN, and even JERRY PARIS were instant gimmies for me. Even so, I had never heard of JEREMEY LONDON and his name came easily from discerning the theme and filling in the crosses.

All the theme answers had a very LAT showbiz kind of slant which I find very entertaining. Agreed, this kind of puzzle is not for everyone. In fact, I kind of cringed as I solved it; all the while thinking: "IRVING BERLIN and HAROLD ROME in the same puzzle? On Tuesday? Yikes, Rex and Orange are not going to like this one bit!"

Since Fanny has appeared twice in the LAT puzzle in as many weeks, here's a little background. It was a Broadway musical that had a successful run of greater than 2 years starting in 1954. It was based on a trilogy of films (Marius, Fanny, and Cesar) by French director Marcel Pagnol and starred Ezio Pinza (a fairly frequent puzzle denizen), Walter Slezak, and Florence Henderson (yes, the future Mrs. Brady started life as a lovely soprano ingenue in multiple Broadway shows and even heading the national tour of The Sound of Music). The score is quite operatic and, as such, produced few hit songs. The title song, however, is quite haunting and I still hear it in elevators and restaurants to this day.

HAROLD ROME had already produced a number of Broadway hits prior to Fanny and would go on to produce others during the 1960s. He kind of dropped out of public view after the very public failure of his musical adaption of Gone With the Wind in 1972. Yes, yes, I know, why even try?

mac said...

Not a great puzzle, but no great problems because of easy fill. Only knew one of the four theme people, but got the capital thing early on.

I feel sorry for the poor Hershey company that Mr. Goodbar now carries such a bad connotation.

mac said...

Oh, Greene, if you had only commented a little earlier!
The "Fanny" clue did make me think of Pagnol, the one of the books we had to read in second year French, but I just didn't know for sure. I was pretty sure it wasn't about "Fanny Hill".

Anonymous said...

You are KIDDING!!!! You did not know Jeremy London?? I find that amazing, and sad. You should check him out and watch some of his movies. They are great.

He also has an identical twin, Jason London, who is a fantastic actor. They both deserve to be a clue in a crossword puzzle.