WEDNESDAY, June 10, 2009—Donna S. Levin

THEME: "Making a Scarf"—Everything you'll need to knit a scarf is right here in this puzzle—the supplies and the instructions

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Tingly feeling is PINS AND NEEDLES.
  • 33A: DYED IN THE WOOL means Through and through.
  • 42A: At the airport, the FLIGHT PATTERN is a Control tower concern.
  • 57A: Directions appropriate for the activity suggested by the last words of 20-, 33- and 42-Across are KNIT ONE, PURL ONE. I have never knitted, so I don't know if those are actually the stitches you'd use to make a scarf.

(Bad sweater courtesy of The Sweater Project.)

A while back, another crossword blogger shared an e-mail he'd received from an NYT solver. She felt that with all the baseball and car references in crosswords, the editor/constructor's male bias was showing, and she wanted more female-friendly crossword fill. Her idea of that differs from mine—I find that knitting and sewing are not built in as standard options with the XX chromosomes—but if she's doing the Los Angeles Times crossword, I'll bet she loved the theme. And even though I don't knit, hell, I wouldn't care if we had just as many knitting and crafts themes as all-male sports ones until parity has been reached. They'd bore me, sure, but so do many of the sports ones to be honest.

Crosswordese 101: Ah, look what we have here: 37A: Proofing mark is DELE. This proofreading word is both a noun—"a proofreader's sign indicating matter to be deleted"—and a verb—to delete, or to mark text for deletion. If you've ever done any copyediting or proofreading, you have surely crossed something off and doodled the dele loop with your red pen. Heck, my son learned the basic proofreading marks in second grade.

Other clues for DELE have included "remove from the text," "editor's mark," and "a stet cancels it." To be trickier in a tougher puzzle, the constructor might go with "Take-out order?"

An olio of answers and clues:
  • 16A: Two-fifths of one quarter would give my son arithmetical nightmares. Let's see...that's 2/5 times 1/4, and 2/20 can be reduced to 1/10...holy cow, that's the fraction of a dollar that's a DIME! Two-fifths of 25¢ is 10¢, and you probably knew that without multiplying fractions.
  • 19A: Educ. catchall clues ELHI, meaning elementary through high school. Teachers will cry foul at this word and say that nobody uses it. People who work in textbook publishing may disagree.
  • 38A: "Stroke!" shouter, for short is COX, which is short for coxswain, who is the "steersman" of a boat. In rowing, I gather the COX bosses the rest of the team around and keeps everyone rowing in sync. Courteney Cox Arquette probably made it into more crossword clues for COX before she added a name. You know who else shouts "Stroke!", don't you? Thaaat's right: Billy Squier. I am heartbroken to report that embedding is disabled for this video of Billy Squier's "The Stroke." The tight jeans! The sleeveless crop top! The prance/dance! The '80s hair! It's so delicious, but alas, I can't post it here.
  • 52A: Canyon and Sierra are GMCS, both SUVs if I recall correctly.
  • 57A: I can't tell you why I wanted OXENS to be the answer to They may be pulled by teams. The correct answer is SLEDS, as in dog sleds. OXEN is already plural, so OXENS is all kinds of wrong. And a team of oxen pulls things—what sort of team would go around pulling oxen?
  • 69A: Masculine principle is YANG. I tried YING here first, muddling my yin and my yang. Is that harmful?
  • 3D: BARI is a crosswordese Italian town, clued here as Adriatic port. I have a friend named Bari. She should work harder at becoming famous, as these "Adriatic port" clues tend to be lifeless.
  • 10D: Fingered, as a perp sounds gross, doesn't it? Like the movie, Freddy Got Fingered? The answer is IDED, short for "identified."
  • 11D: BOB BARKER is not the answer to Original host of "The Price is Right" even if he is the host I grew up with. Apparently BILL CULLEN preceded him.
  • 32D: You know what the Mohair source is, don't you? It's the GOAT. It's all in the marketing, baby. Nobody much minds having a mohair sweater or coat. But who's gonna buy a goat coat or a goat sweater? Same with cashmere. The Kashmir goat doesn't sound nearly as luxurious.
  • 44D: One dismounting from a horse, maybe is a GYMNAST sproinging off the pommel horse. Is there good video of pommel horse action? You bet your bippy there is. I've never seen the movie Gymkata, but thanks to the marvel that is YouTube, I can share the great pommel horse fight scene with you today:

Did you watch that? Really, you must. I tend to skip most of the videos embedded in blog posts, but this one is a gem. Why the villagers don't just stab him in the back, I'll never understand.
  • 58D: TANG! That Spacecraft beverage was a childhood favorite of mine. How proud I was when I was finally old enough to mix orange powder and water myself. I remember my mom bringing me a glass of Tang to accompany my bath. "Calgon, take me away"? Nah. Bring on the Tang! Sheer tangy bliss, plus astronaut chic.
  • 59D: Backwards-arrow command clues UNDO. I don't know about your computer, but on my Mac, a backwards arrow doesn't UNDO anything—it just moves me back one space. UNDO is command-Z.

I'll be back here on Saturday, but will surely visit for PuzzleGirl and Rex's posts in the interim.

Everything Else — 1A: SFPD alerts (APBS); 5A: Event with a baton (RELAY); 10A: Term referring to a prev. citation (IBID); 14A: Crux (MEAT); 15A: Greek market (AGORA); 17A: Ecuador neighbor (PERU); 18A: Pricey mushroom (MOREL); 23A: H.S. equivalency test (GED); 24A: Retail ad word (SALE); 25A: Monitor, briefly (CRT); 26A: Sit-up beneficiaries (ABS); 29A: W.C.'s "My Little Chickadee" costar (MAE); 31A: Makes a case (ARGUES); 39A: Jessica of "Fantastic Four" (ALBA); 47A: Strange thing (ODDITY); 49A: Keats work (ODE); 50A: "Fat chance!" (NOT); 51A: __ Lingus (AER); 55A: Small amount (DAB); 62A: Surface magma (LAVA); 63A: Flared dress (A-LINE); 64A: Luminous glow (AURA); 66A: Tree of Knowledge site (EDEN); 68A: Pass over (SKIP); 70A: Fusses (TO-DOS); 71A: Big top (TENT); 1D: Rock booster (AMP); 2D: Tiny sound (PEEP); 4D: Smarted (STUNG); 5D: Fast time in Fallujah (RAMADAN); 6D: Ray and Peter's co-Ghostbuster (EGON); 7D: Parliament members (LORDS); 8D: Coliseum (ARENA); 9D: Alito and Thomas are graduates of it (YALE LAW); 12D: Words upon arriving (I'M HERE); 13D: Many Founding Fathers, philosophically (DEISTS); 21D: Big rig (SEMI); 22D: Architect Saarinen (EERO); 26D: Tack on (ADD); 27D: Short farewell (BYE); 28D: Like many high achievers (SELF-DRIVEN); 30D: Cut with acid (ETCH); 34D: Pastrami seller (DELI); 35D: Fenced, perhaps (HOT); 36D: __ 67: Montreal fair (EXPO); 40D: "Dude!" (BRO); 41D: Pesky picnic problem (ANT); 43D: Let __: stop obsessing (IT GO); 45D: URL, e.g. (ADDRESS); 46D: Ducky color? (TEAL); 47D: Subject of "Annie Get Your Gun" (OAKLEY); 48D: Reply to "Gracias" (DE NADA); 53D: Rostropovich's instrument (CELLO); 54D: Watched furtively, with "on" (SPIED); 56D: Brag (BOAST); 60D: Microwave (NUKE); 61D: Hibernia (ERIN); 65D: Fitting (APT).


Carol said...

I agree, it was nice not to have a sports reference for once. A knit one purl one pattern would produce a stretchy ribbing such as on the cuff or neck of a sweater. Though I am a woman, I do know men who knit as a stress reliever. It is very relaxing.

Crockett1947 said...

So, 42A: ACID is a DNA part—part of the phrase deoxyribonucleic acid. What puzzle is this from? Not in mine today!

That fight scene is totally unreal. Someone actually spent money to film that and then released it upon an unsuspecting public? YIKES!

Brendan Emmett Quigley said...

The winner and still king of best sweater ever has gotta be this one:


Charlie said...

I, too, had a brief "Gymkata" flashback when I saw the GYMNAST answer. So I nearly put my morning tea through my nose when I scrolled through the blog and saw the embedded "Best Fight Scene Ever!" clip -- I immediately knew what it was.

I also didn't know that Bill Cullen once hosted TPIR, but figured it out pretty easily based on the crosses I already had in place. I'll bet he regrets not sticking in that position -- what a meal ticket, and in more ways than one!

Orange said...

Crockett, I don't know what you're talking about. (OK, I confess I copy and paste the previous week's post to use as a template so I don't have to code the headings and whatnot. Not sure how I managed to leave that in!)

gjelizabeth said...

Loved the theme, especially 33A because of the recent Ngaio MARSH discussion. DYEDINTHEWOOL is one of her best-known mysteries. Favorite clues were "Fast time in Fallujah" for RAMADAN and "Crux" for MEAT.

Crockett1947 said...

Orange, but now you know that what you post gets read thoroughly! Don't blame you for handling the coding that way.

humorlesstwit said...

@Orange - There is an international leve sport Vaulting in which people jump on and off real live horses, essentially gynmastics on horses. I'm guessing first prize in the World Championships is a guaranteed one year contract with Ringling Brothers Circus.

mac said...

Nice little puzzle! I also liked "Fast time in Fallujah" alot.

I do knit, or at least used to a lot. The more complicated the pattern, the better I liked it. The advantage of knit one pearl one with a scarf is that both sides look the same. It's a tedious pattern, though!
I once read that knitted originated in Persia, where it could ONLY be done by men. I have a brother-in-low who knits. He also plays soccer.

*David* said...

Nice solid puzzle. This was an XX chromosone puzzle theme but at least the guys got some eye candy with Jessica ALBA.

mac said...

The Gymkata video has the most amazing sound track. I couldn't stop watching!

PuzzleGirl said...

Smooth solve here. TANG! Good times! The fight video is hilarious. Seems like the villagers would have more luck if they attacked him more than one at a time. Just sayin'.

Orange said...

Mac: I know! Great Foley artist work, all the sock'em sounds.

PuzzleGirl: Really, what could they do? They were powerless. What can a mob do when faced with a pommel horse in the village square? The pommel horse, it has powers.

Gary Lowe said...

Why do I have "Knit one, purl TWO" as the phrase that pays, in my mind...? Mama used to knit, back in the day. I'll have to ask a knitter, as a nit-picker, if purl ONE or purl TWO is more common.

backbiter said...

She's got electric boots, a MOHAIR suit. You know I read it in a magaziiiiiiinnnnnnneeeee. Ohhhhhh B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets!

Lol. My first time here. Just giving mohair it's do.

backbiter said...

^^^^ Um, did I use the contraction it's? I did. Well, now we know backbiter had a few shots of bourbon. My first post on this site. I'm so embarrased. Cheers!

James said...

Bourbon will get its due. :)

Crockett1947 said...

@bacbiter It's OK.

Denise said...

That video was an early version of a movie the exact name of which I forget -- "Fighting Tiger, Hidden Dragon"???

I must say, in high school, I was dreadfully afraid of all that gymnastics equipment.

SethG said...

The star of Gymkata is 5'5, 130lbs. Either they found really small villager extras, or the cinematography's better than the Foley work. Or the costuming--white pants?

I love the 80s.

eileen said...

Orange, another great blog! The video was hilarious!
Could someone explain how MEAT and CRUX are related?

Anonymous said...

@Eileen - The crux of the matter = the meat of the matter = the important part.

Tom Mc said...

More rowing nerdiness: Coxswains these days are as likely to be steerswomen as steersmen. Since coxes should ideally be small people, it's often easier for a team to find a small woman than a small man (though you can't go too small: they weigh coxes, and if they're too light, they have to carry sandbags to make up weight, like jockeys). Thus a lot of men's boats are coxed by women these days (and you sometimes see women's boats coxed by men; coxing well is not easy, and so good coxes get shared between the men's and women's boats).

-Tom Mc

Anonymous said...

Lynda RN said

@backbiter Welcome backbiter. I love this blog and you will get to know everyone soon. They give lots of CW help and I have really improved on solving time by thinking outside of the box. Loved the BBBBenny and the Jets reference although I got so tired of that song when it was popular.

@ Gary Lowe
I also have always heard, knit one, purl two. Don't knit though.

@ Denise
I also hated all that Gym equipment in high school. I could never pull myself up those ropes attached to the ceiling. Hated running the track. Just walked it mostly. My body is not made for Yoga or gymnstics.

@chefbea - where are you?

Loved the puzzle and thanks PG, Orange and RP for all your insight.
See you tomorrow.
Lynda RN

chefwen said...

@lynda RN - Chefbea is in Italy visiting her daughter and sounds like she's having a great time.

Liked the puzzle and the theme, used to knit but got lazy in my old age.

Charles Bogle said...

I'm w @mac, @david and most others...really good, fun puzzle;liked the theme a lot (note we're all males)

A WHOLE LOT more APT for a Wednesday than the mind-breaker in today's NYT-

Enjoyed DIME for two-fifths of one quarter; not sure how CRT is short for monitor?; never thought of GMCS--who knew?; now I know what an ALINE is (and how to sew it); BILL CULLEN brought back fond boomer boyhood days; so did Expo 67;

A lot of thought, creativity and meaning twists/alternatives went into this one. Hat's off to the constructor!

Crockett1947 said...

@charles bogle CRT=Cathode Ray Tube. Those big old clunky TV/monitor tubes we had back in the dark ages, LOL!

imsdave said...

On the knitting thing, I only have heard knit one, purl two. Googled it and knit one purl one is the winner. I got a great deal of fun this a.m. though reworking it into two - try it all, change DAB into DA's and there are a zillion fills available.

mac said...

@Gary Lowe: It's possible to knit one, pearl two, but then you have to do pearl one, knit two on the reverse side, and that side then looks different from the front and curls in. With knit one pearl one back and front look the same and the scarf stays flat.

@Charles Bogle: hate to disappoint you and deflate your theory, but I'm not male.

Greene said...

Holy Smokes Mac! You're a girl? I thought Marion was a man's name! :)