WEDNESDAY, June 17, 2009—Mike Peluso

THEME: "Angel (and Not Buffy's Vampire Boyfriend)"—Two unrelated angels and one Angel are all clued with the word Angel

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Angel is a HEAVENLY SPIRIT.
  • 36A: It's also an AMERICAN LEAGUER playing for that Los Angeles of Anaheim team, the Los Angeles Angels (that translates to "the The Angels Angels") of Anaheim.
  • 53A: And then there's the BROADWAY BACKER meaning of Angel, the one that I learned from crosswords. If you ever see a clue about a sign an angel likes, it's SRO, meaning "standing room only" tickets for a Broadway show that's sold out.

Crosswordese 101: Omigosh, look! It's the STOA! This 4D: Colonnade of ancient Greece is as old-school antiquity as crosswordese gets. It's the Greek word for "porch" but apparently the ancient Greeks knew how do up a porch right, as it's defined as "An ancient Greek covered walk or colonnade, usually having columns on one side and a wall on the other." I don't know about you, but my porch lacks a stately row of columns. Other key words and phrases you might see in STOA clues include "Greek portico," "ancient meeting place," "Plato's promenade," or "Where Zeno taught." Zeno, founder of the Stoic philosophy? "Stoic" comes from "stoa," and I never knew that until right this moment. "Keep a stiff, porchy upper lip, will ya? Be stoic."

An olio of answers and clues:
  • 14A: Sonny and Cher, e.g. (DUET). Hang on. Can the two people be considered a DUET, or just their performance or the song they're singing? My dictionary says Sonny and Cher duetted but are not themselves a DUET.
  • 17A: This, in Seville (ESTO). Sometimes it's the feminine ESTA. How will you know? By checking the crossing. I hope it always makes the O-vs.-A choice obvious.
  • 25A: Asian counters (ABACI). Plural of abacus. I always think of ABACI as ancient Chinese things, but the word is a late Middle English word derived from Latin, related to Hebrew. So I guess the Latin plural makes sense—oh! Except that some dictionaries don't even bother with the ABACI plural, they just say "abacuses."
  • 33A: Disney villainess __ de Vil (CRUELLA). She's from 101 Dalmatians. Remember when Disney cartoons depicted smoking?
  • 41A: Portuguese capital (ESCUDOS). No, not the capital city—the unit of currency that is financial capital in Portugal. The clue is an anachronism, as Portugal uses the euro now. So make that Former Portuguese capital, eh?
  • 48A: Lundi follower (MARDI). Lundi is French for Monday, and MARDI is Tuesday. Fat Tuesday = Mardi Gras, bien sûr.
  • 60A: Egyptian fertility goddess (ISIS). Anyone in the same generation as PuzzleGirl, Rex, and me has fond memories of the Saturday morning live-action Secrets of Isis show in the '70s:

  • 65A: Senator from Kansas or North Carolina (DOLE). Both Bob and Elizabeth are now former senators, as Liddy lost her reelection bid last November.
  • 1D: Fruity drink (ADE). Yeah, don't try playing this word in Scrabble or Lexulous. It is merely a suffix.
  • 2D: Grow exponentially (MUSHROOM). I don't like mushrooms. Apparently the ones that look like golden brains that grow on tree trunks are delicious, but I'll pass. (That link is to one the "Steve, Don't Eat It" posts that I love dearly. Check out the archives if you have a strong stomach and no class, and are curious about foods like fermented soybeans, huitlacoche, and silkworm pupas.)
  • 8D: Boglike (MIRY). I can't say I've ever used this word, but I think I'll remember it the next time I'm bogged down in a crossword. "Och!" I'll exclaim. "She's a MIRY one, this puzzle!"
  • 28D: New Brunswick's Bay of __ (FUNDY). Not to be confused with fundie, short for "fundamentalist."
  • 33D: XXXV x X (CCCL). Do you do the Roman numeral math? I try to avoid it and let the crossings give me the answer. XXXV, that's 35. Times 10—oh, that's not so bad. 350, or CCCL. I could've done that math.
  • 38D: Government finger-pointer? (UNCLE SAM). Terrific fill, that, and the clue's great, too.
  • 39D: Put under (ETHERIZE). All right, this is way more anachronistic than the former Portuguese currency.
  • 49D: "I'll Be Your Shelter" singer Taylor (DAYNE). Terribly rude of singer Taylor Swift to come along with her 5-letter last name when we already had singer Taylor Dayne.
I'll be back here on Saturday, but will loiter at PuzzleGirl and Rex's posts in the meantime.

Everything Else — 1A: Rock concert equipment (AMPS); 5A: Washington successor (ADAMS); 10A: Donations to the needy (ALMS); 15A: "The Many Loves of __ Gillis": old sitcom (DOBIE); 16A: Bug spray ingredient (DEET); 18A: Motionless (INERT); 19A: Swan lover of myth (LEDA); 23A: SFO datum (ARR.); 24A: Tint (HUE); 26A: Belt holders (LOOPS); 28A: Lady of Bavaria (FRAU); 31A: Small spasmodic reaction (TIC); 32A: Tablespoon, maybe (DOSE); 42A: Golden rule word (UNTO); 43A: Math subj. (ALG.); 46A: Supporter (ALLY); 47A: Snack chip (NACHO); 50A: Diamonds, to a fence (ICE); 52A: Rent (LET); 58A: Assess (LEVY); 59A: Honor with barbs (ROAST); 62A: First place? (EDEN); 63A: Arm of the sea (INLET); 64A: Ideal for tubing, as a river (LAZY); 66A: Minuscule (TEENY); 67A: Dark clouds, often (OMEN); 3D: Baseball's all-time leader with 4,256 hits (PETE ROSE); 5D: Bye that's bid (ADIEU); 6D: "Death, be not proud" poet (DONNE); 7D: Genesis victim (ABEL); 9D: Complete collections (SETS); 10D: Ignore the script (AD LIB); 11D: Watch in a lustful way (LEER AT); 12D: Florentine ruling family (MEDICI); 13D: Radio annoyance (STATIC); 21D: Beta alternative (VHS); 22D: Zahn of TV news (PAULA); 23D: He played Pierce on "M*A*S*H" (ALDA); 27D: Parisian pop (PERE); 29D: Move, to a Realtor (RELO); 30D: Bass and others (ALES); 34D: Fidel's successor (RAUL); 35D: Lago contents (AGUA); 37D: "I Am...__": Neil Diamond hit (I SAID); 40D: Origin (ROOT); 43D: Strolled lazily (AMBLED); 44D: Texas border city (LAREDO); 45D: Humble oneself shamelessly (GROVEL); 47D: Japanese computer giant (NEC); 50D: "A Doll's House" playwright (IBSEN); 51D: Spiteful (CATTY); 54D: Court order (WRIT); 55D: Top-notch (A-ONE); 56D: New Haven Ivy (YALE); 57D: Unit of mass, briefly (KILO); 61D: Thesaurus wd. (SYN.).


PuzzleGirl said...

I think when the dot-com thing was booming, they called their financial backers ANGELS, too.

I did a double-take at DUET. Looked at the clue, back to the grid ready to fill in duo and ... wha??

Thanks for the ISIS clip!! I kept waiting for her to swoop down and help those poor, stupid kids. I wonder why she has to be way up in the sky to do her thing.

I like that your fundies pic is right next to the paragraph with all the X's.

Gary Lowe said...

I like this puzzle because it the grid is very ambitious - can't recall ever seeing 2- 14's and a 15 as themes lengths. Add in the double 8 downs, I suspect there was some real elbow grease hammering out the fill.

Joon said...

i have only one mental association with ETHERIZE, and that's "the love song of j alfred prufrock." can ETHERIZE be used more generally to mean "anesthetize," or does it refer specifically to using ether?

i had the same reaction to DUET, but the usage in the clue has some dictionary support, so it seems to be legit. (american heritage dictionary of the english language, 4th ed.) full disclosure: i looked in about 10 online dictionaries and it's the only one that had this definition.

not wild about themes like this, but at least HEAVENLY SPIRIT and AMERICAN LEAGUER are both in-the-language phrases.

gary lowe, why does the grid strike you as ambitious? three theme answers is generally regarded as unambitious, regardless of the lengths. (hey, at least it's not 14-4-14, with ALER in the middle. :) i think that's why we've got the stacked 8s in the fill, because the theme affords so much leeway.

Carol said...

Does anyone know if ether has even been used in the last 40 or 50 years? Tried euthanize but of course that wouldn't work!

Rex Parker said...

ETHERIZE is ghastly, even though I got it off the "E" (!). Nearly wiped out at FUNDY/ESCUDOS. Else, fine.

Loved clue on UNCLE SAM.

MIRY, HA ha. I once rewrote a grid to get rid of that word. I kind of liked it. My testers ... not so much.


Al said...

I think it's kind of funny/ironic that "Fundies" would probably disapprove of the Fundies pic in the write-up. Then again, I'd be suprised to learn that the manufacturer didn't have that thought in mind when they were named. I was going to say "branded" there instead of named, but that's a whole different kink...

SethG said...

If you look through the wall at the back of your stoa, you get some modernity.

I had trouble deciding between MEDICI/LEDA and MENICI/LENA, and between MARTI/TAYNE and MARDI/DAYNE. I don't know why.

I did do the math. In my head, not on my (Russian) abacus.

Orange said...

@Rex, I believe I was one of your anti-MIRY testers.

@SethG, I go to the back of the STOA to get milk. They always put the dairy case in the back to goose foot traffic through the STOA.

The New Oxford American Dictionary Mac widget calls etherize "chiefly historical" and defines it as "anesthetize with ether."

Gary Lowe said...

No, not the three themes by themselves, just that they're bigger than I normally see, and the two sxs eights cross two themes.
As a humble, wannabe constructor, I'd call that grid 'handcuffs', and my sage mentor would probably steer me away from it.

*David* said...

I was scratching my head on DUET and ETHERIZE. The latter feels like pulverize except with a gas.

The term "angel" is so much more then a Braodway backer in today's business environment. It is a general reference to personal backers of any type of start-up business. Ususally it's the first round of financing before the big boys come in and contribute.

Denise said...

One of my ideas of a wonderful vacation trip is to take the PRINCE OF FUNDY from Portlnad, ME up to Nova Scotia.

I had my tonsils out in 1949, and I clearly remember the smell of ether, but I think it was abandoned soon after.

I do the NYTimes, the LATimes, and the Long Island News puzzles on line -- I wonder if the websites ever look at one another? Each has its own quirks, and I guess I actually like the variety.

Today, I could NOT get the baseball team, and the crosses were a mess too -- so I switched to "regular" solving level, and got the red letter feedback option. Then I felt really stupid!

Jeffrey said...

DUET? Really? How come nobody mentionned that? Except those who did, of course.

shrub5 said...

Initially put "multiply" for 2D) grow exponentially and "james" for 49D "I'll Be Your Shelter" singer Taylor (I thought that title sounded James Taylor-y). I liked the clue for ROAST (59A Honor with barbs). Nice puzzle and write-up.

Sandy said...

Orange, I don't have the photo handy right now, but I did take a picture in Port Moresby of the "Street Passin Stoa." You know, the stoa you pass in the street.

Charles Bogle said...

Liked the theme and the puzzle--much more so than today's NYT...

Don't remember Saturday am ISIS cartoon shows from the 70's but do have hazy (MIRY?) recollections of DOBIE Gillis show (w future Gilligan as best pal); late 50's early 60's-

Didn't we have PETE ROSE last week? What, did he win a bet w the LATimes publisher?

Portuguese capital really threw me; feel dumber for forgetting al v ol...ICE was nicely clued

Is CCDL also correct for 350?

"Lago's contents"--tough!

Above average fill in my humble view

Was proud when I was DONNE-

Anonymous said...

So I've been perplexed all day as to the point of Fundies. I mean, you and your partner get naked, hook up, and then put on the Fundies? Are we trying to be modest here? It's OK that we're having sex in public, we're wearing our Fundies so we're not naked and thus it's OK?

Eric said...

Yes, angels are the first investors followed,if there's money top be made by the vulture capitalists (oops venture capitalists).
Loved the puzzle construction and fill. Very nice.

JaJaJoe said...

Beyond the BROADWAYBACKER type angel, I've known them to be more of a savior (6 letters I initially tried before BACKER), i.e., rather than original investors they're those who by brinksmanship / at the last minute $ave an enterprise from going under; currently called a bailor, AKA us and future US taxpayers / bilked backers of Billion$$$ bail-outs.-/

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the blog and the posts. Still don't get
23A SFO datum (ARR.) ???

Crockett1947 said...

SFO is San Francisco Internationl airport. One piece of data that might be important to patrons is estimated time of ARRival.

Anonymous said...

geez, I thought this puzzle was very very easy!! Hardly a drain on the brain at all. Was it really a big challenge for folks?

mac said...

Nice little Wednesday puzzle. I did think the clues to duet and levy were iffy.

I guess I have seen "miry" so often that I don't even think twice about it.

Joon said...

i've said "jiminy jillikers" so many times, the words have lost all meaning!