SUNDAY, July 12, 2009 — David Levinson Wilk

[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times crossword puzzle. It doesn't actually appear in the L.A. Times newspaper. No, it doesn't completely make sense to me either, but there you are. You can download this puzzle from the cruciverb.com website by clicking on the link over on the sidebar.]

Theme: Literal Letters — Theme answers are familiar phrases that describe one letter included in the phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 23A: S (HEAD OF STATE).
  • 29A: A (END OF AN ERA).
  • 94A: F (FALSE START).
  • 104A: D (GRAND FINALE).
Wouldn't it be cool if the letters spelled something? I didn't even think of that until I started putting this post together and read them from top to bottom. I know. Completely unreasonable.

Crosswordese 101: The OTOE are a Native American people closely related to the Iowa and Missouri. I have to tell you, I find Native American history completely fascinating. So much so that while looking up information for you on the OTOE, I've spent like half an hour and meandered my way through many different tribes and chiefs. Really interesting stuff! Way too complicated to summarize here! So I'll just tell you what you need to know about the OTOE for puzzles. The tribe is described in crossword clues as Siouan, Midwest, and Plains. They can be described as an Oklahoma tribe, a Nebraska tribe, or a tribe that settled on the Platte River. They're also related to the Pawnee and the Winnebago. Their language is called Chiwere. Probably the trickiest part about OTOE is that it can also be spelled OTO. So whether the answer is three letters or four, you might be looking at this same tribe. Oh, and as we see today, a Nebraska county has been named for them — 65A: Nebraska City's county.

Sunday puzzles are huge and there's a lot to talk about, so let's get right to it.

I had quite a few "huh?" moments in this puzzle, but that's really about what I expect from a Sunday. Luckily, the crosses were all good to me, so I figured it all out in the end. No idea who this ZEEMAN character is (31A: Eponymous 1902 physics Nobelist Pieter). No doubt somebody super famous that I should know. When I saw the clue at 47A: More farinaceous I was pretty excited because I thought farinaceous was a pretty cool word and once I knew what it meant, maybe I could use it sometime. I thought it might be something like, I don't know, bootylicious. But no. Unfortunately, I don't have much cause to use the word MEALIER in my everyday life. I don't really believe there's a 15D: Russian auto called a LADA. That just seems pretty farfetched, doesn't it? I'm sure I've seen 99D: Political cartoonist Ted RALL in a puzzle before, but I couldn't bring him to mind. If it's a cartoonist and not Nast, I'm lost. Similarly, if it's a ski resort and it's not Aspen or Vail, you can forget about me knowing it. ALTA? (100D: Utah ski resort) Whatevs. I also didn't know 36D: Broadway actress LEA Salonga, but she won many awards, including a Tony, for her portrayal of one of the main characters in Miss Saigon, which I believe is still running, so she's fair game.

  • 1A: Popular fashion doll series (BRATZ). A friend of mine in Iowa wrote a book about the media's sexualization of young girls that forever changed the way I look at Bratz dolls. The first paragraph of this Salon interview makes the point, if you're interested.
  • 20A: "Aunt __ Cope Book" (ERMA'S). Totally forgot about this Erma Bombeck book. I even stuck another M in there to make her Emma before I checked the crosses.
  • 25A: Opposite of full (UNFED). Raise your hand if you entered empty.
  • 28A: "I'll do whatever you need" ("USE ME"). Also a Bill Withers song that we talked about recently on Rex's blog. I actually heard a cover of this song by Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz before I ever heard the original. Both versions rock.
  • 41A: Lures, Pied Piper style (TWEEDLES). I don't love this word.
  • 48A: Time, metaphorically (SANDS).

  • 63A: New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival city (KEENE). Between this puzzle, the New York Times and BEQ, I'm learning a lot about New Hampshire these days.
  • 64A: Dubai dignitaries (EMIRS). If you've been paying attention to this blog, you definitely should have gotten this one easily today. We talked about it on July 5, it popped up again on July 7, and lookie here! Here it is again!
  • 70A: Terrific service (ACE). Tennis!
  • 73A: Work on an antimacassar, perhaps (TAT). Work on a what? Oh, TAT. Must have something to do with lace.
  • 74A: Last line of some riddles (WHAT AM I?). Love Love Love this clue and answer.
  • 83A: Gross income source? (PORN). I'm not sure I totally understand this clue. The question mark means that we aren't supposed to think of the phrase "gross income" the way we usually think about it (i.e., as opposed to net income). Instead, we're supposed to think of it as income that results from ... something gross? Like icky? Is there another definition of gross I'm not seeing? I'm not saying I'm a Fan of porn or anything (hi, mom!) but gross? That seems a little ... excessive? prudish? I don't know. What do you think?
  • 98A: Turkey toucher (IRAQ). Now if the porn involves a turkey toucher, then yes, okay, gross.
  • 1D: __ Men: "Who Let the Dogs Out" band (BAHA). They also perform a kick-ass theme song for a show on Playhouse Disney called "My Man Stanley." Can't find a video clip, sorry.
  • 5D: Madhouse (ZOO).

  • [Just a quick aside here. It was at this point in the write-up that PuzzleDaughter ran into the house screaming and bleeding all over the place. She had fallen while riding her bike and torn her chin up pretty good. PuzzleHusband determined that she would probably need stitches so off we went to the ER. Several hours and six stitches later, I'm back and ready to talk about the rest of this puzzle. She is fine, by the way — pretty proud of herself and looking forward to all the attention she'll get from this. Not sure where she gets that from.]

  • 14D: Willingly (LIEF). Scottish? I think it's Scottish. If I hadn't spent the last several hours in the ER, I would look it up, but now I'm just tired.
  • 40D: Hosiery thread (LISLE). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 44D: Solution created by dissolving (ELUATE). I'm sure all you scientist types knew this one, but it was a complete mystery to me.
  • 45D: "Black Like Me" actor __ Lee Browne (ROSCOE). I recall seeing this movie many years ago and being completely horrified. I believe the movie is based on a book that was an account of a sincere undertaking, but the movie ... I don't really remember much about the movie except that the guy Really Didn't Look Black At All. I think the guy who wrote the book actually did, but they could have used some better qualified make-up artists on the movie. Just sayin'.
  • 58D: Actress Téa (LEONI). Not a fan.
  • 69D: It can make a racket (CATGUT). More tennis!
  • 76D: Where sleeping dogs lie? (FOOTREST). Cute. In this case dogs is the slang word for feet.
  • 77D: Young's accounting partner (ERNST). I still remember the firm as Ernst & Whinney, but accounting firms went through a lot of changes in the '80s and '90s. My dad worked many years for KPMG Peat Marwick and at one point told us that they were thinking about merging with Ernst & Young and calling the new firm Pete & Ernie's.
  • 79D: Rapa __ (NUI). The Polynesian name for "Easter Island." Crossword gold.
  • 81D: Boxer, e.g.: Abbr. (SEN.). Senator Barbara Boxer.
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Everything Else — 6A: Helps (out) (BAILS); 11A: Immunity agent (T-CELL); 16A: Use a wet napkin on, perhaps (DAB); 19A: Part of A/V (AUDIO); 21A: Braga of "Moon Over Parador" (SONIA); 22A: Have a balance (OWE); 26A: Turn abruptly (ZAG); 27A: Mass (ARMY); 32A: Heavy hammer (MAUL); 33A: Third-day creation (EDEN); 42A: Not out of the running (IN IT); 43A: Large sea ducks (EIDERS); 50A: Delta follower (EPSILON); 51A: Boy (LAD); 52A: Empire State, e.g.: Abbr. (BLDG.); 53A: Like LAX (INTL.); 54A: "Characters welcome" network (USA); 55A: Crazed (MANIC); 62A: "The Information" author Martin (AMIS); 69A: Belief system (CREED); 71A: Also-__: losers (RANS); 72A: Permits (LETS); 76A: Senses (FEELS); 78A: Organ parts with cones (RETINAS); 82A: Israeli, e.g. (SEMITE); 84A: Dash indicator (OIL GAUGE); 89A: Three-time Daytona 500 champ Gordon (JEFF); 92A: They may be graphic (ARTS); 93A: Orioles' gp. (A.L. EAST); 97A: Golden, in Guanajuato (DE ORO); 102A: The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. (KSU); 103A: Try (TASTE); 106A: Uncle to Jenna and Barbara (JEB); 107A: Energetic risk-taking type, so it's said (ARIES); 108A: Altercation (SET-TO); 109A: Conductor whose name is spelled with two musical syllables (SOLTI); 110A: Ave. relatives (RDS.); 111A: Godiva rival (LINDT); 112A: "__ directed" (USE AS); 113A: Zhou __ (ENLAI); 2D: Sorry type (RUER); 3D: Economist Smith (ADAM); 4D: Spruce (up) (TIDY); 6D: Man of steel? (BESSEMER); 7D: Apollo's sister (ARTEMIS); 8D: "Today __": bar mitzvah boy's announcement (I'M A MAN); 9D: Hidden (LATENT); 10D: Milwaukee-to-Gary dir. (SSE); 11D: Scary waves (TSUNAMIS); 12D: Passage (CONDUIT); 13D: Hug (ENFOLD); 16D: Dropped off (DOZED); 17D: Hip (AWARE); 18D: Got the ball rolling (BEGAN); 24D: Gassed up the Jaguar, say (FUELLED); 29D: Make changes to, as copy (EMEND); 30D: "__ go on?" (NEED I); 31D: Collection of signs (ZODIAC); 34D: "Lou Grant" production co. (MTM); 35D: Amazement (AWE); 37D: Orchestra member whose instrument rests on the floor (CELLIST); 38D: Depend (on) (HINGE); 39D: Low points (DEPTHS); 46D: Twisted and turned (SNAKED); 48D: Bonk or conk, e.g. (SLANG); 49D: Dangerous snake (ADDER); 50D: Diary bit (ENTRY); 52D: Gripes (BEEFS); 53D: "__ all right with you ..." (IF IT'S); 55D: Showy parrots (MACAWS); 56D: Don of "Cocoon" (AMECHE); 57D: When many a "Closed" sign is flipped (NINE A.M.); 59D: Cut loose (REVEL); 60D: Fails to mention (OMITS); 61D: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd" speaker and others (PORTIAS); 63D: "Seinfeld" klutz (KRAMER); 67D: Versifier's Muse (ERATO); 68D: Coeur d'__ (ALENE); 73D: Describes (TELLS OF); 75D: Spats (TIFFS); 78D: Mertz neighbors of '50s TV (RICARDOS); 80D: Word after long (AGO); 83D: Like many family films (PG RATED); 84D: SUNY college town (ONEONTA); 86D: Has leftovers, say (EATS IN); 87D: Military training groups (CADRES); 88D: Soap ester (OLEATE); 89D: '60s White House resident, familiarly (JFK JR.); 90D: Lessened (EASED); 91D: Errors (FLUBS); 95D: "Too many to list" abbr. (ET AL.); 96D: It's a wrap (SARI); 98D: A party to (IN ON); 101D: Cunard flagship for 35 yrs. (QE II); 104D: Atlanta sch. (GSU); 105D: British verb ending (-ISE).


Jeffrey said...

We don't see enough puzzles with themes like this. I

struggled through it. ZEEMAN/BESSEMER?

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this puzzle, and, yes, porn is gross. I landed on one site by mistake yesterday. Yech!

Best to the daughter! Poor thing!

gjelizabeth said...

Loved this puzzle! Got the theme partway through and used it to get the other themed answers. I printed out the puzzle from the LA TIMES website. It was missing the clue for 76D. Got it from crosses and loved the clue when I found it here.
This had lots of stuff I didn't know: ELUATE; ZEEMAN; LADA; BESSEMER (most getable from crosses). I agree that TWEEDLES is an odd answer for what the Pied Piper did. Is this some technical music term? Or maybe a punning compound of "wheedle" and "tootle"?
I am vastly ignorant about music and sports.

gjelizabeth said...

Just discovered a NEW YORK TIMES article from Friday about the decline of newsprint crosswords: "No Puzzle in the Paper? I'm Blank!" by Douglas Quenqua July 10,2009. It's interesting and ends with a quote from our own Rex Parker. Maybe someone with more tech savvy than I could post a link?

Joon said...

i had a tough time getting any traction in the NW, but after that i sprinted through it. i was certainly aided by a science background that enabled me to drop ZEEMAN, BESSEMER, and ELUATE into the grid with minimal crossing help. puzzlegirl (and everybody else), i don't think you're actually supposed to know who ZEEMAN is. anybody who's taken quantum mechanics has probably seen his name--the eponymous ZEEMAN effect is the splitting of atomic spectral lines in an external magnetic field. it's an important experiment in the history of science, but ... really, how many people have taken quantum mechanics? (*looks around*)

BESSEMER is a bigger name, and one that i've used in a grid myself. the discovery of the BESSEMER process made possible the mass production of steel, which basically transformed the world in pretty much every which way. the industrial revolution started out as basically just steam, but once they added steel, there was no looking back. battleships, skyscrapers, cities... it's all because of BESSEMER.

gjelizabeth, orange posted a link to that article on the front page of her other blog. here it is.

never heard of ted RALL either (i think i've seen RALL before, but only as the abbr of rallentando, which means "slow down gradually" in music), but ALTA is definitely crosswordese, so file that one away. i guarantee it will be back. likewise LADA.

"antimacassar" is the $0.25 word for doily. "farinaceous" ... wow. never seen that one. very tough section of the grid over there.

shrub5 said...

So sorry to hear of PuzzleDaughter's mishap - those facial cuts can be very bloody and scary. Consider this a long-distance hug.

Well, I plowed through this puzzle slowly but surely. I knew who let the dogs out, but got right off to a bad start by spelling it Baja rather than BAHA. I'm raising my hand for having entered empty before UNFED. Raise another hand if Superman came to mind before BESSEMER.

As to TWEEDLES, never heard of it, but I recall that Ralph Nader (that Also-RAN) called George Bush and Al Gore Tweedledum and Tweedledee in the 2000 Presidential election.

My Grandma had antimacassars (doily-like things) on the headrests of her living room chairs. Guess Grandpa must have had greasy hair?? Or maybe she just thought they were pretty?

Turkey toucher was cute and I didn't get the dogs/feet FOOTREST meaning until PG clued me in. Filled in LIEF through crosses but that's a new (er, archaic) word for me.

gjelizabeth said...

Joon, thank you for the help. This is the only crossword blog I read regularly so I wasn't aware of Orange's link. I found the article by way of a link to an article on handmade paper in Spain from the NY Times Travel Section that was posted on a paperdoll blog that I also read regularly. The crossword article then popped up as a sidebar on the Times website. I mention all this because I'm just astonished how small and inter-connected this apparently vast and complicated world is. Which leads me to quantum mechanics. Thanks for the ZEEMAN explanation. My late husband was a quantum chemist and I used to edit his papers, a task for which an ignorance of the subject was a definite asset. (Someone who knows what you're talking about will read what he or she thinks is there. A person ignorant of a subject has to fall back on textual analysis to explain to you what you actually said.) Still, I ought to have recognized ZEEMAN.

Anonymous said...

We did not enjoy this puzzle. Had to look up too many answers. Have been doing puzzles for years but this was too taxing for us.

jeff in chicago said...

Liked this. What a coincidence...I'll say no more. And I get a shout out at 89A! YAY!

A quibble: "Leader of the pack" is T, not P.



Unknown said...

Another puzzle today had the same gimmick, and the letters did spell something. So it's possible. I liked this one better though because the puzzle overall was much more challenging. The other one was just far too easy.

Gary Lowe said...

I once toyed around with something like "First name in genetics?" = GENE, but didn't get anywhere with it. This, on the other hand, is a very good effort.

I agree with Jeff that you have to be very charitable to give "leader of the pack" a pass, but that phrase turns so nicely. Maybe "Peter principle" (princiPAL? I never remember which is which) could have worked.

Greene said...

Thanks for the crosswordese lesson today PG. I got my OTOE and my ROSCOE all fouled up for a while. ELUATE? Um...what?

The cluing for Sir Georg SOLTI was clever. I never really thought about his name that way, i.e. SOL + TI = SOLTI. Jeff in Chicago should have gotten this answer instantly, since Sir Georg was the maestro of the CSO for many years and consolidated that orchestra's reputation as one of the finest in the world.

"Leader of the Pack" always makes me think of the 1985 Broadway show of the same name which starred Dinah Manoff and featured the music of Ellie Greenwich ("Do Wah Diddy" and "Da Doo Ron Ron" among her many doo-wop hits from the 1960s). The show was an embarrassing catastrophe and closed in a quagmire of contentious litigation, but the score was fun and I still see high schools performing it from time to time.

John said...

This puyzzle was a workout!Had CARNEGIE in place of BESSEMER. Which fouled things up to no end! Also had to google ONEONTO and ZEEMAN to finish. Really enjoyable, overall.

mac said...

This was a tough LAT Sunday, but fun! I think "lief" is one of my favorite archaic words. In Dutch it means "sweet", as a child or a person. It's also a friend's last name.

I remember the Ladas and Trabants driving into Hamburg after the wall broke open in Berlin. The Hamburger people put flowers, fruit and chocolate on the windshields, and notes telling the owners where they could pick up some spending money. A lovely time to be in Germany.

@Jeff in Chicago: chopped liver?;-)

I think the Victorian antimacassars are mostly crocheted. I remember (but not in time....) Bessemer from another puzzle not too long ago, maybe yours, Joon? Pieter Zeeman was born in a lovely part of The Netherlands, all the way in South-West.

Poor PuzzleBaby, hope she is ok. I had something similar happen when I was seven, dripping blood all over my first-communion dress in church.....

Anonymous said...

Nice puzzle, cool theme and a good challenge.

Anonymous said...

I found this one extremely difficult probably because I couldn't figure out the over all riddle which usually gives me lots of letters. Still there were a lot of words I didn't know, such as Bessermer, Eluate, etc. Hopefully next week's a little easier!

Paula in AR said...

59D is Ravel (cut loose) rather than revel. That would make 64A Amir (Dubai dignataries) instead of Emir. An Amir is a military officer which I guess, technically, can also be a dignatary.

Orange said...

Paula, the L.A. Crossword Confidential blogging team does the puzzle using the Across Lite application, which confirms the official solution. In this case, the official answers are REVEL and EMIRS. As PuzzleGirl recently told us, in crosswords the most to least common spellings of that latter word are: emir, emeer, ameer, amir. When in doubt, go with the EMIR spelling!

ruble said...

Isn't anyone bothered by 101D using numbers as letters? QEII is QE2 in my book, but for 109A& 113A the numbers become letters? It's this kind of thing that irritates me about crosswords!

fingerprints said...

I was pretty baffled by the PORN clue as well, as I came to it through the crosses, but I interpreted "gross" to be a two-way pun on "large": porn leads to a large income, and it's best if your "assets" are large (for both males and females) in order to "gross [a] large income."

Anonymous said...

i am still confused by the meaning of all the themes, how they tie together. also, why those particular letters were chosen as clues....

any clue??

Anonymous said...

i am still confused by the meaning of all the themes, how they tie together. also, why those particular letters were chosen as clues....

any clue??

Anonymous said...

I did the entire puzzle, and I have no idea what it was about.
Please!!! What????

PuzzleGirl said...

Okay, sorry, here's a more detailed explanation of the theme.

Each of the theme answers is clued by a single letter. The letter in 23A, for example, is S. And S is the first letter of the word STATE — so it could be referred to as the "head" (beginning) of "state." 29A: The letter A is the last letter of the phrase "AN ERA," so it's the "end" of "an era." See if you can figure out the rest of them and if you have trouble let me know and I'll try to help some more.

Anonymous said...

In my physics and chemistry background I definitely came across ZEEMAN's name before. So I knew it. But ELUATE is completely unknown. I had a SALINE solution to begin with. Didn't get me very far.

Eddie Q said...

Greetings from Birmingham, AL! We all got BESSEMER, from the sheer fact that B'ham is a huge steel producing city and one of the largest suburbs is Bessemer(I live about 10 minutes away)! Anyway, my friends and I just discovered your blog and LOVE it. These are the puzzles they print in the Birmingham News, and it's great to be able to figure out the answers to the Sunday puzzles before the next week. We always manage to get the whole puzzle minus one or two clues!! Keep it up!

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