TUESDAY, July 14, 2009 — Chuck Deodene

Theme: A-E-I-O-U — Theme answers are each a familiar phrase/name the last word of which follows the pattern M-[vowel]-S-S.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Christmas service (MIDNIGHT MASS).
  • 23A: With "A," 1986 Ted Danson film (FINE MESS).
  • 38A: The Rebels of the Southeastern Conference, familiarly (OLE MISS).
  • 52A: Waifish supermodel from Britain (KATE MOSS).
  • 54A: Easy to use, in adspeak (NO FUSS NO MUSS).
Crosswordese 101: The weapon of choice in CrossWorld is, of course, the UZI (1D: Six-Day War weapon). Three letters, 2/3 vowels, a scrabbly letter right in the middle — what's not to love? The UZI was invented in Israel and was used in several wars, the most well-known of which is the one found in today's clue, The Six-Day War. If the clue is looking for a weapon/rifle/firearm that's three letters it's probably going to be UZI. If the clue mentions Israel, or the Six-Day War, then you know for sure.

Very smooth solve for me today. At first I just thought the theme answers ended in SS. It wasn't until I had completed the puzzle and looked back on it that I noticed it was more specific than that. The thing that really makes this theme work — and elegantly — is that all five vowels are used and they appear in order. If it wasn't all five and they weren't in order, you would definitely hear some grumbling from the peanut gallery.

  • 10A: Tattooist's surface (SKIN). See also 63A: Popular tattoo site (ANKLE). Mine is on my left shoulder. PuzzleHusband's is on the top of his right foot (ouch!). When I got my tattoo (I was, I think, 27 or 28), my dad said it just confirmed what he has suspected all along: Some people just have too much money.
  • 27A: Web forum user's self-image (AVATAR). Ya know, someone asked about my avatar in a comment thread recently and I don't think I ever answered. The flower is the Wild Prairie Rose, which is the state flower of North Dakota, where I was born. Pretty, isn't it?
  • 49A: More's perfect place (UTOPIA). Sir Thomas More coined the word utopia and wrote about it in his 1516 book called, um, Utopia.
  • 57A: Claim as one's own (COOPT). I entered adopt at first.
  • 5D: Poppycock (FOLDEROL). Wasn't sure how to spell this word. I ended it with an AL at first.
  • 12D: "That is," in 41-Across (ID EST). Latin! Ya know when you see the abbreviation i.e.? That's what it means, id est. Ya know when you see the abbreviation e.g.? Totally different thing.
  • 21D: "__ bad boy!": Lou Costello catchphrase (I'M A). Speaking of Abbott and Costello, I was keeping an eye on a fun thing on Twitter the other night. People were making up "First Draft Movie Lines." I.e., taking famous movie lines and imagining what the first draft might have been. Obviously, the first drafts were not nearly as funny / intense / memorable as the final version. A few of my favorites:
    "Who's on first?" "Ty Cobb." "Okay, thanks."

    "The name's James. James Bond."

    "You're gonna need a smaller shark."

    "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. I am quite upset and think you owe me an apology."

    "No I'm actually Kiser Soze. I killed those other guys and made this whole story up. Oh, and my leg is fine."
    You get the idea.

  • 24D: The first Mrs. Trump (IVANA). After the whole Miss California kerfuffle earlier this year, PuzzleDad said he heard one of the late-show guys saying that Donald Trump is actually quite serious about his opinion that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a series of progressively younger women.
  • 34D: Left-hand page (VERSO). Right-hand page = RECTO? Is that right?
  • 48D: Enero or mayo (MES). Spanish! Enero = January, mayo = May (remember, the months aren't capitalized in Spanish), mes = month.
  • 50D: Figure, as a sum (TOT UP). I know I've seen this expression before and I will stipulate that it is a perfectly legitimate crossword entry. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.
  • 52D: Wild and crazy (KOOKY).
  • 61D: "Is it soup __?" (YET). This is one of those phrases that just makes me laugh. I have no idea where the phrase originated or what it's supposed to mean, but I find it very amusing nonetheless. Another one is: "Nobody here but us chickens!" And ... I can't think of any more right now.
How'd you do today? Love to hear about it in the comments.

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: "Now we're in for it!" ("UH-OH!"); 5A: Whopper of a meal (FEAST); 14A: Fan mag (ZINE); 15A: Developing egg (OVULE); 16A: Reverse, in word processing (UNDO); 17A: Worshiped carving (IDOL); 18A: Gave false hope to (LED ON); 19A: Track event (MEET); 26A: At ease with (USED TO); 28A: Red giant or white dwarf (STAR); 29A: Price indicators (TAGS); 30A: Down Under gem (OPAL); 33A: Replies to an invite (RSVPS); 37A: California's Santa __ River (ANA); 40A: Before, to bards (ERE); 41A: Tongue of Tiberius (LATIN); 43A: Totally absorbed (RAPT); 44A: Soft cheese (BRIE); 45A: Entrée list (MENU); 47A: Brought a smile to (AMUSED); 56A: Slanted type: Abbr. (ITAL.); 58A: Carry out (OBEY); 62A: Harbor pushers (TUGS); 64A: Craving (URGE); 65A: Blade with a guarded tip (EPEE); 66A: Spanish sovereigns (REYES); 67A: Cornet note (TOOT); 1D: (UZI); 2D: Stashed away (HID); 3D: Beatle spouse Yoko (ONO); 4D: Batters' protection (HELMETS); 6D: Two, four, six, etc. (EVENS); 7D: German wheels (AUDIS); 8D: Trudge, as through mud (SLOG); 9D: Opposite of "At ease!" ("TEN HUT!"); 10D: Vacation times (SUMMERS); 11D: Work on sore muscles (KNEAD); 13D: "Wrong!" ("NOT SO!"); 22D: Peter the Great et al. (TSARS); 23D: Like some mistakes (FATAL); 25D: Pester persistently (NAG AT); 28D: Lose traction (SLIP); 31D: Home to many llamas (PERU); 32D: Docs' org. (AMA); 35D: Is a Nosy Parker (PRIES); 36D: Sprouts-to-be (SEEDS); 38D: "__ the loneliest number": '60s song lyric (ONE IS); 39D: Law book contents (STATUTES); 42D: Sudden urge (IMPULSE); 44D: Saddens, slangily (BUMS OUT); 46D: Daytona 500 org. (NASCAR); 49D: Come together (UNITE); 51D: No longer a minor (OF AGE); 53D: More than enough (AMPLE); 55D: Zilch (NONE); 59D: 'Hood buddy (BRO); 60D: Word before booster or tripper (EGO).


Anonymous said...

I have a problem with 46 down the answer listed as NASCAR. NASCAR is not the Indy 500 organization.

Orange said...

Anon, the version of the puzzle PuzzleGirl and I did has "Daytona 500 org." in the clue, and that is a NASCAR event. If your newspaper has Indy 500, then an editor somewhere mucked things up.

Sandy said...

My newspaper has "Daytona".

I have never ever heard the phrase "is it soup yet," so that gave me pause.

The only other thing that really slowed me down was that the theme answers were tucked away all over the grid and I had to search them out. Minor quibble.

Nice write up, thanks.

Carol said...

I ask my hubby every morning, "Is it coffee yet?"

Rex Parker said...

Whoa. Harsh lesson in "Check Your Crosses" this morning, as I went with TOTAL instead of (gag) TOT UP at 50D. The screwed-up crosses, TAGS and E LEE, have plenty of xword cred, so I figured they must be right. Wrong.

Also had ADOPT at first for COOPT.

Yes, RECTO is right (right!).

"I'M A Bad Boy" just creeps me out, as a quote. Self-infantilizing man, [shudder].

Love idea of tattoo, but not sure I trust anyone w/ that much power over the permanent appearance of any part of my SKIN.


gjelizabeth said...

I think, maybe, could be (enough disclaimers?) that "Is it soup yet?" was an old Lipton soup ad tagline. Since the soup was dry and had to be cooked into soup (about 10 minutes) you had people in the ads popping into the kitchen with the question.
I liked the A-E-I-O-U progression.

jeff in chicago said...

I own a cornet, so, as the SE corner commands me, I will OBEY my URGE to TOOT today.

Funny writeup today, PG. Love the movie line concept.

"To be honest, Scarlett, your problems don't concern me."

shrub5 said...

Pretty smooth solve today, although I am chagrined to admit I didn't see the theme until I got here. Very clever! I liked FOLDEROL and BUMSOUT as well as the references to two old comedy team stalwarts:

Abbott and Costello: "IMA bad boy!"

Laurel and Hardy:
"Well, here's another FINEMESS you've gotten us into, Stanley."

I'm glad 48D) had both enero and mayo or I would have been thinking sandwich spread rather than months.

obertb said...

"Play it again, Sam."

"Beam me up, Scotty."

*David* said...

Got stuck in the COOPT/ADOPT bottom area for way too long. Otherwise a clean solve and didn't see the AEIOU theme until I came here. I love FOLDEROL and learned about VERSO/RECTO.

Denise said...

My memory of "Is it soup yet?" is an ad of a family sitting at the table, and Mom bringing in the Cambell's (??) soup == it was dinner.

Whatever. It wasn't a straight shot for me today -- in haste, I left some errors.

Denise said...

From "Urban Dictionary" --

It means "Are you finished?" or "Is it time?"

Comes from a 1970's Lipton instant soup commercial, notable on several levels. First off, it was a slam against Campbell's which was merely condensed. Lipton did Campbell's one better and removed itself even further from the real stuff, by removing ALL the water and powdering the soup. Only when re-hydrated with boiling water, was it again soup.

So kid's in commercials would ask, "Is it soup yet?"


The fact that it was even more prefab than Campbell's was a selling point!

Wife: I'll be ready to go in a minute?
Husband (a few minutes later): Is it soup yet?

Gary Lowe said...

In Gilbert O'sullivan's "Nothing Rhymed", a great song in many ways, he asks his mother to punish him 'unbelievably' if he makes a mistake. Not cool to contemplate what's going on there ...

"At ease" apears twice in the cluing, unrelated. Hmm..

How about "The truth? The TRUTH!? Okay, it happened like this ..."

chefbea said...

I too looked up "is it soup yet"

The Urban Dictionary reminds us that the slogan “Is it soup, yet” was born out of a marketing campaign by Lipton Co. debunking Campbell’s condensed soups. Ironically, Lipton took the water out of their product and introduced a dry mix. This was better? On national TV in the late sixties, mom would be stirring her Lipton concoction, and kids would come running in asking the ultimate question, “Is it soup, yet?” Is it finished?

I personally make my own soups. Use lipton sometimes for seasoning

Easy Tuesday puzzle

SethG said...

I'd say the weapon of choice in PuzzleWorld is 4-letters long, the STEN. (Not the EPEE--I had the same error as Rex.)

My other problem is that I was sure the phrase was NO MUSS NO FUSS. I knew the answer had to end in MUSS from the theme, but I was very hesitant about putting in NO FUSS. And Google definitely confirms that I...was wrong.

Orange said...

Wait, SethG, are you telling me that I'm wrong, too? Because "no muss, no fuss" sounds about 80 times better to me.

Rex Parker said...

Muss before Fuss is 100 kinds of wrong.


eileen said...

Definately a fun Tuesday puzzle. Got hung up on FOLDEROL as I have never heard this expression before. Enjoyed PG's writeup and love the comments, as always. You guys are sooooo funny sometimes!

Anonymous said...

Uh oh! Toot!

Anonymous said...

Some other first draft lines from movies:

"My name is James Bond, J - A - M - E - S - B - O - N - D"

"Here's looking at you, baby goat."

"I'm very angry and I'm going to write a stern letter to the FCC."

"You had me with 'Have you heard of Scientology?' "

Norm said...

muss before fuss has about 91,000 google hits; fuss before muss about 56,000. too close to call.

chefwen said...

I thought PG was going to say, "this puzzle is brought to you by double ss's" again, never saw the AEIOU, that's happened to me a few times, sigh!

But I am happy that I didn't have any write overs on the NYT or the LAT puzzles today. Yeah!

InkLover said...

@PG - If that's your tat, I can be in North Virginia in 4 hours. Just let me know.

Charles Bogle said...

@shrub5; we must have been separated at birth...we have exact same take today-

this puzzle won my heart w the "is a Nosy Parker" clue (PRIES)

Thank you Chuck Deodene

mac said...

Liked this puzzle a lot!
Folderol sort of developed, I was sure it first there was an A in there somewhere. I'm with SethG, my weapon of choice is a Sten.
Orange is never wrong!

I personally hate tattoos, but was both shocked and moved when our son had a tattoo done, on his upper arm, of my father's name in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing after he died.

shrub5 said...

@mac: I'm not a fan of tatoos either but what a lovely tribute to his grandpa! 8-)

Wayne said...

@PuzzleGirl: Thanks for the info about your avatar, I was wondering if that flower had some significance to you. I don't like TOTUP as well. If I were to hear someone say that, it would make me think of 'tote up', as in "please tote up that bag of potatoes from downstairs" (showing the southern half of my heritage again).

Anonymous said...

@mac: I'm with you; Orange is never wrong!

Would be a great teeshirt for her many fans! But, then, Rex & PuzzleGirl will want their own teeshirts,too!

mac said...

Wouldn't it be fun to think up some t-shirts for them, too!