TUESDAY, July 21, 2009 — Bruce Venzke

Theme: Boats! — Theme answers are words or phrases that end with a word for a type of boat.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Salem trials crime (WITCHCRAFT).
  • 57A: Press suppression (CENSORSHIP).
  • 11D: Aorta, for one (BLOOD VESSEL).
  • 25D: Shake things up (ROCK THE BOAT).

Crosswordese 101: Lots of crosswordese to choose from today, but much of it has been covered already: OSHA, ENA, ELI, PASHA, OLLA, and NÉE. So let's talk about the ELOI. We learn from today's puzzle that the ELOI are a [56A: Childlike race in "The Time Machine"], an 1895 novel by H. G. Wells. In addition to being childlike, they are blond and upper-class. They were victims of the "Morlocks" (possibly eaten by them? I don't know the book; I'm just getting my info from crossword clues). One of them is named Weena. Now you are completely prepared for the next time ELOI appears in a puzzle.

Look, I'm not proud of this and it doesn't make me happy to say so publicly, but I did not like this puzzle. In addition to all the crosswordese mentioned above, there were too many awkward prefixes and suffixes going on: e.g., ENHALO (49A: Surround, as with a circle of light), SPRYER (23A: More nimble), and LADLED (26A: Worked in a soup kitchen). AMT. for (3D: No. on a receipt) seemed completely off to me, even though the more I look at it the more it seems perfectly fine. We've got our new favorite pet peeve at 55D: Type of coach: Abbr. (ASST.). An ASST. isn't a type of coach; an ASST. COACH is a type of coach. We've got OLAY and OLÉS in the same puzzle (16A: Neutrogena rival / 20A: Shouts to a matador). The clue for ARKS includes the word vessels (36A: Clumsy vessels) even though that's part of a theme answer. Oh, and then there's this freakin' road I've never heard of (50D: Highway through the Yukon (ALCAN)). I assume Crosscan will be along any minute to inform me that's just my U.S. bias. Also to gloat about how fast he's getting.

If you got tripped up at all during your solve, I'm going to guess it was at one or more of these words:
  • 14A: Ancient people of south-central Mexico (OLMEC). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 38A: Jeweler's glass (LOUPE). Waaaay back in the cobwebs somewhere.
  • 62A: Smelter's waste (SLAG). Learned it from crosswords.
  • 9D: Square dance group (OCTAD). You wanted octet, didn't you?
Also, you may have started to enter Presley for 10D: Rocker Elvis. Wait, did I spell that right? ... Whew! Sure did. PuzzleHusband has a good friend named Scott Pressly, so I always get confused about the spelling.

So. Was there anything to like about this puzzle? Well sure!
  • 21A: Convertibles, slangily (RAGTOPS). I had never heard this term until Tim McGraw's song "Red Ragtop" came out in 2002. Although I love Tim McGraw, I'm not a fan of that song, so I won't make you listen to it.
  • 28A: "Our Gang" dog (PETEY). As far as old-timey dogs go, Petey is way cooler than Tige. I don't even know how to pronounce Tige.
  • 67A: Bit of casino action (WAGER). WAGER is a much cooler word than bet.
  • 4D: Fake drake, e.g. (DECOY). I used to work for a guy whose first name was Mallard. True story.
  • 5D: Hauls with effort (SCHLEPS). The Yiddish is always welcome.
  • 18D: Trix and Kix (CEREALS).

  • 35D: "The Munsters" actress Yvonne (DE CARLO). Wasn't 100% sure on the spelling and, in fact, I'm pretty sure I pictured Carolyn Jones here instead of Yvonne De Carlo.
  • 37D: Galas (SHINDIGS). Now that's a good word. Next party I have is going to be billed as a SHINDIG. Do you think I'll need better food? Or something?
Everything Else — 1A: Hippie adornments (BEADS); 6A: Weaponless self-defense (JUDO); 10A: Semi driver, at times (CBER); 15A: François's "with" (AVEC); 19A: All in a huff (SORE); 27A: Corp. head (CEO); 30A: North Pole crew (ELVES); 33A: VCR button (REC); 34A: Articulated (SAID); 35A: Remove from text (DELETE); 40A: Dept. of Labor agency (OSHA); 41A: Pity-evoking quality (PATHOS); 43A: Photos, briefly (PICS); 45A: Met, as a poker bet (SAW); 46A: Moral principle (ETHIC); 47A: Porterhouse, e.g. (STEAK); 48A: Doe in "Bambi" (ENA); 51A: "Believe It or Not" guy (RIPLEY); 53A: 1996 loser to Bill Clinton (BOB DOLE); 55A: "M*A*S*H" Emmy winner for acting, writing and directing (ALDA); 63A: Dian Fossey subjects (APES); 64A: Chicago hub (O'HARE); 65A: Makes doilies (TATS); 66A: Da's opposite (NYET); 1D: Gift adornment (BOW); 2D: Inventor Whitney (ELI); 6D: Where pickles are packed (JARS); 7D: Charlottesville inst. (UVA); 8D: Offset, as expenses (DEFRAY); 12D: 1870s Dodge City VIP (EARP); 13D: Deli loaves (RYES); 22D: Elation (GLEE); 23D: Predicament (SCRAPE); 24D: Study intently (PEER AT); 26D: Set the stage for (LED UP TO); 29D: Pedro's uncle (TIO); 31D: Natural gas component (ETHANE); 32D: Shipping route (SEAWAY); 39D: Pizzeria offering (PIE); 42D: Cinco y tres (OCHO); 44D: Vagrants' hangout (SKID ROW); 47D: Inclined to doze (SLEEPY); 52D: Old Turkish VIP (PASHA); 53D: Second to none (BEST); 54D: Earthen stewpot (OLLA); 58D: Society page word (NÉE); 59D: Crone (HAG); 60D: Vexation (IRE); 61D: Word before se (PER).


Brendan Emmett Quigley said...

The single greatest clue I'd ever seen for ELOI was {English race since 1895}

Sandy said...

enhalo! ugh.

gjelizabeth said...

Yup, had OCTET and loved "Fake Drake, e.g." Knew SLAG. I associate it with tragic accidents. Slagheaps were features of old mining villages. They were unstable and sometimes slid or collapsed. Years ago one crushed a school in the British Isles, killing most of the children of the village.
I liked that 32D SEAWAY gave all those boats something to sail on.
An answer word used in a clue for another word is frequently pointed out as a negative in these puzzle critiques. I can understand that the clue for a word shouldn't include the word but don't understand why it matters elsewhere in the cluing. Is this a convention? other reason? Thanks for all your help. I enjoy crosswording more as I learn more.

Eddie Q said...

Enhalo? Really? And last I always thought it was OIL of Olay, not just OLAY. Anywho, I stink at solving crosswords (only been doing it a couple of weeks. LOVE the blog, by the way. Crosswordese has changed my life)...but even a novice like me flew through this one. Did I mention how much I love your write-ups? Keep up the good work!!!

Rex Parker said...

Will get to work on the "Crosswordese Has Changed My Life" T-shirts. Immediately.


Eddie Q said...

How much? I'll buy 10!! :)

Anonymous said...

Yep, the Alcan is a very important highway to those who live in the north. :o)

Sfingi said...

Shindig! with the exclamation, a dreadful variety show on Sat. in the 60s.

Didn't know octad or Bambi's aunt, but they fell into place. Wish I had known Petey, as that held me up. Learning new things!

That's no ladle, that's my knife.
Instant apologies.

The 1960 movie, Time Machine is awesome. The Eloi, including Yvette Mimieux are indeed food. All white meat. They have been bred by the Morlocks to be sheeplike. They live topside and the Morlocks live underground. The time machine does not change geographic position, but is permanently in front of a woman's clothing store. There are something like CDs that they spin on their sides for info.

If you want slag, drive through Carbondale, PA.

Jeffrey said...

Me? Gloat?

The ALCAN [ALaska-CANada] highway has been better known as the Alaska Highway for a long time. It starts in Dawson Creek,British Columbia, goes through Yukon and ends in Fairbanks, Alaska.

It was built after Pearl Harbor in case of a Japanese invasion of Alaska.

Denise said...

For those of us of a "certain age" the Alcan Highway was an exciting announcement. Back in those pre-Moon walk days, it didn't take so much to create a headline.

ddbmc said...

New at this and greatly appreciate PG, Orange and Rex's comments, along with fellow commentors! I am just at that age where Yvonne DeCarlo came immediately, along with Elvis Costello, yet, didn't remember Ena. Senior moments getting too frequent! Sfingi's "no ladle..." made me gawfaw (hearty laugh???)Crosscan, I DID know ALCAN-wow! but forgot CW-ese 101-Tat! I have boys, so, sadly, ethane came immediately! Keep up the great work, all! You "make my day!"

Orange said...

@ddbmc, I swear the only people who know that Bambi's aunt is named Ena are regular crossword solvers.

Hey, PuzzleGirl, remember when Josh's fake Drake partnered up with Drake's fake Josh and got a TV show deal?

@gjelizabeth, I think it's that puzzlemakers don't want to accidentally give away any answers. If you'd forgotten that "vessel" was another word for "boat," well, the ARK clue put it right out there in front of you. And if you're accustomed to the general rule being followed, deviations from the rule can throw you off—"It can't be BLOOD VESSEL because 'vessel" is in that clue, but what else can it be?" This makes some people apoplectic.

eileen said...

Seemed like a lot of crosswordese for a Tuesday. Can one of you guys explain Da's opposite-NYTE to me? I have no idea what it is.
Thanks! Missed you guys over the last few days, took the family on a little trip to Chatauqau and there were only NY Times up there.

Jeffrey said...

@eileen: It's Russian

DA = yes.
NYET - no.

eileen said...

@Crosscan: Spaseeba! (I had to google that)

*David* said...

I don't have my LAT paper in front of me but I think the clue for 1A was SPAN and I was hoping to understand what that had to do with BEADS, now I get what I didn't get.

I never connected with this puzzle and it was a slow (for a Tuesday) solve. I liked, COSTELLO, DECARLO and ALCAN.

James said...

ELVES crosses with COSTELLO. Cute.

And then I wonder if this and similar instances are planned or just happenstance.

Gary Lowe said...

@sfingi - white meat, har har.

- Quibble about "Rocker" clue - No one in music that I've ever heard of, with the first name "Elvis", can be considered a "Rocker", IMOO.

- ENHALO is bad. LADLED is fine. VESSEL and "Vessel" seems like such an obvious and curious slip at editing.

shrub5 said...

Petey the "Our Gang" dog had a circle around one eye. The original dog in the role had a naturally-occurring mark that was nearly a ring. It had to be enhanced a bit by make-up artist Max Factor. Subsequent Peteys had it drawn on entirely. One Halloween a few years back, a neighbor of mine who has a Petey-like dog drew a ring around his eye (i.e., the dog's eye) and that was his "costume."

I like that handy-dandy prefix wheel!
I didn't see the boat theme 'til I came here....

Orange said...

@Gary Lowe: Bite your tongue! Elvis Costello does too rock. Even now, solidly in middle age. Especially live on stage.

Gary Lowe said...

[laughing] I remember one of the first internet 'flame' experiences I had, about 1999, was taking the stance that Neil Young does not 'rock'. I believed, after a while, that some people (if they knew where I lived) would have done me physical harm ....

Karen from the Cape said...

Who's the guy in the Drake jpeg?
I had OCTET briefly. I thought ALCAN was crosswordese.

Orange said...

@Karen: Recent Nickeledeon show called Drake and Josh about two teen stepbrothers. Miranda Cosgrove played their brilliant prankster little sister, and she now stars in PuzzleGirl's favorite kids' show, iCarly. Cosgrove has real presence—she will probably end up with a career as solid as Natalie Portman's but more comedically inclined.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, are the childlike-but-never-childish ELOI too refined to mingle with the "hoi polloi"? [Until studying up for the ACT in highschool, I naively believed "hoi polloi" was a Hawaiian word—you gotta admit that it could be Polynesian with those vowels & consonants!

@PG: Very sharp/judicious/witty write-up on a puzzle that ended up drenched with milk & cereal within seconds of my last couple fills..Upsy-doozie!
Thanks for sticking with your blog—it makes the day fly faster

mac said...

Found this one a little harder than most Tuesdays. Yet another crossword dog, Petey?

chefbea said...

Easy puzzle today. Did not like enhalo either.

@Eileen My brother spends a lot of the summer in Chataqua. Says its beautiful and great music.

Loved the kix and trix clue... I just made a batch of my cheerios cookies Yummm

Jimmie said...

David. You are right in that there is a misprint in the LAT. The (first) clue to 1A is "across," which does not fit BEADS. But the second clue to 1A is Hippie adornments," which does.

jazz said...


Not excited about ELOI or OLLA (shouldn't obscure words not cross each other at key letters?)

And for whatever reason, I'm tired of the answer CBER, even though it's becoming more and more common. It's just not a word, not two words, not three words, and not an abbreviation, not a prefix or suffix. It just, uh, hurts to write it in.

Jet City Gambler said...

As a Seattle resident, I have to raise a mild objection to SKID ROW. The actual phrase, which originated in Seattle, is SKID ROAD. It refers to Yessler Way, the road where the logs were dragged down to the port, leaving a big ditch (or skid) dug into the middle.

Anonymous said...

Are we upping the T n A quotient here a bit in the last few weeks?

- - Robert

Denise said...

Growing up, my next door neighbor's name was ENA, and she was named for the deer.

chefwen said...

Knew SLAG from my career in the steel industry, a lifetime ago.

Saw the movie The Time Machine when I was a kid, a lifetime ago, and for some reason it left a huge impression on me and I have never forgotten about the ELOI or the Morlocks. First time I saw it in a crossword puzzle, I knew it immediatly and was somewhat surprised that I had retained that.

Hand raised with octet.

@Rex - could you make one sleeveless with a V neck?

Sfingi said...

The Eloi were stupid and unaware the Morlocks existed or why food just appeared - like a husband of my generation.
But, seriously, the movie is a wonder. The time machine itself is what the young'uns now call "steampunk."
Also had Sebastian Cabot (Family Affair, not explorer) $14 dvd next time you buy on Amazon.

Charles Bogle said...

Nice story about PETEY @shrub5 and great write-up @PG

Agree w @mac, @*david*-seemed tougher for a Tuesday. Embarrassed to admit I never caught the theme until I came here. Offset that by fact I didn't have to resort to any outside help, even though I was sure ten or so of the words criticized aptly here would prove to be gibberish and wrong

It rained-AGAIN-in the NE today, hard, so nautical theme-and ARKS-is fitting

I did like SCRAPE and JUDO

EARP-curiously enough? appears in the other major daily puzzle today


mac said...

@Charles Bogle: you must live in my general area - the rain is pelting down! It's supposed to last through Friday. I'm thinking Ark.

Jerome said...

"Look, I'm not proud of this and it doesn't make me happy to say so publicly, but I did not like this puzzle." What a pathetic excuse for trashing a fine puzzle. But that's just my opinion. As yours is.

barboid said...

Lighten up Jerome! She didn't make a pathetic excuse, her objections were right on and many of us agree. As to most puzzles of this nature, some are more enjoyable to solve than others. This just happens to be one of those others.

@Jimmy and David. Across wasn't supposed to be a clue, it's the column header. In my paper SJMN, both the words ACROSS and DOWN are all caps and appear on the line just above their respective columns. Maybe someone at your paper just forgot to hit the caps button.

Anonymous said...

I didn't notice the LAT erroneous clue for 1A "across" and wasted hours. I'm impressed that this is the first error I've encountered in this well edited puzzle. I agree that some of the other answers were iffy.