MONDAY, Aug. 3, 2009 — David W. Cromer

THEME: Togetherness — theme answers begin with SHARED, JOINT, COMMON, and MUTUAL, respectively

A ho-hum puzzle for me today. Theme answers feel like they were taken out of manila folder in a gray file cabinet in a nondescript building in Utica. They're all lifeless business / office-type phrases. No pop. No sizzle. No ELAN (33A: Vigorous spirit). And wit the exception of MUTUAL FUND, none of them really trips off the tongue at all. COMMON CAUSE has nice alliteration, but it's not a phrase I encounter regularly, so the second half of it took several crosses to get. Same was true of JOINT TENANT. Overall, a blah experience.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Data set available to many (SHARED FILE)
  • 9D: Property co-owner (JOINT TENANT)
  • 25D: Unifying objective (COMMON CAUSE)
  • 57A: Professionally managed investment type (MUTUAL FUND)

Crosswordese 101: ANIME (37A: Japanese cartoon art genre) — that's three syllables, with the final "E" getting a long A sound. What cartoons are to comics, ANIME is to MANGA (another Japanese cartoon art genre worth knowing about). A lot of ANIME is characterized by stylized, expressive, and angular art, as well as stories with adult themes (though some of the most successful ANIME shows have been aimed specifically at young children, e.g. Pokémon). People under 30 are far, far more likely to be familiar with both ANIME and MANGA, as neither became a big deal in the west until some time in the mid-late 90s. Now, the genre is as common to kids as superhero comics and Saturday-morning cartoons were to me when I was a kid. ANIME is a boon for crossword constructors, as it is 60% vowels. I have it on my short list of "21st Century Crosswordese."

What else?

  • 49A: Wetlands growth (CATTAIL) — first, this is not a common word to me, though I can picture it now that I see it. Second, "growth" = horrid word. My first thought on seeing this clue: swamp tumor?
  • 47D: Volunteer's offer ("I'LL GO") — stretches the limits of my tolerance for random spoken phrases.
  • 23D: "Don't Bring Me Down" rock gp. (ELO) — this puzzle is really deathly boring. I keep looking around for Anything to comment on and ... no. It's a Wasteland (and I can't even make a T.S. ELIOT reference because that answer is in the NYT today, not here). So instead I'll play this ELO song, which I was listening to in the car the other day, realizing I *still* didn't know what word they were saying in the chorus: "Don't bring me down ... Bruce?" OK, here's what Wikipedia says:

A common mondegreen in the song is the perception that, following the title line, Jeff Lynne shouts "Bruce!" However, according to liner notes, he is actually saying a made-up word "Grroosss". This is similar to a German word for "greeting", Gruß, possibly referring to the Bavarian greeting Grüß Gott that the group would have heard while recording the album in Munich. However, after the song's release, so many people had misinterpreted the word as Bruce that Jeff Lynne actually began to sing the word as Bruce for fun at live shows.

  • 39A: Pointy-hatted garden statue (GNOME) — OK, I really like "pointy-hatted" as an adjective, so thumbs up there.

You know what's fun to say: RIP RIPA REPO

See you all ... I don't know when. I'm going on vacation, so it'll be a while. PG's covering for me, I think.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Pear variety (BOSC); 5A: Philbin's co-host (RIPA); 9A: Sharp punches (JABS); 13A: Rights org. (ACLU); 14A: Broadcast booth sign (ON AIR); 16A: ESPN sportscaster Hershiser (OREL); 17A: Data set available to many (SHARED FILE); 19A: Division word (INTO); 20A: Vietnamese celebration (TET); 21A: Have to have (NEED); 22A: Obama was in it until November 2008 (SENATE); 24A: __ set: construction toy (ERECTOR); 26A: Dances in 3/4 time (WALTZES); 27A: Surgery ctrs. (ORS); 28A: Lindbergh, notably (PILOT); 29A: Mel, "The Velvet Fog" (TORME); 32A: Barn bundle (BALE); 33A: Vigorous spirit (ELAN); 37A: Japanese cartoon art genre (ANIME); 38A: Ignited (LIT); 39A: Pointy-hatted garden statue (GNOME); 40A: Taken-back auto (REPO); 41A: Thumbs-down reviews (PANS); 42A: Math comparison (RATIO); 43A: Like the Vikings (NORSE); 45A: Barnyard brooder (HEN); 46A: Treat for Fido (BISCUIT); 49A: Wetlands growth (CATTAIL); 53A: Many vows are taken at them (ALTARS); 54A: Really teed off (SORE); 55A: Aussie bounder (ROO); 56A: Chicken cordon __ (BLEU); 57A: Professionally managed investment type (MUTUAL FUND); 60A: Gets grayer, usually (AGES); 61A: Periods, in telegrams (STOPS); 62A: Big Apple theater award (OBIE); 63A: Part to play (ROLE); 64A: Lea females (EWES); 65A: D.C. lobbying orgs. (PACS); 1D: Moisten during roasting (BASTE); 2D: Autumn leaf color (OCHER); 3D: Chalkboard material (SLATE); 4D: Mangy mutt (CUR); 5D: Cowpokes' competitions (RODEOS); 6D: Reason out (INFER); 7D: Picked up the tab (PAID); 8D: Have a bug (AIL); 9D: Property co-owner (JOINT TENANT); 10D: Desi who married Lucille Ball (ARNAZ); 11D: Midler of "The Rose" (BETTE); 12D: Gin flavorings (SLOES); 15D: Used-car lot transaction (RESALE); 18D: Serving after the salad (ENTREE); 23D: "Don't Bring Me Down" rock gp. (ELO); 25D: Unifying objective (COMMON CAUSE); 26D: Loses crispness, as celery (WILTS); 28D: "The Age of Reason" author Thomas (PAINE); 29D: Sea dog (TAR); 30D: White Monopoly bill (ONE); 31D: __ cord: parachute activator (RIP); 32D: Explosion (BLAST); 34D: Place to build (LOT); 35D: "__ seeing things?" (AM I); 36D: Prefix with natal or classical (NEO-); 39D: Sister of Hansel (GRETEL); 41D: Light-refracting devices (PRISMS); 44D: Wilder's "__ Town" (OUR); 45D: Bother continually (HARASS); 46D: Kid-lit elephant (BABAR); 47D: Volunteer's offer (I'LL GO); 48D: Pittsburgh product, historically (STEEL); 49D: Two-door car (COUPE); 50D: Caribbean island resort (ARUBA); 51D: Greek column style (IONIC); 52D: Mine bonanzas (LODES); 54D: Pack in the overhead bin (STOW); 58D: Beehive State native (UTE); 59D: Fancy dresser (FOP).


Anonymous said...

I agree wwith Rex. So boring there is nothing to say.

Charles Bogle said...

I agree w Rex--ho-hum, blah; seems like it was phoned in

fun words: BALE (my VT farmer neighbors can't hay enough in this rain): playoff of REPO RESALE GNOME OCHER TWES

Also, to constructor's credit, less of the usual hackneyed fill-

besides I really needed a breezy Monday

gjelizabeth said...

I love the "Barn bundle" = BALE alliteration and liked the theme. I find both COMMONCAUSE and JOINTTENANT in regular useage. Common Cause, a citizen's lobby founded in 1970 and still going strong, is a grass-roots, non-partisan organization that took its name from the old idea of "making common cause" with people and groups that agree on something but not necessarily everything.
Joint tenancy should (in the sense of it's worth your while to know this stuff) be an idea familiar to anyone who who owns property or bank accounts with another person. If the property or accounts are titled in "joint tenancy" the co-owner automatically inherits. In other words, if you hold a vacation property with a sibling as joint tenants and expect to leave your half of the property to someone other than your sibling, you probably can't. There are many different ways to title property and each way has a different set of implications. Looking at all this once in a while cuts down on the Surprise! factor when it's too late to do anything.
Enjoy your vacation Rex. Thanks for this wonderful blog.

Carol said...

I love mondegreens! The name alone is awesome.

My family still teases me about my own personal mondegreen in an Elton John favorite. Until I saw the name of the song in writing, I thought he was singing P-P-P-Penny and the Jets with electric boobs and mohair suits!

Fast puzzle today.

*David* said...

Tough puzzle today what exactly is a CLIP JOINT? I didn't know that Emu's lay green eggs and OATMEAL in haggis, makes sense I suppose. I had DDT where PAM was the answer....oh sorry wrong puzzle, this is the Newsday one right?

Crockett1947 said...

@*david* Right puzzle, wrong day.

Denise said...

Have a terrific vacation, Rex. What about the NYT?

This puzzle was pedestrian, but I did it in under 5 minutes -- I need the practice with easy solves. The rest of you, don't complain -- we all have our own objectives in the land of crosswords.

CATTAIL was a nice image on a hot day.

Eddie Q said...

So I wake up today and get my Birmingham News from the front yard to find that they've changed the crossword puzzle from the LAT to some crackerjack boring puzzle!! What a crappy way to start the day off! How do I get the LAT puzzle online? I can't go without my LAT and this awesome blog another day!

Crockett1947 said...

@eddieq Two ways: go to The L.A. Times site or go to cruciverb.com and access it there. The L.A. Times site uses an applet and is not forgiving if you click outside the puzzle -- all your work is gone. On cruciverb.com, you need the AcrossLite application which is available on the N.Y. Times web site. In both cases, you can get help or not, or you can print out the blank puzzle and solve with pen as you used to do on the newspaper copy. Either way, it's worth the effort to get a quality puzzle. The puzzle is available in the Archives section of cruciverb at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time, or at 11:00 p.m. Pacific time on the L.A. Times site. It helps to have both available in case one is having troubles (cruciverb had a real problem over the weekend, and the only available puzzle was on the L.A. Times site).

Hope this is useful to you!

chefbea said...

Talk about easy clues... Desi who married Lucille Ball??
How many Desi's are there???

Think I'll go eat a biscuit and a pear

Jeffrey said...

There's Desi Arnaz Jr.

chefbea said...

@crosscan LOL

PurpleGuy said...

@chefbea- are the biscuits homemade ?
I make wonderful ones seasoned with thyme and sage.

Oh, puzzle ? Agree with Rex and the others-bleah!
Easy Monday, but not satisfying.

Have a wonderful vacation, Rex.
Hope you're back in time for the NYT pot luck dinner !

chefbea said...

So where is Rex going??? Where in the world is Rex Parker?? I assume we will see fotos

Unknown said...

Caribbean island resort (Aruba)?
Aruba is the island. On the island there are resorts, none of which are called "Aruba" to my knowledge. So how is Aruba the answer to Caribbean island resort? If it had just said Caribbean Island, ok, but it didn't. Am I missing something here? Is it just me, or are those kinds of clues annoying?

shrub5 said...

Just got back from the office supply store -- a trip for printer ink (major sticker shock as usual), then I was able to print out the puzzle. Quick solve on this one; nothing gave me much trouble. I had HECKLE before HARASS and initially spelled OCHER as OCHRE. I was especially pleased with the shoutout to my favorite entertainer The Divine Miss M (BETTE), the epitome of ÉLAN.

Good Monday-level puzzle with nice variety in the theme and fill.
@RP: enjoy your R&R!