MONDAY, August 10, 2009—Billie Truitt

THEME: "Fuss and Feathers"—Assorted "f___ and f___" phrases, not including fuss and feathers

Theme answers:
  • 20A: "American Idol" contestant's dream (FAME AND FORTUNE). That's PuzzleGirl's photo of runner-up Adam Lambert from last week's Idol concert, at which she had front-row seats! Close enough to capture his guyliner (which is eyeliner on a guy) and dark nail polish. Fame and fortune will likely continue colliding with him.
  • 37A: Hard data (FACTS AND FIGURES). This...is not an inherently exciting phrase.
  • 52A: Like a movie auto chase scene (FAST AND FURIOUS). That's also the title of the latest sequel to The Fast and the Furious. The earlier sequel was, if memory serves, 2 Fast 2 Furious. I'm holding out for a fourth installment called Fast and Fourious. Who's with me?
Crosswordese 101: EMS is one of those answers that tend to confuse people who aren't familiar with the recent convention of super-literal clues that require the solver to ignore a word's meaning and instead look at the individual letters it contains. 44A: Mummy's threesome? means the three letter Ms in the word mummy. Some people hate these clues and their "hey, nobody spells that letter out like that" answers. Even some constructors disdain these spelled-out-name-of-a-letter answers, your CEES and ENS and ESSES. I kinda like the game that hyper-literal clues play, so I don't care that nobody talks about the letter ESS. Now, a couple decades ago, EMS was solid crosswordese with a geographical fill-in-the blank clue referencing German spa town Bad Ems, and today many constructors opt for the E.M.S. abbreviation for emergency medical services.

And now, a smattering of clues and their answers:
  • 39D: "Ah, that explains it!" ("NO WONDER!"). Now, that is a terrific crossword answer. When the clue is a spoken phrase in quotation marks, the answer typically is, too, and it may or may not contain more than one word. See also 45D: "This I gotta hear!" ("DO TELL!").
  • 9A: Pirate's chum (MATEY). Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up next month, and I could really do without a day when people write things on the Internet in faux piratespeak. But I did enjoy the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
  • 8D: Mislead deliberately (THROW OFF). Yes, sometimes crossword constructors and editors craft clues to deliberately mislead us and THROW us OFF the path to the right answer.
A few words about multi-word short answers: Even an answer as short as four letters can contain three words. Have you encountered A TO Z (or the shorter gamut from A TO B) in a puzzle before? More common than three-worders are the two-word answers, which we've got several examples of in today's crossword. I know that these can be jarring for folks who are new to the L.A. Times crossword. No "(2 wds.)" tags to point the way!
  • 18A: With 10-Down, approximately (ON OR)—This one partners with ABOUT.
  • 28A: Handyman's tasks (ODD JOBS)—Ah, what a great term to show up in a crossword.
  • 7D: Dating from (AS OF)—As in "as of next Saturday, I will be one year older.'
  • 21D: At __ for words (A LOSS)—This is what we call a "partial," a multi-word answer that isn't a complete phrase by itself. It needs a fill-in-the-blank (FITB) clue or a reasonable facsimile, such as Thin-rail connector cluing AS A (part of "thin AS A rail"). Once you know to be on the lookout for partials, they can be some of the easiest ones to figure out; just skim the list of clues looking for FITBs and you'll be off to a quick start.
  • 49D: Back of a 45 record (B-SIDE)—Sometimes the answer will slide the SIDE to the beginning of SIDE A or SIDE B, so move cautiously with a clue about the sides of records.
  • 56D: __ no good: plotting (UP TO)—Another two-word partial.
I thought about including a U2 video—49A: U2's lead vocalist (BONO) is in the puzzle—but I was looking at a concert video and Bono (like Oddjob) looked a little washed out with no eyeliner. So instead, I leave you with Adam and the Ants:

Everything Else — 1A: Cough syrup amts. (TSPS.); 5A: Shoot the breeze (CHAT); 14A: Soccer rarity (GOAL); 15A: Mascara target (LASH); 16A: Dwelling (ABODE); 17A: Like a couch potato (IDLE); 18A: With 10-Down, approximately (ON OR); 19A: Sure to end in failure, as a situation (NO-WIN); 23A: Swiss painter Paul (KLEE); 24A: Stand in line (WAIT); 25A: Wander (about) (GAD); 30A: Shriner's hat (FEZ); 33A: Name on a rap sheet, perhaps (ALIAS); 35A: Place for mil. planes (AFB); 36A: Jazz jargon (JIVE); 41A: On the house (FREE); 42A: Fish eggs (ROE); 43A: FBI operative (AGENT); 45A: Bead of morning moisture (DEWDROP); 48A: Oink spot (STY); 50A: "Planet of the __" (APES); 58A: Bert's Muppet buddy (ERNIE); 59A: Connect the __ (DOTS); 60A: Kitten-lifting spot (NAPE); 61A: Ivan of tennis (LENDL); 62A: Blunt blade (EPEE); 63A: Kitchen suffix (-ETTE); 64A: Iron alloy (STEEL); 65A: Cincinnati team (REDS); 66A: "To __ it may concern" (WHOM); 1D: "Finally, the weekend!" (TGIF); 2D: Coke or root beer (SODA); 3D: Pilot or Treo maker (PALM); 4D: Streamlined, as a sports car (SLEEK); 5D: Copied genetically (CLONED); 6D: Passed (out) (HANDED); 9D: "Praying" insect (MANTIS); 10D: See 18-Across (ABOUT); 11D: Village's cousin (TOWN); 12D: Emmy winner Falco (EDIE); 13D: Craving (YEN); 22D: Temple leader (RABBI); 25D: Faux pas (GAFFE); 26D: Clock radio feature (ALARM); 27D: Prepares ham for an omelet, say (DICES); 29D: Bored with life (JADED); 30D: Pink-slips (FIRES); 31D: Happening (EVENT); 32D: Tart and spicy (ZESTY); 34D: Wolfed down (ATE); 36D: Moonshine container (JUG); 38D: Rock concert venue (ARENA); 40D: Rubbernecker (GAPER); 46D: Traveled like Huck Finn (RAFTED); 47D: Numbered works (OPUSES); 51D: Tendon (SINEW); 52D: Agonize (over) (FRET); 53D: Ill-fated Boleyn (ANNE); 54D: Nitwit (DOPE); 55D: "I do," for one (OATH); 57D: Evidently are (SEEM); 58D: Trains above streets (ELS).


Anonymous said...

Easy, easy. Easy. Only needed to correct fuss to FRET, which was easily evident by across clues. Of course, FRET makes more sense. Good general 101 explainations ORANGE!

Gareth Bain said...

One more old-school EMS clue is "Printer's measures" - but don't get too hasty if you see it, ENS are also "Printer's measures!"

Jeffrey said...

Facile and Fun.

Denise said...

Four minutes and two seconds -- wow -- I did it -- I improved my time. The puzzle helped -- having easy and long theme answers just propelled me forward.


Carol said...

Nice easy Monday! Would love to see "fuss and feathers" though!

Thanks, Orange

*David* said...

Better then most Monday puzzles, nothing out of the ordinay but put together well. I didn't even read the clues to the themes when I filled thenm out.

Anonymous said...

Funny that ERNIE crosses ELS but they are given separate unrelated clues.

Glowe said...

OPUSES .... [small frown].

Very solid Monday. Edie Falco was one of the main reasons to watch the Sopranos - a very complex and believable character in the middle of cliche-ic mob situations.

Charles Bogle said...

A good Monday test-very well-constructed. Great to see our old crossword friend Paul KLEE here-"aline is a dot that went for a walk.". Turns out, ironically, that Ivan LENDL is quite the art collector, as is BONO. Small world!

shrub5 said...

Very enjoyable Monday puzzle with many fresh clues. Especially liked those for NAPE, NOWIN and "bored with life" JADED. I was happy to see the inclusion of the great artist Paul KLEE. Here is one of my favorites of his work.

chefbea said...

fun easy Monday puzzle. Had a hard time parsing
now onder. Wanted now I see or something like that.

Love Klee - one of my favorite artists

PurpleGuy said...

Delightful way to spend a little time relaxing after a long morning walk.
Good writeup, Orange, as usual.
Thank you Billie Truitt for a great, breezy puzzle.

embien said...

I'll raise my hand for the sequel Fast and Fourious. What else they gonna do? Faster and Furioser? (Credit Tori Schulman, the host of Movie Mob on ReelzChannnel for the latter.)

Anonymous said...

More fastest and furiouserest.

Orange said...

Oh, I like that one. It leaves room for "Most Fastest and Furiouserest" and then "Mostest Fastest and Furiouserest." And then Ubermegamost Fast and Furious."