MONDAY, August 24, 2009 — Norfleet Pruden

THEME: "Scope of a thorough search" — same clue used on four different theme answers, all of which fit a "[blank] AND [blank]" pattern

I took one look at the constructor's name and thought, "Well, if that's not a pseudonym, I don't know what is." PuzzleGirl agreed. Then she did some digging and found an actual person with that name (not from fiction, not from the 19th century), and so we now think he's real. This puzzle is very real, and very fine for a Monday. Simple, and with a theme that is consistent in two dimensions (every theme answer has same clue, same syntax). I tripped a few times, going with HIGH AND DRY instead of HIGH AND LOW, and NEW TERMS instead of NEW DEALS (9D: Renegotiated contracts), but still managed to come in under 3 minutes, which is well on the fast side for me.

I would happily drink at a FEMINIST WETBAR (52A: Gloria Steinem, for one + 57A: Home beverage counter with a sink)

Theme answers:

  • 17A: Scope of a thorough search (HIGH AND LOW)
  • 27A: Scope of a thorough search (INSIDE AND OUT)

  • 44A: Scope of a thorough search (HITHER AND YON)
  • 60A: Scope of a thorough search (FAR AND WIDE)

Crosswordese 101: EIRE (53D: Emerald Isle) — this one is so Crosswordtastic that I think we've all been assuming one of us has written about it before. One of the great challenges in my speed-solving life is the ERIN / EIRE dilemma. It's kind of like the APEX / ACME dilemma, only greener. When you get to late-week puzzles, there's also the EPIC (14A: "Iliad" or "Odyssey") / EPOS dilemma. But back to Ireland — generally, "ERIN" is clued in some way that relates to poetry, or the word's poetic quality, whereas EIRE is just the Irish word for Ireland, and tends to get somewhat more literal cluing. Although today's clue completely confounds that distinction, so perhaps you should ignore me and work out your own ERIN / EIRE-distinguishing mojo.

What else?:

  • 62A: Very dry (ARID) — when I typed in HAIRDO (45D: Arrangement of locks), I miscalculated and ended up typing the letters in the wrong squares (when you type in a letter in AcrossLite, the cursor will skip to the next empty square, so sometime the cursor hops letters but your fingers instinctively forget to hop letters and so everything gets screwy). So I had "R" for the final letter of [Very dry]. Then I wrote in SEER, which makes no sense whatsoever (I meant "SERE," which is also wrong, if somewhat less so). This is how I know I can get my times even lower ... I just have to quit having these little typing wipe-outs.
  • 66A: Dressed like a superhero (CAPED) — Like the CAPED Crusader, Batman (who is not, I repeat not, a "superhero" — but this clue doesn't specify Batman, so it's off the hook).
  • 12D: Physician Walter for whom an Army hospital is named (REED) — love this clue, even if the reason I know the answer (the relatively recent tales of substandard care for Iraq War veterans) is depressing.
  • 28D: Made trenches (DUG IN) — I would accept this clue for DUG; DUG IN means something else to me — conveys mule-like resistance, e.g. DUG IN one's heels.

See you Friday — I'll let PuzzleGirl tell you all about this past weekend's crossword tournament tomorrow.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Dogie-catching tool (ROPE); 5A: Looking like you've seen a ghost (ASHEN); 10A: Poi base (TARO); 14A: "Iliad" or "Odyssey" (EPIC); 15A: Not a soul (NOONE); 16A: Greek war god (ARES); 17A: Scope of a thorough search (HIGH AND LOW); 19A: Rod's companion (REEL); 20A: Sweater wool (ANGORA); 21A: Mythical city of gold (EL DORADO); 23A: Ottoman governor (BEY); 24A: Nightmare street of movies (ELM); 26A: One having a little lamb (EWE); 27A: Scope of a thorough search (INSIDE AND OUT); 33A: Planetary shadow (UMBRA); 36A: Thinks (over) carefully (MULLS); 37A: Partner of a tournament "am" (PRO); 38A: Chat (TALK); 39A: Roman senators' attire (TOGAS); 40A: Immense (HUGE); 41A: Previously (AGO); 42A: Pine product (RESIN); 43A: Headquartered (BASED); 44A: Scope of a thorough search (HITHER AND YON); 47A: Walking on __: elated (AIR); 48A: Doo-wop horn (SAX); 49A: Play segment (ACT); 52A: Gloria Steinem, notably (FEMINIST); 57A: Home beverage counter with a sink (WET BAR); 59A: One with burning pants? (LIAR); 60A: Scope of a thorough search (FAR AND WIDE); 62A: Very dry (ARID); 63A: Up in arms (IRATE); 64A: Bad day for Caesar (IDES); 65A: Lottery-like game (KENO); 66A: Dressed like a superhero (CAPED); 67A: Keeps after taxes (NETS); 1D: Post-op treatment (REHAB); 2D: Offer one's view (OPINE); 3D: Word with bank or back (PIGGY); 4D: Canyon phenomenon (ECHO); 5D: Historical records (ANNALS); 6D: Instant lawn (SOD); 7D: Digger's creation (HOLE); 8D: Carbon compound (ENOL); 9D: Renegotiated contracts (NEW DEALS); 10D: Paved (TARRED); 11D: Vicinity (AREA); 12D: Physician Walter for whom an Army hospital is named (REED); 13D: Norway's capital (OSLO); 18D: Venue for games (ARENA); 22D: Has title to (OWNS); 25D: Champagne and orange juice cocktail (MIMOSA); 27D: Bug (IRK); 28D: Made trenches (DUG IN); 29D: Spiral-horned antelopes (ELANDS); 30D: Numbered work (OPUS); 31D: Encourage (URGE); 32D: __ the line: obeyed (TOED); 33D: Brigham City's state (UTAH); 34D: Wise men (MAGI); 35D: Stain (BLOT); 39D: Fabulous (TERRIFIC); 40D: Solo played by Harrison (HAN); 42D: Jockey strap (REIN); 43D: Put in cartons (BOXED); 45D: Arrangement of locks (HAIRDO); 46D: Acted sleepy (YAWNED); 49D: Put up with (ABIDE); 50D: West Point undergrad (CADET); 51D: Rapunzel feature (TRESS); 52D: Anti-aircraft fire (FLAK); 53D: Emerald Isle (EIRE); 54D: Common street name (MAIN); 55D: "Nobody doesn't like __ Lee" (SARA); 56D: Mouth, in slang (TRAP); 58D: Duplicate (TWIN); 61D: Had lunch (ATE).


PARSAN said...

Fun, but very easy topic for Monday. Also had HIGH AND dry for a nanosecond. Nothing very clever -- best was PIGGY and HAIRDO. Hope everyone had fun in NY!

PARSAN said...

Meant theme. It's Monday!

James said...

re DUGIN: I had the same reaction, but then I thought of trenches on the front lines during WWI (DUGIN) as opposed to trenches for the new sprinkling system (DUG) for your instant lawn. Maybe.

Sfingi said...

@Peter Bagge's History of Science cartoon strip in Discover had a good one @Reed recently. I find it odd that he held the beleive that bllodletting was good.

Carol said...

Nice easy puzzle for Monday. I'm still boggled by you speed solvers! I'm happy when I come in under 10 minutes as I did today!

GLowe said...

Besides EIRE, I didn't see much real xwordese - no partials, no non-converstational abbreviations, no groaners. Can't remember that before.
Clues were a bit lifeless to me, e.g. BOXED = "Put in cartons" (next to YAWNS, which I did), but technically correct - Post Op/REHAB, and Am/PRO.

Good puzzle.

shrub5 said...

I had a laugh at "one with burning pants" (LIAR) and at "jockey strap" (REIN). I thought this was a well constructed puzzle with a creative theme. I solved it fairly smoothly but I felt it had plenty of meat on it so as not to be a mindless exercise. It was nice to see words such as UMBRA, ANNALS, ELDORADO and the slang for mouth: TRAP.

BEY is a new word for me. I'll throw it in the box with aga and emir. According to wiki, bey is used today as a social title for men, like the English word "mister".

Anonymous said...

what shrub5 said! me too

This was fun. I look forward to getting my puzzles done quickly on Mondays!

Bohica said...

@Rex: I have the same problem with AcrossLite, then you get that little carat that makes it look like you overwrote the letter.

Fun easy solve, no overwrites today (did the paper version)! Liked seeing El Dorado, don't recall seeing it in a puzzle before. Wet Bar and Mimosa were nice to see in the same puzzle. As were Togas and Ides.

Can't wait until tomorrow to hear of your and PG's (mis)adventures in Queens!

Charles Bogle said...

@shrub5 you are right on the money. Loved "burning pants"! Also liked: IDES, IRATE, MULLS, IRK for "Bug", TRESS. Conversely, UMBRA, BEY, ENOL and HAN would be challenging (for me) any day. Wonderful Monday work-out; nice clever theme, no stereotypical fill to speak of, not too much if any uber-pop-culture. Here's hoping we see more good puzzles from Norfleet Pruden!

mac said...

Very good, solid Monday puzzle, with not a lot of tired fill. I also tought of WW1 with the trenches, but the "in" still felt supurfluous.

@Sfingi: I know two women (sisters) who have to have their blood checked every 6 months for ironlevels, and sometimes they have some bloodletting. Also, leeches are still used here and there to help woulds heal. Good thing it's way past breakfast.

Anonymous said...

When I was picking up lunch today someone had left a paper at the burger joint, opened to the crossword puzzle. A grand total of five entries filled in, the closest to correct was the world famous Ottoman Govenor "BOB"

chefbea said...

Easy Monday puzzle. Learned a new word=Bey.

Orange said...

Anon 11:34: Thanks for sharing that! BOB made me laugh.

mac said...

That is supErfluous and wounds....

Loved "Bob".

@Crosscan: good timing!

EASYMIKE said...



Orange said...

@EASYMIKE: WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING? STEP AWAY FROM THE CAPS-LOCK KEY! Harrison Ford played Han Solo in the Star Wars series.

I like me a good BEY or DEY, but neither can hold a candle to a PASHA.

PARSAN said...

EASYMIKE-- HAN Solo was the part he played in the "Star Wars" movie.

PARSAN said...

@Orange--As we used to say in grade school "Double Bubble"!

chefwen said...

We used to say 1 2 3 you owe me a coke.

Two mistakes,dugup for DUG IN and box up for BOXED. Easily fixed.

Sandy said...

best Han Solo commentary ever:

Governor Bob! Awesome

Rex's Mom or Sister was just telling me about the need for bloodletting b/c you can end up with too much iron.

Thought it was a nice Monday.

Sfingi said...

Well, you learn something every day here. I just read up on hemochromatosis (too much iron), and yes, very rare but also interesting. Most is caused by transfusions and too much in the vitamin pill. But the genetic one is worth checking out.
One time my hubby (health nut) took too much niacin and I called the poison center since he was red as the proverbial lobster. They asked, "And how old is the child?"

PS -Does anyone know if there's a way to run a spell check on one's comments?

choirwriter said...

LOL @Sfingi and her hubby-child!

Easy-breezy Monday -- I'm dying to hear about New York, though!

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed today's puzzle. Ok, it's on the easy side, but I had a hard day at work today. Needed something to boost my self image. Question: has anyone actually played keno(65A)? A million years ago I remember the old timers at our church playing bunco (bunko?) Any similarities between the two?

GLowe said...

@A 6:55:

Played Keno, dunno Bunko. Keno sucks, unless you're a mindless optimist (is that an oxymoron - wait .... an "opti-moron". I like that).

Your self-image can take a tremendous bow by not knowing, or ever having played, these rip-off games,