TUESDAY, August 25, 2009 — Donna S. Levin

Theme: Follow the Yellow Brick Road — On the 70th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz's national opening, theme answers begin with the three words of a classic song from the movie.

Theme answers:
  • 21A: Helpless (OVER A BARREL).
  • 26A: Something wonderful, in old slang (THE BEE'S KNEES).
  • 43A: '80s animated character assisted by the seven Color Kids (RAINBOW BRITE).
  • 50A: Character who, in a movie released nationally 70 years ago today, sang the ballad formed by the first words of 21-, 26- and 43-Across (DOROTHY GALE).

Crosswordese 101: The SEGO lily (16A: Type of lily) is the state flower of Utah. Clues for SEGO almost always include the word lily or Utah. Sometimes the clue is a little less specific and instead of Utah, you'll see something like "Western lily." Two other things to remember are that the SEGO lily is related to the "mariposa" and its leaves are "bell-shaped." Crosswordese in today's puzzle that we've already covered includes: ELOI (60A: Morlocks' "The Time Machine" prey), ENID (2D: Oklahoma city on the Chisholm Trail), and YSER (51D: River through France and Belgium).

I liked this puzzle a lot. Sometimes old-timey phrases seem clunky to me, but THE BEE'S KNEES is just awesome. I've never heard of RAINBOW BRITE, but that didn't bother me at all. By the time I needed to know it, I had figured out the theme so the answer just fell right in. Did anyone else have trouble remembering Dorothy's last name? I know I've heard it — recently even — but it didn't immediately spring to mind. In my book, this is a solid, above-average Tuesday puzzle by an undoubted pro.

  • 6A: Where many a T-shirt is tie-dyed (CAMP). PuzzleSon just tie-dyed a shirt at camp last week.
  • 14A: Bernardo's girl, in "West Side Story" (ANITA). The list of girls I know from "West Side Story" includes Maria. And that's it.
  • 18A: Put the kibosh on (VETO). Kibosh is an awesome word.
  • 31A: "How much wood __ a woodchuck chuck ..." (WOULD). I've heard with both would and could, so I left the first letter blank until I could check the cross.

  • 39A: Cass or Michelle, in the '60s (MAMA). Cass was the only one actually referred to as "Mama," but they were both part of "The Mamas and the Papas."
  • 62A: Not save (SPEND). I was actually thinking of save in more of a having mercy kind of way. Like the answer for me could have been kill. Clearly, I've been watching too much TV.
  • 28D: Mark's successor (EURO). Tricky! Not a person named Mark, but the German currency.
  • 37D: "Fox News Sunday" panelist (BRIT HUME). Not a big fan of the Fox News, but I do like it when people get both their first and last names in the grid.
  • 38D: Michigan's __ Arbor (ANN). Home of Rex Parker's alma mater and site of the 2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. Can't wait! Go Hawks!
I promise I'll have a write-up of the tournament a little later today. I started writing it and it just kept getting longer ... and longer ... and longer. So much good stuff! I want to take another look before I post it to make sure (1) I didn't miss anything important and (2) it consists of more than just my incoherent rambling.

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Everything Else — 1A: Punch line's lead-in (SETUP); 10A: Mil. truant (AWOL); 15A: "Rubáiyát" poet Khayyám (OMAR); 16A: Type of lily (SEGO); 17A: Generous sort (GIVER); 19A: Like most hoopsters (TALL); 20A: Fuss (ADO); 24A: Landed (ALIT); 25A: London insurance market (LLOYD'S); 32A: Weapons (ARMS); 33A: Curly and Larry's cohort (MOE); 36A: Concerning, in memos (IN RE); 37A: Rum-soaked cakes (BABAS); 40A: Prefix with thermal (GEO-); 41A: First Bond movie (DR. NO); 42A: Protection (AEGIS); 46A: Bring in from abroad (IMPORT); 49A: Overconfident morality tale critter (HARE); 53A: Past (AGO); 56A: Take a gander (LOOK); 57A: Exploitative type (USER); 58A: Felt the effects of overexertion (ACHED); 61A: Physical lead-in (META-); 63A: Hotel repository (SAFE); 64A: Important times (ERAS); 65A: Domesticates (TAMES); 1D: Drawn-out story (SAGA); 3D: VCR successor (TIVO); 4D: Sporty truck, briefly (UTE); 5D: Released with conditions (PAROLED); 6D: Violates the Tenth Commandment (COVETS); 7D: OAS part: Abbr. (AMER.); 8D: Espionage name (MATA); 9D: Predicaments (PROBLEMS); 10D: Houston team (ASTROS); 11D: Exhausted (WEARY); 12D: Leered at (OGLED); 13D: Reclines lazily (LOLLS); 22D: Compete (VIE); 23D: Brewpub brews (ALES); 24D: Competent (ABLE); 26D: Piece of kindling (TWIG); 27D: Sharpen (HONE); 29D: "Shish" dish (KABOB); 30D: Second Amendment advocacy gp. (NRA); 33D: Biblical gift bearers (MAGI); 34D: Leave out (OMIT); 35D: Alleviate (EASE); 39D: No more than (MERE); 41D: Dressmaker's seam (DART); 42D: Side by side (ABREAST); 43D: First-year player (ROOKIE); 44D: Tara family (O'HARAS); 45D: __-Mart (WAL); 46D: Doesn't do a thing (IDLES); 47D: Gelt (MOOLA); 48D: Smoking gun, e.g. (PROOF); 52D: "I __ Kick Out of You" (GET A); 53D: Polite interruption (AHEM); 54D: Trait source (GENE); 55D: Bookie's concern (ODDS); 59D: Numbers pro, briefly (CPA).


mac said...

Very solid and fun puzzle. I also had to get some crosses to remember "Gale".
PuzzleGirl is right, there is a bit of an old feel to it, but in a very pleasant way, with "over a barrel", "the bees knees" and "dart". Haven't heard that word since I tried to teach myself to sew a long time ago.

I don't think I will be tie-dying this weekend, although I will be at a wedding in a summer camp in Vermont!

Orange said...

Dorothy's last name is easy to remember if you think of it as a GALE of wind, such as might be spawned by a tornado.

chefbea said...

Never heard the expression Bees Knees. Didn't know Rainbow Brite but got them from the crosses. Forgot Dorothy's last name also.

My NYT is late today so did this puzzle first

Sfingi said...

Anita 14A messed me up. Everything else fell in place. Didn't know Gale, but the same mnemonic as @Orange came to mind.
I remember Lite Brite, but not 43A Rainbow Brite, which looks cute.

25A ALmost 100 years ago my paternal g'pa worked for Lloyd's of Bremen, a cruise line, escaping the Kaiser on the last trip of the Kronprinzessin Cecilie.
I consider a 41D dart more of a tuck than a seam, but no problem.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the puzzle answers, 36 across was filled in with "INDE" which doesn't make sense. The written explanations are correct but someone goofed when filling in the squares. 28 down is "EURO" not "EUDO".

eileen said...

I really loved today's puzzle. Coincidently, I happened to watch The Wizard of Oz this past weekend with the kids. My daughter pointed out Dorothy's last name. It's only referred to a few times during the movie. Most notably, in the beginning.

@chefbea: visited Lake Chautauqua again and had a great time. How can I reach you?

shrub5 said...

Wow, "The Wizard of Oz" is 70 years old!
I watched that movie dozens of times as a child or at least as often as it came on TV, no videos back then. At the time I think I could recite all the dialog verbatim. I had paper dolls of the characters, ruby red slippers and dressed up as Dorothy or a good witch on Halloween.

This puzzle went down easily for me, the only writeover being MERE after first putting ONLY for 39D) no more than. MAMA and HARE fixed that right away. I didn't know RAINBOWBRITE as she was after my time.

I like LOLLS and IDLES in the same spot on opposite corners. As much as I'd like to do both this AM, I'd better not. Thank you PG for the write-up and for including Eric Clapton's rendition of "Over the Rainbow." And thanks to Ms. Levin for a Oz-some puzzle.

fiddleneck said...

I can't get into Rex Parker's NYT blog--appears to be hosting Malware. How can get around that?

Burner10 said...

Two for two - can't wait for tomorrow. Is it the puzzles or is it the blog - I'm definately getting better and faster (not higher).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great puzzle, Donna!

Thanks for the clips, Puzzlegirl! I love Clapton's guitar and California Dreaming is a feel-good tune for sure.

PARSAN said...

Sfingi -- Liked the reference to your grandfather. A word my Grandad often used was "wheelhouse", where this puzzle was for me. Many references to real and fictional people from the past; META Hari, MOE, MAMAs, DOROTHY, ANITA, O'HARA, and a favorite of my daughters, RAINBOW BRITE. Loved THE BEES KNEES! PG--The music selections were great! Eric Clapton's version was wonderful, and it was nostalgic to hear "California Dreamin'", a perfect song to reflect a long gone era.

Carol said...

Really fun puzzle.

California Dreaming clip was great. After having lived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I do have to laugh at the concept that there are only sunny skies in California. We have some mighty fine ski areas - Mammoth Mountain, June Lake, Mount Shasta, etc. I can remember one storm in Mammoth Lakes on a Christmas eve where it snowed 6 feet over night. Yes, there is snow in sunny California.

I think the confusion on the first @Anonymous's part is the fact that there is a typo in the finished puzzle. 36A should be INRE which then corrects 28D to EURO.

By the way, why use "Anonymous?" Make up a name, any name. Who knows if my name is really Carol? Who cares? At least it's consistant.

Anonymous said...

I have a "real" name and have used it before. For whatever reason, this site wouldn't take it this morning. I ususally sign off with Sweetpea. Blame the site, not me.

Clay said...

Lurene -- I assume you use Firefox (as I do) since I also couldn't access Rex Parker's NYT blog this morning. If you're still having trouble, try Internet Explorer instead. The change in browsers solved the problem for me.

James said...

Okay, here is another rendition of "Over the Rainbow," this one by Eva Cassidy. Everyone has their own favorite.


Bohica said...

Fun easy puzzle. Those Flying Monkeys scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid, but I would watch The Wizard of Oz every time it came on because I had a bit of a crush on the good witch Glinda.

Thanks fot the write up PG, enjoyed the songs.

Harry Tuttle said...

I knew Dorothy's last name because I recently read Alan Moore's Lost Girls which includes her, Alice from Alice In Wonderland, and Wendy Darling from Peter Pan as the main characters. Excellent book, but definitely not for the prudish.

Charles Bogle said...

Super write-up @PG, and great puzzle Donna Levin, keep 'em coming! Agree w observations of @mac, @shrub5, @carol. Liked clue of "kibosh" in same puzzle asking for "shish" dish. Really liked THE BEES KNEES...didn't know anyone else used/heard it..am glad it's not forgotten. We have a healthy family of woodchucks living under the backyard stairs here in south VT--I don't know about wood, but the tunnel holes are immense...ANN ARBOR and U Mich work for me as our daughter begins grad school there in Jan. Thank you PG for education on ELOI, ENID...here I particularly liked AEGIS, LOLLS and how Ms

chefbea said...

I cant get into rex's blog either. I used safari. I will try fire fox

@Eileen - click on the blue chef bea and you will see my e-mail address

jeff in chicago said...

Very clever. Liked it a lot. "The Wizard of Oz" has one of my favorite lyrics of all time, with the best internal rhyme ever written (IMO).

The wind began to switch - the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.
Just then the Witch - to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.
And oh, what happened then was rich.
The house began to pitch. The kitchen took a slitch.
It landed on the Wicked Witch in the middle of a ditch,
Which was not a healthy situation for the Wicked Witch.

The first syllable of "situation" rhyming with "witch" - and being stretched out when sung - is brilliant. I also believe the was the first-ever rap song. I could be wrong.

I was vaguely aware of Rainbow Brite, but have never seen the program. Just glancing at the picture may have given me diabetes.

Orange said...

As for Rex's blog: PuzzleGirl the Tech Whiz assures me that it's totally safe to click past the warnings, that nothing bad will happen. I did it and the blog looks the same as always. Rex has been spending the day trying to get the warning removed.

@Bohica: Omigod, the flying monkeys! Nightmare fodder for sure. They still creep me out.

KJGooster said...

Nice puzzle today. I always want KEBAB instead of KABOB, though. And I love me some TIVO. I tried to like the cable company's DVR when I went to HDTV a couple years ago and couldn't stand it.

@James: Eva Cassidy's "Over the Rainbow" is maybe the best since the original, IMHO. Personally, though, I'm always reminded of the end of my favorite episode of Scrubs, "My Way Home," where Ted's band sings the Israel Kamakawiwo'ole version:

chefwen said...

Fun and easy puzzle, only write-over was WOULD over could.

Flying monkeys and crushed witches, scared the liver out of me.

Jimmie said...

@KJG: I like Israel K's version too. It first showed up in 2000's movie Finding Forrester, I think.

Way to go, PG!

toothdoc said...

This Kansas boy loved the theme today. Several years ago a developer wanted to build a giant theme park a couple miles from me base on the Wizard of Oz, complete with a giant metal tornado (think Eiffel tower gone bad). And if you haven't seen it, WICKED is a great musical based on the Wizard of Oz, highly recommend it.

Don't forget to brush ;)

Sfingi said...

Another musical is The Wiz with Diana Ross.
I loved the monkeys and witch because I like blue or green skin.
There still might be an Oz theme park - in Niagara Falls (Mark Twain's site for Eden). Has anyone heard anything new? Here in Upstate NY they'll take anything, prisons, rendering factories. Canastota, a town outside Syracuse was the home of Baum, and they have a yellow brick road and a parade with whoever's left of the Munchkins.
I like the Hawaian "Bradda Iz" version. There was a video on YouTube of his Viking style cremation. He died of morbid obesity. There is a write up on FindaGrave.
@Sweetpea - I have problems with Blogspotting, too.

shrub5 said...

@toothdoc: I too liked "Wicked." I saw it in San Francisco in 2003 prior to its Broadway debut. I was fortunate to see it with Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda the Good Witch of the North and eventual Tony-winner Idina Menzel as Elphaba, who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. I like the clever lyrics and music of "Popular" and "Defying Gravity" -- the cast album CD stays in the shuffle at all times. I don't like to say too much about the show so as not to spoil it for others!

Denise said...

I flew from Boston to San Francisco today & just woke up my daughter from her jetlag nap with "California Dreamin.'" We are gonna have so much fun!

On this blog now, there are blank spaces where the videos should be -- but if I double-click the blank space, voila . . .

Love everything about OZ, including this puzzle. Daughter who is with me had an OZ obsessed stage, and was OZMA for Halloween. She read all the OZ books.

But she is a math teacher and takes naps instead of puzzling.

fermatprime said...

In late 2007 there was a miniseries called "Tin Man" on USA. From this I remembered the name D. Gale.