TUESDAY, August 4, 2009 — Kristian House

Theme: Baseball! — Theme answers are phrases about baseball clued as non-baseball-related idioms.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Completely unexpected (OUT OF LEFT FIELD). Had a hard time seeing this one because I was stuck on "out of the blue."
  • 28A: Fail to get a job done (DROP THE BALL).
  • 45A: Be super-successful (HIT A HOME RUN).
  • 53A: From day one (RIGHT OFF THE BAT).
Crosswordese 101: The problem with APEX is that it's clued the same way as ACME. For example, today's clue is 16A: Pinnacle, and, really, the answer could be either one. ACME is a more common crossword word, but you just never know so you really need to check the crosses. Words you'll see in clues for both APEX and ACME: top, peak, summit, high point, zenith, and mountaintop.

Apologize in advance for the quick write-up today. I'm traveling home with the kids and then it's going to be a crazy week: filling in for Orange here and at her blog, taking the kids downtown hoping to get a glimpse of the American Idols, then sending them off to New Mexico to spend some quality time with PuzzleMother-In-Law. Oh and then there's that work that I actually get paid for. Not sure when I'll be able to fit that in.

Luckily, it was an easy, breezy puzzle today. On early-week puzzles I generally just go through the acrosses first and then the downs. Today I knocked off the first four acrosses with no problem and then hit MOLTO (15A: __ vivace: quite lively, on scores), which is a word I've actually seen, but I couldn't come up with it quickly so I waited for the crosses. I also had to pause for a quick second at 37A: Wheel shaft to remember Rex's mnemonic for recalling the difference between AXLE and axel. Like the APEX ambiguity, I also had to wait for crosses on ENTS (51A: Tolkien tree creatures), which I always get confused with orcs; OLAF (7D: Norway's patron saint), which is sometimes spelled Olav; ONE-A (55D: Top draft status), which I always think could be a-one but never is; and ZIG (60D: Make a sharp turn), which could just has easily have been zag.

  • 38A: Yesterday, to Juan (AYER). Is this a common Spanish word? I knew it, but I've been hanging out in a Spanish-speaking country for the last two weeks.
  • 49A: Tandoori bread (NAN). I do not like this spelling but I understand that I'm not in charge of this.
  • 65A: Sixth Jewish month (ADAR). A four-letter Jewish month is almost always going to be Adar. Except when it's Elul.
  • 5D: "Epitaph for a Spy" author Eric (AMBLER). Never heard of him.
  • 6D: "West Side Story" Oscar winner Rita (MORENO). Love her.

  • 54D: "Othello" conniver (IAGO). I don't know what it is about Iago, but I always enjoy seeing him in the puzzle.
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Everything Else — 1A: CEOs' degrees (MBAS); 5A: In the midst of (AMONG); 10A: Pull up stakes (MOVE); 14A: Dismounted (ALIT); 17A: Casino numbers game (KENO); 18A: Oater saloon fight (BRAWL); 19A: Leafy green that's high in vitamin K (KALE); 23A: Part of a hammer (PEEN); 24A: Many AARP members (SRS); 25A: Speedster at JFK, once (SST); 34A: Halloween witches' blemishes (WARTS); 36A: Brazilian hot spot (RIO); 39A: Barely enough (SCANT); 41A: Muslim leader (IMAM); 42A: Spicy Asian cuisine (THAI); 43A: Tam or bowler (HAT); 44A: Crockett's last stand (ALAMO); 50A: Still in the package (NEW); 60A: Fanatic's feeling (ZEAL); 61A: "... bombs bursting __" (IN AIR); 62A: Martial arts school (DOJO); 63A: "Bus Stop" playwright (INGE); 64A: __ Park: Edison lab site (MENLO); 66A: Old Pontiac muscle cars (GTOS); 67A: Lightened up (EASED); 68A: First in the waiting line (NEXT); 1D: Powerful shark (MAKO); 2D: __ cheese dressing (BLEU); 3D: "__ Misbehavin'" (AIN'T); 4D: Hunch over (STOOP); 8D: Food package amt. (NT. WT.); 9D: Pitch or chip (GOLF SHOT); 10D: Puts up get-out-of-jail money (MAKES BAIL); 11D: Autumn birthstone (OPAL); 12D: South African grassland (VELD); 13D: Program file suffix (EXE); 21D: T-men and G-men (FEDS); 22D: Anger (IRE); 25D: Strip of mowed grass (SWATH); 26D: Greet casually, with "to" (SAY HI); 27D: Halloween goody (TREAT); 29D: Babble on and on (PRATE); 30D: Metal in solder (TIN); 31D: Forest feller (AXMAN); 32D: Camel cousin (LLAMA); 33D: Car for which a law is named (LEMON); 35D: Sources of romantic conflict (TRIANGLES); 39D: When the curtain rises (SHOWTIME); 40D: Web video gear, for short (CAM); 44D: Lit. collection (ANTH.); 46D: Half an evil laugh (HEH); 47D: Submit an amended 1040 (REFILE); 48D: Having no paths or trails (UNTROD); 52D: Roomy auto (SEDAN); 53D: Patronize Hertz, say (RENT); 56D: Bleacherites, e.g. (FANS); 57D: Be an omen of (BODE); 58D: "Foaming cleanser" of old ads (AJAX); 59D: Legal wrong (TORT).


Unknown said...

I didn't find this puzzle as easy as PG - probably two minutes over my usual Tuesday time. Wanted POSTS BAIL for MAKES BAIL, MOLES for WARTS (clearly wrong), EMIR for AMAM, ERTS for ENTS (never get that right the first time), and AXEL for AXLE (I'll have to check out Rex's mnemonic).

Lots of interesting words for a Tuesday, including MOLTO, APEX, AYER, SCANT, ZEAL, AMBLER (who??).

Did love the baseball theme! Big Indians fan. PuzzleHusband and I drove past the new Yankee Stadium yesterday-not a fan but the park looked really cool. Today's our last day in NYC... :-( Back to Ohio and my geekdom.
Happy Anniversary to my husband of 20 years!!

Thanks, PG, for the write-up! Sounds like a busy day and week! I appreciate that you find the time to write the blog and educate us with all you have going on.

Anonymous said...

I liked this easy, baseball themed puzzle. Remember my father reading Eric Ambler cloak-and-dagger books. I even read one as a kid but the plot was too complicated to really understand it. AXMAN made me smile. Common fill but sometimes that's O.K. PG, hope you have a good week!

Anonymous said...

The Menu Song with a young Rita Moreno and (recently in the news) Morgan Freeman was very funny and a great start to a rainy day. Thanks, PG! What is 62a DOJO? Got it, but didn't get it. OHIO GEEK, also an Indians fan going back to Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Larry Doby.

Al said...

@PG, A mnemonic for remembering the difference between ents vs orcs, ents are Trees, and there is a "T" in ENT. Orcs are similar to Ogres and there is an "O" in orcs.

@Anon, as C.C. explains on the other blog, DOJO is Japanese, "DO" for Way and "JO" for place. Literally the place of the way, or, a school to learn a discipline, like one of the many martial arts.

Charles Bogle said...

agree w @ohiogeek; some fun words and nice theme..very pleasing Tuesday puzzle...also, prominent people answers were ones I had a shot age-wise at getting (eg INGE, MORENO) plus I remember AJAX ads...am in the SRS group

I suppose my only quarrel (slight) today was that a decent bit if the fill is too tried-and-true (near hackneyed) eg SST, IMAM, NAN--but actually a bit less so for a Tuesday

INGE ("Bus Stop," "Picnic") was great 20th century American playwright; too oft overshadowed by contemporaries Miller, Williams, O'Neil

Anonymous said...

As a fan of Tom Lehrer, it was wonderful to have "The Menu" sung by the great Rita Moreno(taken from an episode of "The Electric Company", a creative childrens show unmatched by anything on TV today). He was a Harvard mathematician and musical satirist and was referenced in an earlier puzzle (can't remember how). His song "The Elelments" was partially sung by McGee on an episode of NCIS. Thanks Puzzle Girl!

Gary Lowe said...

Bode = pt of bide
Bade = pt of bid

Not sure who cares, but since I went to the trouble to look it up, I thought I'd share.

FWIW Bede is a saint and Bude is a coastal town in the UK.

None, besides bid, are related to the three-letter words Bad Bed Bod Bud. I'm glad I didn't have to learn english as a second language.

shrub5 said...

Like @PG, I also thought of OUTOFTHEBLUE first, then went to OUTOFTHEORDINARY, before landing out in ...LEFTFIELD.

I sped right along through the grid, briefly stopping to think hey, what are two Halloween clues (for WARTS, TREAT) doing in an August puzzle? ☺ And for some reason, I thought the martial arts school was a DOMO but the J in AJAX cleaned up that mistake.

I often get stumped on musical terms such as MOLTO. They are one of my more frequent reasons for googling ('tho not today as the crosses were easy.) Another unfortunate gap in my education/lexicon.

@Kristian House: thanks for a fun puzzle and a morning at the ballpark!

*David* said...

I found the puzzle easy for a Tuesday, nothing really noteworthy other then I didn't like the MOLTO crossing AMBLER and NTWT(which should be never seen again).

chefbea said...

easy Tuesday puzzle. Love kale and its so good for you. Saute it with garlic, add a little chicken broth, cook til tender, eat with nan.

shrub5 said...

Oh, one more thing. @PG: enjoyed the pictures of Puzzlefamily!!! Surf's up!

PurpleGuy said...

This was a pleasant diversioin while unwinding after a nice early morning walk. Have to go early here in PHX,because it heats uptoo fast. We're actually under a "heat advisory" since yesterday.

Have a great week, PG. Thank you for the writeup.

@chefbea- thanks for the KALE recipe. Always wondered what to do with it, other than in a salad.

John said...

Enjoyable puzzle on a treeible day.

Were under water here in Louisville,with 6+ inches of rain in 75 minutes.

Werw about get hit for the third time today! Oh Well.

Denise said...

My idea of a great game of baseball!

Sfingi said...

I must be a ntwt, because I never figured out the theme even after I finished.
Didn't know mako shark, adar; kept trying to hit a homerun, instead of get one.
Molto is Italian for mucho. Don't know Spanish, so the only Ayer I know is Alfred Jules, and you wouldn't (snore) like him.
Love kale, thanks to my Baltimore G'ma. Wish they'd use it more.
Upstate NY finally hot.
Rita Moreno's rendition just fine.
Back in the 70s, Northern Calloway
wouldn't sign my son's program. His uncle, Cab did some fine scat singing.

Anonymous said...

For 9D I absent mindedly wrote "golf shoe" instead of "golf shot." Caused all kinds of problems until I realized what I had done. Does anyone know what's so evil about 46D ("heh")? Don't really know why, but I would have preferred "half a laugh" for the clue instead.