WEDNESDAY, August 5, 2009 — Gary Steinmehl

Theme: More fun than a barrel of monkeys — The last word of each theme answer comes after the word monkey in a familiar phrase.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: Stage, screen, etc. (SHOW BUSINESS).
  • 25A: They have latte charges (COFFEE BARS).
  • 38A: Action in court (LAWSUIT).
  • 47A: Oxford brighteners (SHOESHINES).
  • 53A: Spend time idly (and a hint to what can precede the last word of 20-, 25-, 38- or 47-Across) (MONKEY AROUND).
Crosswordese 101: There are three famous women named NIA that you need to know. 63D: Peeples of "Fame," who appears in today's puzzle, is known for both acting and singing. Actress NIA Long is typically clued with a reference to "Third Watch" or "Boyz N the Hood." Finally, NIA Vardalos rocketed into the fourth dimension of Eternal Crossword Fame when she starred in the 2002 sleeper hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

I know you were expecting Orange today but she's off gallivanting around our nation's capital with her family for a few days, so you're stuck with me. I'm also covering her other blog if you're interested in my delightful musings on the day's other puzzles.

Got through this one pretty quickly. Funky looking grid! Only real hang-up was right in the middle and I'm going to guess a lot of you were hung up too. Of course I'm talking about the cross of CAVA (44A: Vena __) and ANSCO (29D: Inexpensive former camera brand). My gut reaction is that this crossing is unfair, possibly even a Natick. I'd like to hear what you all think before I call it for sure.

Quickly now:
  • 16A: Shire of "Rocky" (TALIA). Adriaaaaaaan!
  • 22A: __ Miguel: Azores island (SAO). Popped in San without thinking about it. That one gets me just about every time.
  • 30A: It follows that (ERGO). 10-year-old PuzzleSon used this word the other day. Pretty sure he doesn't have any idea what it means.
  • 37A: Tony winner Hagen (UTA). I talked a little about Uta back in this blog's infancy. Good times.
  • 66A: New parent's lack? (SLEEP). Not sure what the question mark is about here. I'm totally sure that the answer is right though. Advice to women pregnant for the first time: After your baby is born you will be extremely sleep deprived. This will cause you to feel as if you're going completely insane. That's because sleep deprivation causes insanity. Which is why it's used as torture.
  • 67A: "The Company" (CIA). This is how dumb I am. I'm going, "IBM?"
  • 1D: Skipper, to Barbie (SIS). I was not allowed to have Barbie dolls when I was a kid. *cue violin*
  • 54D: Lionel layout, maybe (OVAL). Lionel Corporation, previously, and Lionel LLC, currently, produce toy trains and model railroads.
  • 55D: 15th century caravel (NINA). I do not know what this means. Oh wait, is a caravel a boat? Okay, I get it now.
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Everything Else — 1A: Wire wearer (SPY); 4A: Low men (BASSI); 9A: Highly capable (ADEPT); 14A: Witness stand oath (I DO); 15A: __ Park, Colorado (ESTES); 17A: Occupants of abandoned buildings, e.g. (SQUATTERS); 19A: Measuring aid (RULER); 24A: Q.E.D. part (ERAT); 34A: Sock-in-the-gut grunt (OOF); 35A: Scientology's __ Hubbard (L. RON); 36A: Big name in Arizona political history (UDALL); 41A: Kilmer of "The Saint" (VAL); 42A: Snacker's bagful (CHIPS); 45A: Nest egg initials (IRA); 46A: War honoree (HERO); 50A: Bake sale item (CAKE); 52A: Homer Simpson's neighbor (NED); 60A: Prestigious university octet (IVIES); 61A: Using a DVR, say (REPLAYING); 65A: __ Domingo (SANTO); 68A: Purse closer (CLASP); 69A: Color qualities (TONES); 70A: Big fat mouth (YAP); 2D: Brief "At once!" (PDQ); 3D: Uncle Sam poster word (YOU); 4D: LPGA Hall of Famer Daniel (BETH); 5D: Regarding (AS TO); 6D: Ladled dish (STEW); 7D: Balkan native (SERB); 8D: Bank named on a credit card (ISSUER); 9D: Skylit areas (ATRIA); 10D: Discouraged (DAUNTED); 11D: Model Macpherson (ELLE); 12D: Slapstick ammo (PIES); 13D: Blackens, in a way (TARS); 18D: Beginning on (AS OF); 21D: Yearbook sect. (SRS); 22D: Bring relief to (SOOTHE); 23D: Catered event (AFFAIR); 25D: Potato's place? (COUCH); 26D: Plumbing joints (ELLS); 27D: Procter & Gamble detergent (ERA); 28D: Respond to an ovation (BOW); 31D: Formation from stream erosion (RAVINE); 32D: Stared angrily (GLARED); 33D: Southwestern crocks (OLLAS); 36D: Six-sided state (UTAH); 39D: Dubaiís federation: Abbr. (UAE); 40D: ICU drips (IVS); 43D: Cargo pants features (POCKETS); 47D: Limit, in a saying (SKY); 48D: Publisher who was the inspiration for "Citizen Kane" (HEARST); 49D: Race since 1911, informally (INDY); 51D: "The Lion and the Mouse" fabulist (AESOP); 53D: Junk drawer label (MISC); 56D: Move, in Realtor-speak (RELO); 57D: Receptive (OPEN); 58D: Beekeeper in a 1997 movie (ULEE); 59D: Is off guard (NAPS); 62D: Hardly friendly (ICY); 64D: Dental problem (GAP).


Soozy said...

Being on Paris time means I get to leave the first comment, yay! Thanks for the write-up!

I definitely agree with the Natick comment. Had no clue whatsoever about those two, haven't even heard of them.

Did the same thing with San vs. SAO.

On the subject of the theme...I don't believe I've ever heard the expression "monkey shines"--what's that about?

KJGooster said...

Wow, early writeup today. I had to smile at 66A: New parent's lack? (SLEEP), because the only reason I'm posting at 1am is that I'm waiting to do our 5-week-old's next feeding. My wife's pretty fanatical about breastfeeding, but if I don't get her a stretch of sleep longer than 2 or 3 hours once in a while (i.e., long enough to get through a full sleep cycle), that's when the insanity sets in.

I can't give an unbiased opinion on 44A: Vena ___ because I'm an MD, but it sure seems like it shows up in crosswords a lot, along with its anatomical neighbor, the AORTA. Didn't know ANSCO, but I liked the CAVA/IVS cross.

@Soozy: Monkeyshines are horseplay, shenanigans, etc. Basically what my 3-year-old twin boys are up to most of the time (add them to the newborn... yeesh!)

Soozy said...

@KJ Thanks for the monkeyshines explanation! Good luck with the lil' ones. :)

The Corgi of Mystery said...

Never heard of ANSCO, but vena CAVA was familiar to me from various sources, including high school biology and a (brief) stint as a paramedic. Can't say I see the word too often in puzzles, though.

shrub5 said...

Vena CAVA was no problem as I have a medical background, but I've never heard of an ANSCO camera. I got all of ANSCO through crosses and didn't even read that clue (oops).

I had SOUP before STEW for the ladled dish. My mom reminisces about vacationing in ESTES Park, CO as a child -- haven't been there myself. I got NINA from the crosses but looked up caravel afterward to understand the clue/answer.

COUCH for potato's place and PIE for slapstick ammo both gave me a chuckle. Had a good time MONKEYingAROUND with this puzzle -- thanks, Gary.

Jeffrey said...

ANSCO/VERA is a horrible crossing.

James said...

Sorry, not a Natick for me, and I do not have a medical background. I did not "know" CAVA, but it was certainly at the "confident recall" level once I got some of its fill. I assume I have seen it puzzles before, but perhaps I gleaned it from some other source along the way.

SAO is the one that got me.

Anonymous said...

Like many others, I didn't know ANSCO but quickly filled in around it, so the center was no problem. Knew vena CAVA from long ago college anatomy --veins carrying blood from the heart (superior-to the upper body; inferior-to the lower body). Saw the great actress UTA Hagen on Broadway in 1962 in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?", in the role played magnificently by Elizabeth Taylor in the movie. No trouble getting the theme so the rest was easy. This was fun!

Carol said...

Had no trouble with Vena Cava which is the only reason I got the Ansco camera.

Didn't care for both AS TO and AS OF in the same NW corner.

Had some problems with the whole top of the puzzle - never heard of Talia - got it from the crosses; but, any day I finally get the whole puzzle with NO Googles is a good day for me!

I like your mother! I didn't give my daughters Barbies either. Nothing like making little girls start to think like fashionistas and think their bodies should look like hers as they are growing up! I think her body is anatomically impossible!

bev said...

@anonymous 7:04 - I think you meant to say the vena cava veins carry blood TO the heart, not FROM the heart.

Anonymous said...

@BEV - Right! Just typed it in wrong. Thanks!

Gary Lowe said...

This constructor (of course in conjunction with the fine ed. staff at LAT) has a knack for quality, entertaining cluing.

Minor tsk-tsk for the non-plural LAWSUIT, which of course can;t be centered with another letter. This is made up for by Elle Macpherson reference ...

Charles Bogle said...

Hey PG, what is a Natick?

I too found the CAVA/ANSCO part troubling; I also monkeyed around too long w the top center..BASSI? ESTES? ASTP and ASOF so close by as criticized by another poster...also wary of DAUNTED in this usage...Alas, I know none of these NIAs

Enjoyed the theme; enjoyed UDALL, RAVINE, SQUATTERS

But on the whole, on finishing, I did not have feeling of humorous and satisfied accomplishment. Puzzle left me flat sorry to say

*David* said...

Any puzzle with monkeys as the theme is good with me. The vena CAVA fill has been seen a bunch of times maybe Crosswordese 301? I also put SAN Miguel, I've seen that one before and should remember it.

Denise said...

As much fun as a barrel of monkeys.

ANSCO is the kind of name that was around in the 50s -- combine part of the word with "co" for company, but I knew all the crosses. Never really heard of ANSCO.

I have four daughters -- the older two were not allowed Barbies, but the first time they went to a yard sale with "their own $" they bought a couple of very used ones. They had so much very creative fun with those darned dolls.

#3 daughter was never interested in dolls at all! #4? Who can remember?

Joon said...

CAVA posed no problems; ANSCO seems obscure. but overall this puzzle was easier than yesterday's for me. in fact, this seems to be my fastest-ever LAT wednesday.

here's my SÃO miguel hint: azores =
portugal. SAN is spanish.

jeff in chicago said...

Fun puzzle. Knew CAVA, and there's a faint glimmer of remembering ANSCO cameras. Crosses confirmed.

"Monkey Business" is, of course, a favorite movie of mine!

Liked "Potato's place" very much.

Anonymous said...

There's a blast from the past. Ansco cameras, so no natick for me. Is natick supposed to be capitalized? golfballman

obertb said...

Took some anatomy courses in college (thought I wanted to be a doctor!) and am now a photographer, so VENA CAVA and ANSCO were gimmes for me. Interesting article on Ansco here: http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Ansco.
I see that Ansco was headquartered in Binghamton, NY, Rex's hometown!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I had a good joke about PERRYWHITE being too cheap to buy Jimmy Olsen a real camera, so ANSCO was a tie in to the theme, not anachronistic, etc. Then I realized I was conflating my puzzles, NY & LA Times. Made it much less funny.

imsdave said...

@golfballman - Natick (Mass.), should indeed be capitalized when refering to the town. When used refering to evil crossword crossings, I think the small n is okay IMOO.

I was born in Binghamton and my godfather actually worked for Ansco, so no problem there.

Nice write-up, as always - including the funky grid comment - looked a bit unusual to me too, but a very nice Wednesday puzzle.

Thanks Mr. Steinmehl

chefbea said...

some how I knew cava so then I got ansco which I don't remember from my youth.

33D southwestern crocks. I was trying to think of an animal - gila-. An olla is not a crock IMO. You cook in an olla. You store things like pickles in a crock

Soozy said...

@chefbea I disagree--I recall my mother having a crockpot, in which she'd let beans or soup or meat stew for hours, so it'd be ready at dinnertime or for the next day's lunch.

chefwen said...

Had no problem with the puzzle other than the hole where the C needed to go in CAVA ANSCO. Didn't know either.

I love sitting on the COUCH eating CHIPS with dip. mmmmmm!

Sfingi said...

There are a few bio words crossworders should commit to memory.
Would the constructors have the nerve to include vas deferens?

"Quit those monkeyshines," another Daddy quotes from my '50s childhood.

Speaking of that, I was too old when Barbie made the scene. I had Jill, the older sister of Ginny. Much more normal looking proportion-wise except for a big head. Had pierced ears.
I now have a Munster set of Barbie and Ken - green.
Check out Dave Barry setting things on fire with Rollerblade Barbie

Anonymous said...

@Sfingi - Looked at the Dave Barry piece and thought it was very funny. Thanks!

ddbmc said...

Fun info-ANSCO, founded in 1842; pre-dated Kodak, orig. name: E. and H.T. Anthony & Co. Merged in 1928 with German photo co. Agfa to form Agfa-Ansco.Eventually became GAF. Last camera produced in 1990's acc. to Wiki....Wanted to put Barry in Arizona Pol family. Worked on the Hill many moons ago and actually saw Mr. Udall a few times! Oxfords-kept thinking shirts with the 27d Era, wanted some P & G detergent in there...lol

Anonymous said...

A nice, smooth run with today's puzzle, except for 33D. I misread the clued word "crocks" for "crocs," thinking "gator" could be the only answer. Couldn't imagine what kind of reptiles "ollas" were!

chasgabbard said...

Why did you enter PCS for 21 across instead of MCS? And what is a tyro?