TUESDAY, September 22, 2009
Dan Naddor

Theme: Rhyming/homophonic pairs — Theme answers are two pairs of homophones that rhyme with each other.

Theme answers:
  • 19A: "A Beautiful Mind" star (RUSSELL CROWE). Hey, look! An actor from the L.A. Confidential movie!
  • 29A: Certain mollusk's protection (MUSSEL SHELL).
  • 43A: Marathoner's bane (MUSCLE CRAMP).
  • 50A: Steal a herd (RUSTLE CATTLE).
Crosswordese 101: You probably didn't have any trouble today with the way SRI is clued (26A: __ Lanka). But did you know that SRI is a Hindu honorific similar to Mr.? 'Cuz you'll need to know that. And now you do.

With the crosswordese we've already covered in this blog, you should have been able to throw in several answers without even thinking: RHO (6A: Letter after pi); EMIT (21A: Give off); TETRA (33A: Colorful aquarium fish); EKGS (3D: Cardiologist's tests, for short); ATARI (49D: Video game pioneer); T-MEN (54D: Feds under Ness).

The grid's a little funky looking, but this was still a smooth solve for me. I loved seeing the colloquial AT IT AGAIN (17A: Quarreling once more). In my head, I heard it said with a resigned sigh: "There they go. At it again." I also think MACHISMO is an awesome word, although not a particular awesome thing (35A: Tough-guy trait). I absolutely could have done without thinking about acid REFLUX this morning (ewww!), but whatever (27D: Stomach acid problem).

Other stuff:
  • 1A: Bergen's dummy Mortimer (SNERD). I always want to call him Snead, but that's the golfer.
  • 14A: Castle protection (MOAT). When we were selling our house in Iowa last year, I got a call from our realtor with a question from a couple that had done a walk-through. She said they had heard from one of our neighbors that we were building a moat and were wondering what that was all about. A moat. A moat! What is this, the Middle Ages? So of course I told her that we needed it to defend ourselves against the Saxons. A moat! Where do people come up with this stuff?
  • 22A: Elegant tapestry (ARRAS). We'll be covering this in Crosswordese 301.
  • 37A: Pretentious one (PSEUD). I guess I never knew this was a stand-alone word. Always thought it was just a prefix.
  • 57A: Gambling metaphor for a risky venture (CRAPSHOOT). If you want to engage in an activity that's so complicated you probably won't have any idea what's going on, yet you'll get super super excited about it — craps is for you. Not that I've ever done that.
  • 4D: Pee Wee of the '40s-'50s Dodgers (REESE).
  • 28D: Formal words of confession (IT WAS I). Raise your hand if you really, really wanted I did it.
  • 24D: __ Joy: candy bar (ALMOND). I've got a little ditty stuck in my head now and I think you should too.

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Everything Else — 9A: Preschool lessons (ABCS); 13A: George who played Sulu on "Star Trek" (TAKEI); 15A: Finish second (LOSE); 16A: Halo wearer (ANGEL); 21A: Give off (EMIT); 33A: Colorful aquarium fish (TETRA); 36A: "__ Only Have Love": Jacques Brel song (IF WE); 39A: Broadway event (SHOW); 40A: Bloom with sword-shaped leaves (GLADIOLA); 42A: With a single voice (AS ONE); 46A: Onetime Leno announcer Hall (EDD); 47A: The "A" in "CAT scan" (AXIAL); 48A: Philbin's sidekick (RIPA); 60A: Harold of "Ghostbusters" (RAMIS); 61A: Gigantic (HUGE); 62A: Storybook monster (OGRE); 63A: Standing upright (ERECT); 64A: "Yeah, sure!" ("I BET!"); 65A: Steno's need (PAD); 66A: Sausage servings (LINKS); 1D: Night twinkler (STAR); 2D: Half of Mork's signoff (NANU); 5D: Catch-22 (DILEMMA); 6D: Univ. military org. (ROTC); 7D: Barber's concern (HAIR); 8D: Conductor Klemperer (OTTO); 9D: Suspected Soviet spy of the McCarthy era (ALGER HISS); 10D: __ constrictor (BOA); 11D: TV forensic drama (CSI); 12D: Obama, before he became pres. (SEN.); 14D: Blended ice cream drinks (MALTS); 18D: Inundated (AWASH); 20D: Lucy of "Kill Bill" (LIU); 23D: Do a smith's job (RESHOE); 25D: Lost speed (SLOWED); 26D: Scarlet letter, e.g. (STIGMA); 30D: Bit of mudslinging (SMEAR); 31D: Water, in Cannes (EAU); 32D: Watch display, for short (LCD); 34D: It's rolled out for celebs (RED CARPET); 37D: "The Raven" writer (POE); 38D: Utah's capital: Abbr. (SLC); 41D: Like bks. with pictures (ILLUS.); 42D: Clothes (APPAREL); 44D: Rugged ridge (ARETE); 45D: Speaker's amplifying aid, briefly (MIC); 51D: Boutique (SHOP); 52D: Old Roman attire (TOGA); 53D: British title (LORD); 55D: Moisten, as a stamp (LICK); 56D: Body shop nos. (ESTS.); 57D: Cubs, on scoreboards (CHI); 58D: Massage (RUB); 59D: Get older (AGE).


jazz said...

OK for a Tuesday. A few abbrevs and acronyms, but liked ATITAGAIN in the NE and its partner in the SW, CRAPSHOOTe.g. And I had never heard of ARRAS before, either.

Thought PSEUD was somewhat of a cheap shot. I'll have to look that one up.

I thought the theme was not as strong as Dan Naddor has done before, but, hey, it's Tuesday!

Can't remember ever seeing GLADIOLA in a puzzle before!

Al said...

While TETRA is indeed a colorful fish (CW101), you need to be cautious of BETTA (Splendans), also a very colorful (and ferocious) fish, which also is five letters, three of which are in the same place.

smev said...

Is gladiola now considered a correct singular for what I would call gladiolus (pl. gladioli)?

Orange said...

The four theme entries all spell that rhyming sound a different way. The only other spelling I could think of is TUSSLE, and that's not the beginning of a familiar phrase so it wouldn't work in this theme. BUSTLE and HUSTLE also don't lend themselves to anything as familiar at RUSTLE CATTLE.

@smev, apparently some dictionaries record the GLADIOLA spelling. I think it looks ignorant. I suspect it came about from people thinking gladiolus was the plural and extrapolating a singular gladiola. I'm with you on gladiolus/gladioli. My mama done raised me right when it comes to flower names.

ddbmc said...

As the theme words started to appear, I thought perhaps "hustle" would be one of them, then couldn't get "Do the Hustle" out of my head. CAT scan-knew the "computerized" and the "tomography" parts but didn't know "axial." Arete-the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character. One def. is geological and the other, philisophical. Cool. Seems the last few weeks have had a lot of "Poe" references. Lot of abbrevs. in this puzzle. Enjoyed Harold of "Ghostbusters." I think my 20 somethings can quote every line of both movies. "We've got the tools, we've got the talent. It's Miller time...." Smooth solve from here. Thanks, Dan.

Sfingi said...

Once again, didn't get theme 'til it was over. I'll have to work on that.

This oldstress did know Mortimer 1A SNERD with his nerdy buck-tooth and Jacques Brel (36A IFWE)who "is alive and well and living in" the minds of those who loved him. Wish you had a picture of the dummy, and a video of Brel (especially the really weird - or wired - "Amsterdam").
Likewise, did not know 13A TAKEI or Lucy 20D LIU. Must learn.

Isn't pseud an abbrev. for pseudonym? It's only Tues., guys.

Parsan said...

I liked this puzzle and thanks PG for the write up. ARRAS was familiar for several reasons. Years ago I saw the wonderful Arras tapestries in The Cloisters (part of Met. Mus. of Art) in NYC and I lived one summer on Rue d'Arras in Paris. Arras is also a city in northern France, the birthplace of Robespierre.

Loved the reference to Pee Wee REESE a great player with the old Brooklyn Dodgers. I"ve had a CAT scan but didn't know AXIAL, and REFLUX, I don't want to talk about. ALGER HISS recalls the communist hysteria of th "50's. I like it when full names are in puzzles.

*David* said...

I thought this puzzle was better then a usual Tuesday. GLADIOLA and AXIAL(in ref. to a CAT scan) were new words for me.

Liked seeing the full name of ALGER HISS and MACHISMO is a solid word.

I actually sang "Almond Joy's got nuts, Mounds don't" as I filled in that section.

Lime D. Zeze said...

My favorite answer of this puzzle: LICK (Moisten, as a stamp, 55D). So much to visualize there...

Anonymous said...

An okay puzzle with decent fill for a Tuesday, but with utterly bland cluing.

Joon said...

ARRAS is a word i've only ever heard (and used) in the context of hamlet. polonius is hiding behind the ARRAS in gertrude's bedroom when hamlet hears him and stabs him through it. moral of the story: don't hide behind the ARRAS, especially when there's a moody armed dane milling about.

this was one of my faster LAT paper solves; as soon as i got RUSSELL CROWE and the M of MUSSEL SHELL, i knew what the theme would be, and promptly wrote in RUSTLE CATTLE and MUSCLE CRAMP. the only thing that kept me from breaking a personal best was the fact that i originally tried to write in RUSSEL CROWE and ... it didn't fit. erasing cost me about 10 seconds, not much in the grand scheme of things, but when you've got your ears pinned back to go for maximum speed, that's a big deal. oh, and one other mild hangup: because it was a dan naddor, i was expecting AT IT AGAIN and CRAPSHOOT to be part of the theme also. but i'm actually pleased that they weren't, because those are great fill entries.

shrub5 said...

I learned ARETE from crosswords. It should have a little hat (circumflex accent) over the first e....ARÊTE. According to online dictionaries, it is pronounced uh-RATE.
Here is a photo of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park with Clouds Rest arête in the background.

I worked this puzzle without any real trouble although I initially put NANO for Mork's signoff before remembering it's NANU. ARRAS was a new word for me and I had the same questions noted above re: GLADIOLA (gladiolus, gladioli, gladiolas, gladioluses?) I guess it's safe to call them glads.

@*David* - Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't!

Orange said...

PSEUD is a word in its own right. Dictionary says:

(informal) adj. Intellectually or socially pretentious
noun A pretentious person; a poseur

@Joon: What do you use to pin back your ears?

Charles Bogle said...

had reactions similar to those of sfingi, parsan, david; very pleasant puzzle, thank you Dan Naddor and even better write-up< PG! Guess I missed the Crosswordese on TETRA. And PSEUD? New one...Particularly liked: SNERD, ARRAS (now I know what they are), MACHISMO, ATITAGAIN, GLADIOLA, AXIAL, DILEMMA and ALGERHISS, which may have presented a real problem to those not of a certain age...

For anyone who is interested in learning more about Alger Hiss, I recommend Sam Tanenhaus's (he edits the NYT Sunday Book Review) biography of Whittaker Chambers..

I too didn't really catch the pairing/rhyming of the theme until coming here. I see the first words rhyme but...And is it Edgar Allan Poe month?

All said, another encouraging LA Times puzzle, beginning to atone for some recent let-downs-

ddbmc said...

@Shrubb5, I saw the little ^ above arete, but I guess it is another one of those little computer tricks to learn. Still working on "embedding!"

Joon said...

you know, the idiom "pin one's ears back" does not mean anything at all like what i thought it meant. at least according to online dictionaries. my mac's built-in dictionary says it means "to listen carefully." i can also find "to give a person a sound beating" and "to scold severely" for pin someone's ears back. it's also apparently a literal phrase for a type of elective surgery for people whose ears stick out.

i have only ever heard it used to describe pass rushers in football, who are said to "pin their ears back" and go after the QB on obvious passing downs, abandoning any responsibility for stopping the run. i'm not exactly sure why this would help them (less air resistance, perhaps?), but idiom is a strange thing.

trying to solve a puzzle on paper in under 3 minutes is a slightly frightening experience. i feel like i'm careening out of control much of the time, and it always seems like a small miracle if the letters even end up in the boxes, to say nothing of whether they're actually correct.

Orange said...

@Joon, my dad had his ears pinned back when he was a kid. My son sort of inherited his ears, but he has a lot of hair so nobody notices.

If the speed-solving begins to frighten you, perhaps it's time to ease up!

Joon said...

the first step is admitting you have a problem, and i'm still very much on step #0.

embien said...

When I was a young pup, my grandfather (one of the largest wholesale flower growers in the West) would have scolded me if I had ever called it GLADIOLA. One GLADIOLUS, more than one GLADIOLI, was the one true path.

Or, when talking to the hired help, they were often just GLADS, as in "time to pick the glads."

I also never say "ain't".

Josh Castillo said...

Ok so what does the highlighted solution mean in the solution grid?

chefbea said...

Fun puzzle. Got the theme right away

The Peter Paul Mounds chocolate factory was right down the street from my step daughter's home in Naugatuck Ct. Use to see it all the time and smell the chocolate. It closed a couple of years ago.

Who licks stamps any more???

SethG said...

One of my slowest solves in ages...felt like I was solving in mud or something.

Joon, I've watched a lot (A Lot) of football, and I don't remember _ever_ hearing that expression. There's a ton of support for it online (if you search with football, otherwise you just get bilateral otoplasty info), so I wonder why? I should say I've watched a lot of _pro_ football, maybe it tends to be a college expression? It's probably just that I'm not auricularly observant.

Parsan said...

@SethG--Also a big NFL fan. And college. And high school football when my son played. Lotsa TV time now!! I too have never heard the blitz referred to in that way but I guess it is in the vernacular.

I remember hearing the phrase when I was a kid and always thought it meant someone getting yelled at in a very loud voice. Probably just my interpretation.

Frank Sinatra said...

Many animals "pin their ears back" as an indication of anger, intent to attack, or while attacking. It's a clear sign of iminent attack should a dog, cat, horse, etc. pin their ears back. Hence its comming into common usage to go on the attack.

Further, in the animal world, it's a matter of self preservation - if your ears are pinned back, they're less likely to be bitten off in the ensuing fight.

Or, in my case, they just stick out so damned far. @Joon - I used gum. Before I was dead and all.

mac said...

Nice puzzle!
I loved "at it again" and thought it would be part of the theme. Not hard to figure out after the first two "ussly" sounds. Poe is around a lot these days!

@Orange: I also immediately had a vision in my mind of Joon with his ears clipped back!

split infinitive said...

PG : "sri" as in "Sri Lanka" or as a title has connotations of "holy," so as an honorific it's a step or two above its anagram, "sir."

Thanks for the "gladiola" info above, folks. Now i don't feel like a pseud!

Seeing Jacques Brel and mussels in the same puzzle makes me want to cook up some Belgian style mussels in good belgian beer with a side of "frites" (fries).

Nice write up & links today. Am becoming a better solver thanks to daily visits on the blogs.

Sfingi said...

My left ear involuntarily goes back when I hear a loud noise behind me. (Throwback to ape ancestors.) I can also move it voluntarily. I used to think that "prick up your ears," referred to that, until I found it didn't happen to other people.

@ddbmc -I would love to be able to embed. But, as far the circumflex, I have a Character Map which I load to the side, hit on the character, select it, and drop and drag. ê

@Parsan. In the '60s, I was at the Cloisters viewing the Unicorn Tapestries which shows the capture of the unicorn (shut up Freud). A 4-yr-old girl was in front of the one showing the capture and wounding, and she was crying for the unicorn with her mother telling her the unicorn was ok. I marveled at the message sent across 5 centuries.
I only know PeeWee Reese because his name rhymed with my sister's, so we had to hear it all the time.

Alger Hiss is referred to at pumpkin time!

Lick should be on the puzzle with RNA and DNA.

@Embien - thanx for glad info.

@Orange - I guess there are many new abbrevs. Back in my day, we didn't even have adolescent literature, so I took a 3-credit.
Likewise, I'll have to find a newer list to study.

Judith said...

I totally agree with the comments on craps...

Fastest way to lose money I ever saw!

Joon said...

seth, am i imagining things or did jaws use "pin their ears back" to describe freeney and mathis going after pennington in the 4th quarter last night? in any event, it's a turn of phrase i associate with football writers more than announcers. i think doug farrar over at football outsiders is the first one i can remember using it.

frank sinatra, thanks for the info about attacking animals. that makes perfect sense. (i suspect you're not really frank sinatra, though.)