WEDNESDAY, September 23, 2009—Bruce Venzke & Stella Daily

THEME: "Feeling good, Louis!"—Four phrases begin with words that mean "healthy"

It took me a while to see what the theme was here. That was complicated a tad by the Across eight-letter answers, which looked like they could be part of the theme—SOB STORY and LOUSED UP are just good fill, though, not theme entries.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Hydration from underground (WELL WATER).
  • 29A: Thunder on a radio show, e.g. (SOUND EFFECT).
  • 45A: In a rage (FIT TO BE TIED).
  • 61A: House majority leader of the early 1970s (HALE BOGGS).. He died in '72, when I was six. I wasn't following congressional politics much at that age.
Hey! Last Wednesday's Crosswordese 101 word, EKE, shows up again today (7D: Scratch (out), as a living). Did you all get that one instantly?

Crosswordese 101: We have some compelling runners-up here, but the victor is the Latin word ESSE (59D: Being, to Caesar). That's the Latin infinitive "to be," just as ETRE is the French equivalent and ESTAR is "to be" in Spanish. Common clues you might see the next time ESSE is in the puzzle: Start of North Carolina's motto; Latin being; Latin 101 verb; In ___ (actually); To be, to Tiberius; Being, to Brutus. Do I know how to conjugate this verb? Not at all.

Rex and PuzzleGirl, here are some candidates for future lessons: 43A: Uncover, poetically (OPE); 66A: Baseball Hall of Famer Speaker (TRIS); 2D: Utah city (OREM); and 57D: Taj Mahal city (AGRA).

What else have we got here?
  • In the "Make up your mind already" category, we have battling pronouncements: "I'M READY!" (21A: "All set!") and "I'M LATE" (56A: White Rabbit's cry). I can't find a good video showing SpongeBob's little "I'm ready, I'm ready" song, but you know what's so much better? This one. Plankton, the hapless evil genius, has some rather dark ideas about fun:

  • 40A: Undiversified, as a farm clues the adjective ONE-CROP. I like to use that metaphorically. "This relationship is so ONE-CROP. I feel stifled."
  • 69A: Not tagged in time (SAFE). As in the baseball call.
  • 67A: Cousins of hamlets (TOWNS). Hmm, I wonder if Bruce and Stella originally had a trickier clue, Hamlets' cousins. I like clues that fool you by playing with capital letters—small-h hamlet is a town, while big-H Hamlet is the moody Dane.
  • 1D: Dog's dogs? (PAWS). I don't think I've ever once said "My dogs are barking" to mean "my feet are tired," but I know it's a common enough phrase. Cute clue.
  • 9D: Payment from a contestant (ENTRY FEE). Hey, if you're planning to attend this winter's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, you should be aware that the dates have changed: February 19-21, 2010.
  • 43D: Tie settlers, for short (OTS). Meaning overtimes that settle a tied game. Anyone try to understand this clue as being about pioneer-type settlers?

Everything Else — 1A: Pea holders (PODS); 5A: Get ready for surgery (PREP); 9A: Beethoven's "Für __" (ELISE); 14A: Geometry product (AREA); 15A: Victoria or Geneva (LAKE); 16A: Zapped in the microwave (NUKED); 19A: Prevailing tendency (TREND); 20A: Horseshoer's workshop (SMITHY); 23A: Excuse designed to elicit sniffles (SOB STORY); 26A: Busy pro in Apr. (CPA); 34A: Test the weight of (HEFT); 36A: To this day (YET); 37A: Bird on a dollar (EAGLE); 38A: Minimally (AT LEAST); 42A: Old French money (FRANC); 44A: Head of France? (TÊTE); 49A: "The Waste Land" poet's monogram (TSE); 50A: Made a mess of (LOUSED UP); 52A: Mouth the lyrics (LIP SYNC); 60A: Arm of the sea (INLET); 64A: "Uncle Tom's Cabin" author (STOWE); 65A: Has regrets about (RUES); 68A: Leave the stage (EXIT); 3D: Sandwich seller (DELI); 4D: Seasons, as fries (SALTS); 5D: Hedonistic fellows (PLAYBOYS); 6D: Maze scurrier (RAT); 8D: Sentence ender (PERIOD); 10D: Tackle box item (LURE); 11D: It sells a lot of build-it-yourself furniture (IKEA); 12D: E-mail command (SEND); 13D: Swirling current (EDDY); 18D: "__ on first?" (WHO'S); 22D: Desert Storm ration, for short (MRE); 24D: Mutton fat (SUET); 25D: Explosive compound (TNT); 26D: Grain husks separated in threshing (CHAFF); 27D: Lab dish inventor (PETRI); 28D: G sharp's equivalent (A FLAT); 30D: It's not fiction (FACT); 31D: "Snowy" wader (EGRET); 32D: Stops bleeding (CLOTS); 33D: Conical residence (TEPEE); 35D: Shelter for roughing it (TENT); 39D: Altar attendants (ACOLYTES); 40D: Aunt Bee's grandnephew (OPIE); 41D: Most destitute (NEEDIEST); 46D: "__ voyage!" (BON); 47D: Game often played with a 24-card deck (EUCHRE); 48D: Make absurdly easy, with "down" (DUMB); 51D: Novelists' creations (PLOTS); 52D: Letter-to-Santa itemization (LIST); 53D: Totally enjoying (INTO); 54D: Clear the snow (PLOW); 55D: Attached with thread (SEWN); 58D: "Woohoo, the weekend!" ("TGIF!"); 62D: "La Cage __ Folles" (AUX); 63D: Wahine's gift (LEI).


Helena Handbasket said...

"43D: Tie settlers, for short (OTS). Meaning overtimes that settle a tied game. Anyone try to understand this clue as being about pioneer-type settlers?"

YES! Oregon Trail, thou hath ruined me for life. Thanks a lot, third grade.

Also, thumbs up for "Woohoo! The weekend!" Makes trusty rusty "Thursday cry of exultation" or whatever seem a little dry in comparison. I can't remember TGIF ever being an answer on a Friday, though. What a tease.

p.s. This girl AMAT this blog : )

Sfingi said...

@Helena - At first I thought tie settlers was tietacks or stickpins. Then there's Thai settlers.

I had forgot @61A HALEBOGGS 1st name, but did know euchre, probably from novels, so cleared that up.

Messed up 2D OREM, never heard of it, crosses 17A WELLWATER crosses 1D PAWS. First, I had "pups," then "pads." Thus, 17A became "pullwater," which didn't seem right.

Once more, did not get theme. That would have helped this time.

24D SUET could also be beef.
35D TENT and 33D TEPEE on the grid.

Parsan said...

I liked this puzzle! Thank you BV and SD. It was as easy as a Monday puzzle but that was O.K. because most of the clues were interesting and the few abbreviations made sense. I really liked the way EAGLE and EGLET crossed and the SE corner had LOUSE UP, DUMB, and IM LATE and even RUES at the bottom.

HALE BOGGS and TRIS Speaker came easily (advantage of age) and FIT TO BE TIED was one of my Dad's favorite sayings.

Did not know MRE or EUCHRE but they just filled in with crosses.

I thought we might get "Fur ELISE", a lovely melody. Always hoping for some classical or jazz when it's clued.

Jeffrey said...

How did this ever get in the LA Times crossword:

48D: Make absurdly easy, with "down" (DUMB)

Anonymous said...

Wanted "UNI--" or "MONO---" for "ONECROP. Never saw the theme. Guess I need more coffee.

GLowe said...

@CC: *Exactly* what I thought, a little tweak of the nose perhaps.

shrub5 said...

I only saw the theme after I finished this very enjoyable puzzle. SOBSTORY, EUCHRE, LOUSEDUP, ACOLYTES, LIPSYNC -- all fresh, interesting entries. Great clue for DUMB (we've sure seen this in the blog buzz recently.)

I had one error that today's Crosswordese 101 would have helped: I had ESTE instead of ESSE at 59D. Since I didn't know baseballer TRIS Speaker, I thought TRIT sounded OK. Per Wiki, TRIS is short for Tristram. I remember tris as a type of buffer in chemistry, I think.

I wondered where the expression FIT TO BE TIED came from; learned it refers to the practice of binding uncontrollable, dangerous people into straitjackets. Today, you'd send someone to anger management class.

*David* said...

For TIE settlers I had the OT and was thinking OTO, our favorite Nebraskan that doesn't go by the last name Cathers.

My new method on long answers is to get a couple of letters and try to fill it in, usually to my detriment but it does add fun to the solving process. The other "game" is to have some letters and try to fill it in without reading the clue, usually to my detriment.

Scott said...

ONECROP is the only real stinker here, MONOCROP would be fine, but I've never heard anyone use the phrase one crop.

Also, I've never heard LOUSEDUP, is this a phrase other folks are familiar with?

Lots of nice fill otherwise, I particularly liked PLAYBOYS, ACOLYTES, and SOBSTORY.

CrazyCat said...

I zipped right through this puzzle until I came to a screeching halt at the intersection of Game often played with a 24 card deck and House Majority Leader of the Early 1970s. This is the first time that I have heard of the game EUCHRE. As far as the early 70's, I was in the smokey haze of what passed for college during that ERA, so I don't remember HALE BOGGS. I do remember Hale Bopp, however. I totally missed the theme, but did have a chuckle over DUMBDOWN hmmm....?

Parsan said...

@Scott--LOUSE UP is a phrase I've long heard, but maybe it isn't used as commonly now. Maybe "screw up" has taken its place in slang.

@Orange--Nice picture of great hitter Wade Boggs, but I was never a Red Sox fan.

shrub5 said...

@crazycatlady: I thought of the Hale-Bopp comet, too, although I did remember the name HALEBOGGS once I had a few of the letters in.

@Orange: So glad to see the video of the ending of "Trading Places" -- a favorite of mine and one of Eddie Murphy's early roles.

@Scott: I agree with Parsan that LOUSED UP has pretty much been replaced by screwed up. I associate "all loused up" with something my grandfather would say.

I didn't know SMITHY was the horseshoer's workshop. I thought smithy was the shoer. I looked it up and it can be both.

jazz said...

Nice Wed puzzle!

Liked the cross of EGRET and EAGLE. Also appreciated the plethora of two-word answers, none (except for ONECROP) seeming contrived. e.g. LIPSYNC,ENTRYFEE,ATLEAST, and all the theme answers.

I'm waiting for the 5-D clue to someday be "What Michelle Wie wants to do" instead of the more traditional bent.

Did I count right...only 8 3-letter fills?

Good Wed, Bruce and Stella!

Parsan said...

@jazz--Think Michelle already tried that and it didn't work.

chefbea said...

Never heard of dumb down

Also thought smithy was the person.

Liked the puzzle and like the word that appeared in both the NYT and LAT puzzle today.

Charles Bogle said...

Shrub5 and I liked the same words...also I think this continues the week's trend toward improvement over recent weeks. I agree w Orange: the nice longish fill was refreshing and different!

mac said...

I thought it a fun puzzle, a little irreverent.

I didn't have a problem with one-crop, but I needed all the crosses to get Boggs's first name. Hydration from underground is not a great clue; you still have to bring the water up to sprinkle your plants or lawn.

term rerrey said...

When I was 10 I tried to play euchre with my uncles but could not decipher their strange system of knocking on the table to declare their move. I did learn how to spell it, which comes in handy every now and then.

Got screwed in the SE corner cuz I never heard of Hale or Tris, but Hale Boggs is such a cool name I don't think I'll forget.

Anonymous said...

As Majority Leader, Boggs often campaigned for others. On October 16, 1972, he was aboard a twin engine Cessna 310 with Representative Nick Begich of Alaska, who was facing a possible tight race in the November 1972 general election against the Republican candidate Don Young, when it disappeared during a flight from Anchorage to Juneau. The only others on board were Begich's aide, Russell Brown, and the pilot, Don Jonz;[4] the four were heading to a campaign fundraiser for Begich. (Begich won the 1972 election posthumously with 56 percent to Young's 44 percent, though Young would win the special election to replace Begich and won every election through 2008.)

Coast Guard, Navy, and Air Force planes searched for the party. On November 24, 1972, after 39 days, the search was abandoned. Neither the wreckage of the plane nor the pilot's and passengers' remains were ever found. The accident prompted Congress to pass a law mandating Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT's) in all U.S. civil aircraft.

Sffingi said...

Hale Boggs' daughter is Cokie Roberts of PBS/NPR fame, certainly a strange name. But, she's a senior citizen herself.

You probably assumed the smithy was the guy because of Longfellow's poem, in which the "village smithy stands." He meant the business and continues, "The smith, a mighty man is he..." Gotta read it. Very masculine in a good, not machismo, way.

ddbmc said...

Having worked on Capital Hill moons ago, Hale Boggs came quickly. His wife, Lindy Boggs was elected to his seat, after he presumably died in a plane crash in Alaska. His daughter is none other than Cokie Roberts, who was an ABC newsreporter for many years. Another daughter, Barbara Boggs Sigmund was the Mayor of Princeton, NJ. I remember her losing first her eye to cancer and then her life.

All in all, some great words in the Wed. puzzle. Loused up was a phrase I grew knowing. A considerably bluer phrase is used now! Wanted to put "blow" for clear snow.

I thought Orem was where all those Osmonds were from, but that was Ogdon. Atleast Marie lives in Orem! Not sure she sings in A Flat. Pretty sure she doesn't lipsync, either.