WEDNESDAY, September 9, 2009—Donna Levin

THEME: "Obedience School"—Four phrases start with words that are also common commands to a pet dog

When I'm going through a puzzle and the clues don't point me towards the theme, I read two or more theme entries and try to figure out what they have in common. Sometimes it has to do with the last words in the phrases...so I briefly pondered what a PIKE, HANDS, BOOTY, EXECUTION theme would be about. Medieval violence...plus booty. It's got potential.

Theme answers:
  • 17A: Make an appearance (COME DOWN THE PIKE). "Come, boy. Come on! No, get away from the door. COME!"
  • 26A: Do nothing (SIT ON ONE'S HANDS). "Sit, Ubu, sit."
  • 48A: Dancing instruction from KC and the Sunshine Band (SHAKE YOUR BOOTY). "Shake hands, Murphy." Do you know how much time I spent trying to find a good video of this song on YouTube for last Saturday's post? I didn't like any of the videos with the band, so I went with a Simpsons butt montage set to that song. Aw, I would've saved that for today if I'd known SHAKE YOUR BOOTY was coming, rather than blowing it on DJIBOUTI. Here's a different KC song instead, another some from my tween years that gives me a tingle of guilty-pleasure nostalgia:

  • 63A: Death row reprieve (STAY OF EXECUTION). Moderately depressing topic to touch on in crosswords, even though I guess a STAY is less grim. "Staaaayyyy."
  • 60D: Pet targeted by the first words of this puzzle's four longest answers (FIDO). FIDO! That was just in another Saturday puzzle last weekend, clued as "name meaning 'I am faithful,'" and here it is again, anchoring a theme. You think Rex is pouting that popular dog name Rex isn't the unifying answer here?

Crosswordese 101: On Friday, Rex talked about some Scottish islands, the Hebrides, specifically SKYE and IONA. Today's topic moves across the water to the far west of Ireland and the ARAN Islands (16A: Galway Bay's __ Islands). These islands were populated over 2,000 years ago, and ruins of prehistoric forts remain. ARAN's crossword clues usually ask for Irish island or islands in Galway Bay.

Ready for some clue chit-chat?
  • 38A: Fortified Portuguese wine (MADEIRA). This may be the white wine equivalent of a darker port or sherry. Fortified wines are not my thing at all. PORT, meanwhile gets a non-vino clue: 53A: Seaside city. I reckon either one could go in a CASK (10A: Winery container or CASK). But they probably won't be served over ICE, a.k.a. 34A: Bartender's rocks.
  • 57A: Horace Greeley's direction for young men was to "Go WEST, young man."
  • 13D: Genuflection joint (KNEE). Genu- is Latin for "knee" and flectere means "to bend," so genuflection means "to lower one's body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, typically in worship or as a sign of respect." I tell ya, hardly anybody ever genuflects to crossword constructors, but I suspect a few of them would appreciate it if we did that.
  • 18D: West Virginia border river (OHIO). Dang, "West" in a clue and WEST in the grid? I hope that didn't keep anyone from writing WEST in. If you didn't get your fill of '70s music, here are the OHIO Players. You don't need to have the sound on, but I urge/press/iron you to watch it just for the Bedazzled wardrobe.

  • 27D: Presses clues IRONS, but sometimes that clue will lead you to URGES. If you get a pressing urge to iron, seek help immediately.
  • 61D: Large cross (ROOD). I learned this word from the Old English poem, "Dream of the Rood." Aaaand...this concludes today's medieval references.

Everything Else — 1A: Big bird's grabber (TALON); 6A: Croquet venue (LAWN); 14A: Essential acid, familiarly (AMINO); 15A: Working hard (AT IT); 20A: Bolsheviks' bane (TSAR); 21A: Ins. plans (HMOS); 22A: Auto dealer's agreement, at times (LEASE); 23A: Andy Taylor's boy (OPIE); 25A: Cloak-and-dagger org. (CIA); 33A: Movie trailer, e.g. (PROMO); 34A: Bartender's rocks (ICE); 35A: Takes home (NETS); 37A: Amorous sound (COO); 42A: Draw (TIE); 43A: Throw in a chip (ANTE); 45A: Nintendo game console (WII); 46A: Yankees' home (BRONX); 52A: "Groovy!" (RAD); 54A: More than sufficiently (AMPLY); 59A: Linc's "Mod Squad" do (AFRO); 66A: Enjoying a lot (INTO); 67A: Act the accomplice (ABET); 68A: Doomed Genesis city (SODOM); 69A: YMCA part: Abbr. (ASSN.); 70A: Lessons learned early (ABCS); 71A: Eat away at (ERODE); 1D: Diplomacy (TACT); 2D: "Famous" cookie guy (AMOS); 3D: South American capital (LIMA); 4D: Like a studio apartment (ONE-ROOM); 5D: Doze off (NOD); 6D: Marshals, usually (LAWMEN); 7D: 12 for Mg or 20 for Ca, e.g. (AT. NO.); 8D: Mental faculties (WITS); 9D: Extreme degree (NTH); 10D: Peninsula bordering Massachusetts Bay (CAPE ANN); 11D: Diva's piece (ARIA); 12D: Bloomingdale's rival (SAKS); 19D: Lamb's pen name (ELIA); 24D: __ Penh, Cambodia (PNOM); 25D: "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer (CHER); 26D: Pet welfare org. (SPCA); 28D: Place for a crown or cap (TOOTH); 29D: Old MacDonald refrain (E-I-E-I-O); 30D: Biol. or geol. (SCI.); 31D: Artoo's "surname" (DETOO); 32D: Be frugal (STINT); 36D: Erotic (SEXY); 39D: Filled with wonder (AWED); 40D: Like some home improvement projects, briefly (DIY); 41D: E.g., e.g. (ABBR.); 44D: Near the outset (EARLY ON); 47D: __ cuff: pitching injury site (ROTATOR); 49D: Fight stopper (KAYO); 50D: Underdog victories (UPSETS); 51D: Campus mil. group (ROTC); 54D: Where billions live (ASIA); 55D: "White" peaks in N.H. (MTNS.); 56D: Butter units (PATS); 57D: Jack of "Dragnet" (WEBB); 58D: Corporate VIP (EXEC); 62D: "Dinner is __" (ON ME); 64D: Flight oversight org. (FAA); 65D: Exploit (USE).


Donna said...

Orange, a STAY OF EXECUTION isn't depressing at all. The "execution" in the phrase doesn't refer to someone being put to death, but rather to execution of the judgment that was rendered. Think of simply as a temporary suspension of enforcement of any type of ruling by a court. It's really not so grim.

I learned my lesson early on about depressing crossword themes. One of the very first puzzles I ever constructed used SHOOT THE MOON, HANG A PICTURE, EXECUTE A WILL and KILL SOME TIME. Even putting aside the problem the theme had with consistency (specific v. general), you can guess what the verdict was on that puzzle!

imsdave said...

A perfectly fine puzzle. Only commenting because I can't see the word MADEIRA without thinking of Flanders and Swann. I'm to lazy (and technologically challenged)
to post the link, but I encourage you to go to youtube and check them out.

Joon said...

donna, what you say may be true, but the clue in today's puzzle (i'm guessing rich's clue, not yours?) was {Death row reprieve}, which is a bit grim, as orange says.

me, i like a good MADEIRA and love a good PORT. not too big into alcoholic drinks in general, but dessert wines? yes, please.

Carol said...

Is this puzzle pretty easy for a Wednesday or am I getting better? Breezed through it in no time.

@Orange - As a knitter, I see ARAN patterns which most people call "fisherman knit" patterns. Anybody want to guess where they came from?

PARSAN said...

@Orange - Yes, your music selection fits right in with the theme "Get Down--Rex!" Had nap before NOD so 17a COME-- was the last to fill in even though the theme came right away. Any reference to my beloved WV that doesn't have the word hillbilly in it is good. Fast and fun puzzle and interesting write-up.

Jeffrey said...

The OHIO Players kick-your-left-foot-out choreography has given me the urge to iron.

UncoolJohn said...

Was I the only one bothered by KAYO for "Fight Stopper"? K.O. Is an abbreviation for Knock-Out, KAYO is... nothing.

jazz said...

Hmmm...I learned something new about STAYOFEXECUTION. Thanks, Donna!

This was a nice puzzle for a Wednesday. ROOD was a new one for me, but otherwise, it unfolded pretty nicely. Good job, Ms. Levin! (Do the PuzzleMakers ever read these comments?)

I put KAYO ('short' for KO) right up there with RIBBIES ('short' for RBIs) as a longer word for an abbreviation that I used to see e.g. in the Daily News. Never knew why they spelled out an abbreviation in a longer form!

Is it my imagination or has CHER been turning up a lot in these puzzles lately?

PARSAN said...

@Uncool-- Yes, it seemed understandable but incorrect.

Joon said...

uncooljohn, parsan: let's try to draw a distinction between "unfamiliar" and "incorrect," shall we?


there it is, in a mainstream dictionary. it's also used (though not as commonly as K.O.) in boxing recaps. this is a real word (unlike ACER and IRED, but don't get me started on those). you don't have to like it, of course, but saying it's "nothing" or "incorrect" is beyond petulant.

Rex Parker said...

KAYO is legit. You are free to hate it, though; I hate many "legit" answers.

This was beyond easy. A shade over 3 on a Wednesday = too easy. ROOD is the only answer I can imagine giving anyone trouble, and I knew that with just one "O" in place (but then I frequently teach "Dream of the ROOD," so I have slightly unfair advantage there). ARAN (xwordese tho' it is) might have slowed folks a little too, I guess.

Today's puz follows NYT in putting the theme revealer in an odd Down position. I like these types of answers shoved in corners (or smack in the middle if that's feasible). Pick a corner, any corner, but hug the wall.


*David* said...

I ain't seeing the difference between the difficulty in these puzzles. This was a fine puzzle for a Monday but I guess that they have made the decision that the difficulty level will be ramped down, period the end. I shan't comment again about it, I'm a soldier and enjoy my xwords regardless.

A theme being grim or bete noire, I would love to see more of that. Too many rules and requirements to what is expected from a xword, methinks.

mac said...

@jazz: I think Donna is the constructor!

Nice Wednesday puzzle. One of these days I'm going to remember that ATNO...
I only just realized that the "shake" is meant to be for the paw. Had visions of the poor dog shaking his, booty I guess?

PARSAN said...

@Rex - Thanks for making me feel better. Having been thoroughly chastized, I must say I was not being petulant, just incorrect.

Crockett1947 said...

@mac and jazz Yes, Donna IS the constructor.

Crockett1947 said...

So at 09:09 on 09/09/09 our classical station is playing Dvorak's 9th! Gotta love it!

Greene said...

@mac: Hah! I had the exact same thought. My weimaraner has a docked tail (not my fault, he was like that when I found him at the pound), so when he wags it there is some major booty shaking going on. God, I love that dog.

This was a pretty simple puzzle, but I give it an "A" since it celebrates dogs. Surprised to see SODOM in the puzzle, but I'm guessing the absence of the "Y" and the biblical origin render it acceptable.

ROOD was my new word of the day. Can't ever seem to learn all the 4-letter words required for efficient crossword solving. I've never seen KAYO before either. I was all set to be petulant about it too. Thanks to @Joon and @Rex for reminding me that unfamiliar does not equal illegitimate.

shrub5 said...

As @Rex figured, ARAN and ROOD were unfamiliar words to me but both were easily filled in from the crosses. I liked the dog commands theme and thought it would have been fun to see "good dog" or "here's a treat" at the bottom of the puzzle!

@Greene: you painted a happy picture of the booty-shaking Weimaraner! No matter what obstacles they might have to overcome, our pets try so hard to show us the love.

Easy but fun puzzle -- my only stumble was putting AT WT before correcting to AT NO. Is it me or does it seem a LOT of puzzles (LAT, NYT) from the past few weeks have had TSAR in one form or another?

Joon said...

sorry, "beyond petulant" was poor word choice on my part. but i do wish that upon coming across something unfamiliar, a solver's first reaction would be "hmm, let me look that up" instead of "i call BS." 99.9% of the time, the constructors and (especially) editors do know what they're doing.

JIMMIE said...

I have a wool sweater that was knitted in the Aran islands and sold in Ireland, so maybe they have their own pattern.

Meanwhile, a CASK of PORT or MADEIRA is not ONME, with or without ICE, because I am STINT.

chefbea said...

Easy Wednesday puzzle

Anyone remember the comic strip "Moon Mullins"?
Do you remember the name of Moon's brother??
It was Kayo!!! Wonder if he drank Port or Madiera.

Bohica said...

Kayo is perfectly legitimate, I've seen it spelled out that was any number of times in sports pages and magazines - even Kayo'ed.

Didn't have any trouble with rood, for some reason it came right to me (too much puzzling?). I do take issue with ATNO for atomic number though. When I Googled the abbrieviation (even eith the periods in place) 0 hits were returned with atomic number referenced.

Shouln't the clue be Artwo's "surname" and Detwo be the answer? I know - too picky. Thought EIEIO was a fun gimme.

All in all an enjoyable puzzle, though a bit too easy for mid-week.

Anonymous said...

@Bohica - Before Joon answers, R-2 and D-2, acording to Wikipedia, written out are ArToo and DeToo. Your way certainly makes better sense.

ddbmc said...

Must be the Irish in me, but ARAN was a gimme and there's a local cemetary "The Holy Rood," so I had that advantage-we are dark thinkers, after all!(RIP Frank McCourt!)

Big birds grabber got me nervous, thinking bad things about the Sesame St. fellow, but talon came with the cross. That could have a rood thought. Tsar/Czar is definitely over used, but familiar and with the right clue, okayo fill. Got to get me some of those Ohio Player outfits for Halloween!

SethG said...

Since you're googling, check Artoo vs Artwo. (Which I see someone already said, but I went to all that trouble with the links so...)

And if you get a bit more explicit with your atomic number search, you'll find plenty of results there, too.

I liked the ABBR clue, didn't like "Abbr." appearing in a clue too.

Anonymous said...

@Bohica - Sent above message too fast. With a kitten on my lap trying to help me type it came out wrong. R-2D-2, acordong to Wikipedia: Artoo-Detoo.

Bohica said...

From my Google search:

The name Artwo Detwo was scribbled down by Lucas during the filming of American Graffiti, when he was asked for R2, D2 (Reel 2, Dialogue 2) of the film. 28)

*David* said...

376K references on Google for Artoo and 79K for Artwo. I have always called the lovable little droid Artoo-Detoo

*David* said...

376K references on Google for Artoo and 79K for Artwo. I have always called the lovable little droid Artoo-Detoo

Charles Bogle said...

I'm w jazz and mac...thank you Donna Levin, very pleasing Wed puzzle; always like a dog theme. Learned some new words eg ROOD, places, ARAN. Don't see anything unacceptably grim about STAYOFEXECUTION-after all, it means a life has been (at least temporarily) spared...did not care for DETOO-never heard "him" referred to phonetically. Liked: ROTATOR, STINT. Don't get ELIA for "Lamb's pen name". Liked this better than today's NYT

Anonymous said...

Enlighten me ... what does DIY mean as the answer to 40D Like some home improvement projects, briefly, My brain isn't serving up an explanation at the moment. Bob

mac said...

@anonymouse: it means "do it yourself".

Anonymous said...


Do it Yourself.

- - Robert

Donna said...

@Jazz, et al. -- I can't speak for all constructors, but I regularly check the blogs of Orange, Rex and PuzzleGirl in the hope of learning what I can do to improve my work. Even if an editor likes a puzzle enough to publish it, the puzzle is still a failure if the solvers think poorly of it. I count on you guys to teach me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.

Sfingi said...

@shrub5 tsars and czars "are alive and well and living in" crossword puzzles, as is Elia. Has anyone purposely built a crossword puzzle using all the tritest words?

16A Aran/Channel/Fair isle sweaters - Me puir auld mither - now gaga, but adorable - used to make such for babies, including teeny tiny popcorns, waffles, twists, etc.

The Holy Rood is a crucifix, as opposed to a cross, thus Roman, pre-Protestant. Speaking of genuflect, check out Tom Lehrer's
Vatican Rag on YouTube. There's a heavy metal group called Genuflect but I doubt I could listen to it.
999 - turn it upside down, etc.

@Greene - we love your dog and Fido and Rex, too. Also, they were catered to in 50A underdog and 26D SPCA.

I'll never forget the Ohio R. in Oprah's strange movie, Beloved.

I'm glad to say the hardest part for this Senior was reading the little numbers.

Art Wo said...

So this is why I've gotten all those Google Alerts today. Learn to spell people!

Crockett1947 said...

@charles bogle The pen name that Charles Lab used was ELIA.

Anonymous said...

Easy puzzle with many recurring answers, rood and Cher were just a few days ago. Didn't care for kayo, though daddy-0............

ddbmc said...

@Sfingi-thank you for the info on "Rood" v "cross." I never realized that the difference was that the Rood or crucifix displayed the "corpus" or body of Christ-specifically, The Holy Rood being the cross that Christ was hung from. Tom Lehrer's "Vatican Rag" was a favorite irreverent song of my youth (as mi auld mither sent me to the confessional once a week!). I vaguely remember him on "That was the Week that Was." This song seemed to be right around the time of Vaughn Meader's "The First Family" another gem of the early 60's, pre JFK's assassination.

Brad the Builder said...

Great post, thanks