MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2009 — Pancho Harrison

THEME: "TIME" (71A: Given moment, which can begin both parts of the answer to starred clues)

Yes, BOTH parts, not just the first part. That's the (ideal) way to do a "Word that can follow" or "Word that can precede"-type puzzle. At first I blazed through the puzzle and thought only the first words of each answer were implicated in the TIME theme. Then I did what one should probably do routinely, which is read the clue closely. Before that, I was imagining all the different words that might have been used (WARP, TRAVEL, etc.). But he managed to get eight different example to make four perfectly good two-word phrases. Really nice work. With so many negative words in the grid (e.g. AWFUL, SCARY, LOSER), I'm glad I don't feel inclined to use any of them to describe the puzzle. Instead, only happy thoughts. GAMS! (1A: Shapely legs, slangily)

Theme answers:

  • 17A: *Like secret military facilities, to civilians (OFF LIMITS)
  • 10D: *One-armed bandit (SLOT MACHINE)
  • 24D: *Movie that evokes prior times (PERIOD PIECE)
  • 64A: *Furniture with folding legs, usually (CARD TABLE)

The theme answers seem oddly unified for a random assortment of two-word phrases that happen to fit the theme. Two are terms from the world of gambling. If you made a movie today about Monte Carlo in the 1960s and had some of it take place in a back room that was OFF LIMITS to anyone but high rollers ... well, there you go. Thematic unity.

Crosswordese 101: RHEA (15A: Flightless South American bird) — the Rodney Dangerfield of non-extinct flightless birds. Everyone knows the OSTRICH and EMU and PENGUIN and KIWI, but to most of the U.S. I'm guessing RHEA is that lady who played Carla on "Cheers" (RHEA Perlman). That, or the titaness known as the "mother of gods," after whom the birds were named (for reasons that Wikipedia doesn't understand). RHEAs are omnivorous, polygamous, and have three toes.

What else?

  • 50A: "The Avengers" heroine, to Steed (MRS. PEEL) — mmm hmm. Yes. More please. MRS. PEEL was not DITSY (21A: Scatterbrained). She was smart and smoking hot. Here is some VIDEO (45A: Part of VCR) [side note, our VCR is currently sitting curbside with our former TV table — come and get it!]

See you Friday,


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Shapely legs, slangily (GAMS); 5A: Peak (ACME); 9A: Makeup maven Lauder (ESTEE); 14A: Actor McGregor (EWAN); 15A: Flightless South American bird (RHEA); 16A: Not cloudy (CLEAR); 17A: *Like secret military facilities, to civilians (OFF LIMITS); 19A: "Lucy, you got a __ 'splainin' to do!" (LOTTA); 20A: High on the hwy. (DUI); 21A: Scatterbrained (DITSY); 22A: Gillette razors (ATRAS); 23A: Slip by (ELAPSE); 25A: Give life to (ANIMATE); 27A: Artist's support (EASEL); 30A: 401(k) cousin, briefly (IRA); 31A: Like horror films (SCARY); 34A: Not worth debating (MOOT); 36A: Chowder ingredient (CLAM); 40A: Actress Spelling (TORI); 41A: Moisten the bird (BASTE); 42A: One who saves the day (HERO); 43A: Screwy (LOCO); 44A: Golden __: senior citizen (AGER); 45A: Part of VCR (VIDEO); 46A: Souse's affliction, for short (DTS); 48A: Red-breasted bird (ROBIN); 50A: "The Avengers" heroine, to Steed (MRS. PEEL); 54A: Log-on need (USER ID); 58A: Old photo tint (SEPIA); 59A: Muscat resident (OMANI); 62A: Suffix in enzyme names (-ASE); 63A: Towels (off) (DRIES); 64A: *Furniture with folding legs, usually (CARD TABLE); 66A: 1/16 of a pound (OUNCE); 67A: Cancel, as a newspaper story (KILL); 68A: Ski slope lift (T-BAR); 69A: Villainous look (SNEER); 70A: __ gin fizz (SLOE); 71A: Given moment, which can begin both parts of the answers to starred clues (TIME); 1D: Crystalline stone (GEODE); 2D: Beyond bad (AWFUL); 3D: Cosa Nostra (MAFIA); 4D: NBC show with Baba Wawa skits (SNL); 5D: Military forces (ARMIES); 6D: IOU (CHIT); 7D: Queens ball team (METS); 8D: Unchallenging college course (EASY A); 9D: Oblong cream puff (ECLAIR); 10D: *One-armed bandit (SLOT MACHINE); 11D: Prefix with -cycline (TETRA); 12D: Trouble greatly (EAT AT); 13D: Clear, as a tape (ERASE); 18D: "My guess is ..." ("I'D SAY ..."); 24D: *Novel that evokes prior times (PERIOD PIECE); 26D: TV's Nick at __ (NITE); 28D: 'Zine on the Net (EMAG); 29D: Runner-up (LOSER); 31D: Initials on a Cardinal's cap (STL); 32D: Dove sound (COO); 33D: Golf ball path (ARC); 35D: Other, in Mexico (OTRO); 37D: Had followers (LED); 38D: "__ you kidding?" (ARE); 39D: Cow sound (MOO); 41D: Military command center (BASE); 45D: Stop in on (VISIT); 47D: Ad to lure you in (TEASER); 49D: __ of joy: new baby (BUNDLE); 50D: Popular PC interface before Windows (MS-DOS); 51D: Second showing (RERUN); 52D: Chiropractor's target (SPINE); 53D: Secures using a key (LOCKS); 55D: Synagogue leader (RABBI); 56D: Muslim's faith (ISLAM); 57D: Tractor maker John (DEERE); 60D: Letters in a box (MAIL); 61D: Singer Guthrie (ARLO); 65D: Lawyer: Abbr. (ATT.).


Sfingi said...

I also didn't notice the second part of the phrase as following 71A TIME.
Very clever from Harrison. A step forward for me for recognizing that there was a theme!

Misread souse as spouse for 46A DTS, causing me to wonder if this was a new trend, tv show or song.

Loved the original Avengers. Turkey, clam chowder, and gin fizz meet the breakfast test.
Is it PC to quote Desi, now?


Hey, I like this male-oriented puzzle... what with GAMS and (Emma) MRSPEEL would you even question that this constructor is male? Who do you think of when we say GAMS? And I don't mean GAMS as in General Algebraic Modeling System. Who in Hollywood (back a few years) do you most associate the word GAMS with? Mitzy Gaynor maybe? Nah. Who's your fave?

Now Mitzy ryhmes with DITZY... I still think the spelling DITSY is incorrect, but, oh well, I'm sort of ditzy/ditsy (either way). It's a MOOT point anyways. And I'm a Golden AGER, so I have an excuse.
Maybe I'm just plum LOCO!

Kind of interesting to see RABBI snuggled up right next to ISLAM.

Rex, you are our HERO... today's writeup is super (and nicely male biased). And so is Pancho for his TIME taken to construct this two timing puzzle! Very appropriate for a Monday morning when we're trying to figure out if we should have set our clocks forward or backward.

This comment has been removed by the author.

That clip in Rex's writeup, of The Avengers, is very entertaining, especially the "damsel in distress scene" and there's lots of funny dialogue throughout between Peel and Steed. If you look carefully at this clip (at about 2:06), you'll see my other HERO, Doctor Fu Machu. I wish they'd bring back reruns of both these TV series. BTW, we got in a debate as to whether Steed's hat is a Bowler or a Derby... what's the difference?

Anonymous said...

JNH ~ As to the difference, research indicates the Bowler & Derby hats are the same but what they are called depends on location.
Ergo: Bowler in Great Britian, Derby in the U.S.

The reason they won't bring back the Avenger's is simple ... it was a good, intelligent show ... hardly the desired fare on American TV

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for gams for a prior era - the obvious choice is Betty Grable (hte pin-up girl) - though I'm not a fan. My favourite is Rita Hayworth!

Good, good Monday puzzle

jazz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jazz said...

I agree with @jnh...a ditz is ditzy. Haven't seen DITSY before.

With that small (minute) exception, the puzzle was IMHO too good for a Monday! The LAT will have to watch out, lest they raise our expectations for the rest of the week.

I also liked the two 11-letter down theme answers. Plus the cute juxtapositions of RABBI and ISLAM, and Mrs. and Ms. (MRSPEEL and MSDOS).

I don't see GEODE very often, but it sure is rife with handy crossing letters...shame to waste them all on first letters of words!


Of course, Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth tops the GAMS list. Photographic cheesecake has been around for a while, but during the 40's and 50's it became very popular. When GI's were sent overseas, they took "pin-ups" of beautiful women to remind them of what it was back home they were fighting for. Seems like we associate GAMS mostly with that era, but then there were Tina Turner's GAMS during the 70's and 80's.

Anonymous said...

@johnsneverhome -- good one Tina Turner - perfect.

ThankGodItWasn'tCluedAsUMA said...

Excellent Monday.

@Rex - Thanks for the Avengers montage, though it left out the best scene ever - Mrs Peel in her black leather cat suit, tied up in a dentist's chair, with the dentist fondling her feet. A seminal moment in my pre-teen sexuality.

JIMMIE said...

Fun puzzle. But I never thought of MSDOS as an interface, but rather as an operating system.

Candido Jacuzzi said...

Damn, that is one shallow bathub. What, maybe 8" deep? I invite all of you to look at our product line.

chefbea said...

Good easy Monday puzzle. Loved the avengers !!!

Time to start thinking about basting the turkey!!!

shrub5 said...

Very clever puzzle with an accessible Monday level of difficulty.

I could not figure out 59a "Muscat resident" because I knew that word only as a grape variety. After getting all the crosses to see OMANI (huh?), I looked up Muscat and learned it is the capital of Oman. Musket with a "k e" is the gun (think Musketeer).

I've noticed over time that Gillette ATRAS sure get a lot of plugs in CW puzzles.

shrub5 said...

Oops, forgot this in my first post:

@PuzzleGirl, I hope you are feeling better today. There sure is a lot of illness going around. I'm knocking on wood here.

Charles Bogle said...

had same problem with "Muscat resident" that @shrub5 had...also would think DITZY rather than DITSY, but overall really nice Monday puzzle, clever theme and good fill. Especially liked LOTTA, MRSPEEL (thanks RP for the clips) and GAMS, which I thought might slip into the archaic!

Tinbeni said...

It was through CW's that I learned (a long time ago) the Oman/Muscat connection.
This has been a very common occurance for me. A few years ago it was 'Adele' (Fred Astair's sister), as an example, and it came up over and over.

The Gillette ATRA must have appeared 10 times in the last couple of months.

I believe the "Constructor's" get a word, then just feel the need to 'beat it to death' in their usage.

Remember last week, one such constructor said he had "No List" of expressions when our guide Rex had brought it up. And that led to a Brouhaha seldom seen here.

As such, we will probably see this 'ATRA' answer again and again ... and then in a couple of months it will go "poof" and disappear.

As for today's puzzle, appropriate LAT Monday fare.


Today we've gotten two spammers that should be deleted and blocked by PG.
Sheesh, I hope this isn't a trend.

Orange said...

Not to worry, I deleted the spam comments. There was another one on an old post, too. *grr*

GLowe said...

Make that 3 spammers - I'm weighing in here.
Nobody had GAMS like Bernadette Peters. She had other fine qualities as well.

@tinbeni - You nailed it. Constructors are itching to display their 4-letter word knowledge to the masses. [Don't tell anyone, but next month is ETUI month, and after that it's the INRE festival week].

Tinbeni said...

@ Glowe re: ETUI month was suppose to be a secret !!!

Don't forget their 3-letter words that they (and I am NOT making this up) turn into 4-letter words by adding an "S"

It's spooky ... IRA becomes IRAS
(How do they do this ???)

And there are NO LISTS maintained by any 'Constructors' of 'clues' & 'answers' ... THEY always start with their brain a clean slate.

GLowe said...

Now that you mention it - I've seen where adding an "s" to a word makes it one-letter longer. That *is* spooky.

And I can't speak for others, but I usually start with a beer and a recycled puzzle from about 10 years ago. That way I can be sure to get EELERS in there somewhere, so no one is disappointed.

Sfingi said...

Just like Scrabble!

How come these spammers are invisible to me? Without even a "comment deleted by blog master" What'd I miss?

Lemonade714 said...

What inspired the obscure Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A.A. Fair cover? When I started NYT puzzles, AAFAIR was a regular answer, apparently popular with Mr. Weng.
Glad to see you are in fine fettle.

mac said...

Good Monday puzzle, where once again I totally missed the theme.... Thank you Rex. But what is a time card? I also don't think I'm going to get into the gam discussion, except for saying Bernadette still has them.

Hope our hosts will feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

@Lemonade714 - I would guess the GAMS, no?

ddbmc said...

In the gam department: Cyd Charise, Ann Miller, Leslie Caron, Betty Grable, Ruby Keeler, Rita Hayworth for some of the classics.

Tina Turner, Beyonce, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Geena Davis, Jamie Lee Curtis.....are some others. And yes,@TGIWCas: UMA Thurman...

Nice puzzle for those of us who just came through a "time" change weekend. Arizona and parts of Indiana, it was just ho hum and no extra hour of sleep!

shrub5 said...

@hi mac: Time card refers to a card that certain workers use to record the hours they work; often the card is inserted into a time stamp machine for time in and time out. The card is used for a period of time e.g., two weeks or one month, generally corresponding to how often the person is paid. These cards are usually for employees who are paid by the hour, and/or who are entitled to extra pay if they work overtime, rather than salaried employees.

Rex Parker said...

A.A. Fair cover = closest set of gams I had handy at the time. (I have a large collection of old paperbacks, so I knew there'd be gams in there somewhere).


mac said...

@Rex: at the train station in Westport, CT, I found a big case with books you are allowed to take with you to read, then pass on to another reader (hopefully adding a few books of your own as well). I noticed quite a few old paperbacks. Anything in particular you are looking for? How old for instance?