TUESDAY, November 17, 2009
Bruce Venzke

Theme: "Boatload" — Theme answers are familiar phrases that end with a word that can be a synonym of many.

Theme answers:
  • 18A: *Undeveloped home site (VACANT LOT).
  • 26A: *1977 Triple Crown winner (SEATTLE SLEW).
  • 45A: *2,240-pound unit (IMPERIAL TON).
  • 58A: *Huck Finn conveyance (RIVER RAFT).
  • 67A: The answer to each starred clue ends in a big one (BUNCH).

This puzzle went down very smoothly for me. Answers that didn't spring to mind right away became immediately apparent through the crosses. Zippy answers like SIDESTEP (40A: Evade) and MR. FIX-IT (47A: Handyman's nickname) kept this grid interesting. There was quite a bit of crosswordese, but I don't think it was too heavy for a Tuesday. The only real clunker was the "odd job" LOITERER (32A: One just hanging out), and even that's not horrible. (By the way, that's Nobel Laureate Ralph Bunche over there. I was going to go with the obvious Brady Bunch, but decided to raise the bar a little today.)

  • 20A: Slangy "Don't lose any sleep over it" ("NO BIGGIE"). You know I like the colloquial phrases in my puzzle.
  • 23A: W. Hemisphere gp. formed to defend against communism (OAS). We covered the Organization of American States in Crosswordese 101 a while back.
  • 39A: Pouty expression (MOUE). Learned this awesome word from crosswords.
  • 51A: Poetic dusk (E'EN). See also 62A: Shortly, to Shakespeare (ANON).
  • 8D: 61-Across NFLer (BUC). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sports team nicknames are kinda fun. See also 41D: Philly cager (SIXER).
  • 9D: Lawyers' org. (ABA). The American Bar Association.
  • 42D: 1979 meltdown site, briefly (TMI). Three Mile Island.
  • 43D: Like the Piper's clothes (PIED). I don't think I've ever thought about what the "Pied" part of the Pied Piper really meant. Huh.
  • 50D: "I'll see you in my dreams" girl of song (IRENE). My grandmother's name was Irene. And let me tell you, you haven't heard this song until you've heard a bunch of old Irish men singing it in a cemetery. This version sounds pretty good too:

Crosswordese 101: There are a few ELMOs you need to know for puzzles. One is, of course, the muppet. He's clued with the words Sesame Street, muppet, giggle, and tickle (referring to the "Tickle Me Elmo" doll). Second, is ELMO Roper, founder of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. He is typically clued as a "pollster." And then there's Saint Erasmus of Foremiae, or 16A: Sailor's patron saint. From Wikipedia: "Saint Erasmus may have become the patron of sailors because he is said to have continued preaching even after a thunderbolt struck the ground beside him. This prompted sailors, who were in danger from sudden storms and lightning, to claim his prayers. The electrical discharges at the mastheads of ships were read as a sign of his protection and came to be called 'Saint Elmo's Fire.'" So now you know.

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Sirs' counterparts (MA'AMS); 6A: "Fernando" singers (ABBA); 10A: Endure (LAST); 14A: Have __ on one's shoulder (A CHIP); 15A: Defeat soundly (DRUB); 17A: Another name for Farsi (IRANI); 22A: Overdo it on stage (EMOTE); 24A: Made changes to (ALTERED); 31A: Tell-all news story (EXPOSÉ); 37A: Antiquing substance (AGER); 38A: Heartache (WOE); 43A: A __: valid independent of experience, in logic (PRIORI); 52A: Windy City airport (O'HARE); 53A: At risk (IN DANGER); 61A: Neighbor of Florida's St. Petersburg (TAMPA); 63A: Vaulted church part (APSE); 64A: Writer Nin (ANAÏS); 65A: Wisdom of the elders (LORE); 66A: Cattle rancher's tool (PROD); 1D: Everystreet (MAIN); 2D: Prefix with bat or phobia (ACRO-); 3D: Obsessed fictional whaler (AHAB); 4D: Revealing skirt (MINI); 5D: Urn taps (SPIGOTS); 6D: Give counsel to (ADVISE); 7D: Highlands hillside (BRAE); 10D: "Here, I'll do that" ("LET ME"); 11D: "It's __ nothing!" (ALL OR); 12D: Hit, biblical-style (SMOTE); 13D: Schlepped (TOTED); 19D: Meas. of a package's contents (NET. WT.); 21D: It's not quite a hurricane (GALE); 24D: Medicinal plant (ALOE); 25D: Luau memento (LEI); 26D: Aegean and Bering (SEAS); 27D: Military vet (EX-GI); 28D: Imitated (APED); 29D: Ripped (TORE); 30D: Hillside (SLOPE); 33D: Jannings of old films (EMIL); 34D: Underlying cause (ROOT); 35D: Continental currency (EURO); 36D: Harness lead (REIN); 38D: Cried (WEPT); 44D: Drank on credit (RAN A TAB); 46D: Like many a tux (RENTED); 47D: Story's lesson (MORAL); 48D: Horned safari beast (RHINO); 49D: Party gift (FAVOR); 53D: Should that be the case (IF SO); 54D: When repeated, Mork's sign-off (NANU); 55D: FBI agent (G-MAN); 56D: Grand in scope (EPIC); 57D: Impulsive (RASH); 59D: Knock (RAP); 60D: Month after Mar. (APR.).


Sfingi said...

@John - Today's Al Capp memory from the hubster - Wolfgal - was "interested" in Spencer Tasty because he was chubby.

This puzzle was so easy, I was almost asleep, when I caught myself printing "crop" instead of 66A PROD for cattle rancher's tool. Now,there's a picture. It must have been Seattle Slew on my subconscious.

Like many a tux - 46D RENTED. Reminded me of a kid in my sister's class in HS. The teacher said, "They rent their togas," and he thought that renting togas was crazy.

Carry on.

chefbea said...

Easy tuesday puzzle

@Sfingi from yesterday - thanks for the chicken riggies. I'm surprised I had never heard of that dish, considering that rigatoni is my husbands favorite pasta. Of course he calls them Rigatones!!

SethG said...

I was kinda bothered by the IMPERIAL TON. In all the other theme answers the BUNCH synonym was used in a sense that had nothing to do with quantity. The imperial ton is a specific quantity, which is not exactly the same as the generic ton used as the synonym but feels too close nonetheless.

I know what PIED means from the kingfisher. My grandmother's name was Irene. She was not Irish.

jazz said...

To make an easy puzzle hard, try filling in SECRETARIAT instead of SEATTLESLEW (after seeing the initial S and E) then try to contort IMPERIALTON (?) into METRICTON somehow. What a nightmare of fixes and corrections!

And I had RENT instead of TORE, which I shoulda known was wrong when RENTED tuxes made their appearance.

Still, that's the sign of good cluing, I guess! I didn't much care for IRANI (contrived I thought) or MOUE or APSE or ANAIS (my ignorance) but got them on crosses. And when's the last time the clue for EMIL was so obscure? Kinda nice not to see a chef clue for that one...

Thanks PG, be well all, see you tomorrow!

docmoreau said...

A breezy puzzle today. Took crossings to land IMPERIAL TON "2,240-pound unit,"
and MOUE "pouty expression." (I'll have to try that one today. "Get that moue off your face!") The word
PIED "like the Pipers clothes" always reminds me of that Gerard Manley Hopkins poem "Pied Beauty."
@Sfingi: chuckled at your "rent" story

Tinbeni said...

Interesting crosses:

Learned PRIORI, googled after I finished, it IS a real word !!!

ANON could be clued as "Nameless blogger." Always enjoy the "King's English."

Straight forward, "Joe Friday" puzzle. Just the facts MA'AMs !

Cute baby MOUE in the write-up.

docmoreau said...


Anonymous said...

Had an "S T L W" and knew immediately it was Seattle Slew without looking at the clue. Way too obvious I thought. No problems with moue, a priori (helps to work in law offices with such phrases) and all in all a very easy puzzle but I don't really get the "bunch" thing.


When it comes to exciting puzzles, this one is NO BIGGIE!
I found a lot of worn-out entries and ho-hum clues . Then there’s a BUNCH of weak theme words. Omigosh, that just sounded like Ms. Palin!

BUC, TMI, SEATTLESLEW, SIXER, and DRUB… a RAFT of sports clues (ugh!)
AHAB, ALOE, BRAE, MOUE, ABA, SEAS, APED, EEN, EURO… Yikes! I can’t take it anymore!

There is some good stuff though. Of course the word that pops out for me right off, is ABBA… my fave musical group. But, even that word is worn out. I did like IRENE (the girl of my dreams), EMIL (Jannings), A PRIORI (Valid independent of experience), and MR FIXIT (Handyman).

@PG, I don't know what PIED clothing means (still don't). I've heard of PIED horses, so I assume it has something to do with coloration. Although I got TMI from the crosses, it didn't ring a bell until I read the writeup.
And another cute photo, compliments of Puzzlegirl.

What more can I say about a boring puzzle?


Orange said...

I thought there was too much lackluster fill for a puzzle with a theme square count of 45. Pack a puzzle with a 60+ theme, and I'll cut you some slack on the fill, but for 45? I expect less crosswordese like AGER and APED, EMOTE and SMOTE, IRANI, APSE, G-MAN, and BRAE. The partials (e.g., ALL OR, PRIORI), the awkward MA'AMS—it's just too much.

@jazz, are you thinking of the chef EMERIL Lagasse? My favorite EMILs are painter Nolde and runner Zatopek. As for ELMOs, you can't get better than Elmo & Patsy, singers of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," can you?

Sfingi said...

To me, the Imperial Ton is our 1957 Chrysler Imperial that weighed at least 3,000 pounds, was (salmony) pink, had lotsa chrome, wingy-type rear lights and had one of those tire sections which showed a matching tire shape on the exterior of the trunk. Smooth and comfy. We never asked the mileage.

@ tinbeni a priori, Philosophy major stuff (me, hubster, sonster, one sister. Another genetic problem.)

@docmoreau - The moue is supposed to be sexy. Pied Beauty, a beauty of a poem, is so apropos to the melting pot here in - Yes, Utica!

My favorite Emil is Emil and the Detectives. (Gutten Morgen, Mac.)

Sfingi said...

I spelled Guten wrong, yeesh.

shrub5 said...

@PG: I had the same thought you did about PIED piper. Strange how one can use a term for decades and not stop and think "what does pied mean?" As I think about it, I've seen PIED used to describe horses, but never associated it back to the piper.

@docmoreau: Thank you for the lovely poem.....so much beauty to be found in nature.

I like the word DRUB and other sports terms describing a lopsided victory like whack, trounce, smackdown, debacle, wuppin', etc.

Enjoyable puzzle with a BUNCH of fresh answers. Thanks to BV, RN and PG.

Rex Parker said...

MAAMS?? NET WT (I'd have accepted NTWT more readily — NET WT is barfy to me, despite its being in the cruciverb database a number of times)?? I'm w/ Orange — this is at least a little subpar.

Anonymous said...

@sfingi - my favourite book Emil and the Detectives which I got used from the library at a tender age in NZ! It even had a leather binding - you just brought back memories. Thanks

jeff in chicago said...

It was all right. (Seems like I just typed that about another puzzle...hmmmm.) Chicago is grey and blah today; so are the puzzles.

Dr. John does an excellent "Goodnight Irene" on the "Goin' Back to New Orleans" album.

shrub5 said...

@RP: I just looked in my cupboard at four random food packages and all had NET WT, so this must be the common notation, despite its "barfiness."

bluebell said...

I, too, learned "Pied" from Hopkins, and I, too, had never thought of the Piper's clothes. In my head I think the Piper himself was Pied but didn't go beyond to ask what it meant. Weird.

also got Seattle Slew off about 3 letters. Having once lived in Seattle for many years must have helped.

An easy solve today. No whiteout!

CrazyCat said...

I was zipping through this puzzle in record time, thinking it was really easy until I hit the section 39A MOUE, 43A A PRIORY, 45A IMPERIAL TON and 43D PIED.
MOUE was new to me and I love the pic of the baby with a MOUE. I'll try "Wipe that MOUE off your face," on one of my kids sometime. Also, didn't know A PRIORI. I looked it up in three different sources and I'm still not sure I get it. Never heard of IMPERIAL TON, so I looked that up as well. Didn't associate the Piper with PIED. I only think of PIED when it comes to horses. So I looked up the PIED Piper and learned a lot. His real name was Frankie Gammyfoot and he wore a very colorful coat. The tale is actually very dark. What really happend to all those children? So now I can go on about my day with a few new nuggets of knowledge in my pea brain. Thanks for the write up as always PG.

mac said...

Very easy puzzle, so easy that I missed a lot of clues and answers.

I learned as a child that the Pied Piper story really was about a children's crusade. What an awful thought.

Goedenmiddag, Sfingi!

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.


Loved your rent-a-toga story.

That thingie you're trying to describe: "...one of those tire sections which showed a matching tire shape on the exterior of the trunk"
It has over the years become known by car buffs as THE CONTINENTAL KIT. Anyways, you have one cool car there! Ride with pride.

Whitney said...

NOBIGGIE and MRFIXIT saved this puzzle today, IMHO. I thought SIDESTEP and VACANTLOT were good as well. APRIORI logic is my favorite kind of logic, so it's nice to see it in a puzzle :)

I know the song Goodnight Irene from Johnny Cash's The Legend album. It's covered from a Lead Belly 1932 folk standard that was also used as an epigraph in Ken Kesey's novel Sometimes a Great Notion (which takes place in Oregon so obvy I love it). It reads "Sometimes I take a great notion to jump in the river and drown". Finally, The Meat Puppets also did a great cover of it (if you like kinda drugged up rock n roll): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHPOBKMKH-4

Ok, that is all :)

docmoreau said...

It being a dreary rainy day in Chi-town I have the inclination to write one other thing about PIED. Spotted horses, to me, were always described as being "piebald." My grand idea, once, was that car manufacturers begin offering a piebald colored automobile, so that, when the inevitable rust appears, it wouldn't be so noticeable.
There go I.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the gritty version of "Good night, Irene," PG. I grew up listening to my Mom's Mitch Miller records and their very clean version had the chorus as "I'll see you in my dreams." My very sophisticated friend Emily pointed out to me that Leadbelly quite distinctly says "I'll GIT you in my dreams" (in a rather threatening sense)and in this version Tom and Co. sometimes sound like they're saying "GIT you", sometimes "KISS you" and sometimes "KILL you." But never "SEE you." In fact it's always kinda indistinct in that rag-tag chorus.

Rex Parker said...

Hmmm, now I think NTWT is barfy. Look, one should be right and the other wrong and that's that. Let's vote and be done with it.


Joon said...

i'm surprised there are so many people unfamiliar with a priori. i'm not trying to sound condescending, but i had assumed it was one of those things that "everyone" knew. obviously, it isn't.

[Another name for Farsi] = IRANI: really? is that true? i'm not sure i believe it.


NTWT is as valid a word as "barfy".
According to the Acronym Dictionary, NT WT is correct. According to the USDA, NET WT is best. Go figure!

Tinbeni said...

re: A PRIORI, probably just never came up in the context of a discussion of Logic.
As I said earlier, I googled it after I completed the puzzle. Very interesting stuff about "A Priori" and "A Posteriori." and as @Sfingi told me, Philosophy Major stuff.

Just curious, would a priori also be called "common sense?"

Bill Keane said...

Just because I am so incredibly bored,

@Joon - I've always thougth of Farsi as the language, hence IRANI was wrong, but various dictionaries also indicate that it denotes a people of Iran, so IRANI is correct.

@Rex - Both are, or either is, barfy. I neither know nor care which of the above is correct. What's really barfy is people using nauseous when they mean nauseated. Either that, or my incredibly inspid dog.


An excellent description of A PRIORI... make sure you read about the Declaration of Independence...very interesting!

Charles Bogle said...

had reactions similar to those already expressed by jazz, tinbeni, RP and jeffinchicago...I definitely didn't find it easy for a Tuesday; maybe LAT has raised the bar. Didn't know EMOTE was "overdo on stage"; thought actors and actresses emote routinely?. Had no clue re IMPERIALTON. What other kind of rafts are there beside RIVERRAFTS? BTW, where I come from TOTED and "schlepped" are NOT synonymous; SCHLEPPED is reserved for ungainly loads! You can tote a handbag

Whitney said...

What @Shrub5 said. My bag of pita chips says NETWT. Where else is NET abbreviated NT? I vote for the version my pita chips says is correct.


On financial statements, Net Income is always shown as NT.

GLowe said...

Well, I just checked my can of pickled-pigs feet, and it says "you don't wanna know".

Alas, my bag of hemp has no real identifying marks of any kind, but my dealer assures me it was an ounce.

Anonymous said...

In harder puzzles the answers can often be off the beaten path so to speak and require a little stretch of the imagination. Not too bad of a puzzle for Tuesday,and a few stretches were in there as well as very familiar answers for an old time solver!

Orange said...

I vote for the third-party candidate, NITWIT. Infinitely superior to both NETWT and NTWT as crossword fill.

Tinbeni said...

Your earlier reference of NT WT from the Acronym Dictionary was correct, with your USDA's preference of NET WT.

And the embed of A PRIORI was right on.

But in the 35 years I spent preparing SEC Financial Statments, not once did I ever identify Net Income as NT.

Unknown said...

Four out of five cereal boxes surveyed recommend NET WT for their customers who use weight. (The fifth was probably Carnation Instant Breakfast, measured in FL OZ...)

(Sorry, Trident!)


It's good that this NT WT vs NET WT thing didn't resurrect the old TRET vs. TARE argument.

mac said...

Orange got it: NTWT is short for nitwit.

Pete P'tui said...

This nitwit prefers Fruit loops, mixed with some of that hemp stuff Glowe mentioned-whilst listening to Tom Waits "Heart of Saturday Night." Good Night, Irene.

Sfingi said...

@Mac and Bluebell - I was thinking how my father called the Pied Piper the Pie-eyed Piper, and that there was also the Pieman who Simple Simon met.
Much later in life, I began to consider the Pied Piper as some sort of cult leader. The villagers hired him to lead the rats away, then didn't pay him. I'm not so sure Medieval people knew the connection between rats and plague (another theory), but the Crusades were culty. In my life, I've seen the misuse of children being taken more seriously, this being directly correlated to the increase of women's power.
Also, @Mac, I once worked with a guy from Aruba, who pronounced that G so guttural that he couldn't say: magnet, lignite, segment, etc.

@Bogle - "tote" is African, "schlepp" is Yiddish. I have different images for each, but both reflect something you don't want to do - as would be the case with - a slave? or a new immigrant?

@ Glowe - funny! In 1964, the net weight of grass was not metric. I bought a pound for $8 in Saratoga. I was also robbed by Bowie knife on the Columbia campus for a different $8.

@John - I WISH I still had that car. It was my maternal grandpa - but he let my mother drive it everywhere. It was bought 2nd hand. The whole family were notorious skinflints, and gas was not part of the formula, then (though they wrote it all down?!) He was a Civil engineer, RPI '09. Unless he was going out in the field, he walked to the office. The car was the 2nd during my childhood. It succeeded the army green Nash and preceded another Imperial - boring silver grey.

@tinbeni - Philosophers shudder at the words, "common sense." That belongs to philosophy with a small "p." They're more likely to question and cut further back on what is allowable as a priori, moving towards solipsism, or even taking sensory experience as maya (Sanskrit illusion).

You need a grounding hobby (sports or arts) if you major in philosophy.

GLowe said...

I was using the hemp to make a small rope.

But, after said project, it didn't matter what the NTWT of that box of Cap'n Crunch was - I was still hungry. I think that shit is mostly wax.

Luckily there was some frozen "Southern smokehouse visceral sausage chews" left in the icebox. [BestB4 date started with a "2", it's like "YES!!!"]