MONDAY, Dec. 28, 2009 — Sharon E. Petersen

THEME: S-ELL — theme answers start with words where different letters fill that blank

Too busy to write this up thoroughly. I'm in Colorado with family. So, quickly.

This is pretty thin, theme-wise. Theme answers are all fine, though I usually hear SPELL CHECKER abbreviated to SPELL CHECK. Like CRINGE next to HICKOK, and the abundance of "K"s in general, but otherwise, this was just OK for me.

This puzzle was easy, but much harder than today's NYT for some reason.

Theme answers:
  • 20A: React to one's child's achievements, say (SWELL WITH PRIDE)
  • 25A: Retail establishment with a mollusk feature as its logo (SHELL STATION)
  • 43A: Word processing feature (SPELL CHECKER)
  • 50A: Imminent winner's whiff (SMELL OF VICTORY)

Crosswordese 101: GIL (38D: Hodges of the Dodgers) — this Dodgers great is the most common clue for GIL, although there are a handful of other people who fit the bill, e.g. GIL Scott-Heron, GIL Gerard, comic strip "GIL Thorp," etc.

Apologies for the scanty write-up. Fuller write-ups (from me) return Friday.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: "Outta my way!" ('MOVE!"); 5A: Freeway access (RAMP); 9A: Place to store firewood (SHED); 13A: Cereal "for kids" (TRIX); 14A: Burstyn of "The Exorcist" (ELLEN); 16A: Golf shirt (POLO); 17A: Prez's next-in-command (VEEP); 18A: Most-preferred invitees (A LIST); 19A: "__ and Away": Fifth Dimension hit (UP UP); 20A: React to one's child's achievement, say (SWELL WITH PRIDE); 23A: Gimlet garnish (LIME); 24A: Beau's dozen (ROSES); 25A: Retail establishment with a mollusk feature as its logo (SHELL STATION); 31A: Treat for Pooh (HONEY); 32A: Award nominations, e.g. (NODS); 33A: Sasha, to Malia (SIS); 36A: Nursery school song opener (ABCD); 37A: Frozen waffles (EGGOS); 39A: Pain in the neck (KINK); 40A: Wednesday's child is full of it (WOE); 41A: Haggard's "__ from Muskogee" (OKIE); 42A: Fab Four member (RINGO); 43A: Word processing feature (SPELL CHECKER); 46A: Columbus's Santa __ (MARIA); 49A: Jeopardy (RISK); 50A: Imminent winner's whiff (SMELL OF VICTORY); 56A: All's opposite (NONE); 57A: Jail, slangily (CLINK); 58A: Body fuel (FOOD); 60A: Fiber source (BRAN); 61A: Argentine dance (TANGO); 62A: Actress Dunaway (FAYE); 63A: Boston hoopster, for short (CELT); 64A: Calendar row (WEEK); 65A: Tobogganer's need (SNOW); 1D: "The Osbournes" airer (MTV); 2D: Mine extracts (ORES); 3D: Panorama (VIEW); 4D: Kicked out of school (EXPELLED); 5D: Spheres of influence (REALMS); 6D: Totally wrong (ALL WET); 7D: The year 1052 (MLII); 8D: Mosquito, e.g. (PEST); 9D: Urge forward (SPUR ON); 10D: Pueblo dwellers (HOPIS); 11D: Sidestep (ELUDE); 12D: Lunkheads (DOPES); 15D: Highest degree (NTH); 21D: Bell-shaped bloom (LILY); 22D: They're paid to play (PROS); 25D: "Rich Man, Poor Man" novelist Irwin (SHAW); 26D: Bum kin (HOBO); 27D: Suffix with exist (-ENCE); 28D: Celestial messenger (ANGEL); 29D: Likewise (TOO); 30D: Bouncer's requests, briefly (IDS); 33D: Hole, as a putt (SINK); 34D: "Picnic" playwright (INGE); 35D: Hershey's toffee bar (SKOR); 37D: Just make, with "out" (EKE); 38D: Hodges of the Dodgers (GIL); 39D: Football openers (KICKOFFS); 41D: Multicolored gem (OPAL); 42D: Take a break (REST); 43D: Like the "h" in honor (SILENT); 44D: Shrink in fear (CRINGE); 45D: "Wild" West lawman (HICKOK); 46D: 24-hr. TV news source (MSNBC); 47D: Leonardo's love (AMORE); 48D: Kidney-related (RENAL); 51D: Mo. for masks (OCT.); 52D: Imperfection (FLAW); 53D: Plant with tendrils (VINE); 54D: Mottled equine (ROAN); 55D: Cellist __ Ma (YO-YO); 59D: Dawn drops (DEW).


GLowe said...

I like two of the theme entries SWELL ... and SMELL... The other two are pedestrian phrases. KICKOK KICKOFFS SPURON CRINGE - good lively stuff. ABCD is brutal, there needs to be a better way to clue it.
Not enough distance between FOOD BRAN and POOH ...
YOYO Ma - he's as cool as the other side of the pillow.
4 outside cheaters - 2 are necessary, the other 2 aren't.

xyz said...

Good puzzle, easier theme to break than the NYT today. Just as easy I suppose, but somehow more fun and less serious, perhaps because of more Pop Culture-y stuff. WOW! 2nd comment at 12:33 EST, where is everyone?

ABCD needed crosses myself, put in RING as first guess.

I like the word HOBO, it's so camp, I suppose as is TRAMP.

(Spoiler?) Crossover drummer today with NYT

Anonymous said...

Who are Sasha and Malia?

Sfingi said...

Easy, including theme. Wanted "spellcheck" and "smell of succcess."

Sasha and Malia are Obama's girls.

Snowing heavily, with winds.

chefbea said...

Have done 2 easy puzzles today

@anon 9:44..Thought everyone knew Sistera Sasha and Malia. There mother is Michelle. Their father is Barack

Tinbeni said...

I like TRIX & EGGOS even Raisin BRAN for breakfast, as answers in a CW, they are TOO easy. Like this puzzle, but it is Monday.

Best cluing to me was SNOW, not sled, for tobogganer's need. For some reason that sport never caught on here in Tampa Bay.

We did get to enjoy the SMELL OF VICTORY over the Saints. (We're #3... from the bottom!)

bluebell said...

I had smell of success (as in sweet smell of success) until crosses made me change it. Thank you LAT for starting out the week with an easy one. I'll try to remember the sweet smell of victory as the week goes by.


I may be ALL WET, but I thought this was a ho-hum puzzle… not a very exciting theme, trite clues, and no new words; but there were some good things---

Loved seeing “UP UP and Away” and the Fifth Dimension.

“Picnic” (by INGE) is my all-time favorite play, and when the movie came out, Kim Novak put the frosting on the cake.

Here’s a super dance scene from the 1998 film “TANGO” (directed by Carlos Saura with music by Lalo Schiffrin).

It was good to see the great cellist YO-YO Ma in this puzzle. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently announced that it had appointed YO-YO Ma to the new position of creative consultant… another element of greatness for the world’s finest orchestra.

@Rex... Have fun in Colorado!

@Tinbeni... Awww, you're deprived of snow down there? Well, I'll send you some so you can tobaggon. We have oodles of snow here!

Was only going to have some EGGOS, but my neighbor just called and invited me to come over for breakfast. She’s making a Dutch Baby Pancake… mmmm! Forget the EGGOS.


You think HOBO is camp??
Well we just found out that my dad tried to be a HOBO back in the 1920's. He wandered the country for a year in boxcars and did pickup work along the way. My older brother & sister were horrified when we found that out. I thought it was pretty cool myself. Now I know where I get my wander lust.

KJGooster said...

Not long ago I had a 3-year-old patient named "Abcd", pronounced so that it sorta rhymed with "Cassidy." Probably not the oddest name I've come across, but definitely in the top 5. Hopefully she'll go into acting and soon become as famous as say, Dakota Fanning, to the delight of crossword constructors everywhere.

chefbea said...

@KJGooster what was her brother's name?? Efgh??

GLowe said...

@ KJG - clever parents. This person is automatically disqualified as a research subject in a double-blind test.

lit.doc said...

Today's definition of fun puzz: anything under ten minutes. Reeeeally needed a Totally Monday puzz after wallowing through BEQ's excellent but haaard themeless earlier. Didn't even occur to me that this one was trying to be themed till I got to RP's write up.

Enjoy Colorado, Rex. Got back from family xmas in Denver just last night.

mac said...

Very easy, fine Monday puzzle. Not much to add to your write-up and comments.

Best new expression: Coos as the other side of the pillow, by Glowe!

I need to hear more about those Dutch baby pancakes! John?

The anonymice seem to be particularly borish today on both blogs.

mac said...

That is "cool", of course.

KJGooster said...

@chefbea: That's exactly what we were saying! Though one of our nurses thought another good option would be Onetwothreefour.

I figure it's only a matter of time before we start seeing kids named like userIDs: "Hi, everyone! Go to our Facebook page to see pics of our new little one, aNdRew503..."

(I hope I'm only kidding)

shrub5 said...

Nice Monday-level puzzle. I too had SMELL OF SUCCESS at first; also EVADE before ELUDE. Other than those stumbles, no other problems. Liked the reference to the Obama daughters and, of course, the Boston hoopster: CELT. One last holiday get-together tomorrow and that will wrap things up for me.

ddbmc said...

Hi, @Mac-try this recipe. They are very impressive at the breakfast table!
Dutch Baby Pancake

Glowe, loved "cool as the other side of a pillow," also. I'm always flipping my pillow!


Thanks @ddbmc
That's a good recipe.
The Dutch Baby at the Original Pancake House are the best!

jeff in chicago said...

"Having four acids doesn't add up to a base."

I was just having this discussion with a friend the other day.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking all over for this!