MONDAY, Dec. 7, 2009 — Robert Fisher

THEME: Swindles! — three kinds of swindles

Never heard the expression SALTING THE MINE, so this took somewhat longer than the average Monday for me. Needed most every cross, and those last four letters were the last to fall. SALT comes from MINES, so ... weird. SALT in this case is not actual salt, but the sprinkling of a little gold in an otherwise worthless mine, such that prospective buyers would find it and assume the mine was viable. PYRAMID SCHEME and THREE-CARD MONTE are both far more familiar, so once I fumbled through the top of this puzzle, the rest went up in smoke (no WISPIER than any other smoke) (33A: Thinner, as smoke).

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Prospecting swindle (SALTING THE MINE)
  • 37A: Multilevel investment swindle (PYRAMID SCHEME) — went looking for PONZI...
  • 53A: Sleight-of-hand sidewalk swindle (THREE-CARD MONTE)

Liked the relatively open NE and SW, with their long parallel Downs. Also like that the grid is decidedly lite on crappy fill. For reasons that have almost nothing to do with my ignorance of SALTING THE MINE, I had a weirdly hard time getting out of the gate in the NW. Put in PROP right away but couldn't get first couple of crosses so removed it, thinking the "ringing" part of the clue must be relevant (it's not — it's extraneous; a phone on stage, whether it's ringing or not, is a PROP). Finally got OR ELSE and crossed it with ENS and things started rolling.

Crosswordese 101: ATTAR (48A: Essence of roses) — ATTAR (also known as Farid ud-Din) is a Sufi mystic and poet of the 12th-13th centuries. I know this because I actually took a class in college called "Mystical and Erotic Love Poetry." I want to say that it finally came in handy, but of course it has nothing to do with today's much more common version of ATTAR — an essential oil obtained from flowers.

What else?

  • 11D: Ray from a natural satellite (MOONBEAM) — you know what else fits? PARKER, JR.

  • 39D: Folderol (HOKUM) — I had HOO-HA! Love the HOKUM / KAYAK / KEENED nexus.
  • 41A: Accomplished with a single try (ONE-SHOT) — this word is familiar to me from comics, where a ONE-SHOT is a single, self-contained issue that is not part of a regular comic series. My experience is that ONE-SHOTs are often terrible. I read one last night about some made-up Arthurian knight. Not great.

See you Friday


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: Ringing phone on stage, e.g. (PROP); 5A: Place to unwind (SAUNA); 10A: Complacent (SMUG); 14A: Medal recipient (HERO); 15A: Panama divider (CANAL); 16A: Ice cream parlor order (CONE); 17A: Some lemony quaffs (ADES); 18A: Spring up (ARISE); 19A: Took the subway (RODE); 20A: Prospecting swindle (SALTING THE MINE); 23A: USN rank (ENS.); 24A: Utmost degree (NTH); 25A: Shadow (UMBRA); 27A: Suffix with farm or home (-STEAD); 29A: Fly in the ointment (SNAG); 32A: North Pole toy maker (ELF); 33A: Thinner, as smoke (WISPIER); 36A: Temptation on a hook (BAIT); 37A: Multilevel investment swindle (PYRAMID SCHEME); 40A: Stratagem (PLOY); 41A: Accomplished with a single try (ONE-SHOT); 42A: Slip signed by a debtor (IOU); 43A: Quiche base (EGGS); 44A: Inuit craft (KAYAK); 48A: Essence of roses (ATTAR); 50A: Sigma follower (TAU); 52A: King beater (ACE); 53A: Sleight-of-hand sidewalk swindle (THREE-CARD MONTE); 58A: Brit's elevator (LIFT); 59A: Cube or sphere (SOLID); 60A: Similar (to) (AKIN); 61A: Load to bear (ONUS); 62A: Reclassified planet (PLUTO); 63A: Golfer Ballesteros (SEVE); 64A: Like the stepsisters in "Cinderella" (UGLY); 65A: Red Sea republic (YEMEN); 66A: Ready to drive, as a golf ball (TEED); 1D: Parts of a cycle (PHASES); 2D: Stinging crawler (RED ANT); 3D: Ultimatum words (OR ELSE); 4D: Big name in breakfast cereal (POST); 5D: Barely adequate (SCANT); 6D: Stereotypical pirate's cry (AARGH); 7D: Part of ICU (UNIT); 8D: Poet Ogden (NASH); 9D: Toward the sheltered side (ALEE); 10D: Curtain material (SCRIM); 11D: Ray from a natural satellite (MOONBEAM); 12D: Be situated beneath (UNDERLIE); 13D: "My goodness" ("GEE"); 21D: Gandhi's land (INDIA); 22D: Java holder (MUG); 26D: Shipboard direction (AFT); 28D: Bad way for plans to go (AWRY); 29D: Go-with dishes (SIDES); 30D: Loch of lore (NESS); 31D: St. Louis's Gateway __ (ARCH); 34D: Reason for an air quality alert (SMOG); 35D: Bullet-on-metal noise (PING); 36D: Second in a series (BETA); 37D: Cooking up a coup (PLOTTING); 38D: Like kids' enthusiasm (YOUTHFUL); 39D: Folderol (HOKUM); 40D: Actress Zadora (PIA); 43D: Before, of yore (ERE); 45D: Derek Jeter, e.g. (YANKEE); 46D: Busy (ACTIVE); 47D: Wailed (KEENED); 49D: Culturally pretentious (ARTSY); 50D: Hackneyed (TRITE); 51D: Home builder's afterthought (ADD-ON); 54D: Notice (ESPY); 55D: Nat or Natalie (COLE); 56D: School reunion attendee (ALUM); 57D: Hops oven (OAST); 58D: Singer Rawls (LOU).



Wow! Even the Monday puzzles are getting harder… I like that.
Theme of three scams with a SOLID grid. Clues were not real deceptive though, but nothing UGLY. There were some TRITE entries though, like OR ELSE, NTH, PIA ERE and ALEE.

“Ray from natural sattelite” = MOONBEAM
“Pirate’s cry” = AARGH (also what I say before my first cup of coffee)
“Folderol” = HOKUM (lots of that in last week’s parties)
“Poet Ogden” = NASH (my favorite poet)
~~~~ The RED ANT ~~~~
“The ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
So what?
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?”

Rex, I liked your writeup on ATTAR

A good alternate clue for (66a) “What a Tiger is not”

Puzzlement: Can anyone explain why KEENED was clued as “Wailed”?

Anyone have a great QUICHE recipe to share?

Now where did I put that java MUG?

Noah said...

@JNH - From the miracle of Dictionaries, KEENED

Gareth Bain said...

I do love this type of theme! Just learnt about mine salting recently (though for the life of me I can't remember where!) It actually helped oust the wrong BEDBUG at 2D (yeah, I know, it's don't let the bedbugs >BITE<).

Not sure if it was more difficult, for me was first sub-four Monday for 3 weeks...

Wonder if PLOTTING was intended part of the puzzle's theme?

*David* said...

A bit harder then a usual Monday but ot by much. SALTINGTHEMINE was all I needed to rank it better then usual for a Monday.

What up with SCRIM and I work with fabrics?

shrub5 said...

Enjoyable puzzle--I had to use the cerebral matter a little more than on a typical Monday but everything was gettable eventually. I had CANOE in for KAYAK for a time, slowing me down in the SE corner. HOCUM looked OK to me (I think I was thinking of hocus (pocus) in spelling. And not knowing KEENED meant I had neither of the Ks for KAYAK.

Liked 'reclassified planet' for PLUTO-- so much kinder sounding than 'demoted'. I have recently seen "plutoed" used as a verb as in "I was nearly plutoed at work with the downsizing and reorganization going on."

Nice to see a mention of St. Louis's Gateway ARCH - an amazing monument to visit. LOU Rawls was a favorite of mine and it's sad that such a wonderful voice is gone.

Sfingi said...

3-card Monte

Thanx for video. Loved Barry White, too. I especially miss the loss of the lower range in popular music. We do have Ruben Studdard. I'd like the old Motown groups with 4 voices. So tired of tenors.

I think my g'pa fell for buying some stock in a salted mine. I'd have to look at the old stocks to see which metal they were touting.

Yes, what is that SCRIM? Scrimshaw I know. I guess I call SCRIM gauze.

Isn't KEENing what BANSHEES do? (Previous puzzle)

Wanted to put "cutie" for YANKEE.
Now, if all players looked like that, I might watch.

Liked the theme and it was an easy solve.


Maybe because it's usually associated with theatre curtains---


hazel said...

SALTING THE MINE is a great expression and perhaps a gimme if you've watched Deadwood.

We're finishing up Season 2 now and it just keeps getting better and better. Hard to imagine living that way of life - or some semblance thereof - just 130 or so yrs ago. I suspect I would have been shot at some point.

Nice start to the puzzle week.

Parsan said...

A harder puzzle than usual for Monday but one requiring more thought, and that's a good thing!

*David* and Sfingi--A SCRIM is a curtain used on a stage that is semi-transparent; usually at the front of the stage so it can be seen through. We used one when I was in college for a dream sequence in "Liliom" by Hungarian play-wright Ferenc Molnar. It is more commonly known as the production "Carosel".

@ddmc--Thank you for the comments about the game Saturday. It could have gone either way. Aren't we nice to each other?

Good write-up Rex!


Glad you chose to show only the partial (3 card) MONTE and

Parsan said...

Oops--That's "Carousel".

GLowe said...

I miss Moonbeam McSwine.

And the comic book expression of exasperation AARGH isn't what I think a pirate says. A pirate says Ar!
Looky here:


I think 'salting the mine' harkens back to actual salt mines. Twain said something like "A mine is a hole in the ground with a bunch of liars standing around it"

I thought today's LAT was a cut above NYT syndicated, but after checking the bylines I don't want to say so. So they're both good.

Anonymous said...

Now and again I'll see some guy running the 3-card monte scam on the "L" here in Chicago. I can't believe that people actually take up the challenge. Doesn't everyone know it's rigged?


Nice puzzle. I knew SALTING THE MINE as a phrase, but didn't know what it meant. Now I do. Learning are good.

mac said...

Nice puzzle, where I had a little trouble with sauna and phases for some reason. I also don't know of scrim for curtains. Like youthful, underlie and of course Yankee.

jeff in chicago said...

Hmmmm...That's me in the comment above. Blogger wouldn't let me log in. Then it did. Go figure.

chefbea said...

I too never heard of salting the mines.- nor keened. Thanks for the explanations.

Being from St. Louis... Don't know if i've mentioned it on this blog but I watched the arch being built from my father's office on the Mississippi. was amazing how the last part of it at the top just snapped into place. If you are ever in St. Louis - ride the elevator to the top. It is a great experience.

Unknown said...

Gee, you guys back east. As a native Californian who learned a lot about the 49ers, I had no trouble with the salting business, except I wanted to salt the claim and not the mine.

I must be learning stuff though from reading your comments because this was an easy one for me. Friday and Saturday I usually only get a few words while you-all thrill to themes. I never even knew puzzles had themes until I found this site!

Carol said...

Nice Monday puzzle.

SALTING THE MINE was easy for me as, like @Martha, I'm from California. Have panned for gold in the Feather River and actually found a few flakes (very tiny ones).

SCRIM was a new one. Love new words.

@JNH - what kind of coffee this morning? As far as quiche recipes, I'm lazy and use the basic "impossible pie" recipe from Bisquick and use whatever I have on hand. Most popular with my family has been cooked chicken, chopped green chilis, with sliced black olives. Also ham, spinach, & mushrooms. Whatever cheese you have on hand. Have used everything from pepper jack to cheddar. For veggie pie, parboil zucchini, carrots, whatever before adding to basic recipe.

Rex Parker said...


Born and raised in CA. Stow your regional prejudice. Thanks.


ddbmc said...

Puzzle was rather quick for me today, but ONLY because I've been reading this blog and learning my CW 101. Add, too, my MUG of java!

Knew "keened," from Irish wakes, where people "keened over the dead," sounding like BANSHEES. Irish aren't the only people to do that.

Maddoff's stock schemes were "akin" to our scheme theme here, just higher stakes!

LOVED seeing SEVE mentioned.
Not a Yankee fan, but definitely a Jeter fan!

Is Ray Parker, Jr. @Rex's brother? ;) I liked Ray's other HIT, too- Ghostbusters

@Glowe, Moonbeam McSwine was a hottie. My dad was a huge Lil' Abner fan. Seems a lot of Al Capp's words came from Yiddish.
Well, we USED to have pig farms there, no longer. But there is a dump, which is too bad, because the Meadowlands actually is a breeding area for all manner of flora and fauna. No essence of "Attar," there!

@Shrubb5, thanks for the Lou Rawl's song. Nice memory!

@JNH, also grateful not to see the FULL MONTY!

@PARSAN, Happy for you, sad for my Knights! Their Bowl prospects diminished sharply, after that loss. But what a great game! At least it's warm in St. Petersburg! Problem is, it falls in the middle of the RU exam schedule. Lots of scrambling to be done.

Sfingi said...

@Glowe,@Parsan - Thanx - love the devinitions and comments fore than the puzzles!

@Martha - I didn't know that or several other things about cw until this year. One learns a lot here.

@Rex - Don't understand your comment. You're both from CA.
Also, did you know that professor who was stabbed? What's with these graduate students? Maybe they should get a psych exam before admittance to any grad school.

Sfingi said...

Sorry about goofy typos in previous comment.

Thought the Full Monty was a movie about the Vietnam War. Now I know.

Read a wonderful book about the Meadowlands by a guy named Sullivan who hangs out there- included visits to people who actually live there, and of course flora and fauna. Made you want to go there. Utica has a marsh some of which is reclaimed. It's the reason we have no flooding, as it's expanded the flood plain near the Mohawk River and canals.

Orange said...

@Sfingi, there's far more violence in the home. Maybe psych tests should be required before marriage licenses are dispensed.

Full Metal Jacket = war movie. The Full Monty = unemployed Englishmen stripping. The Full Metal Monty = porn version of Iron Giant.

JIMMIE said...

I was told that the oldtimers salted a mine by loading gold pellets into shotgun shells and shooting a few into easily noticed and strategic places for show and tell before selling shares in the mine.

Joon said...

sfingi, anybody who's been a grad student can tell you that psych exams before admittance wouldn't stop the violence. it's after you've been in grad school for 3, 5, 10 years that the wiring starts to come undone.

in all seriousness, though, grad students commit violent crimes ... what, once every decade or so? i'm not trying to diminish these incidents, but they are hardly frequent (especially, as orange points out, as compared with domestic violence).

lit.doc said...

@ Sfingi, cf. Catch 22. If you want to go through the Medieval guild hazing of grad school, you must be crazy (been there several times), so a psych eval would only serve to screen out the sane. Even if a sane person squeeked by, their doctoral committee would soon enough drive them crazy.



Funny you should say that. I just talked with Moonbeam McSwine and she says she misses you too.

You said pirates only say "Ar!" and yet your keyboard has no "A" key.

I believe the story, as it goes, about salting the mines, has nothing to do with salt mines.
I loved your Twain quote.




I agree with @Orange And @Joon about the ineffectiveness of doing psych tests for grad students.
If I recall, there was another horrible act of violence in Binghamton NY last April. A crazed gunman fired 98 shots and killed 13 people in an immigration classroom. I don't think he was a graduate student either... so where do you start and end psych tests?

CrazyCat said...

Great puzzle for a Monday as it was a little more challenging than usual. I am amused by the confusion between Full Metal Jacket and the Full Monte. When I lived in Westchester County NY and my husband worked in Manhattan, there were always guys on the streets of NYC doing the three card monte usually set up on a cardboard box.

@JNH - for quiche you need a good pie crust which you should partially bake first using a piece of foil with pie weights or dried beans. Then basically it's 3 eggs and a cup of cream or half & half. Then you can add cheese usually gueryre, but you can use anything. You can add bacon, ham or shrimp and if you want some veggies you can add leeks, spinach, chard, or brocolli. Whip up your eggs and cream thoroughly and cook your bacon before adding. I usually saute or blanche the veggies a bit. Add a dash of nutmeg and bake for about 50 minutes to an hour in a 350 oven. Just make sure your additions go together. For example shrimp, feta cheese and spinach would make a great Greek Quiche. Classic French is Gueryre, ham or bacon and parsley. A favorite of mine is goat cheese and onion. Sorry to go on. Perhaps I should be on a cooking blog instead LOL.

CrazyCat said...

Sorry Gruyere cheese. My bad!

ddbmc said...

@JNH, lovely picture of the Gate Way Arch. What kind of camera do you use?

@CCL, your quiche recipe sounds yummy.

@Orange-- the sequel could be "The Full Metal Monty Python." :) (Left out an "s", so I wouldn't be too randy.)

Rex Parker said...

Domestic violence is an apples/oranges comparison.

I don't know that Universities are any different than any other workplace when it comes to people snapping violently. That is, it's super rare. I will say, though, that I have had reason to be at least moderately concerned about That Student (that is, a scary student behaving erratically) at least a handful of times in my decade as faculty. We (profs) are sitting ducks for disgruntled / emotionally disturbed students. Still, it's not like there's a rash of violence on campuses (compared to anywhere else). As I said, I imagine every workplace has its odd eruptions of violence.


Thank you for the Quiche receipt.
As you probably have figured out, I'm a breakfast/brunch saveur. I love trying different things, but I've never made a quiche. The goat cheese and onion quiche sounds yummy.
And yes real men do eat quiche!

I'm sure you noticed my spelling of recipe as "receipt." That's the way my mom, Julia Childs, and Shakespeare spells it... so it's good enough for me too.


I use a Canon EOS Digital SLR (Rebel) with several interchangeable lenses.
Sometimes I just use my P & S cam.
Its' a Canon PowerShot SX100-IS.

ddbmc said...

@JNH, thanks for the camera info. I do have a Canon Power Shot and a Nikon D 80, with two basic lenses. What other lenses do you have?


I work at The Morton Arboretum as their photographer and I often shoot closeups of plants, so I use the Canon 100mm Macro lens for most of that. Of course the standard Canon 18-55 zoom lens is used for most landscape work, but I also use a Canon 10-22 mm wide angle zoom lens (especially for indoor architectural photos). I also have a fisheye lens for that. I used the fisheye for a lot of the Grand Canyon photos. The most versatile lens is the Canon 75-300 lens for telephoto and I also have a 400 mm lens that I only use for bird shots etc because it's so cumbersome. I hate carrying around a bag full of glass, so I usually take only two lenses for that day's shooting.
I just recently put up a website with over 10,000 plant photos for TMA.

mac said...

@Rex: will you act differently, or act at all now this has happened at your university? Will you report students who behave in a strange manner, and is there a place to report this? One just hopes that something is learned from this horrendous occurrence.

Anonymous said...

Rex, Orange and PG you need to change the name of this section to the "JOHNSNEVERHOME Comment Zone".

Alternatively, John could change his name to "JOHNNEVERSHUTS-UP", because he's appearently home all day, with nothing better to do than follow the comment section of this blog.

I come here for puzzle insight, nothing more nothing less. If you want social networking join Facebook of MySpace!

Sfingi said...

@Anonymous 730-1 - Did you have a comment about the puzzle? What did we tell you about argumentum ad hominem? Consider outdoing him in comments if you actually have something to say. And, a coward again, heh?

@Everyone re: Crazy grad students, etc. Normally, I'd point out that 95% of all state prisoners are male the "gone postals" are male and on and on; but, I think there is something to this idea that people (guys) in grad school too long because they never quite get their theses done, or get a job, or some such thing, are a problem. Someone at the top needs the cajones to tell them it's never gonna happen, or it's time to grow up and escort them out. The people I know who are fully recovered are those who knew when to call it quits and are all-but-thesis. Having said that, I'm convinced the guy across the street has bodies in the yard, but I wouldn't dare bring it up to a cop, since I can't prove it.

Not to mention Mr. Wierdo 7:30.

See yuns tomorrow!

911doc said...

Having served as a provider of counseling services for three universities, and a couple corporations, I can only say that there is no reliable or valid test to assess or predict a person's likelihood or ability to commit violence in thelr place of work/study. No amount of screening can provide any assurance that John Doe or Janet Smythe won't reach a breaking point in which s/he loses grasp of reality and nurses a grudge to the point of causing serious harm. Tragedies may occur in any workplace or academic setting.
Sorry to be a downer but I feel some ethical calling to say that none of us are truely safe. Laws are in place to assure that anyone who express motive/intent/plan to harm others to a mental health professional are reported and "held" for observation, but anyone who keeps such plans to themself will not be detected or stopped.
Best advice? If you hear/see threats, report them. Call in sick. Otherwise, keep your cellphone on and your eye on the emergency exit.
There goes my PSA for the day. Be well.

xyz said...

NE flummoxed me. Should have done the across before the downs there.
Stupid struggle ...