SATURDAY, December 12, 2009—Doug Peterson

THEME: Nope, no theme today—Just a themeless/freestyle puzzle that hits at about a Friday NYT difficulty level

Crosswordese 101: Scrolling through the Crosswordese 101 index of previously covered words, I just learned something. You know the standard "pick five consonants and a vowel" choices on Wheel of Fortune. RSTLNE? There aren't many crosswordese answers that start with other consonants, and all five vowels are hot initial letters for crosswordese. Today, let's add one more to the short list of B words: BOLE (35A: Botanical trunk). This word dates back to Middle English and basically means "tree trunk"—which is what the clue for BOLE usually is. This is one of those words I pretty much never encounter anywhere outside of crosswords.

  • 1A: It provides more details (ZOOM LENS).
  • 9A: Raid target (FRIDGE). I was thinking of cockroaches and drug dealers, but a FRIDGE raid is infinitely more pleasant.
  • 23A: '90s-'00s sitcom star (DREW CAREY). Is he still wearing his hair longer on The Price Is Right? I think the hair makes him look sad.
  • 36A: Gets off suddenly (QUITS COLD TURKEY). The clue can be read obscenely, but I don't think there's a good way to tie this answer to the ribald version of the clue.
  • 57A: It can involve dumbbells and jerks (EXERCISE). And those, of course, are the gym rats you encounter when getting EXERCISE at the gym.
  • 59A: "High Fidelity" star John (CUSACK). He was decent in 2012. Things blew up, he remained a nice guy. My favorite Cusack movie is The Sure Thing. No, wait. Maybe it's Grosse Pointe Blank.

  • 62A: "I'll bet!" ("YEAH, YEAH."). "Oh, sure." "Riiight."
  • 8D: "A Fish Called Wanda," e.g. (SCREWBALL COMEDY). I love this movie, too!

  • 12D: Bar exchanges, perhaps (DIRTY JOKES). I started out with CORNY jokes but egads, who wants to hang out a bar listening to corny jokes?
And a lowlight!
  • 61A: Giggled (TE-HEED). There must be dictionary support somewhere for the TE-HEE spelling or it wouldn't appear in so many crosswords. But this word is despondent. It wants to be TEE-HEE. And it wants desperately to be a noun, not a verb.
Everything Else — 1A: It provides more details (ZOOM LENS); 9A: Raid target (FRIDGE); 15A: Where many scenes occur (IN PUBLIC); 16A: Rich (MONIED); 17A: Rebounds from (GETS OVER); 18A: Gaped (STARED); 19A: Uniform band (SASH); 20A: Nails down, as a victory (ICES); 22A: Nervous (ANTSY); 23A: '90s-'00s sitcom star (DREW CAREY); 25A: Pulpy fruit (PAPAYA); 29A: Handle with care (BABY); 30A: Rattle (JAR); 33A: "As if __!" (I CARE); 34A: Blush opposite (PALE); 35A: Botanical trunk (BOLE); 36A: Gets off suddenly (QUITS COLD TURKEY); 39A: Largish pottery pieces (URNS); 40A: "__ Well ..." (ALL'S); 41A: Name on a combine (DEERE); 42A: Fast no more (EAT); 43A: Govt. money insurer (FDIC); 44A: Salutes with words (TOASTS); 45A: Pop or blow (BURST OPEN); 48A: Friend of Spanky (DARLA); 50A: Qatari big shot (EMIR); 51A: Ore carrier (TRAM); 55A: Words spoken with a shrug (I DUNNO); 57A: It can involve dumbbells and jerks (EXERCISE); 59A: "High Fidelity" star John (CUSACK); 60A: Sabotages (DISABLES); 61A: Giggled (TE-HEED); 62A: "I'll bet!" ("YEAH, YEAH!"); 1D: Turns on a jagged course (ZIGS); 2D: Fit to serve (ONE-A); 3D: Withdraws, with "out" (OPTS); 4D: Cornmeal concoction (MUSH); 5D: Wall St. deal (LBO); 6D: "__ Madigan": 1967 Swedish film (ELVIRA); 7D: Antigone, to Creon (NIECE); 8D: "A Fish Called Wanda," e.g. (SCREWBALL COMEDY); 9D: Radio settings (FMS); 10D: __ Club (ROTARY); 11D: Without substance (INANE); 12D: Bar exchanges, perhaps (DIRTY JOKES); 13D: Heist units (GEES); 14D: 10-Down current (EDDY); 21D: Really burns (SCALDS); 23D: Adjusts shades, in a way (DYES); 24D: Be partly responsible for a holdup (ABET); 25D: Excite (PIQUE); 26D: Honda high-end brand (ACURA); 27D: Roller alternative (PAINTBRUSH); 28D: Liberal group? (ARTS); 31D: Watchful (ALERT); 32D: Alfonso XII and XIII (REYES); 34D: Not at all boorish (POLITE); 35D: City north of Anaheim (BREA); 37D: Bounders (CADS); 38D: Thick Japanese soup noodle (UDON); 43D: Seven Years' War participant (FRANCE); 44D: "The Pride of the Yankees" costar Wright (TERESA); 46D: They parallel radii (ULNAE); 47D: Folklore trickster (PIXIE); 48D: Vol. on a stand, maybe (DICT.); 49D: Together, on a score (A DUE); 51D: Beriyo Smoothie server (TCBY); 52D: Get to in a bad way (RILE); 53D: Between ports (ASEA); 54D: Engage, as gear teeth (MESH); 56D: Didn't deny (OK'D); 58D: Backing cry (RAH).


Rex Parker said...

Over 7 minutes for me! That's Very tough compared to most recent LAT late-week fare. The SW corner looks a mess, but otherwise this is superior work. Head and shoulders above the recent fare. NE took me the longest — w/ ACDC where EDDY was supposed to go (don't like that particular cross-ref. clue at all), which turned ANTSY to ANTIC. Started doubting the JOKES were DIRTY. But I worked it out.


docmoreau said...

Nice tough puzzle. Clever clues: connecting ROTARY club with a rotary current (EDDY); liberal groups? ARTS; uniform band SASH; vol. on a stand DICT and Raid target FRIDGE.
Beriyo Smoothie TCBY threw me as did Wall St. deal LBO and together, on a score ADUE. Also, wanted "bawdy" jokes instead of DIRTY JOKES. Most boomers got DARLA right away. We were all in love with that little coquette.
Good write up, Orange. My favorite Cusack movie: Say Anything.

The Corgi of Mystery said...

I liked it, though could have done without the EDDY/ROTARY crossref, which seemed a bit pointless. Thanks for the Fish Called Wanda clip, Orange...it's been a while since I've seen that!

xyz said...

Beyond my usual ability, Rex calling it NYT Fri seems about right as I needed a ton of help which is for me easily available on the A*LITE download.

These are the kind of puzzles I need to break through to the next level.

I wasn't too patient today, but spending another hour made no sense today

next time...

Tinbeni said...

So after yesterdays discussion, I applied the "Rule of cluing equivalence" and accepted the tense for Radio Settings to be FMS and Giggled became TEHEED. Didn't like them but they fit.

FAVs were:
IN PUBLIC, Where many scenes occure. Duh! If they happen at home, they're just a private disagreement.
YEAH YEAH & I DUNNO are brief and trite but I know I have used them
before many times.

Really liked the Drew & Screwball crossing.

Learned the noodles name UDON and the CW101 BOLE.

All-in-all a good Saturday puzzle. write-up with 2 great clips.

shrub5 said...

Loved this puzzle although I failed to finish the NE corner. The only answers I had in this area were STARED and the incorrect ACDC and CORNYJOKES. The corny came from the N in TENSE which I had at 22a instead of ANTSY. The rest was blank. There wasn't even anything I could google, so I came here for help. (Well, I'd come here anyway.)

Don't much like ADUE (I don't get it) or FMS, but those are minor quibbles compared to the commendable remaining fill. Among my faves: YEAHYEAH, PIQUE, PAINTBRUSH and PIXIE. For a while I had IGUESS instead of IDUNNO but that was eventually fixed. I got mixed up on my draft status designations and put AONE instead of ONEA. Also had BOWS (as in bows out) for OPTS (out), so the NW corner was messy after all the corrections. Still had a feeling of accomplishment despite not quite finishing!

Job well done, Doug P.

Wasn't around yesterday to get in on the ems, ens and blow-up dolls in the HOV lane discussion but got lots of laughs at the comments late last night!

Doug P said...

Rex was right when he pointed out that the SW is a bit of a mess. I originally had PAINTBALLS at 27 Down, and Rich didn't like the "BALL" duplication with SCREWBALL COMEDY. I knew it was iffy, but PAINTBALLS gave me much better options in that corner.

Great clips, Amy! When you're working on a blog posting, do you ever get sidetracked for an hour or two watching youtube clips? That would happen to me all the time.

Parsan said...

Harder but better, thank you DP and CW editor! Correct long
answers came first. Thinking nice thoughts, started with funny until DIRTY JOKES turned up, which threw out ams for FMS and gave me FRIDGE (great clue!). Also had tense for ANTSY. Liked EDDY and ROTARY connection.

SW took some time because I had blast open for BURST OPEN and oh well for I DUNNO. Had let for OKD
which made a mess. Then read the clue for 48d DICT and it fell into place. Agree TEHEED seems off.

I like many of the movies of the CUSACK siblings. And "A Fish---"- one of my favorites. Thanks for the clip, Orange.

Interesting that the female names
ELVIRA (easy get) balances TERESA (fine actress), and DARLA doesnt balance ANTSY except for me (childhood hyperactive friend Nancy that we called ANTSY). Is this looking for parallels where they don't exist?

Had pone for MUSH, a brunch dish my Mother made by slicing and frying it crisp in butter and serving instead of bread. Yum!!

Happy weekend all!

lit.doc said...

OK, so maybe I shouldn't have stayed up thaaat late, or sucked down thaaat many beers. But come on. This is, after all, the LAT puzz. Isn't this where I go for a kinder, gentler solving experience while the coffee gets me ready for Saturday's NYT humiliation? But 35 minutes plus change? Was greatly relieved when I finally read the earlier posts and realized that the puzz actually was that hard.

Handicapped by English lit reflexes, I came off the blocks fast in NW with OFF STAGE (where e.g. murders took place in pre-Elizbethan drama) for 15A.

Followed up with the 10D v. 14D stretch Rex furrowed his brow about. Had __AT__ at this point, and am trying to come up with a six-letter crosswordese variant of NATATOR to go with EDDY. Tick tick tick.

"Why Did My Brain Suddenly Quit Working?!" moment comes at 46D, where I read "radii" and all I can think of are diagrams from Geometry class. Worse, this is way not the first time I've seen ULNAE clued like that. Tick tick tick.

@ shrub5 - zillons of musical terms are Italian, as here. It's "a due" (ah doo-ay), as in "duet", thus "together".

@ Orange - thanks as always for your entertaining write up. Glad I wasn't the only one who's thinking went south upon reading "Gets off suddently".

CrazyCat said...

Thanks for the write up Orange and the clips. Very, very funny Kevin Kline. @Doc Moreau Thanks for clearing up the ROTARY Club EDDY cross reference. I had no idea what those two had to do with each other. Chuckled at the Gets Off Fast clue as well. Wanted to put in Curling Iron for Roller Alternative, but it was too long. Also wanted Cockroach for Raid Target, loved FRIDGE. Had ROAST for TOAST - oops. Favorites IN PUBLIC, SCREWBALL COMEDY, YEAH YEAH. I though Sabotages was a odd clue for DISABLES. Tough, but extremely fun Saturday puzzle. Keep 'em coming. Thanks DP and RN.

shrub5 said...

@lit.doc - Thanks for the info on A DUE. I didn't even think of music! I was thinking of score in relation to sports/games so the answer didn't make sense; was thinking "is this some term to indicate a tie?" D'oh.


Doug Peterson delivers!
A big RAH for this nice Saturday level puzzle. With those 15 letter entries, I kept looking for a theme. Very well constructed with some heavy content and great clues. Saw very little crappy fill, but then I'd expect that in a non-themed puzzle. SW was a real slow-me-down for me. Glad to hear that Maestro Parker struggled with that SW corner also, but heck, he still finishes like a Zephyr. No wait, Zephyr is a paintball gun, and Doug took that out.

BOLE is right up my alley, although we still call them "trunks" at the arboretum.

Of course I liked seeing ZOOM LENS also... that too is right up my alley.

The clues were pretty tricky, but I like that. My fave clues were for ZOOM LENS, FRIDGE (yeah, I too thought of every bug in the world), SASH (uniform band), BABY, DIRTY JOKES, EDDY, DYES, PAINT BRUSH, ARTS, and DICT. Then my mind wandered off to geometry again with RADII. We had this word a few days ago and I failed to think of it anatomically.

Some unfaves: IDUNNO and YEAH YEAH (just too slangy). Also FMS (ugh!).

Had to look up Creon's NIECE, but overall not much new stuff for me. Oh yeah, I had forgotten A DUE.

Have to say, I enjoyed Orange's clip of "A Fish Called Wanda" a lot more than when I saw it in the theatre. Typical silly British comedy of the Monty Python ilk.

Amy, I was disappointed that we didn't get any ELVIRA Madigan. Now that was a truly great film. If nothing else, watch it for the Mozart! Lots of A DUE in that score.

You gotta see this clip!

Van55 said...

Nice, challenging-ish puzzle in the main.

Like others, I didn't at all care for FMS and TEHEES.

I also didn't like the clue for GEES. Bad guys heist as many G's as they can. Not GEES.

I liked the colloquial I DUNNO and YEAH, YEAH.


Darla Jean Hood died a tragic death at age 47... had minor surgery, hospital screw up, and got hepatitis and died suddenly as a result.

CrazyCat said...

@JNH I also loved ELVIRA Madigan. Very lovely film.

C said...

Very fun puzzle and that is my main thing I want out of my cross words. I was warmed up from doing the NY Time Sunday CW (SF Chronicle publishes a sunday NY Times CW on Saturday, not necessarily the one published in the NY TImes, though) so didn't find this puzzle too difficult.

Good puzzle, great write up as usual, Orange. Thanks!

Maestro said...

Geez. Only could even begin to figure this one out in the SW corner, because A DUE was easy for me! :o) My final fill, the NE corner, gave me fits. ELVIRA was immediate, thanks to Mozart.

"Party" JOKES was my first fill. I remember my parents calling dirty jokes, party jokes. Anyone else?

Maestro said...

Oh! And thank all you guys for the write-ups. It gives bad puzzles closure, and the good ones are even more enhanced.....

Greene said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and knocked it out in about 32 minutes which either means I'm getting dumber or the Saturday puzzle is finally getting harder. Hope it's the latter. Really liked the EXERCISE clue as involving "dumbbells and jerks." Clever.

@JOHNSNEVERHOME: I actually learned to play the Mozart Piano Concerto No.21 because of Elvira Madigan. I think there were probably many of us for whom this lovely work was off the radar screen until that film put it front and center. The concerto was often referred to with the nickname Elvira Madigan for many years, although I don't think anybody uses that moniker any longer, do they? The film Amadeus caused another revival of many Mozart works years later. I remember listening to his Requiem (especially the Lacrimosa) incessantly for months after I saw that film.

Sfingi said...

Had a hard time in the North. Had "acdc" for EDDY, "antic" for ANTSY, "eyes" for DYES, "pone" for MUSH. Remember when Mario Cuomo got in a little hot water referring to Northern Italians as "mangia polent?" That means cornmeal eaters. Poor things don't have pasta.

One thing about this forum is you discover your errors are common, which is assuring.

Did not know BREA without the tar pits, NIECE, QATAR, TERESA Wright, TCBY (only 2 Upstate, nearest 80 mi. away in Auburn), UDON.

Shouldn't TEHEED be teeheed?

My mother doesn't understand DIRTYJOKES, so she never called them anything.

@John - Did not know that about DARLA. Knew about Alfalfa's eary demise.

Haven't heard SCREWBALLCOMEDY since Capra.

For PIXIE, I wanted Giufà, the Sicilian folklore trickster/fool
but knew it wouldn't happen. Earlier this week we had Loki, and Bugs Bunny is eventually from Uganda by way of the American South.

Anonymous said...

Came late to the puzzle today - 5.00 o'clock - busy Christmas shopping. And was cooking as well so did it in fits and starts but did it with no look-ups at all and am relieved to find others thought it "challenging" too. My only downfall was I have never heardof Udon, so had Udos ergo burstopes didn't make much sense. Will remember Udon from now on!

Good good puzzle - Christmas wrapping now!

mac said...

This one was delightful and easy-medium to me - I always like the Doug P. puzzles.

Of course I tried to figure out which bugs could be eliminated by Raid, and wondered if "monied" was spelled right.

@JNH: That Darla Hood clip is sort of disturbing to me - makes me think of JonBenet Ramsey.

Funny how Doug ends with "yeah, yeah....".

Ron Kas said...

"bole" became a household word here in sw louisiana after Hurricane rita in 2005. Quite a few bole were removed from yards and houses during recovery.

jazz said...

Wow. That was a tough today!h
UDOM,REYES and ELVIRA required googling today, but I'm actually pretty happy to get through with only those three!

Probably the hardest Saturday LAT I can remember...thanks Orange for the writeup and Doug Peterson for the buster!


Looked up a recipe for corn pone. Now I think I'll make some for breakfast next week... sounds yummy!
But I kept thinking of “Jubilation T. Cornpone” from Li'l Abner