SUNDAY, December 20, 2009—Alan Arbesfeld (syndicated)

Theme: "Loose Lady" — First and last letters of theme answers are SUE (120A: 1961 #1 hit for Dion, and a literal hint to this puzzle's hidden theme (RUNAROUND SUE)).

[Note: This is the syndicated L.A. Times puzzle. It does not appear in the actual newspaper, but is available for free at cruciverb.com.]

Theme answers:
  • 23A: Seafood restaurant starter (SHRIMP BISQUE).
  • 38A: Heirloom quality (SENTIMENTAL VALUE).
  • 54A: Acid rain component (SULFUR DIOXIDE).
  • 84A: Literally, "with highest praise" (SUMMA CUM LAUDE).
  • 101A: The world's longest crosses Japan's Akashi Strait (SUSPENSION BRIDGE).
  • 16D: Nickname heard in Manhattan (SUNFLOWER STATE).
  • 50D: June observance (SUMMER SOLSTICE).
We're pretty well snowed in here in the DC area. PuzzleDaughter is distraught because she had both a birthday party and her winter dance recital canceled. But I'll tell you the most disappointing thing about it. This is the second time snow has been predicted this year and both times it has actually snowed. This puts a severe crimp in my mocking of the typical DC meteorologist's Chicken Little outlook on life in winter. It goes something like this: "Oh my God, it might snow tomorrow, the world is going to end! Quick! Get to the grocery store! Don't get caught without Milk! Bread! Toilet paper! You're going to be STRANDED, people! Oh wait ... it's just going to rain? Well, we'd better close the schools anyway!!!" It's been this way for years and years. But apparently this year they've decided to get it right.

Puzzle? Okay, the puzzle. My feminist sensibilities were immediately taken aback by this puzzle's title. The more common phrase is, of course, "loose woman." I guess if you change "woman" to the illusory "lady," that balances out the fact that you're calling her ... whatever you're calling her? The "loose lady" in question is, of course, Dion's "Runaround Sue." A song sung by a man who then turns around and brags about being "The Wanderer" ("I kiss 'em and I love 'em / 'Cuz to me they're all the same"). Let's just say I'm seeing some pretty big red flags here. Of course I realize this is a crossword puzzle and not some kind of statement on the human condition so let's put all that behind us and move on.

The non-political section of today's post:
  • 19A: Since way back when (IN AGES). I love the trickiness of this one. On first glance, it doesn't look like these two phrases are equivalent, but once you try them out: "We haven't seen you since way back when...." "We haven't seen you in ages...." Perfect.
  • 29A: Hard worker's output (SWEAT). Ew.
  • 44A: Unsavory pair of options (EVILS). As in "the lesser of two evils."
  • 48A: "The Big Chill" director (KASDAN). I couldn't come up with this name and, for some reason, thought it was going to be a name much more familiar to me. Probably because everybody in that movie turned out to be pretty famous.
  • 69A: Prom night rentals (LIMOS). Raise your hand if you confidently entered tuxes.
  • 76A: Portrait photographer Richard (AVEDON). He has taken some fabulous photos.
  • 83A: Sun. discourse (SER.). I guess you learn how to do a SER. at the SEM. (5D: Theological inst.).
  • 88A: Driving aid (TEE). Insert your own Tiger Woods joke here.
  • 107A: Party leaders (HOSTS). Misdirected to think of political parties when the answer is really related to parties that are much more fun.
  • 113A: Did some after-dinner work, maybe? (BUSED). The B was my last letter in the grid. I was running the alphabet but pronouncing the word like amuse so it wasn't making any sense.
  • 123A: Duke's gp. (ACC). Duke University's Blue Devils are in the Atlantic Coast Conference of the NCAA.
  • 3D: Only World Series perfect game pitcher (LARSEN). That's Don Larsen-with-an-E. He achieved perfection as a New York Yankee in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • 7D: Natives of Lima or Toledo (OHIOANS). Again with the foreign-sounding U.S. cities!
  • 8D: Popular yellow office product (POST-IT). Because stickies wouldn't fit.
  • 15D: Breezy farewells (TA-TAS). I went ahead and put a hyphen in there so you wouldn't think I was talking about something else.
  • 18D: "The only sure bait when you angle for praise": Lord Chesterfield (MODESTY). I've never heard this line, but I love it.
  • 26D: One who gets you up (ELATER). Ugh. Just ugh.
  • 30D: Pizazz (ELAN). Fine clue for a fine answer. It's just that I like my pizzazz served with four Zs.
  • 55D: Bud's bud (LOU). Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
  • 58D: How much medication is taken (ORALLY). Sometimes it just depends on which word you stress. If you stress the medication you can't figure it out. Stress much and ... voilà!
  • 102D: Bellyache (SQUAWK). See also 105D: Bellyache (GROUSE).
Crosswordese 101: Today I did some research on the UGLI fruit for you. You're welcome! The UGLI (41D: Wrinkly fruit) is "a Jamaican tangelo, a citrus fruit created by hybridizing a grapefruit (or pomelo according to some sources), an orange and a tangerine. ... It was discovered growing wild in Jamaica where it is mainly grown today. Its name derives from the unsightly appearance of its rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow skin, wrapped loosely around the orange pulpy citrus inside" (Wikipedia).

[Follow PuzzleGirl on Twitter.]

Everything Else — 1A: Have the final turn (GO LAST); 7A: Kin of ibid. (OP. CIT.); 12A: Plenty (A LOT); 16A: Alastair of "A Christmas Carol" (SIM); 20A: Moonshine (HOOCH); 21A: Convertible, maybe (SOFA); 22A: Game whose name must be spoken during play (UNO); 25A: Toned down (SOFTENED); 27A: Drops by Niagara Falls? (MIST); 28A: Sweep's target, perhaps (SOOT); 31A: Actress Woodard (ALFRE); 32A: Mountain nymph (OREAD); 34A: Follow (TAIL); 36A: Will Smith title role (ALI); 37A: Swabs (SALTS); 43A: "Nothing __!" (TO IT); 45A: "I've __ had!" (BEEN); 46A: Entrance (GATEWAY); 51A: Heavy weight (TON); 52A: Ill-gotten gains (LUCRE); 53A: Tulsa sch. named for an evangelist (ORU); 60A: Monopoly buys: Abbr. (RRS); 63A: Gives pieces to (ARMS); 65A: In just a bit (SOON); 66A: Old knowledge (LORE); 67A: Palace abroad (ÉLYSÉE); 71A: Indic language (URDU); 73A: Smooth in the shop (SAND); 75A: Shining (LIT UP); 78A: Major in astronomy? (URSA); 80A: Old Italian bread (LIRA); 82A: History (PAST); 89A: Hot day refuge (SHADE); 91A: "The Partridge Family" actress (DEY); 92A: Disquiet (UNREST); 94A: Expand (BROADEN); 96A: City ESE of Mocha (ADEN); 98A: French noble (COMTE); 100A: Is under the weather (AILS); 109A: Milk units: Abbr. (QTS.); 110A: Queens stadium (ASHE); 111A: Vast, in verse (ENORM); 112A: When a teen's curfew may be (AT TEN); 115A: Extended (LONG); 117A: Fair-hiring org. (EEOC); 118A: Gist (MAIN IDEA); 124A: Character __ (FLAW); 125A: Tarnish (TAINT); 126A: Songlike (ARIOSE); 127A: Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr. (STE.); 128A: Squealer (FINK); 129A: They may follow dogs (SLEDS); 130A: Seeded (RANKED); 1D: Doodads (GISMOS); 2D: Available for work (ON HIRE); 4D: Worked up (AGITATED); 6D: Cup's 48: Abbr. (TSPS.); 9D: __ au vin (COQ); 10D: Hosp. areas (ICUS); 11D: It's caused by standing fans (THE WAVE); 12D: Tear into (ASSAIL); 13D: Plunder (LOOT); 14D: Vacationing (OFF); 17D: Couch potato quality (INERTIA); 24D: Waterside inn (BOTEL); 33D: Celebrated singers (DIVAS); 35D: Workers (LABOR); 39D: Less (MINUS); 40D: Frequent McEnroe opponent (LENDL); 42D: __ Cologne (EAU DE); 47D: Immune system lymphocyte (T-CELL); 48D: Eucalyptus eaters (KOALAS); 49D: Show up (ARRIVE); 51D: Arctic plain (TUNDRA); 56D: Discussion site (FORUM); 57D: Aegean island (IOS); 59D: City near Dayton (XENIA); 61D: Finds another purpose for (REUSES); 62D: Deadly sins, e.g. (SEPTET); 64D: Earth (SOD); 68D: Kennel sound (YIP); 70D: "What a pity" ("SO SAD"); 72D: Sch. with a record 33 Rose Bowl appearances (USC); 74D: Joanne of film (DRU); 77D: Ones who can barely be seen? (NUDES); 79D: "The Age of Anxiety" Pulitzer winner (AUDEN); 81D: "What __ idea!": "How stupid!" (A DUMB); 85D: Course list (MENU); 86D: Smart set (MENSA); 87D: __ nous (ENTRE); 90D: Pick up the pace (HASTEN); 93D: Kept under control (REINED IN); 94D: Atlantic commonwealth (BAHAMAS); 95D: Reading in a disorderly class? (RIOT ACT); 96D: 2-BR listings, perhaps (APTS.); 97D: Strands (DESERTS); 98D: Pals (COHORTS); 99D: Bridge bid, for short (ONE NO); 103D: Large-kitchen feature (ISLAND); 104D: Manages (DOES OK); 106D: Ran the show (EMCEED); 108D: Get a whiff of (SNIFF); 113D: Noodle (BEAN); 114D: Twofold (DUAL); 116D: __ gum: thickening agent (GUAR); 119D: Mid sixth-century date (DLI); 121D: Never, in Nuremberg (NIE); 122D: Strong D.C. lobby (NRA).


Rex Parker said...

She was tied up. Now she's loose. Running around. Pretty straightforward. SUE is a horse.


I loved this puzzle with long words that start with SU and end with E, meaning that SUE runs around… very very clever. I guess that’s why the puzzle is entitled “Loose Lady”. I like puzzles that have elusive theme words embedded in them.
Also Alan Arbesfeld has provided us with some great clues, like:
“Unsavory pair of options” = EVILS
“Major in astronomy” = URSA
“Convertible” = SOFA
“Did some after dinner work” = BUSED (I have to admit, I had BELCH)
“They may follow dogs” = SLEDS
“Reading in a disorderly class” = RIOT ACT
“Ones who can barely be seen” = NUDES
“Palace abroad” = ELYSEE (can’t leave out any French in a CW)
Too many to mention them all!

A few Googled words: KASDAN, ADEN, and COMTE

What a fun writeup that Puzzlegirl gives us (even her feminist rant)... Oh, and that photo of Blizzards has me drooling, but I sure don't like to think of the meteorological alternative.

And thanks Rex, for trying to clarify who Dion's RUN AROUND SUE is, but I sure did't get that from his song lyrics. Huh???

Ah yes, the ubiquitous POSTIT notes… all over my computer display with things I MUST DO TODAY! Oh, Mañana is good enough for me!

Richard Avedon expressed his portrait photographs starkly, but ingeniously captured his subjects' innate character. He is a true photographer’s photographer in my opinion. Wish I could emulate him even fractionally.

Crockett1947 said...

Hand up for TUXES.

@jnh When you take your National Parks trip, don't forget to pick up a Lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Just read about it -- such a deal, but they are basically only available at entrances to NPs. Sure hope Bryce is on your list -- it is incredible, but a sleeper in the NP world.

Have a great Sunday, everyone.


Yes, the first time I used my Lifetime Senior Pass was at the Grand Canyon last year... I couldn't believe how much those entrance fees were. Omigosh I saved a bundle going to those wonderful National Parks. That 100 day Route 66 trip was expensive enough. Next year my SW trip will take in 7 or 8 NPs... definitely Bryce. I've been reading a lot of Ann Zwinger's books, so I'm very hyped up now. @Orange still hasn't taken me up on my SW trip offer.

Van55 said...

Wow. Interesting that Mr Arbesfeld created both the LATimes and NYT Sunday crosswords today.

I liked this one marginally better than the NYT offering -- with the random Roman numeral being no worse then SSNS as a crossword sin in my book.

Tinbeni said...

@PG - First off I think this was one of the best write-ups ever, great info & pics, excellent even without my faves "the clips."

CW101 UGLI, I've been to Jamaica over 30 times, very familiar with this fruit. It is great when consumed there, not so good when you get in the States.

Until I came here didn't see the hidden SUE's, very subtle.

Initial entry, Don LARSEN, its that NY Yankee fan thing.

KOALAS came up in another puzzle yesterday, otherwise I had no clue to KARDAN.

Atl.Commonwealth, wanted Bermuda, but the 'A' was in the wrong box, ergo BAHAMAS.

Additional faves not mentioned by @JNH:
Deadly sins = SEPTET
Cups 48 = TSPS

Available for work = ONHIRE
Swabs = SALTS

It is cold here too, down to 56 degrees @ noon, but sunny.

GLowe said...

Wow. 48 tsps in a cp, who knew?

I would have thought FORHIRE is "available for work". Never heard of ONHIRE, which seems = HIRED, which would mean 'not available for work'.

Is LUCRE always filthy?

mac said...

Congratulations to Mr. Arbesfeld to be in both the LAT and the NYT today. At least one same word in both. I have thought a few times that I detected a little Britishness in his clues and answers, as "on hire".

Hey, the x is missing in dioxide, and no e in tcell.

I liked the riot act and especially botel, never saw that word before.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I didn't get the theme until the end - Runaround Sue is the last thing I filled in. The only thing I really noticed was that they all started with an "S".

Couldn't agree more with your DC area diatribe re the weather stations. I'm in Maryland myself. Think I'll be able to escape my house this afternoon though.

Amy B.

Carol said...

@GLowe - 3 TSPS in a tablespoon, 16 tablespoons in a cup=48.

Never heard of ALFRE Woodard. Were her parents hoping for a boy to name Alfred? (Or, today, a boy named SUE?)

@JNH - Have been to both Bryce & Zion NPs. Really thought Bryce more spectacular and not as crowded. With snow on the ground, it's unbelievably gorgeous! A photographer's dream.

Great Sunday puzzle & writeup. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the theme

also noted the 'x'missing in dioxide

Joe said...

Good puzzle...better write up, PG! Sorry for Puzzle Daughter's disappointment.

East side of this puzzle messed me up big time.

Would have been cool to have worked in "A Boy Names Sue" as well, both as a theme extension and to confound puzzled feminists :-)

Joe said...

Also...my lovely wife knew "ugli" from the produce section...not her considerable CW skills.

GLowe said...

@Carol - I would have guessed 4 tsp to tbsp. I just know that when it has the 'b' in it, then a 'blob' will work. Otherwise you gotta measure carefully.

Alfre Woodard is a highly watchable African American actress. Most of the roles I enjoyed her in, she's projecting a vulnerability and depth that makes it almost uncomfortably intimate, like "yah - I'm talking YOU buddy".

CrazyCat said...

@PG Los Angeles weather people also have the Chicken Little mentality. Whenever there's a possibility that there may be weather that deviates from the usual sunshine, they go into panic mode. We're on Storm Watch people! Batten down the hatches, fill your sandbags, the mudslides are going to crush your homes, etc. Then it drizzles for 5 minutes or so. The lovely young weather women with unnaturally large TATAS (sorry couldn't resist -it's true) actually tell you not to forget your umbrella and raincoat. Thank you, I'm so glad you figured that out for me. What would I do without you? Today we were told we're in for a cold spell. It's going down to 64 - get out the mittens and ear muffs.

Found the puzzle to be a little easier than yesterday's offering. I figured out the theme on my own (TaDa!) when I got to RUNAROUND SUE. I was a little confused about the spelling of GISMO thought it was spelled with a Z, but I looked it up and indeed it can be spelled with an S. Agree with Glowe that Alfre Woodward is a very talented actor. She's been around forever. I remember her being on Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere - two of my favorite shows. Never heard of either Mocha or ADEN. Lots of clever cluing and another great PG write up.

chefwen said...

Hand up for tuxes.
Don't know if I'm special or what but I was missing clues for 86, 87, and 90 down, but it didn't take a MENSAn to figure out.
Cute theme and enjoyable to solve.

split infinitive said...

Did this puzzle early, but had no chances to comment until just now. Nice write up PG, plus great photos. I appreciate all the effort that you, Rex and Orange put into this day in and day out! I am glad the Trib puzzles are back to 'normal' [i.e. not so watered down' and will send them an email tomorrow to say so.

We/I didn't know BOTEL or SIM or OREAD. The ONHIRE threw me for a loop. Still looping in fact. Liked the SQUAWK and GROUSE, too; both verbs are underused in daily speech. I confess I'd never heard of 'Runaround SUE' till today. My parents were Sinatra slash 'Rat Pack' lovers, so rock n' roll wasn't so much played. I can however, sing some Elvis songs --in Swedish-- so childhood wasn 't a complete loss musically!
Thanks again.

shrub5 said...

In your completed grid, 116D is entered as GUAT -- it should be GUAR.

Did the puzzle today (Monday). Enjoyed the theme but couldn't finish the bottom right corner. Unable to come up with ENORM, REINED IN, ARIOSE or DOES OK.

BUSED looks wrong to me. I know it's an acceptable spelling but bussed or bussing with the double S goes better with the short U pronunciation, IMHO.