WEDNESDAY, December 23, 2009—Brendan Emmett Quigley

THEME: "Ernie Gave Bert Dog Food"—Five theme entries begin with words from a common mnemonic device for remembering the musical notes associated with the G-GLEF, or treble clef

Theme answers:
  • 17A. "EVERY LITTLE STEP" is a 1989 Bobby Brown hit I've never heard of. There are better known "Every Little..." songs out there, but their titles are not 15 letters long.

  • 23A. "GOOD GAME" is akin to "Well played!"
  • 37A. BOY GEORGE! The early '80s MTV star was the Culture Club lead singer. In the decades since, he was hooked on drugs and got weird. Would love to post the official riverboat/period piece music video for "Karma Chameleon," but the record label won't allow video embedding. I bought that record album when I was in high school, so I'm fond of this song, too:

  • 53A. Serves a sentence (DOES TIME).
  • 59A. Metaphorical search tool (FINE-TOOTHED COMB).
  • 69A. Wrapping everything up is G-CLEF or Staff figure, and a hint to the starts of 12-, 23-, 37-, 53- and 59-Across.

When the byline reads Brendan Emmett Quigley, you know you're in for some interesting fill (often some answers that have never appeared in a good newspaper crossword before) and probably some musical references you don't know. The four corners with stacked 7-letter answers that look like they belong in a themeless Saturday puzzle? Also a common BEQ feature. Speaking of Saturday puzzles, Brendan's fond of Saturday-style clues. Here are some answers and clues that jumped out at me.

  • 1D. Some baseballers do it all game long (CHEW GUM). Can you walk while doing that? And what else can you do with gum? Italian artist Maurizio Savini makes sculptures out of it.
  • 9D. Second Amendment-supporting group (THE NRA). I like it when the definite article joins a word that is usually accompanied by "the" when we talk about it. See also 46D: What preschoolers learn (THE ABC'S).
  • Movie trailer? (CREDITS). The credits do trail along at the end of a movie. Nice mislead. The *RE*I** letters would also fit PREVIEW, but the question mark in the clue tells us not to take the clue literally.
  • 26D. "Watermelon Man" musician Santamaria (MONGO). See? Music. More music I didn't know. Mongo Santamaria was an Afro-Cuban Latin jazz percussionist. His take on Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" was a hit in 1963.

  • 40D. Big name in credit reports (EQUIFAX). Gotta love a brand name with a Q and an X in it.
  • 44D. Classic shoe polish brand (SHINOLA). I can't help feeling that this is a dirty word.
  • 45D. Stereotypical toy soldier (ARMY MAN). Check out artist Margaret Roleke's incredible ARMY MAN artworks (that's her work in the photo at right).
  • 48D. Hit list (TOP TEN). Tricky clue for a Wednesday—"hit list" usually refers to a list of people targeted with assassination, but Billboard's TOP TEN is a list of hit songs.
If you knew the answers to Brendan's music clues, you'll love the crosswords he posts at his blog three times a week. Rex and PuzzleGirl and I never miss a puzzle over there. The challenge level definitely ramps up for solvers in their 40s on up.

Crosswordese 101: There are plenty of OTTOs in crosswordland, including four head honchos of the Holy Roman Empire. If the OT*O clue mentions Rome, though, it's OTHO. This 49D: Roman emperor in 69 A.D. is the one who overthrew Emperor Galba and took his spot. You won't need to know OTHO too often, but file his name away in your memory so you remember that this name exists.

Everything Else — 1A: Civil War org. (CSA); 4A: Multilevel marketing giant (AMWAY); 9A: Political pamphlet (TRACT); 14A: Witch (HAG); 15A: Thanksgiving decoration (MAIZE); 16A: "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speaker (HENRY); 17A: 1989 Bobby Brown hit (EVERY LITTLE STEP); 20A: Cunning trick (WILE); 21A: Charged particle (ION); 22A: Suffix with cyan- (IDE); 23A: "Well played!" ("GOOD GAME!"); 28A: Dinar spenders (IRAQIS); 30A: Caterer's container (URN); 31A: Victor's cry (I WON); 32A: Military action? (SALUTE); 33A: Stir-fry additive (MSG); 34A: Tirades (RANTS); 36A: Licensing prerequisite, often (TEST); 37A: Culture Club lead singer (BOY GEORGE); 40A: This, to Ricardo (ESTO); 43A: "What the Butler Saw" playwright (ORTON); 44A: Did nothing (SAT); 47A: Page size with four leaves (QUARTO); 50A: Words to a backstabber (ET TU); 51A: Brit. monarch's title (HRH); 52A: Disentangle (UNKNOT); 53A: Serves a sentence (DOES TIME); 55A: Soreness? (IRE); 56A: Certain candidate's goal, briefly (PHD); 58A: "Watermark" musician (ENYA); 59A: Metaphorical search tool (FINE-TOOTHED COMB); 65A: Unanimously (AS ONE); 66A: Icy look, maybe (GLARE); 67A: Fond du __, Wisconsin (LAC); 68A: Gas used in arc lamps (XENON); 69A: Staff figure, and a hint to the starts of 17-, 23-, 37-, 53- and 59-Across (G CLEF); 70A: Response to a ques. (ANS.); 1D: Some baseballers do it all game long (CHEW GUM); 2D: Redeemers (SAVIORS); 3D: Lasting quite a while (AGE-LONG); 4D: Singer Grant (AMY); 5D: Adjusted opening? (MAL-); 6D: Game system played with gestures (WII); 7D: AIDS-fighting drug (AZT); 8D: Bigfoot cousin (YETI); 9D: Second Amendment-supporting gp. (THE NRA); 10D: __ judicata: decided case (RES); 11D: Many an auction piece (ANTIQUE); 12D: Movie trailer? (CREDITS); 13D: Prepare for printing (TYPESET); 18D: Crimson, e.g. (RED); 19D: "Family Guy" mom (LOIS); 24D: Helicopter's predecessor, briefly (GIRO); 25D: "__ in a Manger" (AWAY); 26D: "Watermelon Man" musician SantamarÌa (MONGO); 27D: Went in (ENTERED); 29D: Der __: Adenauer epithet (ALTE); 35D: __ voce: softly (SOTTO); 37D: Delivered (BORN); 38D: Learning method (ROTE); 39D: Migratory antelopes (GNUS); 40D: Big name in credit reports (EQUIFAX); 41D: Dawn follower (SUNRISE); 42D: Hired (TAKEN ON); 44D: Classic shoe polish brand (SHINOLA); 45D: Stereotypical toy soldier (ARMY MAN); 46D: What preschoolers learn (THE ABCS); 48D: Hit list (TOP TEN); 49D: Roman emperor in 69 A.D. (OTHO); 54D: Private eye, briefly (TEC); 57D: Rapper Snoop __ (DOGG); 60D: "Discreet Music" composer Brian (ENO); 61D: Dr. Mom's forte (TLC); 62D: "2001" computer (HAL); 63D: Before, in verse (ERE); 64D: OED offering (DEF.).


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

A BEQ goody!
It seems that all the LAT constructors are giving us real nice Christmas presents this week… thank you all (including Rich)!
I especially like this musical theme… brings back elementary school memories of those cute acronyms we learned: EBGDF (Treble staff lines), FACE (treble staff spaces), ROYGBIV (spectrum), etc.

I really like today’s uncommon fill words, such as: AGELONG, AMWAY, CHEW GUM, EQUIFAX, MAIZE, ORTON, QUARTO, THE NRA, and XENON.

Glad to see OTHO is Orange's writeup. It's been used quite a bit lately in CWs.

Well, then there’s the famous old saying: “John doesn’t know s___ from Shinola”.

Liked (46d) “What preschoolers learn” [THE ABCS], (25d) “AWAY in a Manger”, and (2d) “Redeemers” [SAVIORS].

ENYA is a fave singer of mine and so is AMY Grant (albeit obverse).

Well, then there’s the flamboyant, BOY GEORGE… Oh boy! What can I say good about him? Ummm, let’s see…Oh yeah, he’s out of jail now and he seems to be behaving himself. Nice fashion statement that ankle monitor is, Mr. O’Dowd.

Who the heck is MONGO? Well, now I know...thanks Orange.

Now I've got to go fix some hot cider and raisin bread French toast and wait for that slow-to-emerge SUNRISE... hey, wait, it's happening earlier now!!!!

xyz said...

Christmas came early today with this puzzle for me, a durn sight easier than the NYT today. Thought the theme was ultra-cute. Both themes were easy to get today.

Really glad to see ROTE, although I like it clued "Crosswordese is a form"

JNH beat me to "Doesn't know merde from SHINOLA!" :-(((


Van55 said...

Great puzzle, even with the music stuff I didn't know off the top of my head.

Thanks BEQ.

Anonymous said...

Quigley slumming it at the LAT! Good to see him here, but the puzzle was easy as has been the norm for the LAT for quite a while now.

Too many 3 letter words and abbr. for my liking - though it seems like a lot of puzzle these days suffer the same fate - but I did love seeing 'fine toothed comb'. A sweet entry!

Ruth said...

MONGO crossing ORTON looks like a Natick to me. . . (and of course it could be IWIN or IWON, and MINGO looked just as good as anything else). So, he got me. Well played.

Anon said...

This is the right Watermelon Man. No Mongo though.

Anonymous said...

Did not learn all those musical mnemonics when learning the piano. As soon as I saw BEQ knew it would be v. interesting, which it was but the clues did not help at all.

Don't care for unknot at all - I had unwind, thought of unlace but unknot??

And somebody has already made me nervous about the NYT puzzle - please don't comment so early in the day.

I think the LAT has upped the ante quite a bit lately.

*David* said...

I'm used to raw BEQ and didn't realize this was a BEQ puzzle until I was halfway through it. I felt like he had been emasculated and it was a eunuch talking to me, FML.

Tinbeni said...

Went with the 'I'... the only Mongo I could remember was the character in Blazing Saddles.

It almost scares me when I remember a musical mnemonic, EGBDF, or an obscure Roman Emperor, OTHO, didn't we see this guy recently?

Faves today were GNUS, ETTU & QUARTO (how did I know this?)

But you come here everyday after completing the LAT, learn THE ABC'S of Crosswordese 101, and the next thing you realize is the puzzles are more fun.

@Orange, Thank you for the Christmas present, THREE clips, Excellent!!!

shrub5 said...

Fun puzzle with great clueing! Especially liked 'metaphorical search tool' for FINE TOOTHED COMB, which took a long time for me to see. I had one writeover: BORN replaced BORE.

New words I learned today: Der ALTE, QUARTO and MONGO. The helicopter predecessor GIRO stumped me until I got all the crossings.

Thanks for the informative write-up, Orange, especially the references to Chewing Gum Man and Army Man art pieces -- I'll look into these artists further, as well as the BEQ puzzle site.

(In)sincere condolences to any Chicago Bulls fans out there for the unbelievable beatdown my Sacramento Kings laid on your team a couple of days ago.

Lime D. Zeze said...

I was really annoyed with THE NRA and THE ABCS ... I respectfully disagree about using the definite article. Maybe for THE ABCS it's ok, but not THE NRA, and certainly not both in the same puzzle. Otherwise I found it quite enjoyable.

Anon said...

Apologies all around, I was pointing to Oscar Brown Jr's Watermelon Man, but it doesn't seem to work. Here's more (actually, some) Oscar for Christmas

CrazyCat said...

Enjoyable Wednesday puzzle. I actually knew MONGO, because my father was a jazz enthusiast and had that album. I have never heard of SHINOLA only Kiwi. Thought EVERY LITTLE STEP, CHEW GUM and FINE TOOTHED COMB were really cool. Fell for the tricky clue for CREDITS and had a hard time with EQUIFAX. Loved the theme tie in. I always love that AHA moment (sorry Oprah) when I get the theme. Thanks Orange for another enlightening write up.

Carol said...

Chewing gum brought to mind "Bubble Gum Alley" in San Luis Obispo, California. Home of Cal Poly, it's a college town. Here is a link to pictures (don't view while eating!).

Liked the difficulty level of the puzzle today & writeup. Thanks!

The Corgi of Mystery said...

Nice to see a BEQ in the LAT, especially one with this good a theme. I had EQUIMAX(?) for a while, which slowed me down a bit, but otherwise found it pretty easy. Good stuff.

Argyle said...

JNH..." wait for that slow-to-emerge SUNRISE... hey, wait, it's happening earlier now!!!!"

No, they aren't.

Tinbeni said...

That site, those pics ... what a Hoot!

I am sure you are receiving a GLARE from those Chicago Bull fans for your teams GOOD GAME.
AS ONE who is not a basketball fan, I think your SHINOLA and (in)sincere condolence was very WILE. I guess, as time expired, you shouted I WON!
Your RANTS, delivered with TLC, make me LOL.

lit.doc said...

Congrat's to BEQ on having the LAT puzz! Just got here from his blog, and that puzz is, like this one, comfy and well-clued.

And add to the nice comments above re Orange's write-up that yes, it was informative, etc., but was also lots of fun to read.

On to the NYT and certain death.

CrazyCat said...

@Carol I had the same exact thought re: CHEW GUM and Bubble Gum Alley in SLO. My daughter went to Cal Poly and still lives there so I'm very familiar with that charming sight - pretty darn gross, but funny.

mac said...

BEQ didn't disappoint. Had a good time with both puzzles today, can't believe I had the time to do them....
Back to the oven.

chefbea said...

I agree with mac. Two good puzzles today

My natick was like the rest of you...the O in Mongo and won


Yep, you're right. Where I live (North Aurora, IL) the sunrise time doesn't reverse on the first day of winter... it actually occurs on Jan. 7th at 7:20 AM.
Then the earliest it rises here is June 7th at 4:18.
It's just so nice to wake up and do my crosswords AFTER the SUNRISE.

Argyle said...

It is a neat bit of trivia that some mystery writer could use to trip up the killer's alibi.

Sfingi said...

I guess Mongo Santamaria belongs to the oldsters. Also, will we ever see Gogi Grant again?

In 1967, Joe Orton, British playwright and prankster, who wrote 10 dark comedies, was bludgeoned to death at 34 by his lover. Prick up Your Ears was a film about them.

Fairly easy. Only writeover was MSG for "soy." Personally don't care for THE in the puzzles.

Help me here: why "adjusted" opening for MAL? Why not bad/sick/evil/malignant opening?

Thought CHEWGUM would be "chaw wad."

Steve Martin had a funny bit in The Jerk where he's learning the difference between s--t and Shinola.

chefbea said...

@sfingi I'm an oldster and have never heard of mongo Santamaria... however i do know Gogi Grant. Can't remember what she sang

mac said...

@Sfingi: mal as in maladjusted.

chefwen said...

What Lime D. Zeze said about the THE's, ditto, don't care for it.

Started off with nice GAME and ruse for WILE. Obviously wasn't going anywhere with that so I ignored the north west corner and saved it for last when I finally was able to UNKNOT the whole lot.

Sitting here salivating as I am inhaling alcoholic fumes from the Holiday Egg Nog Cake that is cooling on the counter behind me. Mmmmm!!!

gespenst said...

I disagree w/ the 7:25 Anon that things have been too easy lately in the LAT. We certainly went through an easy phase, but as others have pointed out, that trend has fortunately been reversed of late.

My only issue was the MONGO/ORTON cross ... didn't know either, so could have been any vowel ;)

The rest, I really liked.

Tinbeni said...

Thank you, "The Jerk!" I was trying all day to remember which movie did I see that in. Shows what gutters we CW solvers have are minds in when doing these things.
As to the MGS-v-Soy, when I looked at the clue for 1-down ... I wanted to enter "Scratch" (their ba**s) but for the Stir-fry, I then had nothing.

I totally agree, for a Wed.Puzzle this was tougher than two months ago when Wed. were like Mondays.
The @Anons need to get a name, otherwise I just ignore them.

Finally, it is December 23rd ... time to celebrate "FESTIVUS for the rest of us " ... I guess I should put up my aluminum pole.

chefbea said...

@chefwen egg nog cake sounds yummy. Where is the recipe? Could make it next year

Rube said...

I too was sorry that Gogi wouldn't fit.
@ChefBea - I think of "The Restless Wind" whenever I hear her name.
My lesson from this puzzle is "res judicata",. (Although I think I've seen this in a xword before, I have to have something new or I consider a puzzle to be a waste of timem, and this wasn't -- random contemporary singer's names do not count)..

Maestro said...

Great breezy puzzle today. Although America is the only place that uses alphabetical letters in music. The entire world uses Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. It would have been great to have the clues with solfege syllables instead.

The last time I saw Boy George perform in NYC he could do everything but sing. Too bad!

Sol--LaSol-Mi, to all!!!

chefwen said...

@chefbea - The Dessert Lover's Cookbook by Marlene Sorosky. It's out of print but I was able to get a replacement for my old, totally beaten up copy on-line from JM Vintage. Everything I have made out of it esp. the cheesecakes have been "to die for". It also had the Absolutely Divine Devil's Food Cake that is made using your favorite tuber.

Burner10 said...

Loved the puzzle, loved the bloggage and loved the link to BEQ.Thanks!

Sfingi said...

@Mac - Thanx - what was that other add-on I had a hard time getting?

@Tinbeni - I tried to get a photo of Steve M looking back and forth at the s--t and Shinola, but couldn't find one. I'm going picture crazy, lately.

@Chefwen - Gogi Grant was a pop singer tending towards jazz. She's in her 80s. Mongo Santamaria was a Cuban bongo drummer and follower of Santeria/Yoruba, the African-Spanish melded religion. Very "in" in the Beat era, and great stuff.

shrub5 said...

@Tinbeni: Thanks for the crosswordy response to my basketball comment. You nailed it. Have a wonderful holiday season down there in sunny Florida!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.