FRIDAY, Jan. 15, 2010 — Jack McInturff

THEME: "HE'S GETTING AWAY" (52A: Cry during an escape, and this puzzle's title) — "HE" is removed from common phrases, creating wacky phrases, which are clued "?"-style

I am having real trouble finding a puzzle to like this week. Might have liked this one if the theme answers had been At All interesting. Come on, the possibilities with this theme must be something close to endless ... and this is what we get? These theme answers just get increasingly nonsensical — and there are only three of them? There should have been more, and they should have been better. GO ON should have been clued as one word, since having GO IN and GO ON in the same grid is an unimaginative shame. "OF EVE," while easy, is a ridiculous partial — nothing that ridiculous has any business being in such an easily manageable corner. There is also no excuse for O IS (45A: Sue Grafton's "___ for Outlaw"). How hard would it have been to clean the grid up from "O IS" straight up to the ridiculous ZOT (29A: Anteater's slurp in the comic "B.C.")? Answer: not hard at all. This grid was filled hastily and with little attention to detail. No polish. Slapdash. Disappointing. Best answer in the grid, by far: PARK BENCH (34D: Stroller's rest spot). Oh, BE NICE TO (5D: Treat kindly) was pretty good as well, in that I had noooo idea what I was dealing with there until I had nearly every cross. Then: "D'oh!"

Theme answers:

  • 20A: Air-conditioning commuter trains? (COOLING ONE'S ELS)
  • 32A: Pitch from a personified spud? (MR. POTATO AD)
  • 41A: Like finger-painters? (YOUNG AT ART)

Had my biggest problems in the NE, where NIGEL was a total unknown (10D: Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films). NEWS is [Pre-bedtime fare]? I'm sure it is, for some people, but I've never heard of this as conventional. TV NEWS, I assume, but still... yuck. I thought people who watched that were staying up for Leno or Carson or whatever hybrid cyborg they create to replace them. I've never watched NEWS before bed, so that clue lost me. Except ... ORNE (60A: Alençon's department) over GPAS (63A: Quiz)? There just had to be better options!

Crosswordese 101: ORNE (60A: Alençon's department) — Orne is a department in the northwest of France, named after the river Orne. (wikipedia); one of those answers you just have to know. Nothing terribly memorable about the department or the river, except maybe this: "The Orne formed the Eastern flank of the Allied landings in Normandy during World War II on 6 June 1944" (wikipedia again).

See you Monday,


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]

Everything Else — 1A: It's rarely a hit (SIDE B); 6A: Acted like a rat (SANG); 10A: Pre-bedtime fare (NEWS); 14A: "The Three Faces __" (OF EVE); 15A: Lickable treat (OREO); 16A: Apple for the teacher, perhaps (IMAC); 17A: Let fall, as tresses (UNPIN); 18A: Continue (GOON); 19A: "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" musical (GIGI); 20A: Air-conditioning commuter trains? (COOLING ONE'S ELS); 23A: Old comm. giant (ITT); 24A: Demure (COY); 25A: Ill humor (BILE); 26A: Allocation word (PER); 27A: __ flakes (BRAN); 29A: Anteater's slurp in the comic "B.C." (ZOT); 32A: Pitch from a personified spud? (MR. POTATO AD); 36A: Set of standards (CODE); 37A: Craters of the Moon monument site (IDAHO); 38A: Eastern sash (OBI); 39A: Piercing weapon (TALON); 40A: Poet Sandburg (CARL); 41A: Like finger-painters? (YOUNG AT ART); 43A: Quiz (ASK); 44A: Some fiction (PULP); 45A: Sue Grafton's "__ for Outlaw" (O IS); 46A: Cost of freedom? (BAIL); 48A: Up to, informally (TIL); 49A: Single, for one: Abbr. (SYN.); 52A: Cry during an escape, and this puzzle's title (HE'S GETTING AWAY); 56A: Mitchell with the 1969 album "Clouds" (JONI); 57A: Praise (LAUD); 58A: In the slightest (AT ALL); 59A: Ocean hunter (ORCA); 60A: AlenÁon's department (ORNE); 61A: Fool in "Pagliacci" (TONIO); 62A: Automobil route (BAHN); 63A: Student stats (GPAS); 64A: Doc Golightly portrayer in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (EBSEN); 1D: Sans __: carefree (SOUCI); 2D: Otherwise (IF NOT); 3D: Station (DEPOT); 4D: Mean business (EVIL); 5D: Treat kindly (BE NICE TO); 6D: Overwatered (SOGGY); 7D: Buck add-on (-AROO); 8D: Strip lighter (NEON); 9D: Rotten (GONE BAD); 10D: Bruce of Sherlock Holmes films (NIGEL); 11D: "Thérèse Raquin" novelist (ÉMILE ZOLA); 12D: Funny ones (WAGS); 13D: It's not always exact: Abbr. (SCI.); 21D: Nick's wife (NORA); 22D: It may be deadly (SIN); 26D: Four-time Hugo winner Frederik (POHL); 27D: Emerge suddenly (BOB UP); 28D: It's forecast in percentages (RAIN); 30D: Glade target (ODOR); 31D: Caterpillar's creation (TENT); 32D: Glittery mineral (MICA); 33D: Nutritional stds. (RDAS); 34D: Stroller's rest spot (PARK BENCH); 35D: Saw, e.g. (TOOL); 36D: Musical with Grizabella and Growltiger (CATS); 39D: Stadium party site (TAILGATE); 41D: Hot Christmas staple (YULE LOG); 42D: Enter (GO IN); 44D: Babe, for example (PIG); 47D: Turk, most likely (ASIAN); 48D: They have highs and lows (TIDES); 49D: Trumpeters on a lake (SWANS); 50D: "Boola Boola" singer (YALIE); 51D: Hose material (NYLON); 52D: Dance that may involve a chair (HORA); 53D: Diamond cover (TARP); 54D: Albacore, e.g. (TUNA); 55D: From __: slight progress (A TO B); 56D: Assignment (JOB).


*David* said...

Had the most problems in the NE corner with NEWS/NIGEL/GIGI. NIGEL finally came to me and I completed the corner. Didn't like many of the crossings including SYN/YALIE, had no idea what to put in there.

I felt the theme was cute and the final answer a nice tie in. The theme answers came relatively easy with minimal crosses.


“HE’S GONE !!!”
What my ex said, and what this puzzle is all about.
Nice theme and the puzzle’s getting closer to a Friday level.
Good solid grid and I liked the clues.

Fave: “Anteater’s slurp in the comic B.C.” ZOT
Unfave: (55D) “From A TO B”

HUH? “Alencon’s department” (ORNE).
I’m glad that Rex explained this.

Getting tired of: OREO and OBI

We could probably use a CW101 just on Sue Grafton book titles.
Her next one: “W” is for Wordplay

I just can’t go see a new Sherlock Holmes movie without Basil Rathbone and NIGEL Bruce. I really loved that old series of 12 great S.H. movies.

No one could sing this quite like Maurice Chevalier---

Time for my amaretto coffee, Raisin BRAN cereal, and Nutella bananas.

imsdave said...

I was looking for 'GO TO guy' and 'Have a GO AT' to complete the minitheme.

Parsan said...

This puzzle seemed more mid-week than a Friday. Also would have liked more theme clues, but those in the puzzle were fine with me, if easy. YOUNG AT ART the best.

Parents always watched the 11 P.M. NEWS before bedtime, a habit I never got into. Wars, crime, and tragedys not good sleep inducers.

Originally had pure for PULP, gags for WAGS, and shy for COY. JONI, NIGEL, EMILE ZOLA, TONIO, CARL, and EBSEN made the rest easy. (Could tell you a story about GIGI but I think we're supposed to stay close to the puzzle.)

Liked SCI for "not always exact" and never thought of Turk as ASIAN.

Happy weekend all! Thanks Rex!

SethG said...

Well, my mom would certainly not be proud of me today.

xyz said...

SE got me with not knowing TONIO over EBSEN; minor roles tend to get me. Worked out the NE before stalling at SE. Had EST for SCI, GAGS for WAGS and SIGEL for NIGEL - started over figured it out.

In SE I had LYCRA for NYLON TENOR for TONIO and could not think my way out - oh bother, but still a reasonably fun puzzle.

Theme sorta weak, but didn't hate it. Fill weaker, but that's what you get sometimes. Puzzle OK, Rex, you really do get a bit cranky sometimes (critical not negative) but yer Mom must still be on board - mine stuck through with cranky old me.

shrub5 said...

Enjoyed the puzzle and theme but had a tough time in the NE corner. For "pre-bedtime fare", I was thinking of something to eat or drink (milk?). I had put EST (estimate) for "it's not always exact" so that slowed things down.

OREO for "lickable treat" did not come to mind at all. I thought of CONE first...

I must say Sue Grafton's book titles have been a boon to crossword constructors who are left with a miscellaneous letter, an "I" and an "S".

LOL'd at "from A TO B: slight progress". That's the state of most of the projects on my desk right now.

FYI, the Hugo awards (est. 1955) are given annually for the best sci-fi or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the science fiction magazine "Amazing Stories." (wiki)

anonymous grammarian said...

@anon 7:31am
Your school teachers must be disappointed in you for the misuse of "your" for "you're".

Van55 said...

I found this pretty easy over all. NIGEL Bruce and GIGI were gimmes. The other proper names were gettable from crosses.

There's a bitt too much trite crosswordese for my taste, but I won't belabor it (for a change, eh Rex?) Suffice it to say that JNH nailed it again for me.

jeff in chicago said...

The puzzle was all right. No sparkle, I suppose, but on Friday I'm happy with a good mental exercise.

"Young @ Heart" was on PBS a couple nights ago. Fantastic. A must-see. I cried several times. And laughed a lot. Brilliant documentary.

And I enjoy any reference to Buddy Ebsen that isn't about those hillbillies or that detective.

ddbmc said...

What @ Shrubb said.
What Rex said on "Be nice to," D'oh,too!

There's a new ad campaign for Vanilla Oreos with the Manning Brothers and Donald Trump and doppelgänger, challenging each other to a "lick off"...go figure. Put CONE, then POPS in first.

My "Night fare" is comedy now. No "news" at 11.

Thought Rudy Vallee for "Boola Boola," but YALIE finally fit.

POTATO and IDAHO, stacked, cute, along with BAIL & HES GETTING AWAY, DEPOT crossing with COOLING ONES ELS...Probably a stretch on that.

@Parsan, "Gigi" story? You've piqued my interest!

TGIF, everyone.

Joon said...

{Mean business} for EVIL made my day. best thing in the puzzle. i thought there were too many GOs, what with GO ON and GO IN and GONE BAD and even what appears to be an extra GONE in COOLING ONE'S ELS, although of course it's not. but it looks funny right below GO ON and crossing GONE BAD.

i did not like the BE NICE TO entry. it's okay for a clue, but it doesn't hang together as an answer. the BE part, in particular, isn't really an integral part of the lexical entry; it just changes it from an adjective to a verb. i've said my piece on this before, though.

i'm a teacher and my apple is indeed an iMac.

Burner10 said...

My vote - R didn't seem cranky, just passionate - its Friday and the clues and fill weren't quite up to snuff. That's a coach's job - to kick a little butt, as necessary. If its any measure at all - the LAT has improved mucho in the past few months.
Doesn't anyone remember the dreadful weeks of Monday Fridays?
Aha today is Friday and my treat for the busride how is WSJ!

mac said...

OK, not great, mostly easy with some thorns: be nice to, news/wags and "syn" in the SE. I liked the "he's getting away" line best where the theme is concerned.


Tinbeni said...

A bit more testy than Mon.to Thur. but the puzzles this week have been WEAK.

@Chefbea - This time it is only from A TO B.

Mild chuckle at:

18a GO ON, better clue would have been 'thug.'

Since Grafton novels always need what the letter stands for, "O IS" for ____" leading to Outlaw also better.

LOL moment, once I got the ZOT & ZOLA the NE fell into place. TCM showed all of the S.Holmes movies over the Holidays; NIGEL became a gimmie.

Pre-bedtime fare, well I tried and tried and tried but just couldn't get Scotch into the 4 spaces.

@Shrub5 - milk? NEVER occured to me.
Hand up for thinking cone, lickable treat.

xyz said...

Pre-bedtime fare for us has become TIVO, welcome to the 21st cetury!
(No, I didn't think of that filling the grid, dunno what that would have done)

CrazyCat said...

I also had a hard time with NEWS in the NE. Thought like Shrub5, milk - then yoga or chamomile TEAS. I would never watch the news before bed - way too disturbing. Sometimes I might watch the weather forecast which is usually non-NEWS here in SoCal. @ Redanman Tivo here too. We watch Letterman or Jon Stewart from the night before.
I was also stumped by Lickable Treat OREO. Does anyone actually lick their OREO? Dunk maybe, but not lick - unless you're under age 4. I, too went for CONE.
I got messed up in the NE with NEWS and WAGS. Had GAGS. Still don't understand what SYN is. I looked it up on Abbreviations.com and can't find anything relating to the clue Single for one, abbr. Can some one explain. Probably a D'oh moment. Favorite answer was BE NICE TO.

hazel said...

The most memorable thing for me about the puzzle was the fact that I put in POPUP twice (1A - rarely gets a hit and 27D - emerge suddenly) and it was wrong twice.

Other than that - puzzle just seemed out of balance - too much yang not enough yin. EVIL, GONEBAD, SIN, BILE, TONIO (only know him from Seinfeld), ODOR maybe, and there's also a bit of a predator vibe (ORCA, TALON). My only yin was good old MRPOTATO[HE]AD. I kind of like ZOT, but really its just more predation.

shrub5 said...

@Tinbeni: I was thinking of milk as pre-bedtime fare for kids, not me!!! A nice little bowl of ice cream usually hits the spot for me. And as far as TV fare, I like to have the NBA channel on before I doze off. :-)

@CCL: SYN is synonym. Single is a synonym for one.

CrazyCat said...

@shrub5 - got it! It was a d'oh. I actually like to have a glass of milk before bed - with a little bourbon. zzzzzzz.....

bluebell said...

Zot gave me Emile Zola, since I didn't recognize the title. Must 'fess up to wags for gags, shy for coy. Got young at, but had all kinds of trouble seeing art/heart.

Sigh. Onward and upward.

lit.doc said...

@Rex, after being a repeat offender re not seeing themes, I find myself in the odd position of either seeing a rebus puzzle or hallucinating.

From "HE"S GETTING AWAY, I ended up with COOLING ONE'S [HEE]LS, MR POTATOE [HEA]D, and YOUNG AT [HEA]RT, in each case the third letter of the rebus completing the crossing down.

I really did read your post. Really. What is it I'm failing to not miss?

Joon said...

lit.doc, if that's what you thought was going on in those squares, how do you explain NIGHEEL bruce, RHEAIN forecast in percentages, and famous novelist EMILE ZOLHEA? a rebus square works both ways, not just one. also, your answers do not fit the theme clues. MR. POTATO AD might be a {Pitch from a personified spud}, but MR. POTATO HEAD isn't a pitch of any kind. etc.

tip: you will never see a rebus in the LA times puzzle. that's not to say there will never be gimmicks, but you won't see more than one letter in a square. rich doesn't allow it.

chefbea said...

Harder than usual but fun. Remember my kids playing Mr. Potato Head along with Cootie. Didn't we just have Cootie?? or was that NYT.


Struggled more with this one but eventually did complete it this morning with no look ups but several erasures!

Faves were bail, sang, zot, bahn
Unfaves were talon, bile, news

Filled in mrpotatoad first and thought frogs would be the subject.

Misread "Boola Boola" singer which in my head translated into "Woolie Boolie" singer. Try as I might, no way I was going to get Sam, Sham, or Pharaohs into those 5 boxes! Haven't figured out how to post a you-tube video yet so can't share the one I found.

lit.doc said...

@Joon, thanks. Thought I'd seen multiple-letter-square puzz's where the down cross was ignored.

imsdave said...

@VTQUILTMOM How to embed a link

Sfingi said...

This was was very easy for me, though it was in the same school as yesterday's NYT, which I found grueling. For this one, no Googling, for that one a dozen. Go figure.

Anyway, I started at the bottom and caught the theme. I thought maybe there was a theme within the theme - head, heart, health - as in 4H, but no. That would have been brilliant.
I've been trying to define this sort of cw, so I'll never fail. The clues match the goofified expressions, and the common sayings are reconstructed with the theme clue. Is there a name for this type? Anyone?

Nothing outstanding except why is ASIAN a "Turk, most likely"? Seems non-PC. Am I way off on this?

When I first saw BENICETO, I didn't see 3 words, but one and thought it was an Italian word new to me. (baynayCHAYtoh) I'm wierd.

GIGI, by Colette, is creepy. This sort of thing has been going on since the beginning of time - child prostitution - and I hope it's not a characteristic of some unalterable % of men. Now that women can get real jobs, will these guys still be lurking and slinking around? Sorry to bring up NEGS.

Loved the drawing on the cover of ZOT. Reminded me of Rockwell Kent.

@Rex - what's so terrible about GOIN and GOON. I kind of like it. What's the rule? No idioms with similar words?

@Anon - bend over - that's 1 1/2 swats.

Orange said...

@sfingi: I reckon it's just that most of Turkey's population is within the accepted borders of Asia, with a smaller portion on the European side of the border.

Joon said...

lit.doc, i've only ever seen exactly one puzzle of the type you describe, and it was the 2/29/08 chronicle of higher education puzzle by patrick berry. quite a doozy, and there was a sound thematic (and gimmicky, of course, but i mean that in the best way) reason for doing so.

more often, you might see something which at first seems like extra letters across but not down, but upon closer inspection turns out to just be letters missing from the across answer, with no hint from the clue. an example: i remember a NYT puzzle where theme answers were VENUS TRAP, INFIELD RULE, etc., but rather than being clued punnily, these were clued straight up as if the answers were VENUS FLY TRAP, INFIELD FLY RULE, etc. the explanation was the answer NO FLY ZONE, clued something like {Restricted air space ... and a hint to this puzzle's longest answers}. there was a similar theme a few months ago using "who let the DOGs out?"; another puzzle i remember had a similar thing going with A SHOT IN THE DARK, where you needed to assume SHOT was hiding in a black square in several places in the grid in order to get the clues and answers to match up.

of course, much more common even than that is a theme like today's, where letters get added or removed or substituted from normal, "in-the-language" base phrases to get punny made-up phrases, which are clued according to the surface meaning of the punny phrase. there is absolutely nothing tricky going on with this kind of theme at all, except for the fact that the theme answer is a made-up phrase. sfingi wants to know the name of this type of theme, and i think the most common one is just "wordplay theme." subclasses include letter deletion (as in today's), letter addition, letter substitution, or a phonetic change of some sort.

Rube said...

@sfingi & @ orange - Turkey used to be called Asia Minor.

I found it wierd that Canio was in today's NYT and Tonio was here in the LAT. Both of these are roles in Pagliacci, and I don't think either have appeared in either paper in the last 8 mos since I've started doing the puzz.

Rube said...

p.s. Tx @Joon for the tip re LAT rebuses.

JIMMIE said...

Maybe because the Roman Empire's province of Asia was modern day western Turkey. Turkey consisted of Asia, Galatia, Bithynia,Pontus and Cappadocia, more or less, in St. Paul's time.

C said...

Normally, a puzzle with a long answer pertaining to an obscure author (obscure to me, that is) is my bane. I am not a googler when it comes to solving puzzles (by choice, nothing wrong with googling and I wholeheartedly endorse Googling to solve puzzles) but a recent CW101 saved me in today's puzzle.

Thanks for the CW101 RexPuzzleOrangeParkerGirl!

Charles Bogle said...

@VTQUILTMOM: I had some similar missteps

Worse..I didn't get the theme until I came here. Now, I see the many passed-up opportunities. Also did not like the trite two worders; eg GO IN GO ON O IS et al

Still, to BE NICE TO this puzzle, it was great to be reminded of Nigel Bruce...and BUDDYEBSEN (was it here or in nyt this week we had TEXASTEA for "oil" and lots of us got it only because of Beverly Hillbillies song?; also fun to see PULP fiction esp since I'm reading a lot of Cain, Boooth and Chandler these days; liked IMAC clue

@Rex: thanks for explaining ORNE! Now, what or who is Alencon?


If you don't know who Nick and NORA are, here's a clip---

My mom and dad were good friends with the poet, CARL Sandburg. In fact, when I was a child we used to go up to his goat farm in Harbert Michigan to see him. He was perhaps the kindest man I ever knew. My mom and I memorized many many of his poems...by age ten I could recite most of them from memory. I wish I knew now where all those poetry books went.

I think in the Bible it refers to the Apostle Paul's travels in Turkey as ASIA MINOR. The Ephesians and Colossians were indeed considered Asians.

It's sort of funny how words you fill in look totally different, like BENICETO. I kept thinking it was a Spanish word for "treat kindly". I even looked it up in a Spanish dictionary... duh!
Geez, then there was MR. POT, A TOAD.

I can think of lots of better things to do before going to sleep than watching the NEWS... and they're all 4-letter words too.

YALIE??? Nah!
Now seeing Kim Novak dance to this is a real treat !

lit.doc said...

@Joon, thanks for the CW101 tutoring. Appreciate it.

chefwen said...

My first fill was AROO, unfortunately, I put it in at 8D instead of 7D, so my first action was a write over, JEEZ, I hate when I do that. Other write over was COY over shy as many others had. That was it for the goofs. Super easy puzzle compared to the NYT which I gave up on 3/4's into solving. It just "done me in".

Parsan said...

ddmc--Played GIGI in a production directed by a YALIE (Yale Sch. of Drama grad) who wanted the production to be very authentic. We had as many as we could find vintage props, furniture and costumes from late 19th-early 20th century. One night on stage a heel on my old 5 button shoes broke off, with a nail going into my heel. Finished the act, had the wound bandaged and the heel taped back on, finished the play, went to the emergency room for a tetanus shot, and was ready to go on the next night. I"ve heard that acting can be painful but don't think that is what was meant!

CrazyCat said...

@JNH -thank you for both of those clips. It's kind of scary, but my in-laws were Nick and Nora look alikes when they were young. Asta the dog was my favorite and I now have a distant descendant sleeping on my foot. Puppy kindergarten starts tomorrow. Arf!
I recited Fog by CARL Sandburg in elem. school. It was sweet, short and it had to do with cats.

The fog comes
on little cat feet

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Sfingi said...

@Chefwen Glad I didn't buy the NYT today.

Anyway, it's the "most likely" part of a Turk being ASIAN most likely that bugs me.

To satisfy my cw hunger I bought a USA Today which had an interesting word that should be recycled: isopod - critter w 14 legs.

Prolly good night.

Orange said...

@sfingi, but it's not as if ASIAN is an insult. It's merely a fact of geography. Technically, folks in the Mideast are Asians, too.

Also, @sfingi, you haven't lived 'til you've taken a gander at the giant isopod. It's like a roly-poly pillbug, only a good bit bigger.

Entropy said...

I don't lick my OREOs. I dunk them 'TIL they are SOGGY.

IF NOTthing more, doing crosswords dish up a menu. BRAN for breakfast, an IDAHO POTATO with dinner.

Wanted Wits for WAGS but everthing else did GO IN.

@ORANGE - I've been checking your Fiend site. See your times, know I am a rookie.

@Rex - Informative write up. I like the clips.

mac said...

@Orange: I have a good friend who is from Beirut, and she refers to herself and her countrymen as Oriental.

Charlie don't tweet said...

Had to work today, didn't even do the puzzle. I'm "Just lookin' for clues, at the scene of the crime".

Liked the theme. Dunno bout the fill. There's a bottle of Shiraz that's mocking me right now, I gotta go have my way with it.

@Joon's comments are always worth reading, ain't they?

@crazy - cool poetry - I HATE poetry normally, but that werks for me. Thanks.

CrazyCat said...

@Sfingi - you can print out the USA today puzzles for free on line, if you don't want to pay for the paper. Oops - over my comment limit!!

xyz said...

Hand up for transiently thinking CONE for lickable treat, but had a cross already and got OREO which if I (rarely) have one I don't lick it but scrape it on my teeth - which I suppose more do than they will admit.
Istanbul is the crossroads to the Orient - more than enough to verify ASIAN as opposed to the apparently much more offensive "Oriental". PC has gotten soooo out of whack.